I have decided to go through all 100 of Baseball America's Top 100 Prospects to give my opinion on each and every one of these players. Whenever I talk about what scouts think about a player, I am referring to the excellent work done by Kevin Goldstein at Baseball Prospectus for just about everything so big props to him. Today, we hit up prospects 100-91.
100 Noel Arguelles, lhp, Royals – I would actually probably put Arguelles higher than this, and that is based off barely anything. He’s got four pitches, so that’s pretty cool. He’s Cuban, so he knows a thing or two about cigars. He got a big time major league contract, so they’re probably going to be pretty aggressive with him, and that’s impressive for a 20 year old. I get boners for potential, so I might put him around 75.
99 Jake Arrieta, rhp, Orioles – I like Arrieta a little more than this, but I understand putting him this low due to concerns about his secondary stuff. Most believe he has the best fastball in the system, but his secondary pitches need work. He was still able to dominate Double-A and do pretty well at Triple-A, so I would put him higher on this list, but the progress of his secondary pitches will determine whether he can reach his potential of #2-#3 starter of if he’s a back-of-the-rotation/bullpen guy.
98 Jay Jackson, rhp, Cubs – I like Jackson more than this as I could see him about 20 spots higher. He did very well at Double-A, striking out nearly a batter per inning. Then he got too badass for the Cubs liking, so they sent him down to High-A for disciplinary reasons. He then decided to murder-rape opposing hitters in that league just to show he felt no remorse for his actions. He’s got a good fastball-slider combo, and also has a decent curve and a change. I think he’s the Cubs best pitching prospect, but that’s kind of like being the prettiest girl in Nebraska, it’s nice, but not anything to put on a resume.
97 Peter Bourjos, of, Angels – This is a fair ranking for Bourjos. He is one of the fastest players in the minor leagues and he had a solid year at Double-A last year despite battling wrist problems. His plate discipline took a big step forward last year, so there’s a good chance he can be a solid leadoff hitter that plays good defense in center field. He’s not a superstar, but he’ll definitely contribute on a major league team. Also, I can understand knocking him down a peg or two, because his last name looks kinda French.
96 Thomas Neal, of, Giants – This guy is a pure hitter who absolutely dominated at High-A last year. The only problem with that is that a lot of people have been known to smoke the ball in the California League. Still, many scouts think that he can hit for a .300 average with average power as a pro. He’ll pretty much have to as the bat is his only tool (must be tough to get a girlfriend), but he will definitely have a spot in the majors if he can reach his potential.
95 Andrew Cashner, rhp, Cubs – I think this is a fair ranking, although I do not see him staying a starter when he gets to the majors. The Cubs have tried the conversion, but his power stuff takes a step backwards when he is used in longer stints, and his changeup only projects to be an average pitch. If they put him in the bullpen, they’ll have a guy who can dial his heater up into the high 90s as well as having a plus slider to compliment it. On top of that, his delivery isn’t the smoothest so a move to the bullpen would increase his chances of staying healthy. Also, he is one of two guys that reminds me that I should draft for the Cubs, as I would have taken Tim Melville this year, and I would have taken Travis Snider instead of Tyler Colvin. I do approximately 15 minutes of researching amateurs, and I could still do a better job than the Cubs.
94 Miguel Sano, ss/3b, Twins – I like Sano way more than this, as he’s easily in my top 40. This is based off absolutely nothing stats wise, but he may have been the best player in the international market this year, and I like that the Twins ponied up the money for him. The Twins do a good job of recognizing talent, and I think they could have themselves a very special player here. Now, this premonition that I have really means nothing and won’t mean anything for possibly up to three years. He’s a far ways away, but he should be a fun guy to watch make his way up the ladder (or be a complete bust).
93 Phillippe Aumont, rhp, Phillies – I like Aumont more than this, and that is almost strictly based on me seeing him one time in 2008. That is very little to go off of, but if you would have asked me who I would rather have between him and Jarrod Parker of the Diamondbacks, I would go Aumont hands down. He pitched about five innings and made people look silly the entire game. He was overpowering, and nobody made good contact the entire day. He pitched in relief last year, but with the Phillies moving him back to starting, I think he will take a major step forward for 2011 prospect lists. Unfortunately, when it comes to French-Canadians, his athletic prowess will always trail GSP and Jacques Rougeau.
92 Drew Storen, rhp, Nationals – I like Storen a lot, but this is probably a fair ranking for a relief prospect without the shit-your-pants overpowering stuff. He dominated at three different levels last year (although a short time at each stop), and he actually has a decent shot to get called up before Strasburg does this season. The ceiling isn’t unbelievable, but the probability of this guy being a closer is very likely so that definitely helps his cause.
91 Jordan Lyles, rhp, Astros – I could probably bump up Lyles a little bit from this spot. He dominted Low-A last year where he had 167 strikeouts in 144 innings. He has a good fastball, and his secondary pitches are average right now, but they could definitely get better as he’s a young guy and experience could definitely refine him some. I love strikeouts, they may not give me a boner, but I’ve definitely got a chub just thinking about them.
P.S. If you want to see a really disturbing video, check this out.