There were a lot of questions I had to ask myself when creating this list. How much impact should the 2009 season have? Where should I rank the GCL and VSL guys? Do I add Singh and Patel to the list, and if so, do they combine as one prospect, or get counted separately?
I decided to make this a true prospects list, as in, no previous major league time allowed. This means no Lastings Milledge, even thought he’s currently at AAA. It means no Brian Bixler, although I don’t think I’d put him in even if he did qualify.
I’ll also admit that I didn’t get too obsessed with the rankings. I spent a lot of time on it, looking over stats, scouting reports, and cutting a list of about 60-70 players down to what you see. However, I didn’t fine tune the ratings too much. That’s mostly because I anticipate a new list at the end of August, after all of the trades are made, and all of the 2009 draft picks and international signings are complete.
With that said, here is the rundown of my top 30 prospects. I want to keep this short, so I’m going with Twitter style analysis for each player. No more than 140 characters can be used. Also, you can see the list from the start of the season here.
30. Brooks Pounders
Pounders is only 18 and has a lot of potential. He hasn’t pitched much, and is in a low level, so this is based on scouting reports/size.
29. Victor Black
Black has the potential to be a solid major league reliever at the back end of the bullpen. Only 6 IP so far, but good K numbers.
28. Nelson Pereira
Bad control this season with the Spikes, but great stuff. State College did well last season teaching control. He’s young w/room to improve.
27. Jordy Mercer
Defense is bad from what I’ve seen, and hasn’t lived up to the offensive minded label, even with Alvarez hitting behind him.
26. Kyle Bloom
Control problems as a starter. Great splits against lefties. Will likely be a LOOGY in the majors, maybe as soon as next season.
25. Calvin Anderson
Good power so far, and a strong OBP, but has had trouble with strikeouts. Not elite power, but he’s 6’7″, so that could come later.
24. Shelby Ford
Has really struggled at AAA this year with a .167 BA. Only 24, so he still has time. I see him as a .280 hitter with limited power at best.
23. Daniel Moskos
Struggling as a starter for the 2nd year in a row, and not getting LHB out. That looks like a one year fluke. Will likely end up as a LH RP.
22. Daniel McCutchen
Very good control keeps the WHIP low. Has the potential to be a #3 starter at best, and is probably another Ohlendorf type pitcher.
21. Matt Hague
A good hitter at first base, but not a lot of power. Low strikeout rate, and good OBP. Could be a Casey Kotchman type player.
20. Jonathan Barrios
Was the top international signing last year, and has started off with a strong average. Only 17, so a lot of time to develop.
19. Exicardo Cayonez
Line drive hitter with good speed. Has shown great plate patience, walking 15% of the time for a .405 OBP.
18. Neil Walker
Good power and defense this year, but the average is hurting. He’s only 23, so I’m not counting him out. Still has time to fix the average.
17. Ramon Cabrera
Good hitting catching prospect, signed last year in the international signing period. Has shown power and a good average in the VSL and GCL.
16. Ronald Uviedo
Was projected as a future reliever, but has done well as a starter in A+. Great control, with a 7.68 K/9 and a 1.72 BB/9 this year.
15. Jorge Bishop
Has drawn comparisons to Jimmy Rollins because of his size. Great power for a 17 year old shortstop, with a homer every 23 at-bats.
14. Wes Freeman
Five tool OF. A lot of potential, but mostly a project. Has shown some power in his limited time in the GCL, but a bad K rate so far.
13. Jarek Cunningham
Out for the season, but could be the best SS prospect in our system. Still young, so the lost season shouldn’t hurt his development.
12. Starling Marte
Five tool guy with great power and a strong arm. Decent K ratio for a hitter with power. Has a hit in 14 of 15 games with West Virginia.
11. Rudy Owens
Amazing stats, but not top of the rotation stuff. A Zach Duke type SP. I’d rank him higher if he was doing this at a higher level.
10. Quinton Miller
Could be the best arm we have in the system. He’d be a freshman at UNC this year, so I don’t weigh his 09 stats that heavily.
9. Bryan Morris
Injured to start the year, and I feel he’s had limited innings since his return. Only 22, so can still live up to #2-3 starter potential.
8. Jeff Locke
Great breaking ball, but needs to control his fastball to make it an effective pitch. Only 21, so plenty of time to work on that control.
Has done well at two levels this year. Great at the plate, with good defense. Could play second or short in the majors, maybe in 2011.
6. Tony Sanchez
Said to have great defense that is major league ready. His hitting has been impressive so far. Could be on the fast track to the majors.
I think he’ll be another McCutchen
. Very bad K ratio, but he’s shown power, and a good ability to get on base, with speed on the bases.
Has drawn comparisons to Kenny Lofton. Solid defense, and a good hitter, despite his average struggling in Altoona. Good speed on the bases.
3. Jose Tabata
Hasn’t shown the power to justify his Manny Ramirez comparisons, but he’s only 20 and at AA. Five tool player with great plate patience.
2. Brad Lincoln
Strong comeback this year, and could be our best starter since Drabek. I expect him in the majors by June 2010.
His average has struggled, with a ton of strikeouts, but very good power and a good OBP. Poor defense means his future is at 1B.
Here is the list, with some details on each player, and a comparison to the list at the start of the season: