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.
José Bautista hasn’t appeared in the majors since 2018 but the 39-year-old isn’t done playing just yet. Last month, we learned via a report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan that Bautista is hoping to come back as a two-way player. He spent the winter working out as a pitcher.
Bautista had also been working with former Blue Jays teammate Marcus Stroman. Back in January, Stroman tweeted, “My bro @JoeyBats19 is nasty on the mound. We been working working. All jokes aside, this man can pitch in a big league bullpen. I’ll put my word on it!”
In March, Passan added some details about Bautista, writing, “I’ve seen video of Jose Bautista throwing a bullpen session. Couldn’t tell the velocity, but one source said he can run his fastball up to 94. His slider had legitimate tilt — threw a short one and a bigger bender. @STR0 said in January he could pitch in a big league bullpen.” Stroman retweeted it, adding, “Facts!”
Stroman reiterated his feelings on Tuesday. He tweeted, “Since y’all thought I wasn’t being serious when I said it the first time…my bro @JoeyBats19could EASILY pitch in a big league bullpen. Easily. Sinker, slider, and changeup are MLB ready!” Stroman attached a video of Bautista throwing a slider, in which one can hear Stroman calling the pitch “nasty.”
Stroman attached another video of Bautista throwing a glove-side sinker:
Replying to a fan, Stroman said Bautista’s body “is in better shape than 90-95% of the league.”
I am not a scout and won’t pretend to be one after watching two low-resolution videos. And Stroman’s hype is likely partially one friend attempting to uplift another. That being said, I’ve seen much worse from position players attempting to pitch. It’s a long shot, especially given his age, that Bautista will ever pitch in the majors, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him get an opportunity to pitch in front of major league scouts.