I'm almost done posting all of these, so that's exciting. Nick Devlin and anybody with a lot of free time, enjoy.
20 Logan Morrison, 1b, Marlins – Sorry JVD, but this is a little high for the LoMo. He’s a first base prospect without that much power. That’s not exactly a recipe for success. This guy will definitely be a major league ballplayer, but his ceiling doesn’t seem high enough to put him in the Top 20. His ceiling is a non-gold glove version of John Olerud. He can hit for average, he’ll definitely get on base, and you’ll still yearn for Ryan Howard. Another thing that I feel bad about for LoMo is that his Twitter account is @LoMoMarlins. He does know he’s going to have to change that once he reaches arbitration, right?
19 Aaron Hicks, of, Twins – I’m thinking this guy should probably be about 20 spots lower. Hicks oozes potential and could be a five-tool monster in center field, but a lot of those tools haven’t shown up on a baseball field yet. He showed great plate discipline, but his average was barely .250, and he didn’t manage to slug .400. He has the potential to blow up, but until he actually proves something in the minor leagues, I would be cautious on some of his projections.
18 Jeremy Hellickson, rhp, Rays – He’s from Iowa, so obviously, I think he’s fantastic. But he’s also got the numbers and scouting reports to back it up, so he is deserving of this ranking, and I could even put him a few spots higher. He has gotten Greg Maddux comparisons, which is pretty much impossible to live up to, but he has three plus-pitches, and maybe the best command in minor league baseball. After thinking these last thirty seconds, I’d probably put him in my Top 10.
17 Martin Perez, lhp, Rangers – I would probably put this guy in the Top 10, and near the top 5 as he dominated Low-A, and was promoted to Double-A as an 18 year old. The only complaint about him is that he isn’t the ideal size of a pitcher, but he has three plus pitches already and he’s shown domination in his short minor league career. The guy is so good that he could get a September callup to the big leagues. Who gives a shit about size when a guy is this good? Consider me on the Martin Perez bandwagon.
16 Starlin Castro, ss, Cubs – No. No. No. This is the second most overrated player on the list (the first is coming soon). Yes, I know he was able to hit for a very good average at both High-A and Double-A as a 19 year-old. I cannot take that away. That is impressive. All the while, he showed up as a plus defender at shortstop. That is very good too. But where’s the potential? He doesn’t draw many walks, and he doesn’t have much power, nor does he project to add much power. So here’s his best-case scenario, a rather empty .300 hitter with solid defense. Without a doubt, that’s an asset, but that isn’t the 16th best prospect in baseball, especially when that’s his BEST case scenario. Sorry Cubs fans, you’ve still got a long ways to go.
15 Domonic Brown, of, Phillies – Fair ranking for Brown. The guy has all the tools to be great, and he did very well at High-A and Double-A last year. He could be near a .300 hitter and slug over .500. Some question his power potential, but he was able to slug over .500 at both levels last year, so the potential of him being a 30 home run guy is still there. He’s a very good athlete, and I think the Phillies have every intention of him taking Jayson Werth’s spot in 2011.
14 Madison Bumgarner, lhp, Giants – I think Bumgarner is the second best pitching prospect in baseball, and he could make me look very smart or very stupid for saying that. When he’s on, he’s electric with a great fastball and breaking ball with an average change. He absolutely dominated everything in sight in his minor league career. The big concern is that his velocity was only in the high 80s for the second half of the season. He still dominated, and did well when he came to the majors for a brief stint. If he’s that good without velocity, imagine how badass he’ll be when he gets it back. That is why I would still put him in the Top 5 of all prospects in baseball.
13 Justin Smoak, 1b, Rangers – Smoak looks like he’s placed about right, maybe a little high. His numbers haven’t been great outside of his time with Team USA. He dominated Double-A, but a lof of that was plate discipline as opposed to raw power as he failed to slug .500. I don’t think he is a serious threat to Chris Davis in spring training this year, and I could see him not getting called up until September. There is very little doubt that this guy will fail to succeed in the majors, but I have trouble seeing superstar potential in him.
12 Alcides Escobar, ss, Brewers – The most OVERRATED prospect in all of baseball. He hits for average, is fast, and plays good defense. That’s it. That’s all you need to be the 12th best prospect in baseball. He doesn’t have great plate discipline, he’s got very little power, and he’s had troubles with right handers. He is around this area on just about everybody’s list, and I simply don’t get it. At #12, you need to be a world beater, and this guy is not. He should probably be about 50 spots lower.
11 Dustin Ackley, of/1b/2b, Mariners – I really can’t find much fault in Ackley, and this seems like a fair ranking for him. Although he is trying second base right now, the worst case scenario is that he’s a weak-armed center fielder. He can hit for average and also has great plate discipline. He hit 22 homers as a junior at North Carolina, so he seems to be the total package. Even if the power doesn’t totally translate, he’ll be a good center fielder or an All-Star second baseman.
P.S. Here are my picks for all the fights this weekend: Askren, Hornbuckle, Soto, Lindland, Woodley, and Tim Sylvia over Mariusz Pudzianowski.