After debuting the Top 150 Prospects yesterday, I want to move on to additional discussion of the best prospects at each position. In each of these positional rankings I will be providing some narrative to help break the prospects into tiers that will provide some context to the invisible dividing lines that may exist between the players presented.
1. Julio Teheran – Atlanta Braves
2. Shelby Miller – St. Louis Cardinals
3. Gerrit Cole – Pittsburgh Pirates
4. Taijuan Walker – Seattle Mariners
This upper tier of right-handers represents the elite; the best of the best. These four pitchers are the young arms I consider to have true ace potential in the minor leagues. Teheran and Miller should both receive MLB innings in 2012 and Cole could get there in 2013, helping lead their respective rotations forward over the next several years. Walker is a bit further away but may have the highest pure upside of anyone on this list.
5. Dylan Bundy – Baltimore Orioles
6. Zack Wheeler – New York Mets
7. Arodys Vizcaino – Atlanta Braves
The three pitchers broken apart here offer the potential to be very good number two starters, though two of them – Wheeler and Vizcaino – come with considerable risk. Wheeler has significant development remaining to reach his potential but his fastball-curveball combination is hard to ignore. Vizcaino may be pushed to the bullpen as part of a numbers game and his persisting injury issues. If given the time to develop and polish his command, I do believe Vizcaino could be an outstanding number two starter with swing and miss stuff. Bundy’s rating as a number two starter may draw the ire of some fans, but as I stated in his scouting report, I see him as more of a really good number two than an ace.
8. Matt Harvey – New York Mets
9. Jameson Taillon – Pittsburgh Pirates
10. Jacob Turner – Detroit Tigers
The final three pitchers on this list all have varying degrees of potential as number two starters, but should settle in as outstanding number three starters without much trouble. Taillon has the highest ceiling of the three pitchers and if he even approaches his considerable ceiling he could vault to an echelon befitting a dominating number two. Both Harvey and Turner are nearing big league readiness. They offer very good raw stuff, a solid feel for pitching and at their best should turn in some very nice seasons as a number two starter on playoff caliber teams.
Just Missed: Archie Bradley – Arizona Diamondbacks, Trevor Bauer – Arizona Diamondbacks, Wily Peralta – Milwaukee Brewers, Sonny Gray – Oakland Athletics, Neil Ramirez – Texas Rangers