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AL Edition: An Intriguing Minor Leaguer For Every Team

Pictured is Carter Jensen. Photo by Michael Leuck.

Most MLB fans know their team’s blue-chip prospects, the guys whose highlights are all over social media, the guys who are selling tickets at the minor league level, and the guys who had first-round hype. While star power in a farm system is essential, there are plenty of guys viewed as “depth” that are tearing up the minors and deserve more attention. In this list, I’ve tried to comprise a list of mostly non-team top 10 prospects who could end up being big league regulars. While making this I considered age, level, stats, general tool evaluation, and physical projection. While these guys may not be well known, it’s time that they are on your radar.

Baltimore Orioles: Joseph Ortiz, SS

Pipeline: 18

Fangraphs: 27

Ortiz has been outshined by all the star power in the Orioles system, but the 23-year-old has put up excellent numbers this year through AA and AAA. Ortiz has posted a 122 wRC+ this year with no real red flags. I’d expect him to get a shot in the bigs pretty early next year.

Boston Red Sox: Blaze Jordan, 3B

Pipeline: 10

Fangraphs: 14

Admittedly, you’ve probably heard of Blaze Jordan before, he went viral for being a 14-year-old hitting 500-foot bombs. After falling to the third round of the 2020 draft, we haven’t heard very much about Blaze. Jordan has torn up both A and A+ as only a 19-year-old. He has great raw power, but it hasn’t really translated in-game yet. Despite this, he’s still hit to the tune of a 124 wRC+ this year. If the power clicks, there’s quite a bit to dream about.

New York Yankees: Anthony Garcia, OF

Pipeline: NR

Fangraphs: 22

This might be the weirdest one on the list. Garcia just celebrated his 22nd birthday and hasn’t played above A-ball yet, despite posting pretty good numbers every year. Here’s where it gets weird… Garcia has a .195 batting average and a 121 wRC+. He also strikes out 40% of the time and walks over 20%. Basically, he has a historically terrible hit tool, yet walks at an incredible rate, and has prodigious power. All of this is incredibly confusing and makes Garcia so hard to evaluate. There’s a great chance that Garcia never makes the major leagues, but he also has star potential that can’t be ignored. It’s a really odd profile that offers little clarity.

Tampa Bay Rays: Osleivis Basabe, INF

Pipeline: 14

Fangraphs: 21

Basabe, acquired from the Rangers in the Nathaniel Lowe deal, is a pretty high-floor guy in the Rays deep system. He has played both SS and 2B, although he’s probably most likely to end up at 2B in the bigs. At 21 in AA, he’s quite young for the level. This year Basabe has a 133 wRC+ through about 450 PAs split between A+ and AA. He’s a solid defender, and a dynamic baserunner, likely one of the best in Tampa’s system. Currently listed at 6’1”/188, there’s not a ton of projection left, but he’s a lock to be a solid contact hitter and at least a valuable piece off the bench.

Toronto Blue Jays: Addison Barger, INF

Pipeline: 14

Fangraphs: N/R

Barger has been a great breakout story this year. After struggling through his first couple of years of pro ball, he has established himself as an incredibly valuable piece in Toronto’s system. At 22 years old, he has 23 home runs between A+ and AA. Barger has an extreme power profile and has .246 ISO which paces the Jays system (minimum 150 PAs). He runs a strikeout rate well above average, but that’s generally part of the power offensive profile. Barger has an easy 60-grade arm and is pretty smooth defensively. While he might not be an MLB shortstop, he could easily handle the hot corner and potentially corner outfield.

Chicago White Sox: Luis Mieses, OF

Pipeline: 22

Fangraphs: N/R

This is a pretty weak farm with not many breakout stars or high-ceiling guys. I think Mieses has a decent shot to be a big-league regular if the White Sox can continue to develop him. He has turned in a good, albeit not outstanding, season. He’s 22 at AA which is always encouraging. Mieses’ has been pretty average offensively but has flashed power at times. He hardly walks, which is something the Sox need to work on. At 6’3”/180 there is good projection left, he could definitely add some power

Cleveland Guardians: Angel Martinez, INF

Pipeline: 12

Fangraphs: 10

Martinez is an incredibly good player, who quite frankly shouldn’t even need to be on the list. The major media publications are underrating him considerably. At 20 years old, Angel is one of the youngest players in AA currently. He has hit to the tune of a 140 wRC+ this year, which is ridiculous for a guy playing way under the average age at his level. Perhaps even more encouraging, he strikes out at a low clip (16.3%) and has the ability to draw plenty of walks (12%). Martinez is currently listed at just 165, if he can add more pop, this is a guy who could be considered a blue-chip prospect. He’s a serviceable defender who will provide most of his value with the bat. I’d expect Martinez to soar up lists this offseason.

Detroit Tigers: Cristian Santana, SS

Pipeline: 11

Fangraphs: 4

Fangraphs has a great read on Santana and sees the true potential in the 18-year-old phenom. Despite being high on Fangraphs list, Santana gets very little hype and takes a back seat to the Tigers draft signings. The Tigers have given him looks at A ball this year, which is quite unusual for 18-year-olds. Santana has taken full advantage of the opportunity and raked. He’s incredibly smooth defensively and will probably stick at shortstop. He has years ahead to develop and put on more muscle, and if he can continue to progress at this rate, there is big time upside. There is a very good chance that Cristian Santana is starting in Detroit within the next 3 or 4 years.

Kansas City Royals: Carter Jensen, C/1B

Pipeline: 13

Fangraphs: 27

Jensen, the Royals 3rd round pick in 2021, is already starting to look like a steal. He’s a big kid who has big-time pop. He’s only 19, and the Royals are taking their time with his development. Jensen is currently playing A-ball but has pretty much proved everything he needs to at the level. While the 113 wRC+ looks good, the .81 BB/K looks incredible. Great plate discipline plus major raw power will usually generate a very good baseball player. He’ll continue to get looks behind the dish throughout the minors but might end up fitting better at first base. Nonetheless, there is a lot to like here.

Minnesota Twins: Edouard Julien, UTL

Pipeline: 14

Fangraphs: 17

There isn’t a whole lot of exciting offensive talent in the Twins farm, but Julien is starting to look like a pretty solid player. There isn’t much special about his game, but there’s also not much you can pick apart. He fits the mold of a player that can usually end up being a big leaguer who can be useful depth off the bench. Julien has run an impressive walk rate (almost 20%) which is always a great sign. He’s benefited from some BABIP luck and lots of pull-side power. Julien can play almost any position on the diamond and could be a utility man who plays serviceable defense at most spots. He seems like a solid bet to get a big-league chance in the next few years

Houston Astros: Drew Gilbert, CF

Pipeline: 2

Fangraphs: 5

Most Astros fans have heard of Gilbert and probably know him as their team’s first-round pick this year. While the Astros got him at 28, he was arguably a top-10 talent in the draft. Gilbert had top-tier batted ball data in college. Though he has very little experience in pro ball, Drew has already translated his college success to the next level. Defensively, he’s going to stick in center field and be an incredibly productive defender. I know he doesn’t necessarily fit the criteria for this list, but Gilbert is better than a lot of people realize.

Los Angeles Angels: Kyren Paris, INF

Pipeline: 20

Fangraphs: 14

I’d bet the farm that Paris will end up being a big-league player. For lack of a better term, Kyren is a professional hitter. He hits the ball to all fields and has flashed good gap-to-gap power. Defensively, the actions are silky smooth, might profile better at second but he will be a great defender anyways. Paris is very athletic and definitely will swipe a bag from time to time. He’s a pretty complete player at only 20 years old. The Angels haven’t been great at player development, but I think a player like Paris, who doesn’t need much mechanical change can thrive in LA.

Oakland Athletics: Colby Thomas, OF

Pipeline: 16

Fangraphs: 31

Thomas, a product of Mercer University and a 3rd round pick, was criminally underrated throughout the entirety of the 2022 draft process. He hit the ball very hard and had great plate discipline throughout his time at Mercer. Thomas flashes plus athleticism and will play a very good right field. The raw pop is impressive, if he can translate it in-game at the pro level, he has scary potential. Thomas will be a fun one to watch over the next few years.

Seattle Mariners: Tyler Locklear, 1B/3B/LF

Pipeline: 9

Fangraphs: 6

I’m going to do it again, another 2022 draft pick. The AL West is so ridiculously good at drafting. Locklear was a major steal in the draft and is already showing that he deserved to go earlier. The 22-year-old recent draftee tore up the Complex League (185 wRC+), earning a quick promotion to A ball where he has a 116 wRC+ is 133 PAs. Locklear has also hit 7 home runs in the short time he’s been with the Modesto Nuts. He posted top-tier exit velos in college and appears to be hitting the ball hard in pro ball as well. Locklear’s a tough one to evaluate defensively. He could probably play 1B, 3B, and LF competently, 1B will probably be the eventual landing spot. With the Mariners developmental juggernaut, Locklear could be a significant power threat for years to come.

Texas Rangers: Aaron Zavala, OF

Pipeline: 11

Fangraphs: 14

Zavala has broken out and established himself as a legitimate prospect this season. In his first full year in pro ball, Zavala has already made it to AA, where he has posted great results. Zavala currently has a 145 wRC+. He also has incredible plate discipline and is running a walk rate of 17.4%. Despite raking, Zavala hasn't gotten too pull-happy and has incredibly good opposite-field power. Zavala probably fits best in the corner outfield, where he’ll be a very average defender. I expect Aaron to be a quick mover, who could potentially be suited up for the Rangers a year from now.

Good teams are built by stars, great teams are built by depth. While this list might not have crazy star power, these guys could all be MLB contributors. Expect much more prospect content coming from me in the near future, including my ranking of your favorite team’s top 30 prospects.



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