Baseball America began to unveil their league Top 20 prospect lists this afternoon. Today saw the release of both the Arizona Rookie League and the Pioneer League Top 20 lists. It’s worth noting before getting into who ranked where, that these lists aren’t always in line with how guys will be ranked within the organizational or even Top 100 rankings as the process is a little bit different on how this list is made versus how the others are. These lists are more weighted towards what opposing managers/coaches in the league say about the players than what you see in the organizational or Top 100 list which is more likely to be weighted towards what scouts are saying about the players and lean more on future potential.

Arizona Rookie League

To see the list is free, but if you want to read the scouting reports you will need a Baseball America subscription. The Cincinnati Reds only had one player crack the Top 20 of this league, 2nd rounder Tony Santillan who ranked 17th in the league.

The right hander didn’t post incredible numbers, in a small number of innings, but he was pretty good outside of two games though where he allowed all of his earned runs (eight total games – all 11 runs came in two games).

18 5.03 19.2 15 1 11 19

The report reads pretty similarly to his pre-draft scouting reports. Big arm, two really strong pitches and needs to work on his mechanics and a third offering.

The depth in this league was strong this year. The guy who ranked directly behind Santillan throws 100 MPH to really put into perspective just how much raw talent was in the league. There are also 14 teams in the league, making spots a little tougher to come by than in some other leagues.

Pioneer League

The Billings Mustangs had a good showing in the Pioneer League rankings. The league has just eight teams, so the averages would dictate each team should have 2.5 players on the list. The Reds landed three players on the list.

1st round pick Tyler Stephenson came in ranked as the 2nd best prospect in the league. The catcher showed a good strikezone awareness at the plate and hit .268 on the year. He didn’t hit for too much power, slugging just .361 with 15 doubles and a homer. He threw out 27% of attempted base stealers.

18 219 15 0 1 .268 .352 .361

Supplemental 2nd round pick Tanner Rainey came in on the list as the 12th best prospect in the league. The right handed pitcher showed off a big fastball and a good slider in the league, but his numbers were mediocre in the year. His walk rate was higher than you’d like to see and his ERA was 4.27 on the season.

22 4.27 59.0 58 2 28 57

Shortstop Blake Trahan was the third Mustang on the list. The shortstop came in as the 14th best prospect in the league. The 3rd round pick walked more than he struck out and hit .312 for Billings before getting a final two week promotion to Daytona who was in need of a shortstop after an injury to Carlton Daal. The report talks about how much of a grinder he is, but questions some of his tools in the long run.

22 216 8 3 1 .312 .400 .403


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12 Responses

  1. Billy

    Is it surprising that Boyles wasn’t on the list for Billings? I expected to see him there.

    • Doug Gray

      Yes and no. He’s not a huge stuff guy. In terms of pure stuff, he might rank last from that Mustangs pitching staff. Not that he has no stuff, because he does, but it’s not jumping out at you either. I was more surprised that Jose Lopez wasn’t on the list.

  2. terry m

    Perhaps is was Lopez age went against him somehow. Can he jump to advanced A next year ?

    • Doug Gray

      Wasn’t the age. Lopez was younger than Tanner Rainey who made the list. I think it’s possible that he could make the jump, but I wouldn’t expect it.

  3. Ryan

    I like all of the prospects listed, Stephenson and Santillan being my favorites due to their high ceilings. These rankings are the most meaningless though, as they are the furthest from ”the show”. Still nice for these guys to see some national recognition.

  4. HavaKlu

    Are you a little surprised that Ian Kahaloa didn’t make the top 20—-I realize that these picks are based on estimations of potential but Kahaloa had some great stats for a kid who won’t be 18 until next month.

    • Rick in Va

      In a chat, the BBA’s Bill Mitchell said that Kahaloa “just missed the cut for the top 20 and was on many earlier versions of the list.” He also quotes what he had written about Kahaloa:

      “Kahaloa has a feel for three major league quality pitches and shows advanced polish and pitchability for his age. The 90-92 mph fastball has good movement and is sneaky fast because he hides the ball so well. He works both sides of the plate and keeps the ball down. His slider and change-up are also good pitches delivered from a three-quarters slot. Talent observers don’t see quite as much projection with Kahaloa as other pitchers on this list, and there are also injury concerns because of his delivery.”

    • Doug Gray

      Not really surprised, no. He was a 5th round pick, so he would have had to go out there and show a really different skillset than the one that got him drafted. And he didn’t do that. He’s a good prospect, but as I had in the write up, the guy that was ranked 18th is throwing up to 100 MPH. It was a very tough list to crack.

      • Red Legg

        Hey Doug,
        Kahaloa was hitting 97 and pitching at 92-94 in his last few starts in the AZL, much like he did in his first 3 starts of his high school season. His stats were more dominant that Nick Neidert’s and Dylan Thompson’s, who are both on the list. He throws harder than both with a better breaking ball than Neidert. Read the write ups on those guys.Plus he’s only 17 which is HUGE .He could have 100 mph potential when he gets his man body. Bad miss by BA on this one. Kahaloa had top 2 rounds talk early in the scouting season and fell to the 5th round because his fastball was inconsistent. He’s a strikethrower with a starter’s delivery.This was an absolute steal by the Reds in the 5th round. Why would you be surprised he was left off when he was on some of the lists earlier in the AZL season? He threw better at the end of the season.

        I know you travel to see some of the affiliates during the year. If you are able, you should try and hit Instructional league to see all of the younger prospects the Reds have,like Kahaloa.

      • Doug Gray

        To be fair, I haven’t talked with anyone about his time yet. I like to wait until after the instructional league is over to start diving into the questions because guys, particularly the types that wind up in instructional league can make quick improvements so I like to wait.

        With that said, the report from Bill Mitchell who had the list, didn’t have Kahaloa anywhere near those ranges. He’s not at all the games, but you’d think when he talked with manager Rey Martinez you’d think he would have mentioned 97 to him.