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
Lucas Erceg, 3B, Milwaukee Brewers – Erceg boasts one of the more impressive tool sets of anyone who missed the cut for this year’s 101, with a double-plus arm at third, along with hit and game power tools that can both creep into above-average territory. He showed fluidity and solid range at the hot corner after signing, leading to trials at the six-spot in instructional league play in the fall. It’s likely a stretch to envision him garnering game reps there going forward, but if the bat reaches its potential it won’t much matter. The approach remains pull-happy and immature at present, and there is some swing-and-miss to his game that can magnify if he doesn’t demonstrate some growth with pitch selection. Off-field issues including a forced school transfer depressed his draft stock to the second-round, but if the early pro performance carries over into his first full season in the system he’s a guy who can rocket up into the fat part of next year’s 101. —Wilson Karaman
Willie Calhoun, 2B, Los Angeles Dodgers
If Calhoun’s glove was a lock to be a 40 at the keystone, he would’ve slotted into our Top 101 comfortably. If he was likely to be a league-average defender, you’re probably looking at a top-50 prospect. The fact that his defense was shaky enough to keep his bat off our list altogether says it all. It isn’t just the lack of range—which can be compensated for with advanced defensive positioning. It’s the awkward throwing motion and stiff actions which give evaluators an anxious feeling every time the ball is hit in his direction. It’s too early to rule out Calhoun ever developing into a passable second baseman with the glove, but he hasn’t shown nearly as much development as hoped. He’s clearly put in the effort in the batting cages, because if we were ranking prospects solely by their offensive potential, he would be in the upper echelon. The reality is, if he can’t make major improvements in the infield, he’ll soon be relegated to left field where his range would play below average and so would his arm. Considering the Dodgers haven’t yet given him any official reps in the outfield likely means they’re either convinced his glove will come around at second, or he’s looked so bad during practice that it’s second base or bust for the diminutive slugger. There’s just so much pop in his bat that I think I speak for all of us when I say I hope his glove comes around. —Matt Pullman
Magneuris Sierra, CF, St. Louis Cardinals
Sierra rebounded in a big way in his second stint at Low-A Peoria, such that he restored the organization’s confidence in his bat. He’s a dynamic athlete with 70-grade speed and an arm that play plus. The offensive profile is more of a leadoff type than anything, with a swing geared towards slashing line drives rather than elevating for power. If all of that starts to sound like a watered-down Manuel Margot to you, you’re not far off. He needs to continue to refine his approach at the plate, including being better at identifying spin out of the pitcher’s hand. There’s a fair amount of projection left on both sides of the ball, but the more steps he takes in fulfilling that projection, the faster he’ll rise. —Craig Goldstein
Dominic Smith, 1B, New York Mets
We’re aware that this is the only major prospect list that doesn’t include Dom Smith. He was certainly discussed at great length, and I feel safe in saying would have made a top 125. We’re also aware that we ranked Smith 86th last year and he had, all-in-all, a fairly successful 2016, so “dropping” him feels odd. But we enter every list season starting on a blank slate, because too much happens to be beholden to last year’s list—we get another year of looks, we have different sets of eyes looking, the player can get better or worse, and so on.
The recent trend in prospecting, and certainly amongst your evaluators here at Baseball Prospectus, has been to favor overall athletic packages and disfavor hit tool reliant profiles at left-spectrum positions. There are a number of reasons for this, but one is recognizing our own weaknesses in what we can and can’t evaluate well: the hardest thing to decipher about a hitter is whether and how well he will hit MLB-quality pitching. At the opposite end of the list, this is part of why we ranked Andrew Benintendi third instead of first, and that’s a guy we feel really comfortable saying is going to hit and hit a lot. With Smith, we have a player that we project could easily be a league-average or better regular, but he’s hardly the only role 55/50 (OFP/Likely) that we left off the list. Additionally, Smith has very little margin for error in ways essentially unique to first base prospects. If he’s even slightly worse than that role 50 projection, he’s not a major-league regular. It could be any one of many small things; he’s not a regular if his hit tool is a 45 instead of a 60, or if his hit tool is a 50 instead of a 60 and the power doesn’t fully actualize, which remains a bit of an ongoing concern. Given that the 35th-best first baseman in baseball usually can’t even find an MLB job in the days of seven and eight-man bullpens, a just-slightly-under projection Smith is probably not even a major leaguer. Smith also lacks the monster all-around upside of, say, Cody Bellinger or Josh Bell. Combining the risk and lack of upside, we did not view Smith as one of the top 101 prospects in baseball, and so he resides here, just off the list. —Jarrett Seidler
Tyler Beede, RHP, San Francisco Giants – It’s easy to knock a guy like Beede for being, well, for lack of a better word, boring. The stuff doesn’t overwhelm, certainly to the degree that it is easy to expect out of a first-round talent. And yet, it is plenty good enough, and it has gotten steadily better as he has continued to mature and evolve since signing. He’s added new looks to his fastball, with two-seam and cut variants now fully complementing his four-seamer, and his natural mound intelligence helps drive well-above-average pitchability that should be his calling card in the majors for a very, very long time. He lacks for a true put-away pitch, which limits the ceiling just enough to forestall a spot on this year’s 101. But he certainly didn’t miss by much, and projects as one of the “safer” pitching prospects around, if that’s a thing. —Wilson Karaman
Matt Chapman, 3B, Oakland Athletics
Chapman has the defensive capability to stay at third well into his major-league career—not something that can be said about every minor league third baseman. Very solid reflexes and a good glove are augmented by his arm, which is one of the strongest at the position right now. He’s accurate, too, something not always coupled with cannon throws, able to make the most of his not-insignificant talent there.
As a hitter, Chapman has some definite strengths, but his weaknesses may cause some problems in his production down the line. He’s got solid raw power, evidenced by his 36 home runs across two levels in 2016, but that raw will be hard for him to access consistently, thanks to some stiffness in his swing and lack of ability to adjust to spin. He’ll likely never hit for average, but his patience at the plate gives him an OBP ceiling higher than one might expect from a low-average hitter.
Oakland’s not in dire need of a third baseman right now, which is good for Chapman—he needs more time in Triple-A against better pitching to further develop his hit tool. He’s still got a solid major-league ceiling, but concerns about the hitting ability are what kept him off the top 101. —Kate Morrison
Sixto Sanchez, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies
If we went to 102 prospects, Sixto may very well have made the list. If we went to 106 prospects, he definitely would have made the list—at 106—because that is too easy a hook for an Annual comment, and at that point in the process, you crave an easy hook. Sanchez has a pretty good hook himself, a 12-6 breaker in the low 80s that will flash plus, but the reason he was even in the conversation is the fastball. He can run it up to the high 90s despite being listed at six-foot—he’s not six-foot—and there isn’t as much effort as you’d expect to wring 70-grade velocity out of his small frame. The rest of this blurb will be filled with the kind of stuff we wrote in the Annual for numerous pitchers on the backend of the 101 with a mid-rotation OFP—the change isn’t much of a factor at present, he will have to improve the command of both the fastball and the curve as he moves up the minor league ladder, and he might be a reliever in the end—the usual pablum. Sixto just missed because there is only a complex league resume here, but that should change in 2017. If other profile improvements follow as well, he could shoot up the 2018 edition, but I don’t have to think about that for another seven glorious months. —Jeffrey Paternostro
 Craig wouldn’t let me call it “a potential Sixto-grade pitch.” I assure you I would have gotten that into his hypothetical Annual blurb.
Thank you for reading
This is a free article. If you enjoyed it, consider subscribing to Baseball Prospectus.Subscribe now