Over the next couple weeks, the 2020 Bluebird Banter Top 40 prospect will be unveiled. This year’s list is a collaboration between myself, Joshua Howsam of the Artificial Turf War podcast (formerly of BP Toronto), and our own resident BBB guru/gadfly Kraemer_17. I think it makes for a solid combination of perspectives and a well-rounded list, and I thank them for the considerable time and consideration they invested — and of course the insights generated.
One difference this year was that the list was compiled by grades, rather than simply integrating multiple individual lists. Lists are fun, but it’s often the case that ordinal rankings obscure as much as they inform. The difference between a few spots on a prospect list can be quite negligible or more in the eye of the beholder, so the idea is to provide more context on we see the prospects relatively, and more emphasis on risks and projected outlooks.
With the full fledged youth movement in 2019, there were 10 graduations from last year’s list: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (1), Bo Bichette (2), Danny Jansen (3), Sean Reid-Foley (7), Cavan Biggio (10), Thomas Pannone (16), Rowdy Tellez (17), Billy McKinney (23), Elvis Luciano (26), and Trent Thornton (27). That’s an unprecedented level within at least the last decade, with others like Reese McGuire who was just shy of graduating. In addition, Chad Spanberger (34) was traded, though he would not have been a factor this year in any event.
Despite so many graduations and especially from the top of the system, all is far from lost. We noted last year that the system was much deeper than in previous years, and that depth developing significantly offset the losses. This is essentially the goal for the farm system: consistently graduating players to the big leagues, while constantly replenishing the pipeline behind them. This was of course supplemented with six prospects acquired in major league trades, four of whom land on the Top 40.
It remains the case that there’s very good depth with many interesting prospects beyond the Top 40, which will be drilled down down in various “Beyond the Top 40” posts. 2019 will be the high watermark, but there should be another three to six graduations in 2020 from this year’s list to open up spots for some of them, as well as players who will be brought into the system in 2020.
This page/stream will serve as a landing page for all the content in this series. In addition to links for all the posts, the entire list will be below in one place as it is unveiled.
- The 2019 Bluebird Banter Top 40 Prospects List Index
- The 2018 Bluebird Banter Top 40 Prospects List Index
Eligibility criteria for BBB Top 40:
- Players must retain rookie status (less than 130 MLB at-bats / 50 innings or 45 pre-September active days
- Players must be 25 or younger for the 2020 season, that is, born after June 30, 1994. That’s not to say players older than that don’t have value or won’t make the majors, which is why we make a separate list for them as part of the series. Rather, they are closer to finished/developed products and beyond the point where further growth is an expectation and something to be projected which is a fundamental component of prospect lists/analysis.
2020 Top 40 List:
- RHP Nate Pearson (last year: 4)
- SS Jordan Groshans (last year: 6)
- RHP Simeon Woods-Richardson
- RHP Alek Manoah
- SS Orelvis Martinez (last year: 22)
- C Gabriel Moreno
- LHP Anthony Kay
- C Alejandro Kirk (last year: 39)
- IF Miguel Hiraldo (last year: 20)
- RHP Adam Kloffenstein (last year: 12)
- RHP Patrick Murphy (last year: 13)
- C Reese McGuire (last year: 25)
- RHP Kendall Williams
- Eric Pardinho (last year: 5)
- C Riley Adams (last year: 40)
- OF Griffin Conine (last year: 19)
- IF Leonardo Jimenez (last year: 30)
- SS Kevin Smith (last year: 9)
- RHP Thomas Hatch
- OF Anthony Alford (last year: 11)
- RHP Josh Winckowski
- IF/OF Otto Lopez (last year: 38)
- CF Dasan Brown
- IF Santiago Espinal (last year: 33)
- RHP T.J. Zeuch (last year: 8)
- RHP Yennsy Diaz (last year: 18)
- OF Will Robertson
- RHP Hector Perez (last year: 14)
- RHP Joey Murray
- RHP Jackson McClelland (last year: 36)
- OF Forrest Wall (last year: 29)
- OF Ryan Noda (last year: 24)
- SS/IF Tanner Morris
- OF Chavez Young (last year: 15)
- C Philip Clarke
- 2B Samad Taylor
- OF Joshua Palacios (last year: 37)
- RHP Maximo Castillo
- RHP Edisson Gonzalez
- RHP Alejandro Melean