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The Top Prospect for Every American League Central Team

The top prospects of the AL Central are here, there and everywhere. Things are slowly getting better for the Chicago White Sox, a lot better, really. The Cleveland Guardian’s farm system took a hit after three top prospects earned promotions to the big league club. The Detroit Tigers’ last three first-rounders are all in the top 100 right now. For the Kansas City Royals, they offer a strong mix of upside and probability. Finally, the top of the Minnesota Twins’ prospect system is strong for a team that’s contending in a weak division.

AL Central Top Prospects

Kyle Manzardo, 1B, Cleveland Guardians

Scouting grades: Hit: 60| Power: 50| Run: 30| Arm: 45| Field: 50| Overall: 55

The Tampa Bay Rays took Kyle Manzardo as a second-round pick in 2021. He was traded to the Cleveland Guardians this past July for Aaron Civale, as Manzardo started to turn the ball a lot more after coming off the injured list. Manzardo is a disciplined hitter who doesn’t chase much and never misses on fastballs. In fact, the Rays worked with the first baseman on improving his strength, conditioning and agility to unlock more of his power. He’s got a strong ability to put up high OBP numbers and a 25-30 home run ceiling.

Colson Montgomery, SS, Chicago White Sox

Scouting grades: Hit: 55| Power: 60| Run: 50| Arm: 55| Field: 55| Overall: 60

Colson Montgomery missed the first half of 2023 with an oblique strain then a strained muscle in his mid-back. He returned on July 4 to Double-A, where he’d finished the previous season. His performance at every level has been good enough, but he hasn’t looked the same since his 2022 season, where earned player comparisons to Corey Seager. Montgomery has a great approach at the plate, walking as much as he struck out last year. His defensive abilities have shifted for the better as he continues to add strength without losing speed. His agility and arm strength can allow him to transition to third base if necessary. He’s on track to make his big league debut in 2024.

Max Clark, OF, Detroit Tigers

Scouting grades: Hit: 60| Power: 50| Run: 70| Arm: 65| Field: 60| Overall: 60

There’s a reason why Max Clark could have been the top pick in last year’s draft, but the 2023 draft class had tons of talent. The Detroit Tigers landed Clark with the third overall pick and he happens to be a five-tool prospect. Clark projects to be above-average or better in all five tools- hit, power, run field, throw. He’s a 70 runner who plays easy plus defense in center field with a strong enough arm to play right. He might need time to adjust to velocity, but the approach and physical tools are advanced enough that his development should come in time.

Blake Mitchell, C, Kansas City Royals

Scouting grades: Hit: 50| Power: 55| Run: 35| Arm: 70| Field: 55| Overall: 55

Blake Mitchell was the first catcher taken in the 2023 draft, as the Kansas City Royals took him eighth overall. He’s a power-hitting catcher with a plus arm who shows the skills to be an above-average defender behind the plate. There are some concerns about swing-and-miss for now that deserve monitoring, especially as the workload behind the plate increases. Mitchell is going to need time to develop, as all prospects do. But he has to work on developing his approach and ability to pick up spring and changing speeds.

Walker Jenkins, OF, Minnesota Twins

Scouting grades: Hit: 60| Power: 60| Run: 55| Arm: 60| Field: 55 | Overall: 60

Similar to Clark, Walker Jenkins also could have gone first overall, but landed fifth overall in the hands of the Minnesota Twins. Jenkins earns comparisons to Hall of Famer Larry Walker for his size, athleticism and his left-handed swing. Jenkins has had zero issues in professional baseball with contact or plate discipline, although he hasn’t shown much power yet. He’s a solid runner with good instincts as he began his career mostly playing center field. He will get experience in the corners just so he’s comfortable there whenever his bat is ready for the big leagues.

Main Photo: © Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports


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