Baseball America released their list of the top 20 prospects in the Eastern League on Monday morning. Both Ke’Bryan Hayes and Mitch Keller are on the list, though not where you might expect.
BA posted their International League top 20 prospects on Friday and Keller ranked 11th on that list, along with Kevin Kramer (14th) and Kevin Newman (20th). What was interesting about that ranking was that they had Keller six spots behind Austin Meadows. So it might not be totally surprising that they had Keller ranked sixth overall in the Eastern League, two spots behind Ke’Bryan Hayes.
Hayes received a lot of praise for his hitting and additional power we saw this year. It’s also no secret that his defense is above average, with BA noting that scouts essentially called him a shortstop playing third base.
Keller also got a better write-up for his pitches on this list than the IL list, as they noted his improved changeup, along with the fastball and curve being plus pitches.
They didn’t finish his section strong though, going very modest with his potential by saying “Keller’s durable body and outstanding stuff gives him the upside of a No. 3 type of starter.” That’s in comparison to the softer report for the IL, which said that he is “in the upper echelon of pitching prospects.”
If he’s one of the top pitching prospects in the minors, but only has #3 upside, that doesn’t say much for the quality of pitching prospects in baseball, because most prospects don’t reach their upside. I’d still go #2 upside for him with medium risk of him reaching that upside, which is somewhere in the middle of the two assessments from BA.