So Jason Parks over at Baseball Prospectus has released an updated mid-season Top 50 Prospect list. People love lists. I'm sure somewhere there's a cave painting of the top 5 Sabertooth Tiger Hunts or the top 10 gods to avoid smiting. I'm not a big fan of mid-season lists. It's a fairly small data pool and guys may get promoted and flop in the second half with a challenge to higher levels that exposes a flaw. Still, taken for what they are, a pseudo prospect stock ticker allowing prospect watchers and hard core fans to see which way their favorite stocks are trending, it's a worthwhile look.
Franco is the second highest rising prospect on the list. He was unranked in the Top 101 preseason (Why 101? It's 1 louder i'n it?) and rose all the way to 42 (Dodgers 16 year old Pitcher Julio Urias, who's striking out 9.5 per 9 IP at the full season Low-A level is ranked 41 after not being ranked preseason). The full list and write up is behind the pay wall. Essentially Franco made the list because he is killing it with the bat. He may not climb too much higher on the list though because of his defensive limitations. Still Franco is now a legitimate top prospect who may only be a year or so from the show. This is worth being excited about. In the preseason much discussion revolved around how the Phillies had some good, interesting prospects but they were so far from the show it was underwhelming. I'm certain Ruben is getting and will continue to get calls asking about Franco's availability in a trade. Now we just need to hope he's the new Dom Brown and Ruben doesn't let him go.
Speaking of which. How are some former Phillies doing? Well, the perpetually injured Travis D'arnaud fell from 14th to 28th due to his residency on various DL lists over the last several years. Another former farmhand, Jon Singleton also fell from 24 to 36. That's largely due to his suspension for smoking whacky tobacky. He's back playing now and is a fairly safe bet to mash his way back up the list. Who knows how high he can go (sorry). Among non-Phillies related players, the top 3 are usual suspects, Byron Buxton (Twins), Oscar Taveras (Cardinals, who have, like, half the damn top 50) and one of my personal faves Xander Bogaerts (Red Sox). Also of note, severely overhyped Reds prospect Billy Hamilton was caught stealing the 14th spot this preseason and is being held on closely at 37th. Hamilton is still stealing a batshit insane number of bases, but he's not getting on base at a particularly good clip. He's looking a lot like the next Vince Coleman (though Coleman walked more).
There were several more players who would likely comprise 51-75 on the list and Parks notes he talked to a lot of sources to get feedback, but left them just off the list. Included in that borderline group were Jesse Biddle, as may be expected, since he was roughly top 75 pre-season. Also included was Carlos Tocci. This is an interesting development, as he was also unranked preseason. I'm a little surprised at Tocci's inclusion. While it's very impressive to play in the SALLY at 17 and hold your own, while showing excellent plate discipline, I wasn't sure if it was Top 50 or Top 75 worthy. Clearly Parks and his sources are impressed enough to think it is.