With the minor-league season less than two weeks from ending, we're going to use these final two Prospect Watch columns of 2019 to highlight the five top prospects who surprised us and the five top prospects who disappointed us most this year. This week, we're looking at the surprises -- or, in other words, the prospects who exceeded expectations. 

Wander Franco, SS, Rays

Franco is held as the sport's top prospect, and it's due in part to his impressive performances relative to his age and competition level. As an 18-year-old he's hit .321/.394/.489 while splitting the season between High- and Class-A -- two leagues where the average player is at least three years older. One rival talent evaluator suggested Franco might already be able to hold his own in the majors -- it was an off-the-cuff comment that shouldn't be taken too seriously, but it does speak to the respect Franco engenders among those familiar with his game.

Gavin Lux, SS, Dodgers

Unlike Franco, Lux is likely to get his opportunity against big-league pitching in the coming weeks. The No. 20 pick in the 2016 draft, he's hit .352/.423/.617 against upper-minors pitching this season -- that includes an average over .400 in Triple-A. Lux isn't as young as Franco, but he won't turn 22 until November. Impressive. A few years ago, Corey Seager seemed like the Dodgers shortstop of the present and the future -- Lux seems primed to change that.

Sam Huff, C, Rangers

Huff has and will continue to run some ugly strikeout-to-walk ratios. Still, he's improved his stock by showcasing above-average power and quality receiving skills. It doesn't take a heck of a lot more than that to project a player to have a lengthy career as a backup. We'll see if Huff's hit tool holds up as he progresses -- if so, he's going to be a starter, and potentially a good one.

Logan Gilbert, RHP, Mariners

You could insert a different Mariners prospect, outfielder Jarred Kelenic, here instead if you'd like. We're giving the nod to Gilbert in part because he's received less press, and in part because he's been dominant against low-level hitting, allowing him to reach Double-A in his first professional season. Gilbert has at least mid-rotation potential.

Jordan Balazovic, RHP, Twins

Balazovic was the No. 153 pick in the 2016 draft, but didn't jump up prospect lists until this season. His combination of performance, polish, and potential -- his frame suggests he could add more velocity -- make him a mid-rotation prospect worth keeping tabs on heading into next season. 

Now, onto the Watch.

Prospect watch

Levi Kelly has a good fastball-slider combination and has nearly 80 more strikeouts than walks in A-ball. 

The Braves have so many well-regarded pitching prospects in Triple-A that Patrick Weigel gets almost zero press. Yet here he is with a 2.91 ERA in 16 Triple-A appearances.

The Orioles signed Alex Wells out of Australia in 2015. His arsenal is fringe-average, but he's put together a quality season in Double-A and could see big-league action next year.

Durbin Feltman was supposed to help out Boston's bullpen this year. Instead he's sporting a near-5 ERA in Double-A.

Tyson Miller has been brutal in Triple-A, which is a shame because he'd authored a nice year in Double-A.

The White Sox are (rightly) being aggressive with Andrew Vaughn, putting him in High-A already.

Nick Lodolo hasn't walked a batter in his first eight pro starts.

Scott Moss has pitched well since being traded to Cleveland, and was promoted to Triple-A over the weekend.

Tommy Doyle is a former college closer with a good fastball-slider combo and 43 strikeouts in 33 innings at High-A. 

Tarik Skubal deserves mention for "biggest surprise" of the season as well. He's really improved his stock this year.

Cristian Javier needs to improve his command in order to have a real shot at sticking in a big-league rotation someday.

Changeup artist Kris Bubic has had no trouble with High-A and frankly probably should've ended the year in Double-A.

Luis Madero has not taken well to Double-A.

Jeter Downs gets overlooked in the Dodgers system, but he has a well-rounded game and had a solid year in High-A.

Braxton Garrett is the Marlins' top left-handed pitching prospect. He has a well-rounded arsenal and a chance at being at least a mid-rotation arm.

Antoine Kelly, Milwaukee's second-round pick, has fanned 35 batters in 26 innings in rookie ball. He's walked four and has a 1.04 ERA. That'll play.

Ryan Jeffers may be Minnesota's catcher of the future. He's in Double-A and his power stroke and intangibles should see him carve out a career as at least a backup.

Brett Baty hasn't taken to pro ball with aplomb. Not yet, anyway.

Frank German was New York's fourth-round pick in 2018. He's fanned more than a batter per inning this year, and could one day slot in as a back-end starter.

Jeremy Eierman shares something in common with his older brother, Johnny, and that's a proneness for strikeouts.

Simon Muzziotti has a great name and four tools that project to be average or better. The question is if he'll be able to overcome his lack of power.

Lolo Sanchez hit a wall this year -- that wall is called High-A. He went from hitting .301 in A-ball to .181 in High-A in nearly as many at-bats.

Xavier Edwards gets overlooked a lot in the Padres system. Don't make that mistake. He's a high-quality prospect and he's had himself a great year.

Now that Joey Bart is in Double-A, it's fair to wonder if he'll be able to debut late next season -- and what it would mean for Buster Posey's workload behind the plate.

Julio Rodriguez has had a quality season, even after fracturing his hand in April.

Dylan Carlson should reach the majors sometime next season. He can do a little bit of everything, and should wind up as an above-average hitter. Not bad for a 20-year-old.

All Joe Ryan does is throw fastballs. We'll see how that plays in Double-A.

Ronny Henriquez's ERA overshadows the fact he's a teenager with a high-spin fastball and good potential.

Kevin Smith has had a highly disappointing season at Double-A -- especially given there was an outside chance of him debuting this year entering the spring.

Rough performance this season aside, Mason Denaburg remains a name worth keeping in mind heading forward.