The MLB non-waiver trade deadline has come and gone, and the MiLB season is rapidly winding down, so it seems like the perfect time to update the top 100 prospects list.
When we last updated these rankings, on June 23, it was more about slotting in the latest wave of June draft picks than a full-scale reshuffling of the list.
This time around, there was plenty of movement from top to bottom for a fresh take on the prospect landscape.
Let's dive right into our updated list:
Graduated since previous update: 15. Francis Martes, HOU, 24. Ian Happ, CHC, 32. Bradley Zimmer, CLE, 40. Luke Weaver, STL, 79. Sean Newcomb, LAA, 87. Jacob Faria, TB, 88. Josh Hader, MIL, 90. Raimel Tapia, COL
6. OF Ronald Acuna, Atlanta Braves
Ronald Acuna is the youngest prospect in the Triple-A International League, but that hasn't stopped him from hitting .338/.403/.619 with 11 doubles, eight home runs and 21 RBI in 34 games since being promoted.
All told, he's hitting .320/.374/.539 with 28 doubles, 20 home runs, 70 RBI and 37 stolen bases over three minor league levels this season. He won't celebrate his 20th birthday until December.
It's been a meteoric rise for a prospect who had just 40 games above rookie ball under his belt when the season began.
With Yoan Moncada, Amed Rosario and Rafael Devers all likely to exhaust their rookie eligibility before the season is over, Acuna will be squarely in the conversation for the title of baseball's No. 1 prospect heading into next year.
34. RHP Forrest Whitley, Houston Astros
With a projectable 6'7" frame and a mid-90s fastball, it's not hard to see what the Houston Astros liked about Forrest Whitley when they took him with the No. 17 pick in the 2016 draft.
The 19-year-old was aggressively assigned to Single-A to begin his first full pro season, and he's responded better than anyone could have hoped, going 5-4 with a 2.80 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 128 strikeouts in 83.2 innings.
That performance included a midseason promotion to High-A and a recent bump up to Double-A, where he struck out 11 over six scoreless innings in his debut on Thursday.
"I had a very relaxed mentality throughout the whole game," Whitley told Gerard Gilberto of MiLB.com. "I felt like I didn't really have my best stuff, but I was making pitches when I needed to make pitches, hitting the right spots and I got away with a couple mistakes. So things just kind of went my way tonight."
A modest assessment, to say the least, from a teenager on the fast track.
59. SS Fernando Tatis Jr., San Diego Padres
Chicago White Sox general manager Rick Hahn has done a tremendous job building up the farm system since the club committed to rebuilding.
However, the decision to trade Fernando Tatis Jr. to the San Diego Padres last season in exchange for an aging James Shields is one that could haunt him for a long time.
Tatis, who won't turn 19 until January, has spent the entire season with Single-A Fort Wayne, with whom he's been one of the most productive hitters in the Midwest League.
He ranks among the league leaders in OPS (.900, eighth), hits (118, fourth), home runs (21, first), RBI (67, second), runs scored (75, fourth), walks (70, first) and total bases (220, second).
With a rocket arm and good instincts, he should be able to stick at shortstop, though it looks like he could play at third base too if he were to shift over.
77. OF Estevan Florial, New York Yankees
Estevan Florial might be the biggest breakout prospect of 2017.
The Haiti native opened the season as the No. 14 prospect in the New York Yankees system with Baseball America, but he's far exceeded expectations to emerge as one of the game's most exciting teenage prospects.
The 19-year-old only cost the Yankees a $200,000 bonus as part of the 2015 international crop after some birth-certificate controversy took a significant bite out of his earning power.
He's hitting .298/.374/.476 with 40 extra-base hits and 22 stolen bases while splitting the year between Single-A and High-A in his full-season debut. He has the arm to play right field and the range to stick in center, so defense should be a chip in his favor as well.
86. OF Austin Hays, Baltimore Orioles
The Baltimore Orioles opened the 2016 draft by selecting Cody Sedlock (6.05 ERA in High-A) in the first round and Matthias Dietz (4.71 ERA in Single-A) in the second—and they are both off to inauspicious starts to their pro careers.
Luckily, it appears they hit big on third-round pick Austin Hays.
A standout at Jacksonville University who came with obvious questions about how he'd fare against higher-level competition, Hays hit .336 with a .900 OPS in 153 plate appearances at the Low-A level after signing last year.
He's backed that up with a .331/.365/.607 line that includes 28 doubles, 29 home runs and 85 RBI between High-A and Double-A, catapulting himself into the top-prospect conversation in the process.
NR. C Jorge Alfaro, Philadephia Phillies (Previous: 63)
Jorge Alfaro looked poised to seize the starting catching job for the rebuilding Philadelphia Phillies this season after posting a .783 OPS with 21 doubles, 15 home runs and 67 RBI while throwing out 44 percent of base stealers for Double-A Reading.
But he scuffled to a .241/.291/.358 line with a 113-to-16 strikeout-to-walk ratio in Triple-A, and he's been steadily sliding down our rankings as a result.
On a positive note, the 24-year-old has gone 6-for-16 with a home run since being called up to the majors. He also still has intriguing raw power and a cannon for an arm.
NR. RHP David Paulino, Houston Astros (Previous: 76)
There's plenty to like about a 6'7" pitcher with power stuff and a strong minor league track record.
However, in the case of David Paulino, his stock has fallen considerably this season after he was slapped with an 80-game suspension for a positive PED test.
The 23-year-old didn't show particularly well over six starts at the MLB level prior to that suspension, either, posting a 6.52 ERA and 1.48 WHIP. That's enough for him to fall out of the top 100, at least for the time being.
79. OF Corey Ray, Milwaukee Brewers
It doesn't look like the No. 5 overall pick in the 2016 draft is going to move as quickly as some people thought.
Corey Ray was one of the top bats in his class after a standout junior season at Louisville, but he's hit a pedestrian .241/.312/.373 with 195 strikeouts in 157 games as a pro.
He suffered a torn meniscus during instructional league last season, and his recovery resulted in a late start to the 2017 season. With a full offseason of rest and a normal spring of preparation, perhaps he'll come back strong next season and reclaim his top-prospect status.
54. RHP Anderson Espinoza, San Diego Padres
Anderson Espinoza hit the disabled list with forearm tightness in April, and that led to Tommy John surgery in late July before he threw a pitch in 2017.
The good news is the 19-year-old was so far ahead of the developmental curve prior to the injury that a lost season doesn't derail his development like it might for an older prospect.
Espinoza has 111.2 innings at the Single-A level under his belt, and he won't turn 20 until March.
That doesn't stop him from sliding down the rankings, though.
45. LHP Jay Groome, Boston Red Sox
Jay Groome is still the top pitching prospect in the Boston Red Sox system and has the potential to be "the best pitcher signed and developed by the Red Sox since Roger Clemens," as MLB.com put it.
However, the jump to full-season ball has not gone smoothly.
A brutal July saw him post a 6.75 ERA and 1.60 WHIP while allowing 21 hits, 11 walks and 15 earned runs in 20 innings of work.
He's looked much better since the calendar turned to August, but his up-and-down performance this year is enough for other pitching prospects who are further along in their respective developments to pass him by in these rankings.
5 To Watch
RHP Jon Duplantier, Arizona Diamondbacks
Despite the sketchy track record of pitchers out of Rice University and a shoulder injury that cost him his sophomore season, Jon Duplantier was still taken in the third round of the 2016 draft.
That's already looking like one of that year's biggest steals.
After pitching just one inning in his pro debut, the 23-year-old has gone 10-3 with a 1.47 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and 130 strikeouts in 116 innings this season between Single-A and High-A.
Other teams have taken notice too, as Duplantier was generating interest leading up to the trade deadline, per David Laurila of FanGraphs. If the D-backs are smart, he won't be changing teams anytime soon.
RHP Corbin Burnes, Milwaukee Brewers
An impressive junior season at St. Mary's gave Corbin Burnes as much helium as any college pitcher in the 2016 draft class, and the Milwaukee Brewers scooped him up with their fourth-round selection.
After a strong showing in his pro debut, he appears to be on the fast track.
The 22-year-old dominated High-A hitters to the tune of a 1.05 ERA and 0.88 WHIP over 10 starts to open the 2017 season, and he hasn't missed a beat since making the midseason jump to Double-A.
A polished four-pitch mix and durable 6'3", 205-pound frame give him the look of a future big league starter, even if he doesn't have overpowering stuff.
1B Ronald Guzman, Texas Rangers
Mike Napoli's impending free agency could open up a spot in the Texas Rangers lineup for Ronald Guzman next season.
While he might never be more than a 20-25 homer guy in the majors, he should be able to make up for that with his advanced approach and plus-hit tool.
The 22-year-old is batting .316/.384/.469 with 21 doubles and 12 home runs for Triple-A Round Rock this season, and his strikeout rate (15.8 percent) and walk rate (8.8 percent) both demonstrate hitter who's ready for the next level.
Young players with a first-base-only profile are often overlooked when it comes to top-prospect lists, but Guzman is worthy of attention.
LHP Tanner Scott, Baltimore Orioles
MLB.com described Tanner Scott perfectly: "Scott's elite fastball gives him closer potential, as he'll routinely hit 100 mph (or higher) while sitting comfortably at 95-99. Beyond that, however, Scott remains very raw."
The good: He's pitched to a 1.83 ERA with 74 strikeouts in 59 innings of work for Double-A Bowie this season.
The bad: Command remains a significant issue, as he's pitching around 6.1 BB/9, leaving him with a 1.27 WHIP despite a sterling .174 opponents' batting average.
The 23-year-old posted an 8.0 BB/9 rate last season, so his command is moving in the right direction. Another step forward there and a bit more consistency from his slider, and he could be the game's next elite southpaw reliever.
SS Garrett Hampson, Colorado Rockies
Garrett Hampson has quietly raked since going in the third round of the 2016 draft.
The 22-year-old sports a .318/.378/.450 line with 39 extra-base hits for High-A Lancaster and ranks among the California League leaders in OPS (.828, ninth), runs scored (100, first), total bases (215, third) and stolen bases (46, second).
He's split his time between second base and shortstop this season, and his long-term future might be at the keystone, with Trevor Story and fellow prospect Brendan Rodgers also in the mix at shortstop going forward.
Regardless of where he lines up defensively, he has the offensive tools to make an impact once he arrives in Colorado.
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