#6 José Parra, CF, LAA – Parra signed with the Miami Marlins out of Venezuela just 19 months ago, and hasn’t stopped popping scouts eyeballs out of their heads. In 2017 he hit .340/.382/.564 for Orem in the Pioneer League. For good measure he swiped 17 of 20 bags as well. Parra can hit, Parra can run and what Parra can’t do right now he’ll be able to do in short order – because this kid can do everything. His main focus right now is on his defense. He needs to take better routes to balls, which will come with more experience, and taking better routes with the massive amount of ground this kid can cover will help eliminate some of the errors you see from him in CF from time to time. His potential on Contact (70), Gap Power (75) and raw Power (75) are nearly unparalleled, but if he has any downside to his offensive profile its his Eye (50) and ability to avoid strikeouts (50) when he’s not barreling up everything near the plate. If he works on those two aspects of his plate approach you’ll see him as the pop prospect in baseball.
#7 Albert Almora, CF, CHC – Albert Almora is angry. Want to know why? He had to repeat AA last year after mashing to the tune of .338/.375/.569 in 2016. Normally a high-class clubhouse leader, Almora was seen loafing around the clubhouse in Tennessee in 2017 spewing messages about how great he is and how he should already be starring in Chicago. And the crazy part? He’s probably right! Almora is an elite defender in CF already with great range (75), a cannon throwing arm (70) and overall just an excellent defensive approach (75). In terms of his bat, that’s nearly a finished product as well: Contact (55/60), Gap (55/60), Power (45/45), Eye (40/40), and Avoid Ks (60/60). #freeAlmora
#8 Josh Morgan, SS, TEX – Josh Morgan is an above-average to plus defender at SS with the ability to play 2B as well. Morgan had absolutely no issue adjusting from High Desert to AA Frisco last season, putting up a .341/.387/.460 line at the former and a .328/.367/.450 line at the latter. Josh is known for being an extremely hard worker, a first in last out type of clubhouse guy. His overall bat control is advanced for a player who just got his first taste of AA at age 22 (Contact 50/65). He’s the type of player who will see a lot of pitches in an at-bat (Eye 40/60) and has the knack to avoid the strikeout (45/65). Morgan should have no problem making the jump to AAA. It’s possible the AL West-winning Rangers could use him, Odor or Profar as a trade chip to improve the rotation in 2018. However, if that’s not the case, Morgan could be pushing for Major League playing time as early as this summer in Texas.
#9 Joe Ross, RHP, SF – Joe Ross spent 2017 being held back from pitching at AT&T Park because his ownership group didn’t want to start his service time clock – plain and simple. Ross is a stud and it shows in all three of his plus offerings. His fastball (65/65) sits at 92-94mph and he works off his elite control (70/70) to set up the breaking ball (Slider 60/60) and change piece (65/65). The change is exceptionally devastating to righties who have a hard time laying off it while they’re thinking about the hard slider that dives out of the zone away from them. The 24-year old is ready to dominate in the NL West in 2018.
#10 Lucas Giolito, RHP, DET– When Giolito has his fringe-average control dialed in, he’s hard to score runs on. The fastball is plus-plus (75/75) even if it’s a little straight. He’s able to generate swing and misses with that pitch, but it’s the curveball (60/75) that he goes to when he needs to generate a whiff. He’s not going to strike everyone out, he’s efficient with his pitches and tries to work deeper into games while keeping his pitch count down. In a trial with the Tigers last year he posted a 2.98 FIP and 2.45 ERA which was driven by his low .253 BABIP. Giolito is able to get batters to hit the ball into the ground using his average-ish change up (55/55) to generate groundballs when he needs them. The Tigers should be able to lean on Giolito in 2018 as they make a push for a wild-card spot or perhaps make a run at the division title.