Baseball America has kept the same top two from the preseason in re-ranking the game’s best prospects, going with Bryce Harper and Mike Trout at the top.
That was to be expected, of course. In a mild surprise, BA elevated Tampa Bay’s Matt Moore past Atlanta’s Julio Teheran into the third spot, making him the game’s top pitching prospect. Teheran was the No. 5 prospect and top pitcher in the preseason rankings, while Moore came in 15th.
Sliding in the rankings were Yankees catcher Jesus Montero (3rd to 8th) Royals outfielder Wil Myers (10th to 17th) and Rays right-hander Chris Archer (27th to out of the top 50). Royals left-hander John Lamb, who ranked 18th in the preseason, also fell out of the rankings, but since he underwent Tommy John surgery, that was anticipated.
The biggest surprise is that BA threw Paul Goldschmidt into the rankings at No. 50. Putting him in the final spot suggests that they’re not sold on him, but they also weren’t going to risk being embarrassed by leaving him off. Goldschmidt, 23, is the leading home run hitter in the minors with 25 this season. He’s hit .314/.431/.634 for Double-A Mobile.
The Rangers will not sign free agent reliever Seung-hwan Oh after all. Reports from MLB.com’s TR Sullivan indicate that negotiations were brought to a halt after a physical issue was found with the pitcher. While the specifics have yet to be released, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News says the issue was revealed on an MRI of the right-hander’s arm.
Oh was thought to be in talks with the Rangers last week, though a deal was never officially announced by the club. The 35-year-old righty is fresh off of a two-year run with the Cardinals, during which he posted a cumulative 39 saves, 2.85 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 10.2 SO/9 in 139 innings. He struggled with consistency in his sophomore season, however, and finished 2017 with a disappointing 4.10 ERA and 4.44 FIP in 62 appearances for the team.
While Oh hasn’t experienced any setbacks with his arm in the majors so far, he does have a history of prior injuries during his time in KBO. He sustained a shoulder injury in 2009 and underwent surgery to remove bone spurs from his elbow in 2010. It’s possible that the Rangers saw an entirely different problem on the MRI, but clearly it was enough to give them strong reservations about inking the righty to a $2.75+ million deal. It’s still possible that another of Oh’s suitors will offer him a contract prior to Opening Day; the Giants were rumored to be interested in the veteran reliever, among other teams, though their recent acquisition of lefty reliever Tony Watson will likely take them out of the running now.