#16 Joe Washington, 2B, KC – The 29th pick in the first round of the 2017 draft looks like a high impact stud bat at 2B if he develops as expected. Like Jesús Martínez he was a prep pick out of Firebaugh High School in Lynwood, CA. Washington has an elite ability to put the bat on the ball (Contact 60) and avoid strikeouts (70) to maintain a high batting average. Ultimately, it’s his plus-plus power (70) that should allow him to bat in the middle of a big league lineup. Washington is described as a “baseball rat” and his work ethic is off the charts. This showed even in his first 56 games of Rookie ball last year where he slashed .329/.369/.626 for the Royals Arizona affiliate.
#17 Don Jones, 1B, ATL – Yes, another former prep pick pops up in the top 20! Jones was the 23rd pick in the 2016 draft for the Atlanta Braves. Jones is a big, slugging, hulk of a 1B prospect who has the potential to excel in all aspects of the game with his ability to run (65) and steal bases (80) as well as hit for high average (Contact 65) and power (65). Still only 20 years old, Jones is still more projection than results, but scouts believe he’ll repeat single-A at Rome this year and things will start to click soon for him – he’s just too good for it not to click.
#18 Chris Bryant, RHP, MIL – After dominating AA Biloxi over 141 IP and a 3.55 FIP, Bryant got a taste of the thin air at AAA Colorado Springs and didn’t like the results. Nor did the Brewers, who eventually gave him a shot to throw some bullpen innings rather than break his psyche in Colorado. Bryant is a 24yr old starting pitcher with elite stuff (80), two plus pitches (Fastball 60/65; Slider 60/75) and a change-up that flashes plus at times (40/75). His control (50/60) is already good enough to get him ahead in counts against big league hitters. He’s not a nibbler and will come right after you with his 95-97mph heat. Bryant should be able to make an impact with the Crew in 2018. A rotation of Miguel Gonzalez, Clayton Blackburn, Taylor Jungmann, Mike Fiers, and T.J. House shouldn’t hold him back.
#19 Jesús Martínez, CF, KC – The #2 overall pick last year behind the Yankees Israel Ávila, Martínez was a prep star at Higley High School in Arizona. What this means for Royals fans is he has a long development road ahead of him. He’s fast and has potentially has a great bat, but just like his defensive skills in centerfield all these tools need work and time to meld together. Both the hit tool (70) and raw power are plus to elite skills for the young outfielder. Scouts feel like at 6’4″ tall he’s got plenty of room and time to grow into his power. He’s got a knack for stealing bases (75) and the speed to pull it off (75) though could slow down as the body matures. The right-handed hitter had a very normal and expected rough start in Rookie ball and will look to start there again for the Royals in ’18.
#20 Jorge Palmeiro, CF, MIN – The former J2 signee out of the Dominican Republic has spent the last three years in Rookie ball working on his swing and defense. Still only 18 years old coming into the 2018 season, Palmeiro has some ability to play infield as well as centerfield. In 2017, his offense started to come along as he hit .296/.384/.450. Scouts rave about his plate presence and approach (Contact 60; Eye 55; Avoid Ks 70) and he made progress in all three areas last year. ETA for the Twins still looks like a far off date – maybe 2021/22.