Friday, March 26, 2010

Baseball America Top 100 Prospects: 70-61

I know these aren't the most fun-filled writings, but this is my vanity project, so read at your own peril. 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. I will try to make at least one off color comment on each player to keep it at least somewhat entertaining. 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 70-61.

70 Josh Vitters, 3b, Cubs – Vitters would definitely make my Top 50 and maybe even Top 40. He destroyed Low-A, hitting everything in sight, and then basically got his ass kicked in 50 games at High-A. But he made up for this by doing very well during the Arizona Fall League. His defense has improved to average at third. The biggest question is his plate discipline as he doesn’t draw many walks, but he’s able to hit so many pitches, both in and out of the strike zone, that I don’t think it will stop him from being a very productive third baseman. Also, I'm assuming he'll be my buddy Peck's best friend when he plays for the Iowa Cubs. Congratulations to Peck for being in a relationship. Even if most states won't recognize gay marriage, at least Facebook will recognize gay relationships.

69 Arodys Vizcaino, rhp, Braves – I’m way high on Vizcaino as he’d be about 30 spots higher on my list. He was the reason that the Braves traded Javier Vasquez (and the fact that they wanted to save money). He’s undersized which immediately makes me like him more than any list will. He’s got a great fastball, and his curveball has already shown the potential to be a plus-plus pitch. He dominated short-season ball last year, and I expect him to do more of the same when he makes his full season debut this year. Also, I really wish Harry Caray was still around so he could say Vizcaino again. Also, Harry hated Cracker Jack.

68 Alex Colome, rhp, Rays – This guy has HUGE potential, so I could see him about 20 spots higher than where they have him right now. He dominated the New York-Penn League last year, and scouts came away extremely impressed as most feel he has the highest ceiling in the Rays farm system (which is saying a lot considering their bevy of pitching prospects). Right now, consistency with command and release point are his big issues, but if he can get that going, he’s a guy that could skyrocket up the charts next year. He is related to Jesus Colome, so that's his worst case scenario.

67 Tim Beckham, ss, Rays – Beckham seems reasonably rated at this spot. His first full season was a pretty big disappointment, but there’s a reason he was the #1 pick a couple years ago. He wasn’t a definitive #1 like Strasburg, but scouts still like his tools. I honestly don’t know enough about him to comment any more, but I do think he has the best chance of moving 30+ spots on next year’s list. Whether he moves up or down is still up in the air. He also has no relation to David Beckham.

66 Dan Hudson, rhp, White Sox – I think Hudson should probably be 20-30 spots higher than this as I am a huge fan of his. What he did was very similar to what Matt Garza did a few years ago when he made his way to the majors. He absolutely dominated Low-A, High-A, and Double-A last year. Then he was good in Triple-A and the majors when he made it there. The only concerns are that his slider needs some refinement and he works up in the zone a little too much. It was his first full season in the minors, and he has a good chance of making an impact at the major league level this year, but I see him starting the year at Triple-A. Still, a great prospect who I feel Baseball America is highly underrating. No relation to Tim Hudson.

65 Alex White, rhp, Indians – I think this is a fair ranking for White, but I do like him more than most and he’s a little higher in my book. He hasn’t pitched any professional innings, and his junior year was a bit of a disappointment, but the guy had a great college career. He’s got a very good fastball and splitter as well as an average slider, and I think he can stay in a starting role as opposed to moving to the bullpen. Really though, there’s not much to go on right now, so we’ll see how he does once he starts facing the professionals. Contrary to popular belief, he is not the son of Vanna White.

64 Jason Knapp, rhp, Indians – Here’s a guy that is rated too high for my likings. Although his strikeout rate was excellent, he still had a rather high ERA. The biggest concern is he had many injuries including a shoulder surgery that ended his season. I just think there are way too may question marks regarding Knapp to put him up this high, and I think he’s about 20 spots lower. Still, the raw talent is there, scouts love him, but I still think I’d take the wait and see approach on this guy. Although I was unable to confirm this, he is probably not as tough as Brandon Knapp.

63 Zach Britton, lhp, Orioles – I think this is a pretty fair rating for him as he did a good job in High-A last year with a 2.70 ERA and striking out nearly a batter per inning. The biggest thing that Britton brings to the table is a 3.4:1 ratio of groundballs to fly balls. He’s got solid stuff, but only has his sinker and slider to rely on right now as his changeup is still a work in progress. If the changeup develops, he goes up on the list, but he could still remain in this area next year if it doesn’t as any pitcher who can induce that many groundballs will find a way to the majors. He is not from Britain.

62 Ike Davis, 1b, Mets – I’d probably put Ike Davis a little lower than this. He’s a first base prospect who isn’t all that athletic, but he did hit the ball very well at Double-A last year so the guy can do enough to be a starting first baseman. Still, he struggled against left-handers, and he strikes out more than one would like. Still, he knows how to work a count and crushed righties, so I think he’ll be a starting first baseman, but I think he may end up being a middle-tier first baseman as opposed to a top tier guy.

61 Kyle Gibson, rhp, Twins – I think this is a fair ranking for him, as although I like him a lot, there are health concerns that, well, concern me. Gibson was one of the top arms in college coming into his final college season, but he lost some of his velocity late in the season, but was still able to dominate. Then, a stress fracture in his forearm was found, so he fell to late in the first round. I thought it was an excellent value pick, as he has two very good pitches (fastball, slider), and a solid changeup. He has very good command, and he is somebody who should be able to plow through the minors quickly. If the velocity is back, he is a steal for the Twins.

That's it for now, but I will be making UFC picks later today.


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