With the MLB offseason starting to shape up a little bit, prospects are also looking to improve their game during the offseason. The prospect pool is an important aspect in baseball. Who are the top eight prospects heading into 2019?
The top ranked prospect heading into next season is Vladimir Guerrero Jr. He is a third baseman in the Toronto Blue Jays farm system. To no surprise, he progressed his way through the minor leagues quickly. Guerrero Jr. is just 19 years old and he is projected to reach the majors in 2019. It would not be a surprise to see him as the Blue Jays opening day third baseman. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hits the cover off the ball. His batting average in the minors last season was .381 with 20 home runs and 78 RBI's, along with three stolen bases. His on-base percentage was .437. He is also a very good defender. Guerrero Jr.'s dad was recently inducted into the hall of fame.
The second best prospect heading into next season is Fernando Tatis Jr. He is a shortstop in the San Diego Padres farm system. Tatis Jr. is only 19 years old and he is projected to reach the majors sometime next season. The New York Mets asked abour Fernando Tatis Jr. in trade talks for Noah Syndergaard and the San Diego Padres told them no. That tells you how highly San Diego thinks of him. Tatis Jr. was acquired in the James Shield trade that sent him to the Chicago White Sox a couple of years ago. He played with the Amarillo Sod Poodles (AA) last season. His batting average was .286 with 16 home runs and 43 RBI's, along with 16 stolen bases. Fernando Tatis Jr.'s on-base percentage was last season was .355.
The third best prospect heading into next season is Eloy Jimenez. He is an outfielder in the Chicago White Sox farm system. Jimenez is 22 years old and he could very will be starting in the outfield on opening day in 2019. Eloy Jimenez is very strong and he could very well hit 40 to 50 homers at the major league level one day. His batting average in the minors last season was .337 with 22 home runs and 75 RBI's. Jimenez's on-base percentage was .384.
The fourth best prospect heading into next season is Royce Lewis. He is a shortstop in the Minnesota Twins farm system. Lewis has all the tools be an all-star at the MLB level one day. He was the first overall pick in the 2017 MLB Draft and is 19 years old. Royce Lewis's batting average in the minors last season was .292 with 14 home runs and 74 RBI's, along with 28 stolen bases. His on-base percentage was .352. He will probably start the 2019 season in High-A with the Fort Myers Miracle, but it wouldn't be a surprise to see him in Double-A by early May.
The fifth best prospect heading into next season is right-handed pitcher Forrest Whitley. He is a right-handed pitcher for the Houston Astros. Whitley is 21 years old and he is projected to reach the majors sometime next season. Forrest Whitley has been off limits in trade talks. The Astros think very highly of him and he could be a potential number one starter one day. Whitley has a very strong fastball and breaking pitch. He dealt with an injury last season. Forrest Whitley played for the Corpus Christi Hooks in Double-A. In 26.1 innings pitched, he gave up 15 hits and 11 runs. Whitley walked 11 batters and struck out 34.
The sixth best prospect heading into next season is second baseman/shortstop Brendan Rodgers. He is currently in the Colorado Rockies farm system. Rodgers's name has been mentioned in trade talks if the Rockies want to get a big time pitcher or something. The truth of the matter is, he will most likely not get dealt and possibly be the starting second baseman in 2019. Brendan Rodgers is very versatile. His batting average in the minors last season was .268 with 17 home runs and 67 RBI's, along with 12 stolen bases. Rodgers's on-base percentage was .330.
The seventh best prospect heading into next season is Nick Senzel of the Cincinnati Reds. He is a third baseman and second baseman. His season was cut short last season because of an injury. Senzel was the second overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft. He played all 44 of his games last season in Triple-A. His batting average was .310 with six home runs and 25 RBI's, along with eight stolen bases. Nick Senzel's on-base percentage was .378. He is already 23 years old. I expect him to start the season in the minors and then I expect him to be called up in late May or early June.
The eighth best prospect heading into next season is outfielder Alex Kirilloff. He is the Minnesota Twins farm system. Kirilloff is 21 years old and he was the 15th overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft. Alex Kirilloff hits for contact and power. He had a .348 batting average with 20 home runs and 101 RBI's, along with four stolen bases last season. His on-base percentage was .393. It will be interesting to see where he starts the season. Kirilloff could either start next season in High-A or Double-A. He is projected to reach the majors in 2020.