If I had to redo my Top 4 players, I think the Top 4 is pretty clear and inarguable. The new #1 in the Org. is J.P. Crawford, who has been so much better than anyone expected. His defense still needs some refinement, but that's not unusual for teenage shortstops. His bat has been a bit of a revelation though as it has been advanced enough to get him to High-A in less than a year of playing pro-ball (though less than by only a few days). I don't think Crawford will be a .300 hitter the rest of the way up the ladder, but I didn't expect his play so far, so who knows?
The clear #2 is Nola. The 7th pick in the draft is polished and won't give away many free passes. Even without the struggles of Biddle and Franco, it's hard to imagine Nola not being the #2 prospect in the system. He's just that good and just as close as those two to Philly.
I could see some people making a case to rank 3 or 4 either way around, but I'd be hard to convince that #3 isn't Maikel Franco and #4 isn't Jesse Biddle. Franco's been pretty bad at the plate, but he's trying to cut down the exaggerated hand load in his swing, so there's at least a solid reason for his struggles. Biddle has just been mediocre at best. He's in year #2 in Reading and his numbers are nearly identical, and perhaps not quite as good. I had hope, pre-season, that a healthy Biddle, repeating a level would breakout a bit. That's not saying he'd pitch like the next Cliff Lee, but maybe he'd show some potential to still get to low end #2 starter. Instead, he looks like a #4 starter who might be able to improve into a decent #3 Starter. He's still young, so no need to write him off or get too down on him, but 2014 has been less than stellar so far for him.
So what about some other names? Carlos Tocci is improving. He's hitting the ball harder and keeping up with the competition and his stock hasn't really changed. His problem is others have seen their stock go up and may continue to see their stock rise and recent draftees could also push him down the list. Tocci's currently hanging around the .240/.300/.300 region, but for his skill set, he really need to get more in the realm of .270/.330/.330 or better. His tools suggest top of the order hitter, and maybe he gets there, but at present he looks more like a back of the order guy with a superior glove and enough bat to remain a starter. It's honestly going to be probably two years before Tocci fills out and we really know what he is. Remember though, that in the US, he'd be a recent High School draftee (given his tools maybe 3rd-5th rounds), so he's ahead of the curve.
Has there been a hotter name than Cam Perkins this year in the Org? Well, maybe Ken Giles, but that's it. Perkins hasn't displayed much power, he doesn't run any better than average, his arm is average, his Defense is adequate, scouts don't love him, but the dude just keeps hitting and dammit, I'm buying in a little bit. On Scouting Reports, I'd rank him in the 20's as a future reserve. On stats alone he looks like a Top 5 player in the system. Combining the 2, I lean a bit towards the scouting reports, but his stock is definitely up. I still think he's a reserve (especially if the power doesn't develop further), but I feel more optimistic he'll reach that ceiling than I did pre-season.
Ken Giles' stock is definitely up. He needs better Control of his stuff, but he's shown some improvement and he can hang at the back of a bullpen pretty soon. I like his chances better than Aumont, who's the last guy I wrote that about.
Kelly Dugan's stock is down. He hit well and looked good when he was playing in April, but a hand injury and subsequent Oblique pull have not helped his reputation as being injury prone. I think he'll be an MLB Starter if he can stay healthy, but that's a big if now.
Dugan's outfield mate in Clearwater Aaron Altherr is in a bit of a holding pattern. Two weeks back I was lukewarm on Altherr and thought he looked pretty bad. His numbers have ticked up a bit to suggest he's adjusting to Double-A. That said, I have a lot of respect for Jason Parks, who visited Reading last week and had less than glowing reviews of Altherr and saw his ceiling as more of a 4/5th OF. I hope to see Reading play in about 2 weeks myself and until then I'll reserve some judgement.
Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, I have no idea, still. I clearly ranked him too high and if I redid my rankings now, he isn't even Top 30.
Pre-season I ranked Roman Quinn #5, as some wrote him off because his
hamstring achilles exploded (H/t RedBurb). I can't argue with those who downgraded him as his injury directly affected his only Plus tool. Quinn came back pretty quickly and, while his Walks are unusually low, his numbers are largely as good as last year or better. With Quinn's recent move to Center to clear the way for Crawford, I expect Quinn's bat to really start to take off more. I'd like to see Quinn get into the .280/.350/.400 range on his triple slash and that is not unrealistic for him as he focuses on hitting and not the demanding position of Shortstop. His speed also needs to return a bit more, but that should happen over time.
Deivi Grullon- I really ranked Grullon pretty aggressively, for me, last year and if I redid my rankings today, I think he goes up to #5 overall in the system. His numbers in Lakewood were comparable to Tocci's, Grullon is ~6 months younger and he plays a more demanding defensive position of the field. His defense needs a little work, but his arm is an absolute Howitzer, his pop times are absurd and his bat looks strong enough for him to hit 7th or 8th reasonably. What he needs to work on: His glove is a little too noisy at the end of his catch which will hurt his framing and he needs to improve his blocking. That's pretty good for an 18 year old.
It's way too early to get into Cord Sandberg, but based on the reports out of XST, I probably ranked him too low at 20.
I decided to leave Samuel Hiciano just out of my Top 30 in favor of talking about Trey Williams and a few other guys. I am a fool. I really like Hiciano, but he was hurt last year and didn't show much beyond Power. I had already aggresively ranked Pujols and Encarnacion and hesitated to do that with Hiciano as well. So far, so good for Samuel. His stock is up with me. I'd like to see more walks and I think he'd probably get ranked in the low teens for me now.
Other draftees? I'll need to see some pro-work, but I would bet on Oliver, Brown and Imhoff getting Top 30. I think Imhof may get ranked highest of those 3, with Brown ranked lowest. I'd wager Imhof would be in the teen s for me and Brown in the late 20's (I don't trust his bat).