#31 Jeff Miller, RF, COL – Jeff Miller is the highest ranked RF on the Top 100 Prospects list this winter driven by his 80-grade arm and plus-defense. Miller was drafted #13 overall in the 2016 draft and stands 6’5, 210 pounds. He’s still filling out his body with muscle as he develops physically. Scouts rave about his hit tools (Contact – 60; Eye – 50; Avoid Ks – 50) and he’s already smashing balls into the gaps (75/75) as he grows into his raw home run power (40/60). This corn-fed Iowa farm kid has been putting up an ~800 OPS at every level of the low minors and this should be his floor as he makes the run up the Rockies farm system. I’d expect him to be setting Rockies season records at Coors field before 2020, but if you want to catch a glimpse of him this year you can find him destroying baseballs for the New Britain Rock Cats.
#32 Matt Smoral, LHP, TB – Gimme . . . Smoral . . . that? I’m sorry, it’s an awful pun and he’s a terrific pitcher. This LHP from the Tampa system is already a finished product in terms of a prospect, but he’s not done growing as a pitcher. The plus fastball (60/60) is complemented by a devastating change-up which borders on plus-plus at times (70/70) and he can already command both for strikes (55/60). Smoral briefly debuted for the big club in Tampa last summer, starting 2 games, posting a 2.13 ERA, 3.38 FIP with 10K over 12.1 innings. The only blemish on his early MLB career were the 6 walks, which have also been his nemesis throughout his minor league career. Once he dials in his control, this kid is going be unstoppable. Did we mention he’s also got an above average slider (55/65)? Yeah, watch out!
#33 Ted Burton, RHP, BOS – Let me get something out of the way before I start Ted’s rundown.
1.82 ERA; 7.6 K/9; 2.1 BB/9; 2.86 FIP. Even the fans in Portland started a campaign last season to reach out to the Pawtucket club themselves to get this kid moved up to AAA. Hell, he might already belong at Fenway in April. Burton is polished, has a plus fastball (60/65) with movement (55/60) that sits around 93mph and tops out at 95. Toss in his killer change (65/65) and a get-me-over curveball (45/50), which is considered fringe-average, and you’ve got yourself a solid mid-rotation starter. Expect to see him debut in 2018.
#34 Brian Clark, LHP, SF – After being a starting pitcher for most of his minor league career, Clark transitioned to the bullpen last year as former Giants GM Nate Brooks felt his Stamina (40) might not be enough to get him through the order more than once or twice. That being said, Clark offers three above-average to plus pitches: Fastball (60/65), Slider (60), and Changeup (50/50). While the change-up is just average but the fastball and the slider in particular have good movement (55/60). If he can figure out how to get a little more tilt on the slider he may even be able to operate in the majors as a 2-pitch Slider-Fastball guy who will have to find a way to backdoor that slider against righties or get the changeup to work a little more consistently.
#35 Tomás Biester, CF, ARI – One of the youngest guys on our countdown, Biester (17) has been given an elite hit tool grade by most scouts (Contact – 70). Signed out of Barquisimeto Venezuela in 2016 by the Diamondbacks, Biester still has quite a bit of work to do to justify his lofty position in the prospect rankings. Scouts also feel he will grow into his plus-power (60) as he matures physically. All of his baseball immaturities were on display in the AZL last year where he struck out 45 times in 203 at-bats and only drew 9 walks, but he still managed to hit .282 which is a tribute to the contact grade his bat has been given. This kid could win batting titles someday – the sky is the limit.