Law's Top 50 Prospects: Bregman Now At No. 1

Lucas GiolitoLucas GiolitoMorry Gash/Associated Press

25. 1B Josh Bell, Pittsburgh Pirates 

(Age: 24)

The Pirates didn't take "unsignable" for an answer when they selected Bell in the second round of the 2011 draft. They lured him away from what was thought to be a rock-solid commitment to the University of Texas with a $5 million bonus.

That now looks like money well spent as he opens the season as the team's starting first baseman.

Bell is still working to turn his raw power into over-the-fence production, but unlike most corner infield prospects, it's his hit tool that carries his offensive game. A .295/.382/.468 line in Triple-A gives a good indication of what he's capable of, and there's still the potential for 25-homer power as well.

Note: After amassing 128 at-bats as a rookie, Bell exceeded the rookie eligibility limits (130 AB) on Opening Day. But since he still carried rookie status into the season, we're including him here in our initial top-50 rankings.

 

24. OF Mickey Moniak, Philadelphia Phillies 

(Age: 18)

Moniak vaulted himself to the top of a deep crop of high school bats with a terrific senior season at La Costa Canyon High School, and the rebuilding Phillies made him the No. 1 overall pick last June.

MLB.com wrote the following while giving him a 60-grade hit tool: "He can flat-out rake, making consistent hard contact from the left side of the plate...Perhaps more impressive than his innate ability to barrel up the ball is his IQ at the plate, with an approach far advanced for his age and a willingness to use all fields."

He's already added 20 pounds of muscle to his 6'2" frame, according to Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly, giving him a chance to be a real five-tool threat. Even if he maxes out at 15-20 home runs, his contact ability, speed and plus defense will make him a standout up the middle in center field.

 

23. RHP Anderson Espinoza, San Diego Padres 

(Age: 19)

Despite turning just 19 last month, Espinoza already has 108.1 innings at the Single-A level under his belt.

He's undersized at 6'0" and 160 pounds, but he has a huge arm, touching 100 with his fastball and playing off it well with a plus changeup and a curveball that flashes plus, albeit with limited consistency at this point.

His 4.49 ERA, 1.39 WHIP and 8.3 K/9 last season don't jump off the page, but big things are coming as he continues to build up his arm and hones his command. After all, scouts don't throw around Pedro Martinez comparisons lightly.

 

22. RHP Lucas Giolito, Chicago White Sox 

(Age: 22)

Giolito saw his prospect star fade a bit last season amid decreased velocity and some mechanical issues after entering the season as the consensus top pitching prospect in baseball.

Now he'll look to get things back on track under the tutelage of one of the game's best pitching coaches in Don Cooper. He's no longer a slam-dunk future ace, but he still has as much upside as any pitching prospect in the game.

MLB.com wrote: "When he's on, Giolito shows stuff that most pitchers can only dream of. He can sit at 95-98 mph and crack triple digits with his fastball—which also features running life and downhill plane that make it even better—snap off power curveballs that are just as nasty and mix in a third plus pitch with his sinking changeup."

With the White Sox in the early stages of rebuilding, there will be no reason to rush him.

 

21. SS Willy Adames, Tampa Bay Rays 

(Age: 21)

Adames took a huge step forward last season while making the jump to Double-A.

He raised his OPS from .721 to .802 while improving his already solid walk rate (11.8 to 13.0 percent) and trimming his strikeout rate (27.0 to 21.3 percent). It's essentially everything you want to see from a developing hitter as he progresses to the upper levels of the minors.

There's never been a question whether he'd remain at shortstop defensively, and now that his bat has caught up to his glove, he's on the cusp of reaching the majors and delivering on the potential that made him the centerpiece of the David Price trade.

Source : http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2701103-brs-top-50-mlb-prospects-at-the-start-of-the-2017-season

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