In years past, I’ve waited anxiously for Major League Baseball to release its list of top 100 prospects for the coming year. As a baseball fan, I’m excited to look at the rankings and read up on the various prospects. But as a baseball road tripper, I’m even more pumped to read about the listed players I saw last season on my travels for The Ballpark Guide.
I’ve blogged about this list in the past and have seen some pretty outstanding (and high-ranked) prospects over the years, including Bryce Harper, Jacob Turner, Travis d’Arnaud and Matt Harvey. You can take a look at those blog posts here and here, if you’re interested. It’s fun to look back at the names of current MLB stars and think of them being highly touted prospects just a few short years ago.
So far, Harper is the only top-10 prospect I’ve managed to see in person. I’m always curious to see how many guys in the top 100 I’ve seen. Ready for a look? Here we go!
26. Maikel Franco — Reading Fightin Phils
I saw Franco, the 26th-ranked prospect and the fourth-ranked third baseman, in action at FirstEnergy Stadium on July 11. He went 0-for-4 in a 5-1 loss to the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, but was batting .392 at the time. He ended up batting .339 in 69 games for Reading.
27. Tyler Glasnow — West Virginia Power
I watched Glasnow pitch on May 28 in a losing effort at Appalachian Power Park, falling 12-3 to the Greensboro Grasshoppers. The loss was Glasnow’s first of the season and one of only three on the year, as he cruised to a 9-3 record with a 2.18 ERA. At the time of my visit, I didn’t know he was a highly touted prospect; what caught my eye as I watched him warm up before the game was his height — he’s 6’7″.
33. Jackie Bradley, Jr. — Pawtucket Red Sox
Pawtucket was delayed on their way to Louisville Slugger Field to face the Bats on May 20, but the delay didn’t slow down Bradley, Jr. He picked up two of Pawtucket’s seven hits as the visiting team got pummeled 10-0.
33. Billy Hamilton — Louisville Bats
Bradley, Jr., wasn’t the only top prospect I saw in action on May 20. Hamilton, who’s got the best set of wheels in all of baseball, put on an impressive show with two hits, two runs scored and his 24th stolen base of the year in his team’s 10-o win.
38. Adalberto Mondesi — Lexington Legends
At the time I saw Mondesi on May 27 at Whitaker Bank Ballpark, he was known as Raul, but MLB now lists him by his middle name, Adalberto. Whatever the case, Mondesi put on the best display of offense I saw all summer, hitting for the cycle in just four at-bats.
53. Jesse Biddle — Reading Fightin Phils
Biddle played for Reading for all of 2013 and had the start during my July 11 visit. He placed third in the Eastern League in strikeouts, with 154, and fanned five New Hampshire batters in four innings. He also gave up 11 hits and eight runs and picked up the loss in a 5-1 game.
55. Marcus Stroman — New Hampshire Fisher Cats
Boy, my July 11 visit to Reading was a pretty good day for prospects. In addition to seeing Franco and Biddle play for the Fightin Phils, I also saw Stroman in the stands. Sure, he didn’t pitch, but I snapped the above picture of him after noticing him a number of times during the game.
74. Josh Bell — West Virginia Power
I saw a pair of Josh Bells play in 2013, but only one of the is a top-1oo prospect. West Virginia’s Bell went 0-for-5 at Appalachian Power Park during my visit on May 28. The other Bell, who played last year for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, is one of the guys I watched take batting practice with Derek Jeter as I stood just a few feet away.
94. Taylor Guerrieri — Bowling Green Hot Rods
I was lucky to see Guerrieri pitch in the Futures at Fenway game in 2012 when he was a member of the Hudson Valley Renegades, and got to see him against this past May as a member of the Hot Rods. Guerrieri didn’t get a decision in a 6-5 loss to Fort Wayne, but struck out five batters in six innings.
So, that’s it. Nine guys in the top 100. Not exactly a ton, but it was cool to see these future MLBers in action. I should also note that a number of other guys on the list were in uniform during my visit but didn’t play — starting pitchers in between starts and position players with an off-day.
I’ve got a bunch more off-season blog posts coming before Opening Day, including a new top-10 food list, a look at the awesome game-used souvenirs I got in 2013 and plenty more before I shift my sights to 2014 and start sharing some of my plans. Thanks for reading, as always, and for visiting The Ballpark Guide.