Increasingly, USA TODAY Sports’ list of 100 Names You Need to Know has been populated by players who are already household names — at least within the confines of Major League Baseball.
Our annual tally of top young players projected to make an impact on the upcoming season is often a prism into the current state of the game — and right now, the influence of emerging players seems to increase every year.
Last year’s No. 1 player on our list — the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Corey Seager — went on to claim National League Rookie of the Year honors, to the surprise of few. Yet Seager also finished third in NL MVP voting and, at 22, is on the short list of the top players in the game.
This year’s list is dotted with several players whose achievements are well-known, with only the mystery of what they might accomplish over a full 162 games remaining.
No. 1 is Trea Turner, whose combination of power, speed and versatility provided a significant boost for the Washington Nationals as they rolled to the National League East title.
This year, he moves from center field to shortstop — trading one premium position for another — in a year in which he might become the Nationals’ most indispensable player.
The accomplishments of others are also notable. Gary Sanchez, who follows Turner in our lineup, tied a major league record by ripping 20 home runs in his first 51 games for the New York Yankees. David Dahl, No. 5 on our list, got a hit in his first 17 major league games, tying a 75-year-old record, and posted a .859 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in 63 games with the Colorado Rockies.
They, and others, have exhausted their rookie eligibility — and graduated from prospect status — but remain in play on our list, which decrees that players must have had more innings (for pitchers) or plate appearances (for hitters) in the minor leagues during 2016 than they have accumulated during all of their major league playing time. Players are ranked in order of their anticipated impact this season.
So they’re not necessarily the top prospects — many of whom are years away from the big leagues — but rather those who you’ll likely know quite well by season’s end, if not sooner.
The player capsules that follow are written by Ted Berg, Scott Boeck, Steve Gardner, Gabe Lacques, Jorge L. Ortiz and Jesse Yomtov.
1. Trea Turner, SS, Nationals: When the Nationals traded Danny Espinosa to the Los Angeles Angels this winter, it opened the door for Turner to return to his natural position full time. Turner, 23, is an ideal leadoff hitter with unlimited potential. He finished second in National League Rookie of the Year voting to Corey Seager.
2. Gary Sanchez, C, Yankees: A fixture on prospects lists since his first full minor league season in 2011, Sanchez joined the big-league Yanks in early August and promptly exceeded all reasonable expectations — and even most unreasonable expectations — in his first turn through the majors. The catcher homered at a Ruthian pace over the season’s final two months. And though he has room to improve defensively, Sanchez showed a strong arm from behind the plate and threw out 41% of would-be basestealers in the big leagues. Now 24, he’ll enter 2017 with a full-time job at Yankee Stadium and a heck of a lot of hype.
3. Andrew Benintendi, OF, Red Sox: A sweet-swinging outfielder, Benintendi, 22, blew through two minor league levels and found his way to Fenway Park during his first full pro season in 2016. A patient lefty hitter with gap power and great contact skills, Benintendi has the range to play center field but will likely again spend most his time in left field for the big-league Red Sox in 2017. He might start the season splitting time with right-handed-hitting veteran Chris Young, but Benintendi hit lefties well in the minors and should ultimately take over one of Boston’s outfield spots on a full-time basis.
4. Alex Bregman, 3B, Astros: USA TODAY Sports’ Minor League Player of the Year in 2016, Bregman reached the majors in late July and performed well down the stretch. The 22-year-old heads into spring training as Houston’s third baseman and will be expected to contribute in a big way. With 28 home runs in 2016 — including eight in the majors — Bregman has shown power beyond expectations, and he has adapted well since moving from shortstop to the hot corner. Bregman will play for the USA in the World Baseball Classic.
5. David Dahl, OF, Rockies: The 22-year-old impressed in the majors last season but with a crowded outfield, Dahl might not initially get a chance to play every day in 2017. He’ll be competing for time in left field with Gerardo Parra, who is making $8 million this season. Even if he doesn’t win the job in camp, expect Dahl to get plenty of at-bats and eventually climb to the top of the depth chart. Dahl is capable of playing all three outfield positions and was an impressive 15-for-48 (.313) against lefties in the majors last year.
6. Alex Reyes, RHP, Cardinals: Armed with a fastball that can touch triple digits and a nasty curveball, Reyes first gained national attention as the World team’s starter in last year’s All-Star Futures Game, where he struck out the side in the first inning. Less than a month later, the he made his MLB debut at 21. (He probably would have reached the majors even earlier if not for a 50-game suspension he served at the beginning of the season for a positive marijuana test.) He’ll have to improve his control if he’s going to be make an immediate impact in the rotation.
7. Ryon Healy, 3B-1B-DH, Athletics: Less heralded than other A’s prospects, Healy proved a rare pleasant surprise in a mostly miserable 2016 for the A’s, who finished in last place for the second year in a row. Healy, 25, produced an .861 OPS with 13 homers in 72 games playing mostly third base, where he was merely adequate. The A’s signed Trevor Plouffe to take over at third this year but will find plenty of at-bats for Healy, who is 6-5, at first, where he will platoon with left-handed-swinging Yonder Alonso, and in the DH spot.
8. Dansby Swanson, SS, Braves: The Atlanta-area native was in attendance supporting the Falcons in the Super Bowl in Houston. Swanson, who turns 23 on Saturday, had a successful stint in the majors last season, but it went under the radar because of the Braves’ struggles. He’s going to be the centerpiece of the team for the next several seasons and the starting shortstop on opening day. The organization has enough confidence in Swanson that they awarded him a bobble-head on June 16.
9. Josh Bell, 1B, Pirates: With three talented outfielders on the Pirates’ major league roster, Bell started working at first base in 2015, and he got his first taste of the majors last season. He has shown excellent plate discipline throughout his career, posting a .373 on-base percentage in five minor league seasons. But the 24-year-old switch-hitter hasn’t yet shown the kind of power most teams want from a first baseman. He’s the front-runner to be their opening-day starter — provided he has recovered from minor knee surgery
10. Yulieski Gurriel, 1B-3B, Astros: The 32-year-old Cuban signed a five-year $47.5 million deal in July and was in the majors a month later, after 15 games in the minor leagues. Gurriel batted .321 in his first 24 games, but tailed off over the last two weeks of the season. He’ll be Houston’s first baseman to start the season, but Evan Gattis could force his way into the picture if Gurriel struggles at the plate.
12. Albert Almora, OF, Cubs: Almora is the only player on our 100 Names list who already owns a World Series ring, serving mostly as a defensive replacement last year during the Cubs’ run. He’s a .290 hitter over five minor league seasons and is a good baserunner, even though his stolen base totals are unimpressive (33 in 50 attempts). Almora, 22, is expected to have a larger role after center fielder Dexter Fowler left as a free agent (though he could share playing time with Jon Jay). His excellent defensive skills will allow the Cubs to keep Jason Heyward in right field.
11. Manuel Margot, OF, Padres: Margot, 22, flashed some of his outstanding speed and defensive ability with a memorable home run-stealing catch at the Futures Game, one of several highlights in a season capped by his September call-up. A prototypical center fielder-leadoff type, Margot will get every chance to seize those roles for the Padres, who desperately want to infuse new talent into a team coming off its sixth consecutive losing season. His energetic game might provide the spark needed to liven up the sedate crowds at Petco Park.
13. Hunter Renfroe, OF, Padres: The monster shot that landed atop the Western Metal Supply Co. beyond Petco Park’s left-field stands as the most persuasive convincing evidence of Renfroe’s power. The 34 home runs he banged out last year, including four with the Padres, provide further verification. Renfroe, 25, also made strides in reducing his strikeouts, and he batted .306 at Class AAA El Paso, although he’s still reluctant to take a walk. That certainly won’t keep the Padres from making him their starting right fielder, unless he falls on his face in the spring.
14. Orlando Arcia, SS, Brewers: Lauded for his defensive skills and leadership qualities, Arcia has been touted for a while as the Brewers’ shortstop of the future. Last season — two days before his 22nd birthday — the future arrived. With a slight build (6 feet, 165 pounds) there are concerns he’ll be overmatched against major league pitching. But throughout his minor league career, Arcia has been one of the youngest players at his level, and he has ultimately found success. The Brewers are hoping last year’s difficulties at the plate are just another bump in what has become a familiar road.
15. Blake Snell, LHP, Rays: USA TODAY Sports’ 2015 Minor League Player of the Year did not disappoint in his first major league season, producing five quality starts among his 19 outings with the Rays during a season in which he logged a career-high 152 innings between Tampa Bay and Class AAA. 24, Snell, 24, should be stronger. Improving his 1.92 strikeout-to-walk ratio will be key, but Snell has shown he should succeed as the Rays’ No. 3 starter.
16. Greg Bird, 1B, Yankees: He was last seen beating up on big-league pitching in September of 2015, Bird spent the 2016 season on the disabled list after offseason shoulder surgery. But with Mark Teixeira retired, Bird, 24, has the inside track to the Yankees’ starting first-base job. If he’s healed, he should hit. Bird showed patience and power at every level en route to the majors and will play in one of baseball’s best environments for lefty-swinging fly-ball hitters.
17. Jose Peraza, IF, Reds: The Reds will make every effort to get Peraza on the field in 2017. He saw action at second base, shortstop and in the outfield last season and could play any or all of those again. If the rebuilding Reds are able to trade second baseman Brandon Phillips or shortstop Zack Cozart, Peraza will take over at either spot. One of the key players the Reds received last winter for All-Star Todd Frazier, Peraza, 22, is frequently compared to teammate Billy Hamilton because of their outstanding speed, but Peraza is a more consistent hitter.
18. Daniel Vogelbach, 1B, Mariners: Seattle landed the hulking left-handed slugger in the trade that sent Mike Montgomery to the Cubs in July and was in the majors by the end of the season. Vogelbach batted .231 against lefties in Class AAA and is expected to platoon with Danny Valencia at first base for Seattle. The 24-year-old is unproven in the majors and is a largely one-dimensional player, so he could be on a short leash for a Mariners team that expects to contend in the AL West.
19. Matt Strahm, LHP, Royals: It was probably just coincidence, but the Royals embarked on their finest stretch of baseball after Strahm’s July 31 debut. He certainly did his part, posting a 1.23 ERA in 21 relief appearances, and now he’s poised to snag a rotation spot. Regardless of role, Strahm is the new Danny Duffy, now that Duffy’s a fully vested member of the rotation.
20. Jharel Cotton, RHP, Athletics: One of three promising pitchers acquired from the Dodgers in the deadline trade that sent Rich Hill and Josh Reddick to L.A., Cotton made an impression by logging a 2.15 ERA in five starts with Oakland. A native of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Cotton stands 5-11 but can pump up his fastball to 95 mph, setting up his exceptional changeup. The A’s expect Cotton, 25, to seize one of the spots in their youthful rotation this spring and to help launch their resurgence.
21. Aaron Judge, OF, Yankees: A 6-7, 275-pound outfielder with deceptive athleticism and predictably massive raw power, Judge struck out in half of his 84 at-bats during a 27-game cameo in the majors in 2016. Despite those struggles, the Yankees expect Judge to compete for a starting job in right field this spring. He’ll turn 25 in April so the clock is ticking on his prospect status, but Judge’s strong performance in Class AAA last season suggests he’s a better hitter than he showed during his short big-league stint.
22. Jorge Polanco, SS, Twins: After a few false starts, Polanco, 23, claimed the starting shortstop job for good, batting .328 (39-for-119) with a .357 on-base percentage in his first 30 games after getting recalled July 30. He should be a fixture in the role if he continues to hit. Top prospect Nick Gordon, likely ticketed for Class AA, eventually might slot in another position.
23. Jeff Hoffman, RHP, Rockies: A first-round pick in 2014, Hoffman had Tommy John elbow surgery a month before the draft, but his comeback was swift. The 24-year-old was in the majors by the end of 2016 — his second full season in the pros. Hoffman made eight appearances for the Rockies, flashing a fastball that sits in the high-90s, a big curveball and a developing changeup. Colorado heads to camp with a number of options at the back end of the rotation, but Hoffman has a good shot at claiming a spot to start the season.
24. Chad Kuhl, RHP, Pirates: Not as heralded as minor league rotation mates Tyler Glasnow and Jameson Taillon because he doesn’t have their swing-and-miss stuff, Kuhl nevertheless proved to be a solid addition to the Pirates’ injury-riddled rotation after he was promoted in late June. The 24-year-old right-hander has to rely on keeping the ball down and getting ground balls to be successful. Interestingly, he had a 7.03 ERA in six starts at home, but a 2.72 ERA in eight starts on the road.
25. Mitch Haniger, OF, Mariners: Acquired in the trade that sent Taijuan Walker and Ketel Marte to Arizona, it appears Haniger will be the Mariners’ right fielder to start the season. Haniger has developed great power, hitting 30 home runs across three levels last season. While the 26-year-old can play all field outfield positions, some see his future at second base.
26. Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Pirates: Glasnow, who is 6-8, has all the physical tools, but he struggled with control last season even as he was dominating minor league hitters. But he continued to walk five batters per nine innings after being promoted to the majors. Although he set a career high in innings pitched, Glasnow missed time with shoulder and triceps injuries — and his fastball lost some of its zip. If he can get his mechanics straightened out, the 23-year-old has all the makings of a future ace.
27. Jose Berrios, RHP, Twins: Perhaps the club’s most anticipated pitching prospect this century, Berrios, 22, could not win a job out of spring training, and then was hit hard in his first four big-league starts, posting a 10.20 ERA. He was a little better after he was recalled Aug. 1, but enters this spring in a group of several fighting for the No. 5 starter job. He’s still expected to be a front-line starter, but his rise has slowed.
28. Austin Hedges, C, Padres: Long regarded as the Padres’ top catching prospect, Hedges will get his first legitimate chance to start now that Derek Norris has been traded. The 2011 second-round pick is known for his well-developed receiving skills but has struggled at the plate in the majors, batting .161 in 64 games. Hedges, 24, made an offensive breakthrough at Class AAA last year, putting up a .951 OPS and hitting a career-high 21 homers. Now it’s time to show whether he can carry some of that production to the big leagues.
29. Ty Blach, LHP, Giants: A strong bounce-back season earned Blach a chance at the big-league level, and he responded magnificently with eight shutout innings in a final-weekend victory against the Los Angeles Dodgers that helped the Giants secure a wild-card spot. A classic crafty lefty, 26-year-old Blach induces soft contact and rarely hurts himself, limiting the walks and home runs he yields. While Matt Cain’s $20 million salary makes him the favorite to earn the fifth spot in the rotation, Blach is next in line to fill that spot if the former ace continues to falter.
30. Andrew Toles, OF, Dodgers: Toles has battled anxiety issues and was released by the Rays in the spring of 2015 after sitting out two months of the previous season for personal reasons. But Toles, 24, gave the Dodgers a jolt of energy when he arrived in July and contributed a winning grand slam to a big comeback win late in the season. With his speed and high contact rate, the 5-10 dynamo has forced his way into the mix for one of L.A.’s outfield spots.
31. German Marquez, RHP, Rockies: Marquez reached the majors at age 21 in 2016 after a strong campaign in Classes AA and AAA. His command is developing, but his velocity is way up from when he signed with the Rays as an international free agent in 2011. The Rockies have a logjam at the back end of the rotation, and while Marquez will compete for a spot, don’t be surprised if he sees time in the bullpen early in the year.
32. Josh Hader, LHP, Brewers: Hader, 22, wasn’t highly regarded when the Brewers acquired him from Houston as part of the 2015 Carlos Gomez trade, but the lanky left-hander has been dominant at the lower levels of the minors. He struggled last season after getting a promotion to Class AAA and hitter-friendly Colorado Springs, but still struck out 11.5 batters per nine innings. There are durability concerns, but he could be a candidate to join the rotation when an opening arises.
33. Joey Gallo, DH, Rangers: Gallo makes the list for the third year in a row after registering just 25 at-bats in the majors last season. He had one hit in that spell, which, unsurprisingly, was a home run. Gallo enters spring training as Texas’ presumed designated hitter but could see time at first base with Ryan Rua and Jurickson Profarther options. The left-handed slugger is still only 23, but this could be a make-or-break season for season for him with the Rangers.
34. Tyler Austin, 1B, Yankees: If Aaron Judge is the favorite to earn the Yankees’ starting right-field job by opening day, Austin, 25, is the most promising underdog. Austin appeared on the fast track to the majors after a sterling 2012 season in Class A ball but stalled from there. Promoted to Class AAA to fill a hole in the lineup in early June, Austin promptly caught fire and the big-league Yankees called him up in mid-August. Austin trounced lefty pitching in his short major league stint and likely will fit on the Yankees roster as a backup first baseman and outfielder even if he doesn’t earn an everyday job.
35. Luke Weaver, RHP, Cardinals: The Cardinals’ first-round pick in the 2014 draft, Weaver has risen quickly through the minors. Despite missing the first two months of last season with a broken wrist, he made his major league debut in August. Weaver, 23, only made one start at the Class AAA level before reaching the majors, so he’ll most likely start the season there as he works on developing a breaking ball he can throw with confidence. However, the Cardinals have a number of question marks in their rotation, so it’s possible he could earn a spot with a strong spring.
36. Raul A. Mondesi, INF, Royals: A surprise major league debut in the 2015 World Series was followed by a 50-game ban for unknowingly taking a banned substance. This year, Mondesi, 21, has a solid shot at winning the everyday second base job. That could be a prelude to taking over at shortstop in 2018 after Alcides Escobar’s contract expires.
37. Tom Murphy, C, Rockies: Murphy, 25, will fight for playing time with 24-year-old Tony Wolters in spring training and likely into the season. A .282 career hitter in the minors, Murphy batted .327 in 80 games last season with Class AAA Albuquerque before being promoted in September, hitting five home runs in 21 games. A right-handed hitter, Murphy has plenty of power, but that could come at the cost of consistency in the majors. Murphy threw out 33% of baserunners in Class AAA in 2016.
38. Robert Gsellman, RHP, Mets: The latest in a long line of Mets pitching prospects with flowing hair and sliders in the low 90s, Gsellman, 23, joined the club’s major league rotation in August. The Mets’ rotation picture is cloudy, with four starting pitchers above Gsellman on the depth chart making their way back from arm surgeries. If the team opts to start Zack Wheeler in the bullpen or any other starter can’t open the season healthy, Gsellman will fit in at the back end. If he doesn’t, he’ll likely start the year in the hostile pitching environment at Class AAA Las Vegas, honing his secondary stuff and trying to ignore his inflated ERA.
39. Charlie Tilson, OF, White Sox: Your opening-day center fielder on the South Side has had a whirlwind few months: Traded out of a deep Cardinals system for Zach Duke on July 31, he singled in his first major league at-bat Aug. 2, tore a hamstring a few innings later and found himself atop the depth chart after Adam Eaton was traded to the Washington Nationals in December. Tilson, 24, stole 46 bases in 65 attempts at Class AA in 2015 and has a career .346 on-base percentage in the minors.
40. Mac Williamson, OF, Giants: Powerfully built Williamson (6-4, 240 pounds) made slow but steady progress up the Giants system and earned 112 at-bats with the big club last year. Now he’ll get a full-fledged opportunity to play regularly, as he and Jarrett Parker will compete for the starting job in left field during the spring. Williamson displayed better fielding skills than expected but also an inconsistent bat in his sporadic playing time, with impressive pop to go along with lots of strikeouts. He’ll need to make better contact to secure a full-time spot.
41. Reynaldo Lopez, RHP, White Sox: Lopez, 23, isn’t as highly touted as trade mate Lucas Giolito, but he might be ready for a more immediate role in Chicago. He was an effective swingman for the Nationals, striking out nearly a batter an inning in 12 major league appearances, and boasts a 3.16 career ERA and 8.9 strikeouts per nine innings in the minors. He’ll see time before long out of the rotation or bullpen.
42. Brandon Nimmo, OF, Mets: A Wyoming native whose high school didn’t even have a baseball team, Nimmo made a slow and steady ascent through the Mets system after the club selected him in the first round of the 2011 draft. A patient hitter who has yet to show much of the power once expected of him, Nimmo, 23, nonetheless appears major league-ready as a potential table-setter and center fielder. The Mets have an outfield logjam that could force Nimmo back to Class AAA to start the year, but outside of Juan Lagares, the team has no true center fielder. Nimmo could well settle into a platoon with Lagares.
43. Ozzie Albies, 2B, Braves: Albies, 20, was invited to the Braves major league spring camp as a non-roster invitee and is expected to challenge for the starting job. At 5-9, he dominated at the minor league level as a teenager in 2016. He hit .321 at Class AA Mississippi and played briefly at Class AAA Gwinnett (Ga.) before an elbow injury ended his season. Between Albies and Swanson, the Braves’ presumed middle infield looks bright.
44. Robert Stephenson, RHP, Reds: Stephenson, 23, got the call to the majors in 2016 but had trouble with his fastball command. His plus fastball/curveball combination — and an improving changeup — give him the upside of a mid-rotation starter, but walking 4.6 batters per nine innings as he did after being promoted is a good way to get moved to the bullpen.
45. Sam Travis, 1B/DH, Red Sox: A college teammate of Kyle Schwarber’s at Indiana, Travis — like Schwarber — lost most of 2016 to an early-season knee injury that required surgery. A line-drive hitter known for his unfailing intensity, Travis likely will need more time at Class AAA before he’s ready to man first base for the Red Sox — and even then he might never post the big power numbers typically associated with the position. But with David Ortiz departed and Mitch Moreland representing the biggest obstacle to Travis’ big-league playing time, the 23-year-old could be in Boston by the start of the summer.
46. Mike Clevinger, RHP, Indians: He started the season buried at Class AAA and finished it in the World Series. Clevinger, 26, showed he made it all the way back from a previous Tommy John elbow surgery, shuttling between Columbus and Cleveland and the bullpen and rotation before multiple injuries beckoned him to the big leagues for good. He’s likely the Indians’ “sixth starter” this year, but might stick all year as a swing guy.
47. Yoan Moncada, INF, White Sox: As the centerpiece of the Chris Sale trade, Moncada, 21, gets away from Dustin Pedroia in Boston but joins a club in no hurry to contend. That should give him a chance to smooth away the rough edges exposed in a brief big-league call-up. It’s likely he develops into an elite power-hitting infielder, but he’d have to really mash his way to Chicago to make it happen in 2017.
48. Lewis Brinson, OF, Brewers: Brinson is a near-consensus No. 1 prospect in the organization. However, the 22-year-old is ready to shed the prospect label and make his mark in the majors. Brinson, who was acquired by the Brewers in the Jonathan Lucroy trade last season, excelled at Class AAA Colorado Springs. His strikeout rate has improved greatly from 38% to 20% over the last four seasons.
49. J.P Crawford, SS, Phillies: Crawford, 22, is one of the best defensive shortstop prospects with a plus arm. Offensively, he struggled adjusting to new minor league levels. He should bounce back this year, but considering the Phillies have Freddy Galvis in front of him, he’s probably going to spend an entire season at AAA before being called up.
50. Alex Meyer, RHP, Angels: A flamethrower who stands 6-9, Meyer was chosen No. 23 overall out of the University of Kentucky in the 2011 draft and has battled injuries and inconsistency ever since. The Angels, his third pro organization, have made tweaks to his delivery and hope they have found a diamond in the rough. A shoulder injury limited Meyer, 27, to 54 innings last season, but his big arm and four-pitch assortment make him a rotation candidate for a club that saw its starting staff decimated by injuries in 2016.
51. Tyler O’Neill, OF, Mariners: O’Neill, 21, has hit 56 home runs over the past two seasons and with question marks in the outfield for Seattle, he might be in the majors sooner rather than later. O’Neill has good speed, which will help him overcome his raw defensive skills. With a strong arm in right field, O’Neill looks like a five-tool player who could be a key piece in Seattle for years. The Mariners haven’t added him to the 40-man roster yet, but he’s in camp as a non-roster invitee.
52. Casey Gillaspie, 1B, Rays: Gillaspie’s immediate opportunities diminished when the Rays agreed to re-sign Logan Morrison, but all signs point to the younger brother of Giants infielder Conor impacting the club this year. He’s reached base at a .367 clip in his minor league career and projects to bring an enticing blend of power and discipline to the big-league level. Gillaspie, 24, could be ready by midseason.
53. Bradley Zimmer, OF, Indians: As Zimmer jumped from Class A and AA in 2015 to AA and AAA, his strikeouts spiked from 131 to 171. But his on-base percentage remained virtually flat (from .368 to .365), and the 24-year-old stole 38 bases and smacked 15 homers. He likely will debut in 2017, but whether that comes quickly likely depends on the health of Michael Brantley and the production of Tyler Naquin.
54. Brock Stewart, RHP, Dodgers: A rash of pitching injuries prompted the Dodgers to give Stewart some starts, a remarkable development considering he was a reliever until 2015 and saw action at three minor league levels last year. Stewart, 25, had his moments with the big club, registering a 5.79 ERA but striking out 25 in 28 innings. With a fastball that reaches the mid-90s and a changeup and slider to complement it, Stewart figures to get another look this spring and could earn a spot as a fifth starter or as a reliever.
55. Harrison Bader, OF, Cardinals: In his first full professional season, Bader advanced all the way to Class AAA and was one of the top players in the Arizona Fall League, hitting .304 with 12 runs scored, 16 RBI and four steals in 21 games. He can play all three outfield spots, which will help him fit in when he’s ready for the majors. Bader, 22, will get a non-roster invite to spring training, but with only 161 plate appearances above the Class AA level, expect him to start the season in the minors as he gets adjusted to upper-level pitching.
56. Cody Bellinger, 1B-OF, Dodgers: The son of former major leaguer Clay Bellinger has evolved quickly from an advanced hitter into a power threat who banged out 26 homers at two minor league stops in 2016. Bellinger, 21, is a superb defensive first baseman but doesn’t figure to see much time there this season or next with workhorse Adrian Gonzalez as the incumbent. The best chance for lefty-swinging Bellinger to crack the lineup will probably be in a crowded by unsettled outfield, at one of the corner spots.
57. Jacob Faria, RHP, Rays: Tampa Bay’s assembly line of starting pitching isn’t quite what it used to be, but Faria, 23, should be ready to roll out soon. Faria’s stuff has always played well against far more seasoned competition. Should his progress continue, it would ease the sting if the Rays opt to deal a veteran pitcher at the trade deadline.
58. Alen Hanson, 2B, Pirates: Signed as a free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2009, Hanson progressed gradually through the Pirates farm system before finally reaching the majors last season at 23. Primarily a middle infielder, he increased his value by playing third base and outfield last season. Hanson has good speed (at least 24 stolen bases in each of his six seasons in the minors) and makes consistent contact at the plate, but this will be a make-or-break year for him in Pittsburgh. He’s out of minor league options.
59. Jesse Winker, OF, Reds: Despite showing decent power in the lower level of the minors, Winker hit just three home runs at Class AAA as he battled a wrist injury. On the plus side, the excellent plate discipline he’s shown throughout his minor league career remained intact and his on-base percentage remained elite. With the Reds in rebuild mode, Winker, 23, should get a chance to see the majors at some point this season.
60. Carlos Asuaje, 2B, Padres: Lefty-swinging Asuaje, who joined the Padres along with Manuel Margot in the trade that sent Craig Kimbrel to Boston in November 2015, had a big offensive year at Class AAA (.321 batting average, .851 OPS) and earned his first big-league action. His next chance with the Padres might not come right away, since Ryan Schimpf and Cory Spangenberg are ahead of him on the depth chart, but Asuaje, 25, has shown enough hitting potential to get the call if someone falters. He also can play third base and left field.
61. Rob Whalen, RHP, Mariners: Acquired from the Braves this offseason, the 23-year-old moved quickly through the minors in 2015 and 2016, ultimately starting five games in the majors. It’s unlikely Whalen will be in the rotation to start the season, but he will be one of the first players called up if injuries strike the Mariners. Whalen’s command is still developing, and he had a high walk rate in the minors.
62. Clint Frazier, OF, Yankees: The jewel of the deadline deal that sent Andrew Miller to the Indians, Frazier, 22, draws raves for his bat speed and all-around game. He sputtered a bit in his first 30 games at Class AAA in 2016 and needs to improve offensively before he can advance, but Frazier could play his way into a starting job in one of the Yankees’ outfield corners before the end of the season. He profiles as a potential future 20-20 guy.
63. Chad Green, RHP, Yankees: One of a host of live-armed mid-20s pitchers in the mix to fill out the back end of the Yankees’ opening-day rotation, Green saw mixed results despite promising strikeout and walk rates in the majors last season. A righty with a mid-90s fastball who dominated in 16 Class AAA starts in 2016, Green yielded an alarming number of home runs in his first taste of big-league play, a vast departure from his minor league history.
64. Amir Garrett, LHP, Reds: The former basketball standout decided to concentrate on baseball full time in 2014. He has participated in the All-Star Futures Game each of the past two seasons. An imposing presence at 6-5, the 24-year-old lefty uses that leverage to generate a fastball that registers in the mid-90s. He still needs to refine his control and improve his secondary offerings. If he can, he stands a good chance of sticking in the rotation. If not, he can still earn a role as a high-leverage reliever.
65. Yohander Mendez, LHP, Rangers: The 22 year-old pitched at four levels in 2016, reaching the majors in September. Standing 6-5, Mendez is an imposing presence on the mound. His slider is still developing, but Mendez has a plus curveball that he commands well. Texas has veteran options at the back end of the rotation, so it’s unlikely Mendez will break camp with the team, but the lefty should contribute in the majors this season.
66. Austin Barnes, C, Dodgers: The trade of veteran Carlos Ruiz to the Seattle Mariners in November opened the door for Barnes to take over as Yasmani Grandal’s backup. The opportunity has been a long time coming for Barnes, a former Marlins prospect who went to L.A. as part of the Dee Gordon-Dan Haren trade in December 2014. Barnes, 27, hit well at all minor league levels and has all the requisite receiving skills, as well as the athleticism to play second or third base if necessary.
67. Lucas Giolito, RHP, White Sox: Did Chicago land a future ace or fading top prospect as the centerpiece of its return for Adam Eaton? Giolito, 22, did not impress in a brief major league stint, and a dip in his minor league strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.54 to 2.64) also was concerning. Still, a fastball that touches 97 mph and solid secondary offerings remain. If the White Sox can clean up his command, look out.
68. Trey Mancini, 1B-DH, Orioles: A first baseman by trade, Mancini, 24, has decent power. He compiled back-to-back 20-homer seasons in the minors and hit three in five major league games as a late-September call-up. He has a shot of making the opening-day roster, but with the signing of Mark Trumbo, it’s likely he will begin the season in the minors to continue to get every day at-bats.
69. A.J. Jimenez, C, Blue Jays: Russell Martin is under contract with the Blue Jays through the 2019 season and Jimenez owns a career .646 OPS across parts of four seasons at Class AAA. But with Dioner Navarro departed for free agency, Jimenez appears the favorite to serve as Martin’s backup. The 26-year-old comes with a strong defensive reputation, and the club’s decision to add him to its 40-man roster and protect him from free agency suggests the Jays value his services.
70. Luis Cessa, RHP, Yankees: Another hard-throwing righty competing for a spot on the Yankees starting staff, Cessa finished the 2016 season in the big-league rotation and showed good control to go with his traditional four-pitch mix. One big red flag: The Mexican-born 24-year-old yielded 16 homers in 70 1/3 major league innings in 2016. The Yankees have two rotation spots up for grabs this spring, and Cessa could figure into the bullpen if he can’t land one of them.
71. Rowdy Tellez, 1B, Blue Jays: A former 30th-round draft pick, Tellez enjoyed a breakout offensive season at Class AA in 2016. Large-framed Tellez is limited to first base defensively, but it hardly seems a stretch to expect he could be a better offensive option than Justin Smoak before year’s end. A lefty hitter who did the bulk of his minor league damage against right-handers last season, Tellez will be 22 by opening day and likely will start the year with Class AAA Buffalo.
72. Andrew Moore, RHP, Mariners: The 22-year-old is rising fast through the minors, reaching Class AA a year after being drafted. Moore doesn’t project as an elite starter but is a safe bet to become an innings-eater. The Mariners invited Moore to camp and while the team has a handful of options at the back end of the rotation, don’t be surprised if he earns a call-up late in the year.
73. David Paulino, RHP, Astros: Acquired from the Tigers as a player to be named in 2013, Paulino missed the 2014 season after having Tommy John elbow surgery. The 6-7 right-hander posted a 2.00 ERA in 90 minor league innings last season and was promoted in September. Paulino needs to prove he can stay healthy, and his changeup could become a major asset. The 23-year-old could work his way back up to the majors in the middle of the season.
74. Daniel Robertson, SS, Rays: A lifetime .278 hitter in the minors, Robertson, 22, might project as a utility player rather than an everyday major league shortstop. The trade of Logan Forsythe eases the middle-infield logjam in Tampa Bay a bit, but Robertson’s big-league debut likely won’t come until the second half.
75. Austin Meadows, OF, Pirates: Meadows missed a sizable chunk of the minor league season with a variety of injuries, including getting hit in the face by a pitch. He also dealt with separate side and hamstring issues and had to be scratched from the Arizona Fall League. With a smooth left-handed swing, Meadows, 21, crushed the ball at Class AA and finished the year at Class AAA Indianapolis. There’s no room in the outfield for him, but if there’s an injury (or an Andrew McCutchen trade), Meadows likely would be the leading candidate to fill the vacancy.
76. Carson Fulmer, RHP, White Sox: Like many before him, Fulmer, 23, debuted as a reliever in 2016 despite his potential top starter ceiling. The White Sox’s retrenching means he’ll likely take a step back at Class AAA Charlotte, where a clean-up in mechanics and command could put him back in Chicago by the second half.
77. Teoscar Hernandez, OF, Astros: The 24-year-old bounced back after a rough 2015, batting .307 with a .377 OPB in 107 games at Class AA and AAA, ultimately getting 100 at-bats in the majors. Hernandez has great speed and will contribute off the bench at all three outfield positions in 2017, but regular playing time will be hard to come by in a crowded Astros outfield.
78. Marco Hernandez, IF, Red Sox: There’s a case that Hernandez might offer the 2017 Red Sox more in a utility role than Josh Rutledge would, but the club needs to weigh its immediate big-league needs against Hernandez’s long-term future. The versatile 24-year-old has hit well in the high minors over the past two seasons, but he needs to develop his plate discipline and could benefit from everyday play in Class AAA ball. With a spot on Boston’s 40-man roster, Hernandez should be the club’s first call-up in case of an injury to an infielder.
79. Jose De Leon, RHP, Rays: The Dodgers are loathe to part with top prospects, but the lure of Logan Forsythe to fill their second-base spot was too strong. So De Leon, 24, will vie to become a rotation fixture in Tampa Bay. He’ll likely start in Class AAA after a season in which he struck out 11.6 batters per nine innings for the Dodgers’ AAA club De Leon has never pitched more than 114 1/3 innings in a pro season, so the Rays will move slowly with him.
80. D.J. Peterson, 1B, Mariners: Peterson was Seattle’s first-round pick in 2013 as a third baseman, but he seems to have found his home at first base. A right-handed hitter, the 25-year-old can go to all fields when he’s dialed in. He’s behind Dan Vogelbach on the depth chart. Still, Vogelbach is a question mark, and Seattle already has Peterson on the 40-man roster. If Vogelbach struggles and the Mariners don’t want to use Danny Valencia full time, Peterson is likely to be summoned from Class AAA.
81. Jake Thompson, RHP, Phillies: Thompson, 23, made a mechanical adjustment to improve his delivery last season in Class AAA, and that earned him a trip to the majors when Aaron Nola landed on the disabled list. Thompson struggled through his first four big-league starts (9.78 ERA) before settling in over his final six (3.41 ERA over 34 1/3 innings).
82. Dalton Pompey, OF, Blue Jays: Once one of Toronto’s best-regarded prospects, Pompey earned a starting role in center field at the outset of 2015 but was demoted by early May and spent most of 2016 in Class AAA. A speedy switch-hitter with good range in the outfield, Pompey is still only 24. He has an option remaining and could start the season back at Buffalo, but neither Melvin Upton Jr. nor Ezequiel Carrera appears nearly as likely to prove part of the Blue Jays’ long-term plans. A strong spring or a good start in Class AAA could earn Pompey an everyday job.
83. Jordan Patterson, 1B-OF, Rockies: Colorado’s addition of Ian Desmond wrecked the possibility of Patterson being the team’s everyday first baseman. Patterson has a career OPS of .857 in the minors and was 8-for-18 during his September call-up. With plenty of experience in right field, Patterson, 24, will provide great value off the bench and could find semi-regular playing time if injuries hit.
84. Lourdes Gourriel, SS-2B, Blue Jays: The younger brother of Astros infielder Yulieski Gourriel signed a seven-year, $22 million deal soon after his 23rd birthday — when he became exempt from bonus restrictions on international amateurs. Known as a good athlete with an advanced plate approach, Gourriel posted a .967 OPS while playing left field, shortstop, second base and third base in Cuba in 2015. With no immediate path to play full time in Toronto, he’ll likely start the year somewhere in the high minors to prove himself against more advanced pitching.
85. Jarlin Garcia, LHP, Marlins: Garcia, 24, was signed out of the Dominican Republic as a 17-year old. At 6-3, he’s a low- to mid-90s pitcher. He posted 3.73 ERA across three levels last season, reaching Class AA. Though he was called up to the majors, he didn’t see any game action.
86. Braden Shipley, RHP, Diamondbacks: Arizona’s first-round pick in 2013, Shipley, 24, had a rough go after reaching the majors at the end of July. Major league hitters had a .901 OPS against him, and even though he wasn’t a high-volume strikeout guy in the minors, Shipley was simply not missing bats. Arizona has a number of options for the fifth spot in the rotation, and Shipley appears to be on the outside looking in.
87. Cody Reed, LHP, Reds: Reed made quite an impact last spring, nearly making the Reds’ opening-day roster. But when he got his chance to join the major league rotation, he was hit hard — yielding at least one home run in eight of his 10 starts (and a total of 12 in 47 2/3 innings). On the positive side, Reed, 23, struck out 43 batters over that span (8.1 K/9) with an excellent 52% ground-ball rate. He’ll compete this spring to be the Reds’ No. 5 starter.
88. Kevin Gadea, RHP, Rays: A Rule 5 pick on a team like the Rays always has a chance, so Gadea, 22, is hoping to follow the likes of Toronto’s Joe Biagini and stick with his new club. Nicaraguan-born Gadea dominated hitters at low Class A, but it would be a huge leap from the Midwest League to the AL East. His power repertoire and command will be under considerable scrutiny in spring training.
89. Steven Moya, OF-DH, Tigers: Once again, Detroit wonders if the physical prowess — Moya is 6-7, 260 pounds — will be matched by production. Moya, 25, has reached the majors in each of the past three seasons, getting a longer look every time. He trimmed his strikeouts from 185 to 134 last year but still lacks a consistent place to play with the big club.
90. Raimel Tapia, OF, Rockies: The speedy 23-year-old had a terrific 2016 in the minors, batting .328 before playing 22 games in the majors. Colorado’s outfield is quite crowded, and while Tapia is on the outside looking in when it comes to regular at-bats, his speed and ability to play all three outfield positions put him in a good spot to make contributions off the bench.
91. Hunter Dozier, 3B-OF, Royals: Dozier’s fate will be affected by the Royals’ performance and ultimate direction. Pending free agents Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain might spearhead a Royals revival — or be on the trading block if the club struggles. Dozier, 25, the eighth overall pick in 2013, bounced back from a miserable 2015 to reach Kansas City, and he could find himself auditioning as their third baseman of the future by year’s end.
92. Matt Chapman, 3B, Athletics: One of the most gifted defensive third basemen in the minors, Chapman continued to display his power stroke by belting 36 homers at two levels last season, the third-highest output in the minors. But he struck out 173 times and batted .237. Chapman, the 25th overall pick in the 2014 draft, enters this season at 23 and projects as the A’s starting third baseman by 2018, with a September call-up quite likely if he can refine his approach and cut down on the whiffs.
93. Mason Williams, OF, Yankees: A mainstay on Yankees top prospects lists a few years ago, Williams endured a woeful 2014 campaign at Class AA before injury-plagued seasons in 2015 and 2016. Williams, 25, has a reputation for great outfield defense and the tools to become a valuable fourth outfielder in the Bronx, but he’ll need to prove he can stay healthy first and distinguish himself from a crowded crop of outfield prospects.
94. Dominic Smith, 1B, Mets: The Mets’ first-round pick in the 2013 draft, Smith showed good contact skills but little to no home run power in Class A stops in 2014 and 2015. But both of the Mets’ full-season Class A affiliates play in pitcher-friendly parks, and Smith broke out with 14 homers and a .824 OPS in Class AA in 2016 despite playing as one of the youngest at the level. Known as a plus defender at first base, Smith, 21, should continue to develop power while playing every day in Class AAA Las Vegas to start the year. Lucas Duda is slated for free agency after the season, so the path is clear for Smith to man first base in Flushing by the start of 2018.
95. Erick Fedde, RHP, Nationals: When the Nationals traded Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez to the Chicago White Sox this offseason, it accelerated Fedde’s ascent to the majors. Two seasons away from Tommy John elbow surgery, Fedde, 23, has gone 13-8 with a 3.21 ERA over 37 pro games.
96. Chih-Wei Hu, RHP, Rays: An excellent return for reliever Kevin Jepsen in a 2015 trade with Minnesota, Hu, 23, will join a deep rotation at Class AAA Durham. A full season there should be quite telling about Hu’s future — midrotation starter or potentially dominant reliever? The Rays will bank on him reaching the starter ceiling first, and he could reach Tampa Bay later this season.
97. Christian Arroyo, SS-3B, Giants: Arroyo, 21, initially defied skeptics of his worth as a first-rounder in 2013 or his ability to play shortstop, hitting proficiently in his first three seasons as a pro. He didn’t reach those same heights last year at Class AA Richmond, where he had a .689 OPS, but his development continues apace. The Giants had Arroyo play more third base in 2016, and that figures to be his position in the majors, where the club has Brandon Crawford entrenched at shortstop but might need a replacement for Eduardo Nunez in 2018. With continued offensive improvement, Arroyo’s arrival could happen this year.
98. Christian Walker, 1B, Orioles: Once a promising prospect, Walker, 25, has seen his stock fall over the past two seasons. He put up solid numbers in the minors in 2013 and 2014 but has since seen those drop off at the Class AAA level. Last season, he made the transition from first base to left field to give him a better chance to reach the majors.
99. Tyler Beede, RHP, Giants: Chosen 14th overall out of Vanderbilt in the 2013 draft, Beede regained the life on his fastball in a strong 2016 season that put him in position to make his major league debut this year. Beede, 23, features a top-notch curveball along with a mid-90s heater and an effective two-seamer. That repertoire allowed him to lead the Class AA Eastern League with a 2.81 ERA while finishing second in strikeouts (135). If he continues to show similar progress at Class AAA, Beede would be in line to get the call whenever the Giants need to fill a starter’s slot.
100. Amed Rosario, SS, Mets: Long heralded for his physical tools, Rosario enjoyed a breakout offensive season split between the Class A Advanced and Class AA levels. Playing as the youngest player in the Eastern League after his promotion, Rosario established himself as one of the game’s top shortstop prospects. Asdrubal Cabrera will block his path for now, but 21-year-old Rosario should start the season in Class AAA Las Vegas and might not need long.
(© 2017 KSDK)