Thursday, May 27, 2010

Baseball America Top 100 Prospects: 10-1

And we are finally to the end. Semi-normal people may be interested in reading the top 10 since you have probably heard of a lot of these guys at least. This is the end of these, so I'll be back to pop culture and sports people care about now that this is finally over.

10 Carlos Santana, c, Indians – I would put Santana a few spots higher as a catcher with his kind of bat is extremely rare. Since there are chances Montero is not a catcher in the long run, Santana could arguably be the best catching prospect in the minors. The guy can hit for power as well as having excellent strike zone judgment. He rarely swings at a bad pitch. The only knock that people really have against him are that his game management skills need work, but everyone agrees that the tools to be a solid catcher are all there. He should be up sometime this season and will be a very valuable asset to the Indians’ organization. Also, even though Casey Blake is from Iowa, I do think the Indians won the trade that sent him to the Dodgers.

09 Neftali Feliz, rhp, Rangers – I think this is the area that Feliz should be in, perhaps a bit lower. He was very dominant in the majors last year out of the bullpen, but to be this high, you need to be a starter, and him not being able to strike out a batter per inning while having a 3.49 ERA at Triple A makes me think that he’s a very good prospect, but possibly not a great one. The scouting reports say great fastball where his slider flashes plus, but is inconsistent and his changeup is average. I would love to have a guy like this, but there’s some other guys that I would love to have more.

08 Pedro Alvarez, 3b, Pirates – Yeah, this is probably about right for Alvarez. The guy is a monster hitter who crushed it when moved up to Double-A last year. His biggest issue is that he’s not real athletic, and a move to first base is likely, although he may be able to play a few years at third. The great thing about Alvarez is that he was considered a complete bust in May of last year, because he was struggling in High-A, and people were already writing him off. He is a great example to not look too much into small sample sizes when evaluating prospects. This guy is an All-Star hitter in the making.

07 Buster Posey, c, Giants – Posey is definitely a top 10 prospect. He is a catcher who is still a little raw defensively since he just started catching a few years ago. But the guy can flat out hit the ball. He went from High-A to Triple-A without missing a beat. He had a brief debut in the majors last year, but I will make the bold prediction that he will surpass his line of .118/.118/.118 from last year. He has all the potential to be a consistent All-Star at the catcher position for years to come, and he’ll probably put Molina’s fat ass on the bench by the middle of the season.

06 Desmond Jennings, of, Rays – I think Desmond Jennings is going to be a great professional baseball player, but I still don’t love ranking him this high. He seems like a guy who will have a good average, plate discipline, play a good center field, but without great power. As good as that all sounds, I see him more in the 10-15 range than #6 overall. If the justification is that he is so likely to be what I described, then yes, that is a good thing, but I like some other guys’ potential more than Jennings. But let me reiterate, I still think this guy is going to be a hell of a pro player.

05 Brian Matusz, lhp, Orioles – I might put Matusz a few spots lower, but he’s still definitely a top 10 prospect. He has four quality pitches that he can throw for strikes, and he has excellent command so he is able to set up hitters. He struck out more batters than innings pitched last year which is a good sign, and even in the majors, he came close to striking out a batter per inning (38 K in 44 IP). There’s no big time knock against the guy, but he doesn’t have outstanding stuff, so I have trouble putting a guy in the Top 5 if he can’t blow hitters away with dominant pitches.

04 Jesus Montero, c, Yankees – A fantastic hitter who will probably not stay at catcher, but everybody loves his bat enough where it shouldn’t matter too much. He is definitely a Top 10 guy, but I’m not sure if he’s Top 5 because of the position that he’ll likely play. But usually Yankees prospects are highly overrated, so this is a step in the right direction as this is at least reasonable.

03 Mike Stanton, of, Marlins – I think they nailed the number three guy as Stanton is legit, some would even say 2 Legit 2 Quit. He was a teenager who dominated High-A, and held his own at Double-A. He finally had to face more advanced pitching, and he struggled with average, but the power still made him a positive contributor to the team. At 6’5”, 240 lbs, he’s slightly larger than I am, but he’s able to play an outfield corner solidly. His bat is his ticket though, and although his biggest concern is his adjustment to breaking balls, at his age, there’s no reason to believe that he can’t improve and become an All-Star caliber player.

02 Stephen Strasburg, rhp, Nationals – I totally agree with this ranking as the best pitcher is not quite as valuable as the best hitter due to injury concerns that you will have with all pitchers. Basically, Strasburg is a pitcher that you would create on a video game. Make him throw over 100 MPH, give him a slider that drops like it just hit something in mid-air, plus give him excellent command and control. This is definitely a special player. Best case scenario is Brendan Fraiser in The Scout, worst case scenario is, ugh, Mark Prior.

01 Jason Heyward, of, Braves – I completely agree with this ranking. Really, I can’t offer much that hasn’t been said about this guy. He’s a stud, he’ll start the season off in the Braves starting lineup. He’s a five-tool player who just excels at every part of the game. Last year, he stayed with the big league team for most of spring training despite the Braves knowing he would start the season at High-A, because Bobby Cox enjoyed watching him play so much. This is the well-deserved number one prospect in all of baseball.

And they're done.


P.S. Suck on this Iowa State fans:

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