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 2020. Each and every one of our correspondents (and a couple special guest contributors) have come up with his or her wish for their team’s minor league organization or league that he/she covers. 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 2020 team Top 50 Prospects columns beginning Wednesday, 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)
I like to dig a little deeper on my New Year’s wish list, so I’m gonna wish that Kevin Cron gets 500 plate appearances in the bigs this year. I love to watch him mash! Also, I wish that one of the premium arms in the system (Brennan Malone, Blake Walston, Luis Frias, even Matt Tabor) takes a step up to get into the discussion of potential ace.
Atlanta Braves – Jake Berry (@berrys_baseball)
I have two wishes. The first would be for Kyle Muller to harness the command and get the BB/9 below 4. The second would be for Phil Pfeifer to build on his surprising breakout 2019 campaign.
Baltimore Orioles – Ryan James (@RyanJames5)
I would most like to see Ryan Mountcastle take the left field job in Baltimore and run with it. While I still hope Mountcastle finds a way to improve his plate discipline and take a walk occasionally, he has little left to prove in the minors at the plate. With only 26 games under his belt in left, I do think he will stay in Triple-A for at least the first month or two before coming to Baltimore.
Boston Red Sox – Scott Greene (@Scotty_Ballgame)
He was in my 2019 wish but I’m going to include him again here. It would be awesome to see Jay Groome healthy and back to form as he’s missed most of the last two seasons to injury. He was able to pitch in 3 games (4 IP) at the end of last season so much of Red Sox Nation are crossing their fingers the former 1st Round draft pick finally lives up to the potential. I’d also LOVE to see toolsy Gilberto Jimenez continue to impress and make it up to Double-A Portland.
Boston Red Sox – Ben Wilson (@TBDubbs11)
My wish is that Chaim Bloom moves Boston’s minor league system back into the top half in baseball through trades and his first draft class in 2020.
Chicago Cubs – Tom Usiak (@The_Tom_U)
I would like to see the Cubs trust their pitching prospects, and give pitchers such as Adbert Alzolay and Dakota Mekkes legitimate shots at the major league roster. I would also like to see quick promotions of prospects such as Brailyn Marquez and Jack Patterson if they deserve them. It would also be good if the Cubs gave players such as Zack Short, Mark Zagunis, and Donnie Dewees the same numerous opportunities to succeed as they have given to players like Albert Almora, David Bote, and Robel Garcia.
Chicago White Sox – William Shea (@0RunsIn1st)
I’m hoping for the continued blossoming and progression of Jonathan Stiever. Stiever was arguably the best pitcher in the minor leagues last year for the White Sox. I would love to see some more development with his curveball to go along with an already wicked fastball.
Cincinnati Reds – Rudie Verougstraete (@reds_prospects)
I’d like to the system-wide changes the Reds made in coaching/development staffing show fruit in prospect performance, particularly in pitching where they’ve typically been a bit thin.
Cleveland Indians – Jim Zele (@zbaseball86)
My 2020 wish is for Daniel Johnson to get a shot at winning the Opening Day right field spot with the Indians. Johnson put up great numbers in AA Akron and AAA Columbus last season (.290/.361/.507) and offers the Indians the best combination of defense and power in right field.
Colorado Rockies – Michael Parnell (@parnellmichael)
Rox fans hope this is the year consensus top prospect Brendan Rodgers has a productive, injury-free season that begins and ends on Coors Field. If he goes a long way toward fulfilling his promise, the Rockies may be much better than the last-place team some prognosticators foresee.
Houston Astros – Brandon Lute (@LandonBrute)
While there isn’t much I could wish for (outside of leaving Greinke in and then going to Cole when you’re up at home late in Game 7), I do hope that the Astros are successful in finding a solid 4-5 in the rotation. Verlander, Greinke, and McCullers (fingers-crossed), should form a solid front end, but there are question marks for the remainder of the starting 5. I wish Forrest Whitley would step up and claim a spot, finally fulfilling all of that prospect promise, and Cristian Javier brings his heat to Minute Maid Park. Oh, and I guess I wish there was no such thing as a trashcan.
Kansas City Royals – Alex Duvall (@duvy_013)
My New Year’s wish is that the “Big 3” hitters from the Lexington Legends South Atlantic League Championship team in 2018 return to form in 2020. It was a mostly terrible 2019 for first baseman Nick Pratto, right fielder Seuly Matias, and catcher MJ Melendez. Getting back on track in 2020 would be huge for this Royals farm system.
Los Angeles Dodgers – Daniel Preciado (@DanJPreciado)
My wish for the Dodgers is that their high-upside prospects begin to show why. DJ Peters showing a big-time power breakout and Jeren Kendall continuing his elite end to the 2019 season would qualify. In addition, I am wishing for the Dodgers’ most recent high-profile IFAs to take the leap — namely Diego Cartaya, Luis Rodriguez, and Jerming Rosario.
Miami Marlins – Stoffer Cochran (@stoffer81)
My wish for the Marlins is to continue the development of their young pitching prospects as there seems to be something special brewing. I would also love to see advanced development from a few of their hitting prospects such as Monte Harrison, Victor Victor Mesa, Jazz Chisholm and Jesus Sanchez. Overall, I think the biggest thing that I would wish is that everyone stays healthy and plays to their potential.
Minnesota Twins – Dave Funnell (@sportz_nutt51)
My New Year’s wish is for the minor league prospects within the Twins’ system to force their way up their various levels. Last season Luis Arraez did just that, by playing well, improving this craft and making his unprecedented way up the system. When he arrived in Minnesota, he played so well that he HAD to stay up and help. This year who will take the ball and run with it? Will Jordan Balazovic continue his upward trend into one of the best prospects in the system? Will Alex Kirilloff finally get the call up to the majors and take over full time? Can Trevor Larnach take the next step in his power game and force his hand in Rochester? Only time will tell.
New York Mets – Christian Kainer (@CJ_Kainer)
My wish for the Mets minor league system is for further aggression in Francisco Alvarez’s placement. With the new automated strike zone rules in the future lessening the need for catchers development on framing, Alvarez should not need as much time to develop his defense, as he already possesses plus arm strength and an advanced bat.
New York Yankees – Paul Woodin (@PaulWoodin1)
One of my two wishes is that the Yankees’ top prospects all stay healthy in 2020! Nick Nelson, Matt Sauer, Albert Abreu, Estevan Florial, Josh Breaux, Anthony Seigler, Nolan Martinez and Everson Pereira all spent a good amount of time on the IL really stunting their development. My second wish is that Jasson Dominguez shows everyone he can truly be what many scouts say, a “teenage Mike Trout.” I would love to see him make a huge leap and finish the year in Double-A.
Oakland Athletics – Joe Drake (@JDrake349)
In 2020 I would like to see the A’s commit to giving Franklin Barreto every day at bats for an extended period of time. He’s proven he can handle AAA, but has only been given 209 MLB PAs spread across 3 seasons. It’s time for them to find out if he can be their MLB 2B or move him to a team that is willing to give him a shot.
Philadelphia Phillies – Tony Bps (@tonybps1)
The Philadelphia Phillies could use help in their rotation. I hope they would give Spencer Howard a shot at starting right out of Spring Training and he develops into a solid 3 this year behind Aaron Nola and Zach Wheeler to lead the team back to postseason play. I also wish for a better year for Luis Garcia and hope he gets back on track on his development path. And, of course, I hope to see Alec Bohm starting for the big-league team on Opening Day batting 3rd in the lineup.
Pittsburgh Pirates – Kyle Brown (@CavghtLooking)
I wish that the Pirates would make a bold choice this opening day and send out Mitch Keller as the home opener starter. This is the proper way to usher in the new age in Pittsburgh created by the sweeping organizational changes this offseason. I will also wish for this new age to be accompanied by an aggressive and new pitching philosophy that allows burgeoning arms like Quinn Priester, Noe Toribio, and Cody Bolton to find new and unprecedented success at their respective levels. Other than that I think the only thing I need is for Oneil Cruz to set the world on fire and give us hope for a return to the playoffs in 2021.
San Diego Padres – Eric Killian (@USKillian)
My wish for the Padres is at least two of their Top 10 Prospects hit the ground running and look exactly like we’d expect from their ceiling. Maybe that’s greedy because Fernando Tatis Jr. and Chris Paddack pretty much did that last season. With Luis Urias not contributing and getting dealt and others stumbling, the Padres really need the farm to contribute if they’re going to contend in 2020.
San Diego Padres – Alex Sanchez (@Alex_W_Sanchez)
My wish is for CJ Abrams to develop just a little bit of power because if he does we are looking at top 5 prospect in all of baseball. I also wish that Taylor Trammell continues his return to glory and has a breakout 2020. Lastly, I wish for Hudson Head to put on a few pounds and become a legitimate 5-tool prospect who everyone knows by the end of 2020.
Seattle Mariners – Joe Rush (@joeprush)
Former second round pick Sam Carlson returns following 2018 Tommy John surgery. I’m wishing for a healthy full first year pitching in the minors. Also, I’m hoping for continued success for future Mariners franchise cornerstones Jarred Kelenic and Julio Rodriguez.
St. Louis Cardinals – Chris Eros (@ChrisEros)
My wish for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2020 is for Dylan Carlson to get called up and have an everyday job in the outfield. He was incredible last year in AA, and while he only had 72 AB in AAA, he had an outstanding .361 AVG, and 1.098 OPS. Kid has game, let’s see it on the big stage.
Tampa Bay Rays – Jake Wiener (@GatorSosa)
At this point, it’s no secret that Wander Franco is the best prospect in baseball. My wish is for the Rays to continue to allow Franco to develop conscientiously in the minors on his trajectory to superstardom. Although there have been whispers by some suggesting that the Rays could be aggressive with a midseason promotion to the bigs next season, I truly believe his best course of action would be for Franco to start the year at a new level (AA Montgomery) with a midseason promotion to AAA preparing him for an early 2021 MLB debut.
Texas Rangers – Casey Krish (@CaseyKrish)
The Rangers have been spoiled with Adrian Beltre manning the hot corner for as long as he did. I would like to see Texas be a bit aggressive with the progression of Josh Jung. The third overall pick out of Texas Tech has shown great plate discipline, and recorded a solid .287 across 40 games with A- Hickory, certainly no small sample size. With experience in the Big 12 and a season of pro ball in which he excelled, I wouldn’t see it as an extreme push if he opens the season in AA Frisco. Challenge an advanced college bat in 2020 and see if he can make a case for a September call up or 2021 roster spot.
Toronto Blue Jays – Greg Bracken (@gregbracken07)
Blue Jays have two young catchers, Reese McGuire and Danny Jansen at the major league level. Five more promising catchers climbing the prospect ladder in Riley Adams, Alejandro Kirk, Gabriel Moreno, Hagen Danner and Philip Clarke. I wish they would put some of this depth to use in a package to acquire outfielder Starling Marte.
Washington Nationals – Jacob Swain (@jacob_swain3)
My New Year’s wish for the Nationals is for Carter Kieboom to win the starting second base job out of Spring Training. Also to have a productive 2020 season, erasing all doubt of his ability from his uninspiring 2019 debut.
California League – Gail Verderico (@1baseballchick)
I am looking forward to the next wave of prospects to come through the Cal League. 2019 was a great year with MacKenzie Gore, Luis Patiño, Josiah Gray, Jeter Downs and Cal Raleigh, and so many more.
Midwest League – John Stewart (@jonance)
My wish for the Midwest League is for CJ Abrams to continue annihilating baseballs for Fort Wayne en route to MVP honors.
Eastern League – Joe Drake (@JDrake349)
I would like to see the Nationals give Luis Garcia another full season in the Eastern League. 2019 was tough for him (79 wRC+), but he was very young for the level and in the final month of the season he boosted his slash line to .270/.280.451 with a 110 wRC+.
Southern League – Jarrod Vickery (@jvickery55)
Depending on where their respective organizations place them to start the season, 2020 should be another banner year for top talent in the Southern League. My wish is that Andrew Vaughn, Jordyn Adams, Alek Thomas, Brice Turang, and of course, Wander Franco, all spend enough time in AA that I have a chance to see them all in person.
Texas League – Adam Tulley (@AdamT_Prospects)
This season I hope that Lazaro Armenteros and Austin Beck BREAK OUT in Midland and finally live up to their potential. Both of them have big power upside and some good stolen base upside, however they both need to cut down the strikeouts to truly reach their respective ceilings.
Carolina League – Owen Surett (@CountryRoads277)
In 2020 I would like to see Indians OF prospect Will Benson start tapping into more of his potential after a disappointing start to his pro career. With such an exciting set of raw tools that got him drafted in the first round in 2016, I would love to see the 21-year-old translate them into offensive production for Lynchburg.
Florida State League – Bailey Srebnik (@FsuBailey12)
My wish for the Florida State League in 2020 is to see players like Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, Matthew Liberatore, and Shane Baz debut in the League and play well. Additionally, I’d like to see players who excelled in the Florida State League this year, such as Wander Franco, Mason Martin, Jonathan India, and Trevor Larnach, continue progressing in their careers.
South Atlantic League – John Calvagno (Notes From The Sally) (@SALNotes)
Happy New Year from the 2020 Sally, happy to be sitting in. First a farewell to the outgoing talent led by Julio Rodriguez, Jarred Kelenic, Ronny Mauricio, Triston Casas and the Hickory Crawdads gang. Maybe the most talented class I’ve seen yet. But lots more talent on the horizon led by Marco Luciano and company, Bobby Witt Jr., Michael Toglia, Matthew Allan and the Lowell Spinners gang. The 2020 class looks loaded again. Have a happy and safe new year and see you at the ballpark!
New York-Penn League – Ben Wilson (@TBDubbs11)
I’m hoping that 2020 isn’t the last year covering Short Season baseball and the NYPL due to MiLB contraction.
Gulf Coast League – Bryan Woodward (@CoachBarbaRoja)
In 2020, I wish we could see better conditions for some of the players in the GCL who aren’t top picks. Lots of these guys live 4-5 to an apartment and sleep on air mattresses, etc. With that being said, the GCL is the hidden gem of professional baseball. The access to players and ability to watch games on the fence like youth games for the grand old price of $0 is the greatest value there is.
International League/Pacific Coast League – Eric Herauf (@ejh1528)
The biggest thing I would like to see this year from the PCL is the maturation of Dodgers catcher Keibert Ruiz. He struggled in Double-A last year, but showed glimpses in Triple-A going .316/.350/.474 in 40 PA. Over in the International League, it’s Tanner Houck. The former 1st round pick in 2017 struggled some in Double-A Portland. After he moved up, things started to look better. I’d like to continue to see what he has for 2020 and the possible jump to the majors late this year or in 2021.
Thinking About The Game – Scott Delp (@frugalscott)
One specific wish I have for the game in 2020 is that MLB and MiLB can somehow solve their legitimate issues so that thousands of people are not denied the opportunity to see the game in entertaining and affordable venues. The minor leagues are where the game is grown as a significant percentage of fans at MiLB games are kids. Both sides have points to make and here’s hoping that there is a compromise position on which both sides can agree. More generally, I would wish that MLB can begin to feel more comfortable in its own skin. No other major sport puts so much stock in the opinions of people who are quick to tell you they don’t like the sport in the first place. That has led to MLB making incremental and annoying (to its most loyal fans) changes that do little to accomplish their stated goals. The leaders of the baseball should be defending their game rather than apologizing for it.
Special MiLB Contributor – James Weisser (@JWeisser88)
My New Year’s prospect wish is for both Michael Kopech and Luis Robert to stay healthy and develop into the superstars they have the talent to become.
Special MiLB Contributor – Angel Pettitt (@PIAngel33)
My wish is for major league teams to stop manipulating service time to let the young stars across the league grow the game with an infusion of talent and energy.
Prospecting Baseball Cards – Tyson Banker (@tbanker28)
I’d like to see the Nationals make moves to open up a spot for Luis Garcia down the road. Garcia’s 1st Bowman card out of 2018 Bowman Chrome is overshadowed by Yordan Alvarez in the product but he’s a terrific prospect not getting enough love. Still 19, he still has time to progress, but he is a great buy-low guy for the hobby. Lastly, I would like #thehobby to appreciate pitchers more! They are an important piece to the game and are undervalued as a whole in the hobby!
I want to personally thank my entire Prospects1500 team for an amazing 2019! We have a lot planned for 2020 and we can’t wait to share it all with you. 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, more Futures Focus podcast episodes, Prospects of the Week during the season and a whole lot more!