Ten names that came close but couldn't land that cigar.
What lies below are ten prospects who were in the batch of names that came closest to our Top 101 but ultimately landed on the cutting room floor. To be very clear: The prospects below are not the next ten names in order on our list. They are ten of the next group of names, so please do not take it to mean a name not mentioned wasn't considered. The universe of relevant prospects is unfortunately larger than we can devote time and space to. That said, please enjoy! —Craig Goldstein
Josh Lowe, 3B, Tampa Bay Rays
Lowe is massive. Sometimes you hear about a body before you first see it and it doesn't really live up to the hype. Stand next to Lowe and he lives up to the hype. He has the ideal slugger's frame with room to become even more ideal (if that were possible). With the frame and present strength come some of the best raw power in his draft class and now in the Tampa Bay system. When he catches the barrel, it arcs to the moon. At the same time, Lowe faces the typical hit tool questions often paired with impressive power. There's some length to the swing and he sometimes relies on his bat speed to get by. There are also initial questions about his defensive future as he works to stay at third base. The arm is obviously more than enough for any position, so a move to right field is possible. Regardless, he'll need to prove he can handle pro pitching, because the power will play anywhere. Right now, it's a boom-or-bust profile, and the chances are good that he'll hang at the plate. Factors such as athleticism, bat speed and flashes of barrel awareness are on his side. The outcome could be a very solid corner slugger. —David Lee
Dylan Cease, RHP, Chicago Cubs
Cease has been a hot topic within prospect circles over the last year-plus, and his performance with short-season Eugene in 2016 did little to dissuade folks from discussing him further. Any time you play for one of the game’s most popular franchises while also owning an electric fastball that can reach 100 mph, you are going to garner attention. Cease lacks consistency beyond the fastball, though his curveball made strides in 2016 and could give him a second plus pitch to torture hitters with. Both the command and changeup lag considerably behind which is the primary reason he missed the back of the Top 101 despite his obvious gifts. As an undersized right-hander with a history of injuries, many in the scouting community are already projecting him for a relief role, which is never a good sign this early in a career, even if that relief projection lands him as a top shelf closer. Cease is going to continue to be a high-profile prospect and one that tantalizes with a potential impact fastball-curveball combo, and as he quiets the concerns around his secondary traits and projection, he may no longer appear in “Just Missed” articles, but rather in the entrée piece as a member of the Top 101. —Mark Anderson
Luis Castillo, RHP, Cincinnati Reds
I know what you all are thinking: a 24-year-old, pop-up arm who spent the majority of the year in High-A being a potential 101 guy? If we ignore some context and focus on the profile, the stuff is worthy of top 101 consideration. Castillo packs a pure 80 fastball that holds velocity through games, a potential plus slider, a changeup that has flashed average to better, and the results to go with it. But we do not ignore context and because of the factors mentioned above, Castillo is in the just missed portion. While the slider should get to plus with more consistency, the changeup hasn’t been there on a consistent basis, which could push him towards a relief future. Fortunately for Cincinnati, this is an arm with a chance to have a major impact on their roster, either sooner in a bullpen, or perhaps in 2018 in a starting rotation. —Steve Givarz
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Notes on Cody Reed (the other one), Jason Groome, Dominic Smith, and more.
Cody Reed, LHP, Arizona Diamondbacks (Low-A Kane County)
Following his selection in the second round of the 2014 draft, Reed put together an impressive start to his professional career. The left-hander has a big, wide frame and attacks the strike zone from a low three-quarters slot. His delivery is unique and while it’s not how you would draw it up, he repeats it well and it works for him. Reed cranks down into his back leg with a slight twist before exploding into a flexed front leg with blocking of his front hip. The delivery also has deception which helps his fastball play up.
Once again we’re dealing with a prospect whose projected overall value is heavily dependent on what one makes of the offensive tools. With Dominic Smith, there’s a fairly sizable divide amongst industry folks on what Smith’s ultimate value will be. Most agree that the hit tool is impressive—somewhere between 55 and 70—but the hang up here is with anticipated power production, as Smith hasn’t yet shown the ability to authoritatively drive the ball on a consistent basis, instead opting for an approach geared toward opposite field contact. There’s something to be said for a player who’s demonstrated an advanced approach at a young age, but then again, first basemen are expected to hit bombs, and more importantly, they’re expected to be well-above average from an overall production standpoint. Can Smith meet those lofty standards without showing above average power? Absolutely. But it would be far more comforting from a projection standpoint if that power would show up at some point in the not so distant future. Without further ado, Christopher Crawford and Jeffrey Paternostro debate Mets first baseman, Dominic Smith.
Who are the franchise cornerstones at Lloyd Banks' favorite position? Prospect team members and industry sources weigh in.
A friendly reminder on how this works. I asked three scouts and two front-office members the following question: If you could start your franchise with one player at each position, what player would you take? I then asked those scouts/front-office members to submit an MVP-style ballot at each position, with the first place vote counting for five points, second place for four, etc.
Next up: First baseman. Because dingers, that’s why.
Aaron Sanchez leads off the second half of the list.
The following is an excerpt from the upcoming Baseball Prospectus Futures Guide 2014, our second-annual prospect book, which will collect all of BP's offseason prospect content (plus exclusive prospect and fantasy offerings) in book and e-book form. Here's a look at last year's book; expect an even more meaty offering this time around.
To read part one of this list, published yesterday, click here.