30 teams. 50 prospects per team (sometimes more). 1500+ prospects ranked and covered by our staff over the last month as each major league team’s minor league organization Top 50 prospects were released. You can find links to all 30 of those articles on our 2018 Top 50 lists page. I wanted to thank all of our readers and share some of the players mentioned in comments that weren’t included on the Top 50 lists that possibly could have been. Each writer of course has their own ranking criteria, which for one reason or another, did not include the following players. Let’s keep an eye out this season to see if any of these prospects continue to improve and make a case to be included in future Top 50 lists, possibly as early as Opening Day or later during our midseason write-ups.
Juan De Paula, RHP (Yankees)
2017 Highest Level: Short Season-A (Staten Island)
Came over to the Yankees from Seattle in the August 2016 trade for Ben Gamel, 2017 was De Paula’s first season in A ball following 2 Rookie league campaigns. Primarily a starter, in 12 games for the Staten Island Yankees (11 games started) he tossed 62 IP and went 5-5 with a 2.90 ERA and 1.08 WHIP. Showing poise and control he added 53 punchouts so not quite a K per IP. Yankees rep Ryan Ortiz is watching De Paula now and hopes to see his continued success at higher A-ball levels in 2018.
Andrew Schwaab, RHP (Yankees)
2017 Highest Level: Double-A (Trenton)
Schwaab just wasn’t part of the Yankees Top 50 in a system with tons of pitching potential, “especially guys who can shift into top bullpen spots,” said Ortiz in the comments after his article. Does Schwaab belong on the list or not? Remember Prospects1500 is a dynasty league resource so we tend to skew toward the potential for fantasy baseball and future dynasty contributions. He did have a stellar 2017 across two levels – High-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton. With a record of 6-2, Schwwab K’d 53 in 57.2 IP to go along with a solid 3.43 ERA. His career minor league numbers are even better though: 12-4, 2.74 ERA, 146 K in 134.2 IP and 34 saves in 41 chances, exclusively coming out of the bullpen.
Jake Ring, OF (Orioles)
2017 Highest Level: High-A (Frederick)
Tim Smith’s Orioles Top 50 did not include this 2016 31st rounder out of the University of Missouri. One could make a case that Ring should’ve made that list. That’s why I’ve chosen to include him in this piece. Having only seen a few games of action with Frederick, Ring spent most of 2017 with A-affiliate Delmarva. In 118 games he slashed .272/.328/.457/.785, launching 14 HR, knocking in 65, walking 37 times, and stealing 17 bags in 23 attempts. Definitely good numbers but you have to be a little concerned with 140 strikeouts in 513 AB (27.3 K%). Ring should see more time at Frederick in 2018 with a shot at moving up to Bowie Baysox later in the year.
Yeyson Yrizarri, SS (White Sox)
2017 Highest Level: High-A (Winston Salem)
Yrizarri came to Chicago via trade from Texas last July and at the time was one of the Rangers Top 50 prospects. The 21-year-old Venezuelan has 4 years of minor league ball under his belt. He doesn’t profile as a power bat and has a MILB career batting average of .265 with only 18 HR. His star has diminished a bit since being named Midseason All Star in 2015 and 2016, but he can certainly make a case to move up the White Sox prospect rankings and potentially find a place in Tom Ogonowski’s next White Sox Top 50.
Sean Brady, LHP (Indians)
2017 Highest Level: High-A (Lynchburg)
Believe it or not there were other talented Hillcats pitchers (not named Triston McKenzie) in 2017. Brady actually crossed 3 levels last season, from Rookie ball, to A-level Lake County, up to High-A Lynchburg. His overall line was very good going 4-1 in 10 games (all starts), 35 K and only 10 BB in 46.2 IP (1.05 WHIP) and a 2.89 ERA. I’m going to make sure Donovan Scotch is monitoring Brady in 2018 because this could be an easy add to the next Indians Top 50.
Leandro Linares, RHP (Indians)
2017 Highest Level: Double-A (Akron)
Linares, a Cuban righthander, pitches solely in relief. Combined with 19 games at High-A Lynchburg and 23 games for Double-A Akron, Linares had a mixed bag 2017 season. Even though he K’s just over 9 per 9 IP and notched a nice 2.56 ERA, his control and inability to set batters down 1-2-3 hinders his progress. Last year’s 1.60 WHIP and .270 AVG against (.295 in AA) were not good.
Tyler Wells, RHP (Twins)
2017 Highest Level: A (Cedar Rapids)
Wells is a 2016 15th round pick out of Cal State San Bernadino. He’s a strikeout pitcher (11.0 K/9 after his first 2 MILB seasons) who limits his walks, allowing only 27 in 89 IP in 2017 in Rookie ball (GCL Twins) and with Cedar Rapids in the Midwest League. Twins fans could get excited about his future but let’s see what he does in his first full season in A or High-A.
Zack Erwin, LHP (A’s)
2017 Highest Level: A (Beloit)
The White Sox drafted Erwin in the 4th round in 2015, then traded him and J.B. Wendelken to Oakland in December of 2015 for Brett Lawrie. Erwin spent all of 2017 in Midwest League A ball. He sported very solid numbers being used exclusively as a starter, going 6-4, with a 2.08 ERA that would have been 2nd in the League but his only 95.1 IP didn’t qualify. He added 91 Ks and allowed hitters to only go .213 against him.
Yenci Pena, SS (Rangers)
2017 Highest Level: Rookie (Dominican Summer League)
Released by the Braves following the International signing scandal, this 17-year-old San Pedro de Macoris product signed with Texas and should be back in Rookie ball this season. With the Braves in 2017’s Dominican Summer League, Pena only hit .230 in 165 AB, with 2 HR, 19 RBI and an OPS of .655. Jake Berry said he likes Pena on the filed but with projections having him move to 3B he doesn’t like his bat enough yet to have included him in his Rangers Top 50.
Victor Garcia, DH (Cardinals)
2017 Highest Level: Rookie (Dominican Summer League)
The Cardinals signed free agent OF Garcia in July 2016. Now he’s listed as a DH on MiLB.com. Maybe his 6’3″, 235 pound frame has something to do with that? We’ll definitely have to watch what happens in 2018 to decide if he bumps up to Eddy Almaguer’s Cardinals Top 50 prospects, but he’s not ready yet. Only 1 HR in 92 AB in the DSL, and a .337 SLG which won’t cut it as an OF/DH type.
Edmundo Sosa, SS (Cardinals)
2017 Highest Level: Double-A (Springfield)
You’ll find Sosa on some other Cardinals top prospects lists (#12 on MLB, #12 on Fangraphs, and #23 on Viva El Birdos) Almaguer poses the question – for a list that skews dynasty/fantasy, do you want to roster a middle infielder who’ll give you at best 5 HR and 5 SB? Not likely which is why Sosa didn’t show up on Eddy’s Top 50. He’s a glove first guy who did hit .288 across 3 levels in 2017, so let’s keep an eye on his progress in 2018, likely in Double-A Springfield.
Austin Rei, C (Red Sox)
2017 Highest Level: High-A (Salem)
I’ve been racking my brain and scouring Sox players to identify that one prospect who maybe should have been on my Red Sox Top 50 Prospects but didn’t make it. I am know satisfied in saying that would be 2015 3rd rounder (81st overall out of Washington) catcher Austin Rei. I just don’t get excited about his .212 AVG over 3 seasons on the farm. He hasn’t shown any power and strikes out about 25% of the time (96 in 373 plate appearances). I’d really like to see Rei put it together and have a solid 2018 and the Sox are giving him that chance with an invite to major league Spring Training camp.
If I were a betting man (although I do partake in a fun football shares pool and also run a fantasy WWE league with my two sons), I’d go with 50/50 on this one. I’m throwing a dart and saying 6 out of these 12 will show on our next Prospects1500 Top 50 prospects lists, most of which will come out midseason in July or August following the 2018 MLB Draft and International signing period. Until then, enjoy the lists and let’s get ready for some Spring Training!
Article featured image of Jake Ring – courtesy of Ralph Musthaler/delmarvanow.com