With the 2015 draft officially wrapped up it’s now time to take a quick look back at each organization’s updated Top 10 Prospect list. Here’s a list of the preseason rankings.
System Overview: Surprising amount of depth behind the club’s Top 10 prospects, including slap-hitting shortstop Ozhaino Albies, speedster Mallex Smith, and right-handers Andrew Thurman and Tyrell Jenkins. Atlanta’s system continues to improve – especially with the development of Dustin Peterson and Braxton Davidson – but it’s still lacking in high-end impact talent.
1. Matt Wisler, RHP: The promising right-hander has taken dramatic steps forward after his disastrous debut in Class AAA in 2014. This season Wisler’s posted a nice enough 3.34 ERA while averaging 6.78 strikeouts and 1.80 walks per nine innings. He may not be the budding #2-type arm he looked like two years ago, but he’s nearly ready to slide into a #4-type role.
2. Manny Banuelos, LHP: On the surface the diminutive southpaw has been one the better pitching prospects in the upper levels of the minor leagues; he’s sporting a 2.19 ERA while not allowing a more than two earned runs over his last nine starts. The problem, of course, is that his peripheral numbers – 7.95 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9 – suggest otherwise.
3. Braxton Davidson, 1B: The club’s first pick last June, Davidson has been one of the better bats in the minor leagues this season, slugging .280/.408/.405 with 10 doubles and five homeruns. His overall production has been 40% better than the Sally league average. Tremendous patience, though his strikeout rate is hovering near red flag territory.
4. Lucas Sims, RHP: The 21-year-old right-hander has made just six starts before landing on the DL with an undisclosed injury sustained in an accident involving the team bus. Sims was in the middle of an up-and-down season: he tossed three starts of 6+ innings without allowing more than two runs and another three starts without making past the fourth inning.
5. Kolby Allard, RHP: The first of four consecutive prep players grabbed by the club to open the draft this June. Allard made some waves last summer by fanning 17 of the 29 batters he faced while with Team USA. He could very easily be the club’s top prospect by this time next year.
6. Jose Peraza, 2B/CF: Splitting his time between second base and center field, Peraza got off to a bit of a disappointing start in his debut in Class AAA this season. Through his first 56 games he’s sporting a .282/.318/.348 with a 89 wRC+ total. Prior to the year I wrote that he looked more like a super-sub and he’s done nothing to dispel that notion yet.
7. Rio Ruiz, 3B: After two putrid months to open up the year – he batted .179/.297/.216 – Ruiz has seemingly found his stroke once the calendar flipped to June; he’s slugging .316/.447/.421 over his last 14 games. To date he’s slugged nine extra-base hits, all doubles.
9. Dustin Peterson, LF: Made the move from the hot corner to a corner outfield spot this season. Peterson, nonetheless, has had a coming out party of sorts in the Carolina League, slugging a career best .311/.381/.466 with half a dozen doubles, a pair of triples, and five homeruns through his first 45 games. Even more promising is the fact that he’s shaved several percentage points off his strikeout rate while seeing a dramatic leap forward in patience.
10. Michael Soroka, RHP: Taken 12 picks after Allard. Soroka is a wiry 6-foot-4 right-hander out of Bishop Carroll HS, becoming the highest drafted Canadian arm, according to MLB.com, since Jake Eliopoulos in 2009.