On Tuesday, MLB.com writer Jonathan Mayo released his Top 100 Prospects Rankings. On the list were 2 Tigers, but a 3rd was noticeably absent. These are my thoughts on the placement (or lack thereof) of the Tigers on Mayo's list.
First of all, here is the link to Jonathan Mayo's Top 100 Prospects.
As you can see, he has 2 Tigers on the list, with 3B/OF Nick Castellanos checking in at No. 21 overall, and RHP Bruce Rondon checking in at No. 92 overall. I was mildly surprised that OF Avisail Garcia was not ranked in the top 100, but that's only a mild upset in my view.
3B/OF Nick Castellanos
Mayo's Ranking: No. 21 overall
Mayo's Grades (Present/Future): Hit: 50/70, Power: 50/60, Run: 40/40, Arm: 50/50, Field: 40/50
Too High/Too Low/Just Right?: Mayo has Castellanos just a touch lower than I would have him.
Reaction: For as many disagreements as I have with Jonathan Mayo, I think this is just about right across the board for Castellanos. I would have had him in the Top 15-18, so for him to check in at 21 is just fine with me. As for his individual grades of Castellanos' tools, I'm pretty much in agreement with him there too. His hit, power, and run grades are all identical to what I have for Castellanos, while his arm and D grades are a bit off. Mayo grades him as an OF, which is fair since that's where Castellanos is being currently developed, but I still think he'll eventually move back to 3B. Strictly as an OF, I'm more or less in line with Mayo's 40/50 grade for his defense. If he were to move back to 3B, I think he could turn into a solid-average/slightly above-average defensive third baseman, which means I'd have a future grade of 55 on him. As for his arm, I think Castellanos presently has a plus arm from 3B, but again, since we're grading him as an OF, the grade changes somewhat. He's still working on adjusting his throwing mechanics from the OF, so a present grade of 40 is fair, but I think Castellanos will eventually have a plus arm from LF (above-average from RF), so my future grade would be a 60 there. Overall, as I said, I don't have much disagreement here.
RHP Bruce Rondon
Mayo's Ranking: 92
Mayo's Grades (Present/Future): Fastball: 80/80, Slider: 40/50, Changeup: 40/50, Control: 40/50
Too High, Too Low, Just Right?: Similar to Castellanos, I'd have Rondon just slightly higher here, probably in the 85-90 range, so having him at 92 doesn't bother me.
Reaction: I have several disagreements here, mostly with the individual grades. The fastball grade is right on, since Rondon owns the most dominating fastball in the minor leagues, and will have one of (if not the) most dominating fastballs in the major leagues, so an 80 grade is correct. I happen to think that Rondon has a future plus slider, and it's presently a solid-average pitch, so my grades on the slider would go 55/60. Rondon's changeup is actually pretty good, but doesn't show as a future plus pitch, but with some development it could be a consistent above-average offering, so my grades would go 50/55 on that. My biggest issue is with Mayo's control grades. Rondon is wild, but so dominating that oftentimes it doesn't matter. He'll never be a guy that has average control, and still has a ways to go to even reach below-average, so my grade on his control would go 30/40. Mayo doesn't give a command grade, which I find strange, but to each their own.
OF Avisail Garcia
Mayo's Ranking: NR
Mayo's Grades: N/A
Too High, Too Low, or Just Right?: Since Mayo didn't rank Garcia, I have to go with "too low" here, since he would be on my list.
Reaction: Top 100 lists across the internet are pretty divided on whether or not Garcia is a Top 100 guy. I tend to think he is, but I can understand the concern with his bat, and therefore leaving him off. If you believe that he can develop the hit tool needed to let his power play, therefore becoming an everyday RF/impact bat, then he's obviously a top 100 guy. If you don't think the bat will come along, therefore making him a 4th OF/bench bat, then he's not a Top 100 guy. I tend to think that the bat will come along, at least enough to make him an everyday player, so if I was doing a Top 100 list, he would be in the 90-100 range.
-Mayo's top overall prospect in baseball is the Ranger's SS Jurickson Profar, and I have no problem with this. His number 2 is Baltimore's RHP Dylan Bundy, who is also incredibly talented, and I could easily flip flop the 2.
-Mayo has Billy Hamilton at No. 11 overall, which is a bit high for me. Hamilton is easily, EASILY the fastest runner in baseball, with the potential to steal 100+ bases. He also projects to be a plus CF once he learns the position, and as it sits right now, he's probably above-average out there simply due to his speed. However, while I think he has plus hitting potential, I wouldn't rank him this high (yet) since his entire game is so dependent on his bat. The speed won't play unless he gets on base, and he's not going to get on base unless he can hit. I'd have him in the top 25, maybe top 20, but 11 is high for me.
-Baltimore's RHP Kevin Gausman checks in at No. 37 on Mayo's list, which is significantly higher than I would have him. He has a 70 fastball with plus movement, a truly overpowering pitch, but lacks a plus secondary offering as of now. Both his changeup and slider show potential, with the changeup having the makings of a future plus pitch, but Mayo gives the change a future 70 grade, which I just don't see. To be No. 37 overall, for me, I'd need to see 2 future plus pitches with at least one more above-average pitch, which equates to a #2 starter. I don't see the 3rd pitch with Gausman (although his slider may end up average), nor do I see the potential for at least average command. I'd have Gausman in the Top 65-75 or so, but 37 is much too high for me.
-San Diego's LHP Max Fried is at No. 53 here, which is high for me, but I think I'm one of the very few who isn't all that high on him. I see a future plus-plus curve and above-average (maybe plus) fastball, but I don't see a 3rd pitch developing. He has a change, but it's currently below average and I'm not sure it'll ever develop much more than that. It always could, and if it does I'll have egg on my face (when don't I, honestly?), but right now I'm not sold on it. Therefore, while I'd have him in the top 70 or so, 53 is high for me.