One of the pleasures of welcoming baseball back every year is sifting through the major prospect lists. Admittedly, they’re imperfect predictors of who will pan out and who will bust—prospect evaluation is an inexact science, and it’s not hard to find disagreements between evaluators—but the lists are fun to read. At this time of year they also offer cues about whom to keep an eye on early in spring training.
After scouring the lists of Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, ESPN and MLB Pipeline (MLB.com), what follows here is a look at each team’s top prospect—not necessarily someone who will help the big club in 2017, but someone whose name should become familiar. A few already are, thanks to major league bloodlines or inclusion in past blockbusters. Sometimes, there’s a strong consensus about who that player is, but sometimes it’s a split decision, because the hard-working folks behind these lists all vary in their philosophies and their views of each player’s tools.
For each player listed, I’ve identified the publication that ranked him the highest. The player ages are as of June 30, and the ETAs are, of course, estimates.