As we gear up for Top 50 month here at Prospects1500, we wanted to provide some holiday cheer and bring to you our New Year’s wishes for 2019. That is, each and every one of our team correspondents has come up with his or her wish for their team’s minor league organization. Some seem to be right on. Some are bolder and may be less likely to come to fruition. But these are wishes and we can all dream. Some dreams do come true and now is the perfect time of the offseason to do just that. Dream of your favorite prospects making it big in the new year to come!
Enjoy our list. Stay tuned for our new 2019 team Top 50 Prospects columns beginning Tuesday, January 1st. We’ll drop a different team’s list each day of the month. Let us know in the comments section below or on Twitter (@Prospects1500) what you think of some of these wishes, and please share yours too.
Arizona Diamondbacks – Matt Hammerling (@AZdbPROSPECTOR)
It’s my wish for the rebuilding Diamondbacks give their younger players legit playing time to see what they can do. Pitchers like Jimmie Sherfy, Yoan Lopez, and Jon Duplantier need to get extended innings to see if they can get big league hitters out. Hitters like Socrates Brito, Christian Walker, and Kevin Cron need to get plenty of ABs to see what kind of players they can be. Maybe a player or two can prove to have value in a couple years when their top notch prospects start to make the majors.
Atlanta Braves – Jason Woodell (@JasonAtTheGame)
I want to see Cristian Pache improve his pitch recognition on sliders away. Improve the balance in his swing and make the leap from projection to the next great 5 tool prospect. I also want Drew Waters to make that same leap.
Baltimore Orioles – Tim Smith (@Swipethedirt)
The Orioles have replaced the entire front office and reportedly given the new GM Mike Elias free reign over every aspect of the franchise. My hope for the farm system next year is that the team modernizes the way the minor league system is run, resulting in the development of a few break out, came out of no where prospects. These types of prospects never seem to come from the Orioles system. I hope that changes.
Boston Red Sox – Scott Greene (@Scotty_Ballgame)
A few wishes for Red Sox Nation and their star minor leaguers. I hope Michael Chavis gets a shot in the big leagues in 2019. If it’s not at 3B (with Devers, Dalbec, et al) then maybe move him over to 2B. I hope Jay Groome comes back strong from TJS and can stay healthy in the second half of the season. Lastly, how about the World Champs not signing a closer and going with a “committee” approach and letting Ryan Brasier (still less than 50 IP) and 2018 3rd round pick Durbin Feltman get some shots at nailing down games?
Chicago Cubs – Tom Usiak (@The_Tom_U)
I would like to see Nico Hoerner be in a position to be promoted to the big league club by All-Star break. Hoerner has the type of offensive approach that can help them avoid the devastating cold streaks the attack has suffered the past few years. I would also like to see productive pitchers such as Adbert Alzolay, Duncan Robinson, and Dakota Mekkes get opportunities to help down the stretch rather than the major league retreads they have brought in the recent past.
Chicago White Sox – William Shea (@0RunsIn1st)
I wish Eloy Jimenez‘s game fully translates to the majors. Eloy is a consensus top 5 prospect in all of baseball and has mashed the ball at every level. There is no doubt he will be called to the big leagues sooner rather than later, and in the best interest of everyone in the organization, hopefully he shows why many believe he is a huge part of the future of this team.
Cincinnati Reds – Rudie Verougstraete (@reds_prospects)
My New Year’s wish for the Reds minor league system would be for Hunter Greene to return to full health and avoid Tommy John, and for the Reds to find a way to fit Nick Senzel into their lineup (starting, not a bench roll) sooner than later.
Cleveland Indians – John Stewart (@jonance)
My wish is for Bobby Bradley to (finally) show improvement in his contact ability. He has prodigious power and a superb walk rate, but they have come with K-rates from 22%-33%. If he can just make some more contact we could be looking at a .250 hitter with 30+ bombs in the middle of the Cleveland lineup sooner rather than later.
Colorado Rockies – Michael Parnell (@parnellmichael)
The Colorado Rockies should give one of their prospects — Brendan Rodgers, Garrett Hampson or Ryan McMahon — the second-base job in 2019. The Rockies stifle their young talent as much as any team in baseball, but with D.J. LeMahieu now in free agency there is an opportunity at second. Play one of the kids there!
Detroit Tigers – Dave Eddy (@CorporalEddy)
My wish for the Detroit Tigers in 2019 is health for their stable of arms (Casey Mize, Matt Manning & Co.) and continued development as they work their way towards meeting up together in Detroit around 2020/2021.
Houston Astros – Brandon Lute (@LandonBrute)
I wish the Astros would let Kyle Tucker play. Alex Bregman started 2-38 (.052) at age 22 and has gone on to become a cornerstone of the franchise and MVP candidate. Tucker started 10-64 (.141) at age 21 with an unbelievably low BABIP of .176. He will figure it out, he just needs the same time afforded to Bregman.
Kansas City Royals – K.C. Shankland (@KCShankland)
My Royals New Year’s wish is for Seuly Matias to find the same K% reduction moving from Lexington to Wilmington in 2019 that Khalil Lee did the year before. In 2018 Matias hit 31 HR as a teenager in A ball but hit only .231 and struck out 35% of the time. Lee went from a 32% K rate to 25% and boosted his walk rate from 12% to 16%. If Matias can pull that off he suddenly will be on track to be an All-Star level slugging RF in 2021.
Los Angeles Angels – Andrew Rhodes (@A_Rhodes77)
I would love for Jo Adell and Jahmai Jones to continue to excel. I want Adell to be universally thought of as the top prospect in baseball and for Jones to continue to improve on what he did in the Arizona Fall League. My other wish is for Chris Rodriguez to be healthy and to really show us what he can do in a full season.
Los Angeles Dodgers – Jonathan Tripp (@TrippJc)
Alex Verdugo has been ready to be a MLB starter for over a year. My wish is the Dodgers finally give him an everyday job in the OF, or free him and allow him to play everyday elsewhere…like Cleveland or Miami (in a package for Kluber/Realmuto).
Miami Marlins – Stoffer Cochran (@stoffer81)
My New Year’s wish is to have some contribution from the minors show up at the big-league level at two specific positions. The first position is OF, and I wish that one of Victor Victor Mesa (International free agent prize), Monte Harrison (Christian Yelich trade), Austin Dean (2012 4th round), or Brian Miller (2017 CBA pick) will become a contributing mainstay in the big-league lineup. The second part to my wish is to have one of Sandy Alcantara & Zac Gallen (Marcell Ozuna trade), Nick Neidert & Robert Dugger (Dee Gordon trade), Jordan Yamamoto (Yelich trade), or Jeff Brigham (Mat Latos trade), become the ACE/leader of the big league rotation and another one to be a solid big league pitcher every fifth day.
Milwaukee Brewers – Andy Patton (@andypattonSEA)
I’d like to see Corbin Burnes given a shot in Milwaukee’s Opening Day rotation. Burnes converted to the bullpen down the stretch last year after posting an inflated ERA at Triple-A Colorado Springs. However, his peripherals were solid and there’s no doubt he has the stuff to be a solid big league rotation piece, as soon as 2019. Hopefully, Milwaukee will give him that chance.
Minnesota Twins – Dave Funnell (@sportz_nutt51)
My wish for 2019 is for Nick Gordon to finally GET IT. He is by no means untalented, but, since he’s been with the Twins’ organization for four years, he’s slowly made his way through the system by doing what some consider the bare minimum. In Double-A and Triple-A last season, he managed only a .248 batting average and more strikeouts than hits. If he can somehow get things to click, he could be a staple in the Twins’ infield and everything Minnesota thought they would get when they drafted him 5th overall in 2014.
New York Mets – Ben Wilson (@TBDubbs11)
My wish for the Mets is to have Peter Alonso break camp with the big league team and hit a walkoff home run on Opening Day to prove how ready he was last September to make his debut. I hope his middle of the order presence, and 35 HR, leads the Mets to the NL East title in 2019.
New York Yankees – Angel Pettitt (@PIAngel33)
If anything proved to be the boost the Yankees needed to outperform expectations the last two years it was an infusion of youth each year. Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez in 2017, Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres in 2018. My wish is for the Yankees to give one of Chance Adams, Albert Abreu, Jonathan Loaisiga or Domingo Acevedo a chance on the main roster in 2019.
New York Yankees – Paul Martin (@PaulTheMartin)
My number one wish for the new year is that Luis Medina finally finds his command. The stuff is so filthy, and when he eventually discovers pitchability, he could cement himself near the top upside arms around the League. This dream can be copy-and-pasted for a bevy of young Yankees arms including Luis Gil, Juan Then, Roansy Contreras, and more. If it comes true for all of them, the Pinstripes prospect system will look even scarier.
Oakland A’s – Jake Plotkin (@Jake_Plotkin1)
The Oakland Athletics have a plethora of young talent that graduated to the major leagues in 2018 and should hold down everyday positions in 2019 (Chapman and Olson). However, their minor league system is still full of potential talent. My wish for 2019 is for guys like A.J. Puk, Daulton Jefferies and James Kaprielian to bounce back from their injuries. Each guy should be ready to go pretty early in the season as they rehabbed most of 2018 in Arizona. All three guys have potential to be rotation pieces (Puk could be a #1 starter), if not key bullpen pieces for the A’s in the next 2-3 years.
Philadelphia Phillies – Tony Bps (@tonybps1)
My wish for the Phillies minor league system is for Sixto Sanchez to get back to full health and show the organization that he can be a co-ace with Aaron Nola soon to lead the team back into contention. There were big expectations on him for 2018 but he was limited to 46 innings pitched and shut down from the Arizona Fall League. Here’s hoping to health and happiness in the new year!
Pittsburgh Pirates – Ryan James (@RyanJames5)
I would love to see Pittsburgh continue to be aggressive with Oneil Cruz, Cal Mitchell and Lolo Sanchez. All 3 players will play the entire 2019 season at 20 years old and all 3 should start the year at High-A Bradenton. Cruz could easily see Double-A Altoona before the 2019 season is through, after cutting his K rate from 30% to 23% and raising his OPS from .647 to .831 in his repeat of Single A ball. Most importantly, the Pirates need to remain aggressive with this group.
San Diego Padres – Eric Killian (@USKillian)
My wish is that the Padres do not sacrifice the future for a chance to be mildly more competitive, while still fielding a team with no real shot at contention. I’m a big believer in “Prospects are cool; Parades are cooler” but I think 2019 is too early for the Padres to sell the farm and the future is bright with Fernando Tatis Jr., Luis Urias and Luis Patino.
San Francisco Giants – Paul Aiton (@Paul_8en)
I have two. I wish the Giants would allow us the pleasure of watching Joey Bart catch games in July with Buster Posey splitting time with him at catcher and together in the same lineup with Posey at 1B. To see the torch passed down from Posey to Bart would make our hearts warm with joy. I also wish the Giants would trade Madison Bumgarner for a king’s ransom in July at the trade deadline. To put the franchise in a position to be better 2-3 years from now by improving the overall depth of the organization and to give Bart another offensive threat to protect him in the near future.
Seattle Mariners – Joe Rush (@joeprush)
I’m wishing the Mariners rebuild process culminates by making their first playoff appearance by the year 2022. This would start with Justus Sheffield becoming an anchor in the M’s rotation this season. In addition, they should maximize Mitch Haniger‘s value by moving him to a team with a deep system who can afford the price tag of 3-4 prospects including at least two high ceiling players. I’m talking to you Atlanta, St. Louis, Chicago White Sox, San Diego………..
St. Louis Cardinals – Charles Tweed (@CharlesTweed)
In the coming weeks there is bound to be a lot people wishing you and your family good health and happiness in 2019; and the same can be said for the St. Louis Cardinals. Let this be the year that Alex Reyes finally finds the ability to stay healthy and reach his full potential – as a starter. Furthermore, let it be the year he eclipses his rookie eligibility so we can start talking about the rest of the organization’s prospects. Names like Nolan Gorman and Elehuris Montero deserve some helium and they’ll get it once Reyes graduates.
Tampa Bay Rays – Jake Wiener (@GatorSosa)
Here’s to hoping that top prospect Brendan McKay sees time in the Majors this year, as a pitcher and as a hitter. McKay was both a pitcher and a first baseman for three seasons at Louisville, but the Tampa Bay Rays initially drafted him with the fourth overall pick in the 2017 MLB Draft with the intention of using him only as a position player. McKay’s ace upside will most likely carry him to the big leagues, but a multi-year track record of success at the plate suggests that the hit tool may not be that far behind. A two-way stud of McKay’s caliber does not come around very often, and it would be worth the Rays’ while to see what they truly have in their former first-round investment.
Texas Rangers – Jake Berry (@berrys_baseball)
My wish – Leody Taveras skills and projectability turn into on field results. In recent years he has been virtually an unanimous pick as the Rangers top prospect. While the defense is top notch, some are starting to write Taveras off when it comes to his ability to handle himself at the plate. The switch hitter has been promoted fairly aggressively through his affiliated ball career and has been much younger than the average player in each league he has played in. Perhaps if the Rangers take their foot off the gas and give Taveras another shot at High-A in 2019, he can focus on continuing his development at the plate as opposed to trying to live up to the hype.
Toronto Blue Jays – Greg Bracken (@gregbracken07)
I wish the Blue Jays would trade Kevin Pillar and give the CF job to Anthony Alford full-time. I know everyone loves the superman catches but even while developing on the job Alford should provide more than the career .696 OPS that Pillar gives them.
Washington Nationals – Shelly Verougstraete (@ShellyV_643)
I would love the Nationals to be ’super’ aggressive with Luis Garcia and challenge him by starting him in AA next year. It has been said the jump from A+ to AA is the hardest in the minors. He has above average bat speed with the patience of a saint and I would love to see him face pitchers with better stuff.
California League – Gail Verderico (@1baseballchick)
The California League sees many players come and go throughout their careers, but my wish for the league is to see the guys that excelled in 2018, Tyler Nevin (COL), Colton Welker (COL), and Hudson Potts (SD) move up and continue to progress in their careers. Jazz Chisholm (ARI) is exciting to watch, and could start the season at AA, but he can be streaky and needs to work on his plate discipline. I’m also looking forward to seeing all the new guys that will enter the league. Looking forward to what 2019 will bring!
Midwest League – Kurt Fremion (@Honcho1010)
My wish for the Midwest League this year is for the Talent-rich San Diego Padres to send both Tucupita Marcano and Xavier Edwards to the Fort Wayne Tincaps for the entire season. Both players possess plus speed and feature an elite hit tool. Marcano led the AZL with a ridiculous 173 wRC+, while Edwards hit .346 with more walks (31) than strikeouts (25) in the Northwest League.
International prospects – Charles Tweed (@CharlesTweed)
Looking ahead to 2019 I’m hopeful that common sense will prevail over partisan politics for Cuban players. In a year that finally saw MLB executives and the Cuban Baseball Federation reach a deal that will allow the island’s most talented players safe passage to the United States, politics threatens to derail the partnership. The deal would eliminate the harrowing lengths, which included brushes with human traffickers and the mob, that Cuban players endured in the past to get to America. There are reports the deal, which is similar to others signed with professional leagues around the world, could get hung up in congress. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen so that baseball fans get to see the best players in the world play in the best league in the world, without involving the criminal underworld.
I want to personally thank all of the Prospects1500 team for a great 2018 and I couldn’t be more excited for what 2019 has in store for all of us. We wish all of our readers a safe, happy and healthy New Year. We hope you enjoy all of the Top 50 prospects columns to follow each day in January. Stay tuned for a great year of minor league content, prospects rankings, Prospects of the Week during the season and a whole lot more!