As the adage goes, what once was old is new again. Save for a few big-ticket items, most contenders took a conservative approach this offseason, in terms of dollars. In place of the big spending seen in recent winters, they turned to an old strategy for acquisitions: bartering, offering young talent in exchange for established veterans. At the same time, you could say the teams with the existing talent also went old-school and became prospectors.
Many of the names remain the same; however, a good number of high-profile prospects find themselves in new situations. Although some prospects stayed at home, the movements of their organizations throughout the winter might have great influence, both good and bad, over their paths.
The following are the top 50 prospects for the 2017 season. Keep in mind the same disclaimers as always apply. This is not a traditional ranking like the one done by Keith Law. What a player projects to do in three-to-five years is not important to winning a championship this year. Also, things such as playing time (starting on a bad team versus playing sparingly on a good one), position scarcity and potential to impact standard-scoring categories are in some cases as important as natural ability.
These rankings are also fluid. They will change as the environments around the players change. For example, Trevor Story ranked 25th on the initial list in 2016. However, by mid-March, the circumstances around him had changed enough for us to project him to win the shortstop job for the Colorado Rockies, and it was off to the races thereafter.
On to the preseason list for 2017: