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. 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 60-51.
60 Tyler Flowers, c, White Sox – I think this guy could be about ten spots higher on the list. He absolutely crushed the ball at Double-A for the majority of the season, and he was solid when he got up to Triple-A. The biggest question marks surrounding his game was his ability to stay behind the plate, and he made strides defensively where he appears that he will at least be able to be average on defense. He’s got great plate discipline and can slug over .500, so I’d expect him to get some time in the majors this year before taking over the full-time catching duties in 2011.
59 Brett Lawrie, 2b, Brewers – I really like Lawrie, and in a very strange way, I feel like I may overrate Canadian prospects. Something about them makes me think they’ll be awesome. He’s god-awful on defense at second, so there’s a good chance he’ll have to move to left field. He hit very well for a teenager in the Midwest League last year, so the bat should be good enough to play out there. If he does have to move out to left, his bat will still need to progress, but he’s young, and most people believe that he is going to get better. Since he’s from Canada, I assume he spent a lot of his time working towards a career in professional wrestling, so he may have only played 15-20 games of baseball before being drafted. You know what I always say, if you can hit a moonsault, you can hit a curveball.
58 Wilson Ramos, c, Twins – I like this rating for Ramos. He struggled with injuries last year, but hit over .300 when healthy at Double-A, and also slugged .454. He plays good defense at catcher so he will definitely be a valuable asset in the major leagues. I could definitely see him getting a late call-up this year. As for the future, I can’t really think of anybody the Twins have that might halt his ascension to the major leagues but maybe I’m forgetting someone.
57 Simon Castro, rhp, Padres – I’d probably put Castro a little lower than this. He did dominate at Low-A last year, but he relied heavily on his fastball. Although it is a dominant pitch, he’ll need to learn more if he wants to succeed at higher levels. His slider shows promise, and his changeup is just a show-me pitch right now that he rarely used. He’ll have to progress his secondary stuff if he wants to stay a starter, otherwise, I only see him being a setup type reliever.
56 Jennry Mejia, rhp, Mets – I like Mejia a lot as I really think he could be a huge factor in the big leagues if handled properly. The Mets don’t usually do that, so he’ll probably end up a shredded arm and a what if scenario. If that doesn’t happen though, he’s got a huge fastball, and his changeup has shown potential. His breaking ball needs work, but he did well at Double-A last year as a teenager, so there’s a ton of potential with this guy. Consistency is going to be a big key, but that’s the case with most players his age, and he has the ability to take a huge step forward this year.
55 Jared Mitchell, of, White Sox – This seems like a pretty fair spot for Mitchell. The guy has tools coming out of his ass, but he is still raw as this past year was the first year that he focused solely on baseball. There’s some holes in his swing right now, but with how raw he is, there is a chance he can help himself in that area. He didn’t hit a homerun in his pro debut (34 Low-A games), but the power has shown up in college and he still has the potential for thirty homeruns. As with all toolsy players, he could be great or he could be Corey Patterson.
NOTE: He's injured and out for the year so we'll see how he can bounce back in 2011.
54 Reid Brignac, ss, Rays – I think this is way too high for Brignac. The guy has not produced for years, and people keep making excuses for him. Personally, I think he has an aggressive approach that eventually caught up to him. I think he could be a solid hitter, but I really don’t see him as anything great, even accounting for the fact that he’s a middle infielder. I think he could make a claim for the low side of the Top 100, but that’s about it for him.
53 Donavan Tate, of, Padres – This ranking absolutely baffles me, because he was seen as a far better prospect than just about anybody in the draft, but somehow, guys who were taken 10-15 picks later now rank ahead of him. I don’t think he became less of a ballplayer, and I don’t think any of these guys took a giant leap forward in their ten minor league games. The guy has all the tools to succeed, but he has a very far ways to go. It should be an exciting year for him as he’ll probably be in Low-A.
52 Grant Green, ss, Athletics – Baseball America and I agree on this one as he was one of the most highly regarded prospects going into last year, but had a solid, but not spectacular Junior year at USC. This may sound weird, but I really like prospects that have built up a track record and then don't live up to expectations going into the draft as I feel there is real value there. I think he is going to be a very good player with All-Star potential, but I don’t think he can rate any higher than this without any sort of performance track record to go off of in the minor leagues. Still, this is a guy that I could see moving quickly in the minors as well as being much higher on next year’s prospect list.
51 Julio Teheran, rhp, Braves – I think this is a fair rating for Teheran. He has huge potential, but he was average in Low-A last year, so there’s a lot of work to do. The raw talent is definitely there, but he needs innings to refine his secondary pitches to compliment his mid 90s heat. This should be a very interesting prospect to watch this year as he could take a huge step forward, or he could leave people left dreaming on his potential for another year.