The 2018 Major League Baseball Draft is just two weeks away. Next week, we will talk the top prospects in the Draft and the best fits for each team. This week, we take a look at the top prospects currently in organizations across the league.
Ronald Acuna and Gleyber Torres
Of MLB.com’s top 10 prospects, seven are batters. Of those seven, Ronald Acuna and Gleyber Torres are the two prospects that have made Major League appearances in 2018.
In 2017, Ronald Acuna saw action in A+, AA and AAA ball for the Atlanta Braves organization. In his 54 games in AAA last season, Acuna hit nine home runs and put together an impressive 162 wRC+. Transitioning to 2018, Acuna started the year in AAA. In those 17 games prior to being called up, he hit .232 with a .321 on-base percentage.
At the Major League level, Acuna has appeared in 26 games for Atlanta. In his 115 plate appearances, Acuna has hit four home runs with a 104 wRC+. Acuna has also put up a high 27.8% strikeout percentage.
Gleyber Torres has played 27 games for the Yankees in 2018. A 167 wRC+ has been everything Brian Cashman has wanted and probably more out of the 21-year-old. Torres is slashing .323/.385/.613 and eight home runs.
Torres was originally in the Chicago Cubs organization before making his way to New York in the 2016 Aroldis Chapman trade. In 2017, he saw AA and AAA action before batting an impressive .347 in AAA in 2018. Torres’ strikeout percentage has dropped significantly in his AAA and MLB stints following the 2017 season.
Today is a day I will never forget. Beyond excited to be here with my teammates and we got the Win Thank you guys so much for all the support. Go Yankees!
— Gleyber Torres (@TorresGleyber) April 23, 2018
Top pitching prospects in Chicago and Los Angeles
The two top pitching prospects in baseball round out MLB.com’s 2018 top 10. Michael Kopech (Chicago White Sox) and Walker Buehler (Los Angeles Dodgers) are 22 and 23 years of age, respectively.
Kopech has yet to make a Major League appearance for Chicago, but he has started in nine AAA games in 2018. Beginning his journey through the Minors with the Boston Red Sox, Kopech was sent to Chicago in the 2016 Chris Sale trade. Kopech spent most of 2017 in AA before being promoted towards the end of the season. Kopech saw three starts which yielded 15.0 innings pitched. In 2018, Kopech is sitting at a 3.20 FIP with a 3.97 ERA. This season, Kopech has a walk percentage of 11.8%, but also a strikeout percentage above 30%. A 1.24 walks-hits per innings pitched (WHIP) is slightly better than his 2017 mark at 1.33. Kopech has also split his ground ball and fly ball percentages at 39.0% apiece.
Walker Buehler has made appearances for the Los Angeles Dodgers in both 2017 and 2018. In 2017, Buehler worked out of the bullpen for eight games without a start. This season, all six appearances for the Dodgers have been out of the gate as a starter. In those six games this year, Buehler has thrown for 34.0 innings pitched. A 2.40 FIP and 2.38 ERA have been impressively low for the young pitcher. Buehler has already collected a 1.1 WAR this season and has been one of the strong points of the Dodger rotation. With a high strikeout percentage at 29.6% and exceptionally low walk percentage, Buehler has shown his ability to combine consistency with success.