Baseball America continues it travels through the various minor leagues, ranking the top prospects in (or previously in for a healthy chunk of time) each one, having now reached the Southern League. That’s where the AA Tennessee Smokies play, and, besting the Daytona Cubs by one, they place four prospects on BA’s list:
1. Kris Bryant
2. Addison Russell
5. C.J. Edwards
18. Albert Almora
Three of the top five? The top two? That’s a fun list.
BA has always been higher on Edwards than the other services, so I’m not surprised to see him so high on the list, even after a season mostly lost to injury. His ranking, you should note, is five spots higher than former (current?) big-time Diamondbacks pitching prospect Archie Bradley.
Bryant and Russell as 1 and 2 in the league was pretty much assumed, though Corey Seager at number 3 was probably a legitimate contender with Russell.
Almora at 18 is not really something that concerns you, given that it was a challenging promotion, and Almora struggled with the bat. Everyone, including folks making these lists, knows the story with Almora: the glove is legit, and so is the plate coverage and line-drive stroke. The ability to focus on drivable pitches, while laying off peripheral offerings that Almora can hit because of his great coverage, but can’t drive, is the biggest one. The power needs to develop a little, too. But there’s still plenty of upside for a guy who was the fifth youngest player in *any* AA league this year. I really think folks forget about that part sometimes.