Posted on: April 5, 2010 11:37 am
As usual, if you disgree with my picks below, please let me know in the comments section. What do you disagree with? Who did I leave off? Who am I too optimistic about? Why do you feel this way? I'd love to get some back-and-forth with you about this. It's baseball season! I want as much baseball discussion as I can get. So, please comment.
East: New York Yankees
I absolutely love the Rays (see below), however, I'm still going to pick the Yankees over 162 games... even if they're starting 0-1. They're rotation is great, again. C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Andy Pettitte are all held over from last year's championship team and they've added Javier Vazquez and Phil Hughes at the back-end. Hughes is at least, at the very least equal to Joba, who was the third starter at the start of last season. Hughes features more upside in the rotation than Joba though... and I think he'll live up to it, this year. Vazquez was fourth or fifth in the NL CY Young voting last season (thank you Keith Law), this is his second time putting on pin stripes, hopefully they'll suit him better this time around, they should. The bullpen, as evidenced last night, could be messy. They've lost Hughes and Phil Coke from last year. However, Rivera and Joba are the 8th and 9th guys, 'nough said. The lineup is lightly weaker than last year. Question to those reading: Which set of hitters would you prefer? A) Curtis Granderson, Brett Gardner and Nick Johnson, or B) Melky Cabrera, Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui. The Yankees of course have a great team. However, I don't like that they aren't clearly an definitively better than last year... they might be slightly worse.
Central: Minnesota Twins
The Twins are pretty consistently the best, of what I believe to be, the worst division in baseball. The Royals and Indians aren't going to compete (Royals=duh! but the Indians usually compete too). So, it could be any one of three teams, the Twins, the Tigers and the White Sox. Since I haven't gotten over the 2005 World Series, I threw out the White Sox. Finally, I flipped a coin. It turned up tails, which starts with a "T" and is five letters long. So, the Twins it is. I'm kidding, of course. The Twins have a good lineup, featuring reigning MVP, Joe Mauer and former MVP, Justin Morneau. Their pitching staff is also solid, even if they lack a big name starter. The Twins also always seem to get the most out of their roster, unlike the Tigers. So, I'll give them the division again, although, they'll be booted from the playoffs by the Rays in the first round.
West: Texas Rangers
The AL West is going to be competative, all four teams could finish above .500. However, I like the Rangers most of all. Perhaps, most because the other teams, although good, have some bigger questions. Mariners: Who is going to pitch well after Felix Hernandez and Cliff Lee? Who is going to drive in Ichiro and Chone Figgins? Angels: Why would they lose all their free agents and do nothing about it? A's: Who is going to hit for power? Will Sheets and Duscherer (I'm too lazy to look up the spelling, I apologize) hold up? Be effective? The Rangers are super young. With a ton of talent. Names to watch: Neftali Feliz, Derek Holland, Julio Borbon, Justin Smoak, Elvis Andrus, etc. Not to mention verterans: Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz, Michael Young, Ian Kinsler and Rich Harden. However, they too will likely fall to an AL East team in the playoffs.
Wild Card: Tampa Bay Rays
My World Series winner. The Red Sox' lineup is just too weak, in my opinion. The Rays, like the Rangers, have way too much young talent to be ingnored. Evan Longoria is going to be the AL MVP. He is terrific at all facets of the game. He is a leader. He will have a ring by season's end. B.J. Upton will return to form. Carlos Pena simply mashes. Ben Zobrist (former Astros farmhand) was a terrific surprise and will look to silence any doubters. Jason Bartlett is there to solidify the defense--which is good too, with Longoria and Pena as well. Their rotation may be a little underwhelming when compared to the Yankees or Red Sox, but it's still young and has a ton of potential. They also have lot's of prospects knocking on the door, if they haven't already burst through. Guys to watch (rookies and not): David Price, Wade Davis, Desmond Jennings and Jeremy Hellickson.
I like the Braves in this division too, thus picking them to go to the World Series, but the Philles will be better over 162 games. Halladay makes them just a little bit better than last year. They're the favorites in the NL, even though they're mostly the same team... a lot like the Yankees.
Holliday will be hitting behind Pujols for an entire season and they play in the NL Central (which I love, btw, obviously huge Astros fan here, getting pumped for 7pm, Oswalt v. Lincecum on ESPN2), 'nough said. They're pitching staff will be a little better with Jaime Garcia assuming fifth starter duties. Most everything else is the same as last year. If the Cubs--for once--live up to potential they could compete. Otherwise, the Reds have the best chance of taking it from the Cardinals, but that's a long long shot.
I love this Rockies team and have for awhile. Why? Troy Tulowitski is one of the top 10-15 players in the game. Ian Stewart can mash. Can you believe Clint Barmes hit 23 homeruns last year? I love Dexter Fowler and Carlos Gonzalez at the top of the order... Gonzalez, one of the most underrated young players in the game could hit .300 with 25 HRs and 25 SBs this season. I still like Todd Helton as a little above average NL first basemen. Brad Hawpe's not too shabby with the bat either. Best part of this team: there are probably five or more above average bats I haven't named. The pitching could be an issue, but they have some talent on the farm in that area. I mean you Christian Friedrich and Jhoulys Chacin.
Wild Card: Braves
This team has a good fusion of young and veteran players. A legendary manager going into his final year. They make the best of their roster. I'm too tired to write anything else.
Rays defeat Braves
Posted on: June 8, 2009 9:16 pm
Edited on: June 9, 2009 3:44 pm
Hello, welcome to my 2009 MLB Mock Draft. This is where I will try to predict every pick for the first several rounds. With the recent news of Kyle Gibson’s stress fracture and other stock changes, I have just completely remade my mock draft, before I even released the first version. I had originally planned to mock all the day one picks, the first one hundred and eleven. But, because I have had to change many picks, I am not sure I will be able to get that many done by the draft tomorrow. I will however, mock as many picks as possible and provide sufficient information on each pick. I will continue working on this and update it, as I finish each round. My goal is to predict 20% of the picks I mock. I hope those of you who read my write up enjoy, please comment, and come back tomorrow for my thoughts on the draft itself. Later in the week, I will be reviewing the draft, so look for that as well.
Scouting reports come from a number of sites, most prominently Baseball America, PGCrosscheckers.com, John Sickel’s site minorleagueball.com and milb.com.
There are a couple places in the draft I want to point out now, for when I come back to grade - how many picks I got right - my mock. Where ever a team is picking back-to-back, notably Arizona at 16 and 17 and the Angels at 24 and 25, if I guess a guy at one of those two spots and he is picked by that team at the other spot, I’m counting it. Also, in the first round supplemental, I am counting any player I guess the correct team for. If Nick Franklin goes to the Angels in the supp. no matter what pick, I’m counting it. I think that’s fair, right? Anyways, enjoy.
I have decided I am going to post what I have on the blog, and add to it, as it gets done.
1. Washington Nationals: Stephen Strasburg RHP San Diego State
Strasburg is the number one pick of the 2009 MLB draft. My official prediction for how much he signs for… $21.5 million. Strasburg is the best prospect in the draft era, and would fit into a big league rotation immediately. I would love for the Nationals to send him to AAA, so I can see him in Syracuse, and give you all my own scouting report of him. He throws his fastball in the high 90s and can touch 103 mph. He also throws a hammer breaking ball in the low-to-mid 80s and a changeup he throws in the low 80s. I worry a little; I think its possible Strasburg blows out his arm at some point, a la the guy a lot of people compare him to, Mark Prior. With a comp. of Mark Prior, who wouldn’t worry? Anyways I seem to be in the minority on this.
2. Seattle Mariners: Dustin Ackley OF North Carolina
If Strasburg is on the first tier of prospects by himself, I would say Ackley is on the second tier, all by himself. He is clearly the best hitter, having “plus, plus hittability”, according to milb.com’s draft report. He adds plus speed and range in centerfield. Ackley has dispelled any thoughts that he wouldn’t be able to play centerfield, following Tommy John surgery last summer, which had him saddled at first. The main question on Ackley is how much power he’ll hit for, and although I don’t think he needs too much to be an effective major league hitter, he certainly hit 20-30 homeruns. There was some talk about the Mariners wanning on Ackley and considering Aaron Crow or Tanner Scheppers, but I don’t buy it, Ackley’s the guy. What I think the Mariners are getting in Ackley is a future no. 3 hitter, who is going to play centerfield, hit .300+ with a .400 OBP, and be a 20-20 guy (Curtis Granderson better OBP?), not bad, eh?
3. San Diego Padres: Donavan Tate OF Cartersville HS (Georgia)
After the first two picks things get very interesting, very fast. It seems as though the Padres have narrowed this selection to three guys: Tate, Aaron Crow and Mike Minor. Although, if I were running this draft, I would take Tyler Matzek, who I believe is the third best prospect in the draft. Crow would also be a good pick, but Minor is a clear overdraft. If Ackley falls, the Padres WILL take him. Tate has, perhaps, the highest ceiling in the draft. However, he is also going to cost a lot of money, close to six million? Tate has a strong commitment to North Carolina, where he would play both football and baseball – his father Lars Tate was an NFL player. There are also questions about Tate’s hit-ability. I like Tate at this spot for two reasons: 1. He’s the guy available with the most upside and San Diego’s system could really use some upside, particularly up the middle 2. If Tate doesn’t go number three, I don’t know where he goes, so I instead of forcing a headache upon myself, I’ve decided to take the risk, along with the Padres, and take Tate.
4. Pittsburgh Pirates: Aaron Crow RHP Fort Worth (University of Missouri)
As previously stated, I’m fairly certain about the first two picks, however, every other pick is far from certain. Rumors have swirled around the Pirates, involving a sign-ability pick here. Names discussed include: Tony Sanchez and Bobby Borchering. The Pirates would like to save money because they are rumored to be the favorites to sign Dominican Miguel Angel Sano a SS, the rumored price is four million. Apart from those rumors the Pirates are known to like college pitchers and the top arm on my board is Aaron Crow, who has little negotiating power and should sign around slot. If Crow’s name sounds familiar, it should, he was the number nine pick in last year’s draft, and went to an independent league, along with Tanner Scheppers, after failing to sign, I had him going number ten to my Astros. Crow throws a low-to-mid 90s sinking fastball, a plus slider and an at least average changeup, which is his biggest improvement from last year. Personally, I like Crow and think he has front of the rotation upside, as a reliever he could pitch in the major’s later this season and could be in a rotation next.
5. Baltimore Orioles: Tyler Matzek LHP Capistrano Valley HS (California)
As previously stated, Matzek is the third prospect on my board, and although Zach Wheeler seems to be the popular pick here of late, I still like Matzek – and I love the idea of Wheeler seven to his home state Braves. Matzek throws his fastball up to 95 mph, but sits in the low 90s. He throws two at least average breaking balls, a curveball he throws in the mid 70s and a slider in the mid 80s. He also throws a changeup, but hasn’t needed it yet. Matzek may not be a true no. one starter type, but he has good 2/3 starter upside, with much more polish than you would expect from a HS pitcher. The Orioles usually draft the best player available (BPA) and don’t shy away from guy with perceived signability problems. I do think the Orioles would love to add a good position player to their system, but there is no one of value here, so the Orioles will be “forced” to add to their already stellar crop of pitchers.
6. San Francisco Giants: Tanner Scheppers RHP St. Paul (Fresno State)
Scheppers is a tough guy to slot in. Many experts have him falling out of the top ten and in some cases out of the first round, because of fear for that same shoulder problem that made him fall last year. However, because I am mocking through the first supplemental, I would hate to have to guess how far Scheppers is going to fall, I mean, I already have to do that for Kyle Gibson, so I’m not going to torture myself and do it for Scheppers too. I like this fit. Although, I haven’t seen many people agree with me, that’s ok though. Scheppers has put together a good showing in St. Paul and should be close to major league ready. He profiles as a top of the rotation starter, but does come with injury risk. He throws his fastball in the mid 90s and can put “cut and sink” onto it (according to milb.com). He also throws a power curve and changeup. Like the Orioles, I think the Giants would love to add a bat and could be a possibility for Tate should he fall past the Padres, but without sufficient value on my board the Giants will also add to their “stellar crop of pitchers”. Jacob Turner and Zach Wheeler are also candidates.
7. Atlanta Braves: Zack Wheeler RHP East Paulding HS (Georgia)
I hope the Brave appreciate me dodging two bullets (the Orioles and Giants) to deliver them their prized Georgia arm. Wheeler was the guy I liked at the beginning of the year for the Astros, but since, has had his stock rise more than just about anyone in the draft. Wheeler has a perfect pitcher’s body at 6’4 170, and also fits Atlanta’s mold as a prep local product, as an added bonus, he’ll sign for slot! Wheeler already throws up to 95 mph and still has plenty of projection. He also throws an above average curveball and the makings of an average change. The sky is the limit for Wheeler, who has one of the highest upsides among the HS pitchers in this draft, but he also has some mechanical problems.
8. Cincinnati Reds: Alex White RHP North Carolina
This is where I had Gibson slated for awhile, dubbing him the Yonder Alonso of this draft. However, due to the stress fracture, the Reds are unlikely to take him – although they could – and I don’t have to explain my Gibson = Alonso comparison. White has been up and down, but I still believe he has the highest upside amongst college pitchers NNS (not named Strasburg). I actually really like White and believe he would be a steal here. Leake and Grant Green are also possibilities. White throws a low 90s fastball, which gets up to 95 mph; his 2-seamer has great movement to it. His slider is also a plus pitch, he throws a splitter as an off-speed pitch, as well as a below average curveball.
9. Detroit Tigers: Jacob Turner RHP Westminster Christian Academy (Missouri)
Jacob Turner wants Rick Porcello money, well; why not give him to the team with a Rick Porcello void in their minors? Turner has a large frame at 6-5 220 and is already throwing in the mid-low 90s. He also throws a mid 70s slider. He hasn’t really needed a changeup in high school. Matt Purke is now being rumored
10. Washington Nationals: Chad Jenkins RHP Kennesaw State
Jenkins is a bit of an overdraft, but not too badly, since many think he could go to the Blue Jays at twenty also. The Nationals have also been attached to Mike Trout and others with this pick. The idea being to sign someone at or below slot since Strasburg is going to cost $21.5 million. Jenkins throws his fastballs, two and four seamers, in the low 90s. He adds a low 80s slider and changeup.
11. Colorado Rockies: Mike Leake RHP Arizona State
Leake was the big mover during the college season, as he moved up probably a round. He led division I in a couple statistical categories – so eat it Strasburg. However, Leake profiles as a 3/4 starter, with a high floor. He throws a high 80s/low 90s sinking fastball, he adds a high 70s/low 80s slider and plus changeup. He command is plus, plus. He’s short, but athletic for a pitcher. The last four drafts, 78% of the Rockies’ top 137 picks have been college players, 50% have been college pitchers. Mike Leake is a nice complement to Christian Friedrich (last year’s first rounder), and gives the Rockies a nice trio of advanced pitchers (throwing Jhoulys Chacin into the mix). Plus they need all the pitching help they can get – although all three of the pitchers I listed profile towards the middle of the rotation.
12. Kansas City Royals: Wil Myers C Wesleyan Christian Academy (North Carolina)
After a couple years of paying for high priced talents: Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer, etc, the Royals are looking for a bargain at a premium position (C, SS, CF), and rumors include Tony Sanchez, the top college catcher. However, I like the higher upsided (yes, upsided, I like the way it sounds) Myers. Myers has raw power and all the tools to become a solid defensive catcher, with a good arm. He is also very athletic for a catcher, with above-average speed.
13. Oakland Athletics: Grant Green SS Southern California
Before the season, Grant was expected to be one of the first three picks in the draft. However, he has played his way down, as many now question his ability to stay at short, as well as his power. Green does, however, have good hitting ability, and average to above-average speed. His arm is also at least average, leaning above-average slightly. However, (milb.com) he has some trouble ranging up the middle and his power is more line-drive power than anything else, but he could hit 15-20 homeruns. Oakland’s MO is established college players, which makes it Green or Brothers in my book. The A’s are also attached to Donavan Tate, should he fall, and his reported $6 million price tag, so signing Green should be no problem. By the way, I love me some Green. I think he’ll stick at short, and be a near .300 hitter with 15-20 homeruns… that’s enough.
14. Texas Rangers: Shelby Miller HS Brownwood HS (Texas)
If there was a lock this late in the draft, it’d be Miller to the Rangers. It fits there MO, he’s local, it works. He throws in the mid 90s with a good curve in the mid 70s, but he has some command issues. He’s plenty projectable. Let me double check if this makes sense: Texas usually takes the BPA; money shouldn’t be a problem and they like their fire-ballers, yep, Miller does makes sense.
15. Cleveland Indians : Mike Minor LHP Vanderbilt
Mike Minor has been rumored all over the first round, but there is no clear consensus on who that one team is who takes him. The Indians want Miller, but he won’t get there. So, it will be the best college player on their board. The question is who is the top college arm on their board? It could be Minor, Rex Brothers, James Paxton or Eric Arnett. I picked Minor. Mainly because he would fall in my mock if I didn’t put him here (if he doesn’t go here, my prediction is 19 to the Cardinals. Minor is a low ceiling/high floor starter. He throws a low 90s fastball, along with both a slider and curveball, and a good enough changeup. He probably has 4/5 starter upside.
16. Arizona Diamondbacks : Rex Brothers LHP Lipscomb
17. Arizona Diamondbacks: Bobby Borchering 3B Bishop Verot HS (Florida )
Here’s the first pair of D’back picks. They like to go high upside HSers early, followed by college floor. Borchering has one of the best bats in the draft. He is switch hitter with great bat speed and raw power from both sides. Many believe he will have to eventually move to first but, I think he could stay at third. His speed is average or a little below. His arm is about average as well.
Brothers is a guy I like a lot. He throws his fastball in the mid 90s, he also throws a good slider, with a lot of movement, hasn’t thrown his changeup too much. He’s a rare lefty that can dial his fastball up to 96/97 mph and I think his ceiling is 2/3 starter if he develops his changeup.
18. Florida Marlins : Chad James LHP Yukon HS (Oklahoma )
Chad James is the guy I’m hoping falls to the ‘Stros at 21, but it’s unlikely he will as he is coveted by the D’backs, Marlins, Cardinals and Blue Jays. The Marlins develop HS pitching very well, so James makes sense here. If Borchering gets to here, I could see the Marlins taking the in-state third basemen. James is a lefty with a low 90s fastball, he has touched 95 mph. He also throws an above-average power curve and above-average changeup. He has plenty of projection. I seriously don’t know why James isn’t considered one of the elite HS arms, but one team will benefit as a result in the 16-22 range.
19. St. Louis Cardinals : James Paxton LHP Kentucky
Word is the Cardinals are leaning left-handed pitcher, the options being: Minor, Brothers, James and Paxton. One of them will fall, and in this scenario it’s the Boras corp. client, Paxton. Paxton throws in the mid-to-high 90s, along with a hard slider and a change, which isn’t worth praising. I don’t like Paxton, lack of a real changeup, command, questionable mechanics, Boras, but it seems like the Cards do, so he’s the pick.
20. Toronto Blue Jays: Eric Arnett RHP Indiana
This was a tough one. I’ve been hearing college arm. The Jays would have liked Jenkins, Minor or Brothers, but none of them fell. I also think Chad James is an option, although history would show the Jays shy away from HS arms in the early rounds, and Matt Hobgood is still an option. Kyle Gibson, post-injury, has been rumored here and I think Mike Trout or Tim Wheeler are options here. Trout has one of the highest upsides amongst position players and Wheeler is the next best college bat. I went with the college arm route and took Arnett, although I am far less than confident with that pick. Arnett is a 6’5” righty, who throws in the mid 90s, he also throws a slider in the high 70s/low 80s which can get batters out. His changeup needs some work. I’m not in love with this selection, but that’s mostly because I’m not in love with Arnett, who has risen this season, after an increase in velocity. I also am not high on his secondary pitches or command, but he has to go somewhere in the first round… I guess, and he could go as high as 15.
21. Houston Astros: Slade Heathcott LHP/OF Texas HS (Texas)
I have gone over this pick again and again. I have changed my mind many times, and I still have no clue. I have studied Astros drafts, particularly last year’s. I have looked at the pool of names, over-and-over again, but still nothing looks right. What does look right is Chad James. He’d be perfect. He’s the top guy on my wish list, but I really don’t think he’s going to last here, and I decided to adhere to my integrity as a blogger (ha) and have him go earlier. I also like Rex Brothers, but he also will probably be gone. There are other names in consideration here: Matt Hobgood would make sense as the next best HS arm, Jared Mitchell is the best athlete, I call Tim Wheeler “the Jason Castro of this draft”, and I started a recent buzz about Mike Trout. Seriously, I participated in John Sickel’s mock draft on Saturday and took Trout with his pick, and since then, a bunch of people have started talking about Trout to the Astros. I would love to see it, but I’m afraid Houston isn’t taking an OF from New Jersey and people just went to John’s website saw the pick, and liked… maybe I’m just being ethnocentric, I don’t know. Anyways, the guy at thebaseballdraftreport.com said, “ a great tip though for any young mockers out there – go with as many off the wall picks as possible because, on the off chance you get lucky and nail one of them, you’ll be lauded as a prophet. Mock drafts almost work counter to basic human nature as people often forget the bad picks, but clearly remember the good ones.” (By the way I suggest thebaseballdraftreport.com to anyone interested in the draft, lots of good insight) I like this idea. Houston is my favorite team, so I am going to hook them up with one of my favorite draft prospects, Slade Heathcott and actually it could happen... Heathcott has one of the five highest upsides in the draft (among position players). However, he has signability issues and character issues, which is why most teams are considering him for the second and third rounds. The Yankees, among other teams are thinking about nabbing Heathcott in the first, due to the lack of solid options. The Astros are also high on Heathcott, plus the all important, Texas factor. So, why can’t the Astros jump on Heathcott? One thing I can tell you about Bobby Heck and the current Astros draft philosophy is, they do not care about the consensus. They will take whoever they believe to be the BPA, and it could be Heathcott. Look at Jason Castro and Jordan Lyles from last draft? Now go look at how they’re doing in their first full season… Jason Castro, by the way, for all you Astros fans, was called up to AA Corpus Christi and will be ready for Wednesday’s game. Heathcott is a five-tool outfielder. According to milb.com, he has “plus hitting ability”, “plus power to all fields”, above-average speed, plus arm strength and a plus defender. I am going to try hard, to will this pick into reality.
22. Minnesota Twins: Jiovanni Mier SS Bonita HS (California)
The MO on the Twins: HS bats, college arms. Mier is the kind of toolsy player they like and with the first couple of tiers of college pitchers gone; he seems like an obvious choice. Mier is the top HS shortstop amongst a deep class. He has all the defensive tools to stay at short too. He also has some hitting ability, with a little power to go with it.
23. Chicago White Sox: Andrew Oliver LHP Oklahoma State
Oliver throws a mid 90s fastball along with a plus changeup, but he does not really have a breaking pitch yet. He is also a Boras corp. client, but that shouldn’t bother the Chi Sox. The White Sox have, however, been attached to several of the toolsy outfielders still around: Trout, Everett Williams and Reymond Fuentes.
24. Los Angeles Angels : Tyler Skaggs LHP Santa Monica HS (California)
25. Los Angeles Angels : Mike Trout OF Milville HS (New Jersey)
Another back-to-back pick, remember if Skaggs goes 25 or Trout goes 24, I’m still counting it as a correct pick. The Angels, like the D’backs have an abundance of early round pick, so they could do almost anything with them, but based on their philosophy and lack of talent in their system, they’ll go HS, HS, HS, early and often. Skaggs is a California arm. He throws a low 90s fastball, but should add more velocity as he matures; he is 6’5” 180 and offers plenty of projection, and some. Skaggs also throws a plus curveball in the low 70s.
Trout, like I’ve said is one of the ten best bats in the draft and I’ve heard it said that he is the most likely guy in the class to join the 30-30 club. He’s a five-tooler with solid defensive skills and a plus arm.
26. Milwaukee Brewers: Garrett Gould RHP Maize HS Kansas
Gould just looks like a Brewers pick. I get a Jake Odorizzi vibe from him, in fact. He throws his fastball in the low 90s and can get into the mid 90s a little. He also throws a plus curve and a decent enough changeup. Gould also has that all important, no not “Texas factor”, projection thing. He’s 6’4” 190 after all.
27. Seattle Mariners: Drew Storen RHP Stanford
Storen is the top closer in the class, but I think he’ll be drafted as a starter, and the Mariners seem like a team that would do it. He throws his fastball in the low 90s with good movement. He also throws his curve in the low 80s and has an effective changeup. That three pitch mix makes me think starter. The Mariners are big on college players in the draft, by the way.
28. Boston Red Sox: Matt Purke HS Klein HS (Texas)
Purke is easily one of the fifteen best players in the draft, but he wants so much money and there are only so many teams that are going to pay $5 million + for a prospect. Which means someone is going to fall and the likely candidate is Purke. So, some team at the bottom of the draft will luck out, possibly the Red Sox. Purke throws his fastball in the low 90s, touching 95. I’ve said that a lot, I mean, a lot of pitchers throw in the low 90s touching 95. He throws his curve in the high 70s and has a good changeup. He also has good command and a projectable body.
29. New York Yankees: Matt Hobgood RHP Norco HS (California)
New York needs talent and s high school arm as good as Hobgood’s should be tough to pass up. SS/RHP David Renfroe (this year’s Casey Kelly and Slade Heathcott have been rumored here. Hobgood throws his fastball in the low 90s, he also throws a plus curve in the mid 70s, according to milb.com it could be the best curve among HS pitchers in the class. He doesn’t have a changeup though, so he’ll need to work on a third pitch.
30. Tampa Bay Rays: Max Stassi C Yuba City HS (California)
The Rays’ position of need on the farm is at catcher, and with Stassi available need happens to coincide with the BPA. Stassi has great instincts and makeup; he also has all the defensive tools behind the plate and an average arm. His bat should be good and he has some power.
31. Chicago Cubs: AJ Pollock OF Notre Dame
The last four years, 85% of Cubs picks in the top 149 pick have been college players. Pollock happens to be a personal favorite of mine, and it is tough to let him go to the Cubs, but the pick makes sense. Pollock has a very advanced approach at the plate, and has gap power. He is an above-average runner with great instincts. He is a good fielder in center with an average arm.
32. Colorado Rockies: Tim Wheeler OF Sacramento State
Kyle Gibson is rumored here but I’m not quite buying it. Although, interesting move for the Rockies, if it happens, more on that later… again, if it happens. Wheeler makes sense as the BPA and a college player; remember what I said about the Rockies and college players? Wheeler makes good contact, with some power at times, and has plus speed. He also has an average arm, but plus range in center. That’s the first round.
Compensation Round A
Now that we’re done with the first round, the blurbs are going to be much shorter and to the point.
33. Seattle Mariners : Matt Davidson 3B Yucaipa HS (California )
Davidson has some of the greatest power potential in the draft, but like Borchering may have to move off first. Personally, I think he can stay at third, though. Seattle tends to lean college, but Davidson’s power bat may be too much to pass up and this pick would continue a stellar draft for the Mariners.
34. Colorado Rockies : Alex Wilson RHP Texas A&M
The Rockies pick for a third time and I have them once again taking a college right hander. Wilson, however, is not much like their first pick Mike Leake. He has a mid 90s fastball, a sometimes plus slider he throws in the mid 80s a curveball and changeup, although the latter two aren’t nearly a useful as the first two. Wilson pitched from the Texas A&M bullpen the second half of the season, but he still profiles as a starter with a pretty high ceiling.
35. Arizona Diamondbacks : Brett Jackson OF California
Jackson is another personal fav. He has a lot of raw power and some hitting ability, but strikes out a lot. He also is an above-average runner. He has a plus arm and is a decent fielder in center.
36. Los Angeles Dodgers : Madison Younginer RHP Mauldin HS (South Carolina )
The Dodgers didn’t have a first round pick, so should go for a lot of upside with this pick… how about Younginer, who was a reliever in high school, but will be tried out as a starter in pro ball. He has a mid 90s fastball and projection.
37. Toronto Blue Jays : Jared Mitchell OF Louisiana State University
Mitchell is one of the very best athletes in the draft, and was a possibility for the Astros in round one. His ceiling is a Carl Crawford type outfielder with more power.
38. Chicago White Sox : Rich Poythress 1B Georgia
Poythress is one of the best pure hitters in the draft. Again I opt against the toolsy OF rumors and I really don’t know why.
39. Milwaukee Brewers : Tommy Joseph C Horizon HS (Arizona )
Joseph has enormous raw power and a chance to play behind the plate, with a plus arm. He seems like a fit for the Brewers to me.
40. Los Angeles Angels : Reymond Fuentes OF Puerto Rico
Fuentes is one of the toolsy outfielders the White Sox are after. However, I think he’s a better fit for the Angels.
41. Arizona Diamondbacks: Mychal Givens SS Plant HS (Florida)
Givens throws 97 mph off a mound, but it seems like most teams now like him as a high upside HS shortstop. Is he a possible five-tooler?
42. Los Angeles Angels: Nick Franklin SS Lake Brantley HS (Florida)
I really like this pick. Franklin does just about everything well, with great makeup and the ability to stay at short long term.
43. Cincinnati Reds : Marc Krauss 3B/OF Ohio
I don’t know that much about Krauss, he is one of the college ranks’ best power hitters , that’s about it. I just love the prospect of the Ohio to Ohio connection here.
44. Texas Rangers : Everett Williams OF McCallum HS (Texas )
Williams is another toolsy outfielder, with good power potential and speed. The Astros were at one time considering him in the first, but have since soured on him a little.
45. Arizona Diamondbacks: Jason Kipnis OF Arizona State
Arizona will take guys from Arizona State, they would love Leake, and Kipnis will sign for slot, an essential for teams with so many early picks. Kipnis has about average tools across the board.
46. Minnesota Twins : Sam Dyson RHP South Carolina
Dyson is a draft-eligible sophomore (Drew Storen is too actually), which means he has added leverage and could potentially be tougher to sign as a result. He has a mid 90s fastball and mid 80s slider.
47. Milwaukee Brewers: Kentrail Davis OF Tennessee
Davis is also a draft-eligible sophomore, he was supposed to be a first rounder at the start of the season, but was only ok. Many believe he would benefit greatly from a junior season. Davis could have a good power/speed combo, but some think he won’t be able to play center in the future, hurting his value.
48. Los Angeles Angels: Kyle Gibson RHP Missouri
Here’s where I have Gibson. It’s really just a stab in the dark. Many think Gibson will still find his way in the first round, but I don’t really want to see a team waste a pick. The Angels have money, multiple picks and are in need of great value. When healthy, Gibson throws a low 90s/high 80s fastball with one of the best sliders in the draft and above-average changeup with above-average command.
49. Pittsburgh Pirates : Tony Sanchez C Boston CollegeTony Sanchez is the top college catcher, and is unlikely to fall this far, but he could. If he does, it would work out greatly for the Pirates, who were considering him for the first round. Sanchez has some hit ability, some power, average speed, a decent arm and good skills behind the plate. He’s a prospect you shrug your shoulders at, because, other than his ability to stay behind the plate, no tool really stands out, which is probably why he’s slipped in my mock. But, those tools in a catcher are very useful. The Pirates like to take college players, they could use a catcher in their system (who couldn’t) and Sanchez would be the BPA here. That’s the first sandwich round.
26 More Picks I'm banking on...
51. Seattle Mariners: Kyle Heckathorn RHP Kennesaw State
52. and 83. San Diego Padres: Ryan Jackson SS Miami and Jeff Kobernus 2B California
I'm not distinquishing which I like in the second and which I like in the third, so if either go at either, I'm counting it. Kobernus reminds me of Matt Antonelli, while Jackson is Adam Everett, great defense, possibly little to no offense.
54. Baltimore Orioles: Stephen Perez SS Gulliver Prep (Florida)
55. San Francisco Giants: Brody Colvin RHP HS Louisiana
56. Los Angeles Dodgers: Jake Marisneck OF HS California
59. Colorado Rockies: Blake Smith OF California
61. Chicago White Sox: Billy Hamilton OF/SS HS Mississippi
Here's where I'll finally take that toolsy outfielder.
62. Texas Rangers: Zach Van Rosenberg RHP HS Louisiana
64. Arizona Diamondbacks: Kent Mathes OF Alabama
Mathes should be a hot commodity seeing how he has no leverage, being a senior and all, a team with multiple picks, the D'backs, could use the financial relief they'd get by taking him. Plus he's got the talent to be a high pick.
66. Florida Marlins: Dane Williams RHP HS Florida
67. St. Louis Cardinals: Randal Grichuk OF HS Texas
68. Toronto Blue Jays: Brooks Raley LHP/OF Texas A&M
69. Houston Astros: David Renfroe SS HS Mississippi
Remember Derek Dietrich!!!
72. New York Mets: Brian Goodwin OF HS North Carolina
73. Milwaukee Brewers: David Holmberg RHP HS Florida
75. Philadelphia Phillies: Todd Glaesman OF HS Texas
76. New York Yankees: Steve Matz RHP HS New York
78. Tampa Bay Rays: LeVon Washington OF HS Florida
85. Baltimore Orioles: Chris Owings SS HS South Carolina
96. Los Angeles Dodgers: Bryan Berglund RHP HS California
98. St. Louis Cardinals: Robbie Shields SS/2B Florida Southern
99. Toronto Blue Jays: Bryan Morgado LHP Tennessee
107. Boston Red Sox: Mike Belfiore RHP Boston College
111. Houston Astros: Jonathan Walsh C HS Texas
At some point. Los Angeles Angels: Trayce Thompson OF HS California
Those 26 picks bring up to a grand total of 75, enjoy the draft.
Tags: Arizona Diamondbacks, Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, Colorado Rockies, Detroit Tigers, Florida Marlins, Houston Astros, Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins, MLB Draft 2009, New York Yankees, Oakland Athletics, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners, St. Louis Cardinals, Tampa Bay Rays, Texas Rangers, Toronto Blue Jays, Washington Nationals
Posted on: December 28, 2008 11:47 pm
Edited on: December 28, 2008 11:52 pm
Next Up: My National League Review, then onward to the American League which I would love to have done before Spring Training.
NL West Top Prospects Team Rankings
I would just like to say that these Team Rankings are based on my top 15 prospect lists only, not the state of the organizations entire farm system. The numbers next to each team’s names is the amount of points they scored in my ranking system. The highest possible score is 150. It should also be noted that you cannot take the below “scores” and compare them to that of a NL Central or NL East team, this is because the scores are relative only to the other teams in its division. My next post will be a review of the top prospect lists of the entire National League, and there I will have a ranking of all NL teams.
5. Arizona Diamondbacks 44
Only Jarrod Parker made the top 25 list [below], although Daniel Schlereth would be one of the next three guys on, and he [Schlereth], along with Gerardo Parra made the second all-prospect team. This is, probably, the worst compilation of a team’s top 15 prospects I have ranked thus far. Only the top three prospects (Parker, Schlereth, and Parra) project to be productive major leaguers. It was only a few years ago when the Diamondback’s farm was one of the best in baseball but, since then, guys like Justin Upton, Chris Young, and Max Scherzer have graduated to the majors, and others like Brett Anderson, Carlos Gonzalez, and Greg Smith have been traded away, also they received no promising prospects when they traded Jose Valverde to the Astros – and Astros fans everywhere, including here on this blog, thank you – Juan Gutierrez is not a “promising prospect”. Luckily the Diamondbacks have a good young team right now, and do not need many more pieces, in fact, Schlereth, and Parker may be enough. That will give the organization a little time to improve the farm.
4. Las Angeles Dodgers 78
A tough ranking, I know. The Dodgers have three stellar pitching prospects in Scott Elbert, Ethan Martin, and James McDonald – not to mention Clayton Kershaw who just graduated to the majors in the later part of last season. They also have Chris Withrow, and Josh Lindblom, who both have the potential to become very good pitching prospects prospects. The Dodgers also have a couple of solid hitting prospects, as well, in Ivan DeJesus and Andrew Lambo. However, the Dodgers lack the kind of depth the Rockies, and Padres have.
3. Colorado Rockies 97
I love Dexter Fowler, who happens to be the best position prospect in the division. The emergence of Jhoulys Chacin gives the Rockies a second top five prospect (in the division). After those two, however, the talent level drops off a bit. Wilin Rosario and Mike McKenry are very intriguing catcher prospect, and Christian Friedrich is a future middle of the rotation pitcher. What sets the Rockies apart from the Dodgers is their abundance of high mid-level prospects. Such as: Eric Young Jr., Darin Holcomb, Hector Gomez, Chris Nelson, and Charles Blackmon. All of whom will never become big league stars but, most of them should be productive major leaguers at some point I their careers. I cannot, however, say the same about the Dodgers’ mid-level prospects, guys like Austin Gallagher, Josh Bell, and Cole St. Clair.
2. San Diego Padres 98
The Padres just edge out the Rockies for this spot. This is a little surprising, seeing as how I ranked the Padres best prospect, Mat Latos, the worst of any prospect ranked as his team’s best. However, the Padres have several other top tier prospects to add to the high upside Latos. Guys like Kellen Kulbacki, Kyle Blanks, Will Inman, and Cedric Hunter bolster that group. The Padres have the second most prospects in the NL West’s top 25 with seven prospects. The Padres also have an impressive group of mid-level prospects in players like Mitch Canham, Nick Schmidt, Jaff Decker, James Darnell, and Drew Cumberland.
1. San Francisco Giants 133
Without a doubt the Giants top the division. The Giants have eight of their prospects making the top 25 list, and seven of them made the First NL West all-prospect team. The Giants have a ton of top tier prospects, as I ranked five of them in the top ten in the division. The Giants also have good balance, with a couple of high quality pitchers in Bumgarner and Alderson, and a number of productive hitters in Nate Shierholtz, Nick Noonan, Buster Posey, and Conor Gillaspie.
If you are interested in seeing a more in depth look for any of these teams, just check my archives, or go to my blogs homepage, and scroll down.
NL West Top 25 Prospects
25. Conor Gillaspie 3B/2B SF
I really like Gillaspie as either a third or second basemen with a high batting average, and at least solid defense.
24. Allan Dykstra 1B SD
You have to like Dyksta’s bat with 20-30 homerun potential, and above average plate discipline. He also is not going to hurt a team defensively.
23. Henry Sosa RHSP SF
Sosa has great stuff – with his 97 mph fastball and above average curveball – but the lack of command, and unimpressive numbers at his age and level concern me.
22. Andrew Lambo 1B/OF LAD
I will admit, I may have him a little too low but, I do not totally buy into him as an outfielder yet. I also think his chance of being a bust is still high, and he has to shore up that 3:1 K to BB ratio. He is young, and has a lot of upside though, very high ceiling.
21. Cedric Hunter OF SD
Maybe Hunter’s tools are a little too close to average to be higher than Lambo but, I think his bust potential is much lower, and I like his 1:1 K to BB ratio at the age of 20.
20. Matt Antonelli 2B SD
I still like him. High walk rates – 1:1 K to BB ratio – above average defensively, 20-30 SBs a year, some power potential – could hit 20 homeruns, probably will hit somewhere in the 10-15 range. Very disappointing 2008, look for him to bounce back in spring training to become the Padres everyday second basemen in 2009.
19. James McDonald RHSP LAD
Will Inman or James McDonald? McDonald throws a low 90s fastball, and a 12-6 curveball which he uses as an out pitch. He is major league ready, and will become a solid number four starter next season.
18. Kyle Blanks 1B SD
Blanks hit 20 homeruns in 2008, and he still has more power in his tank. I may have him rated to low, like I did for Lambo – what is it with me not liking big power 1B/LF guys? He is a decent athlete for his massive size but, still below average defensively.
17. Will Inman RHSP SD
I really like Inman, and like his 2008 stats better, I may have even over rated him because of them. Inman’s stuff is not very impressive throwing a 90 mph fastball, and low 70s/high 60s curveball, his stuff his pretty deceptive, though, and fools hitters – which is all that matters. I think his makeup, and pitchibility are enough to make him a number three starter.
16. Christian Friedrich LHSP COL
I love this guy. He throws three major league average pitches in his fastball, cutter, and plus curveball, and also had a great debut to pro ball.
15. Wilin Rosario C COL
Great defensive catcher with a strong arm – throwing out 46% of would be base stealers. Rosario also has some offensive upside with plus power potential, and hit well overall in the Rookie League last season. He has the potential to be an elite catcher.
14. Ivan DeJesus SS/2B LAD
DeJesus is an above average offensive minded middle infielder. He has great hitting ability, with good plate patience, lacking power; he also has enough speed to steal 20 bases most seasons.
13. Ethan Martin RHSP LAD
2008 first round pick, Martin throws three above average pitches in his fastball, power curve, and splitter. He is very athletic for a pitcher, and garnered scout’s attention as both a pitcher, and third basemen. He has future number two written on him.
12. Kellen Kulbacki OF SD
Kulbacki hit .300/.400/.500+ last season, and shows no signs of slowing down. Sure, he is nothing spectacular defensively, and will probably play left his entire career; his bat has been playing very well. Next season in double A will be a good measure of what he could be in the majors.
11. Nick Noonan 2B SF
Great defender at second – his weak arm prevents will prevent him from playing short. Noonan profiles as a top of the order hitter, he has above average contact ability, and capable of stealing more than 30 bases a year, however, he really has to work on his plate patience.
10. Nate Schierholtz OF SF
Schierholtz is an average corner outfielder offensively, and above average defensively, with a canon of an arm.
9. Mat Latos RHSP SD
Latos depends on his plus mid 90s fastball but, is now starting to mix in his “knuckle” curve which grades as above average, or possibly plus, in the future. Statistically he was right on track in his half season last summer. Latos could be a top 5 guy – on this list – next season if he puts up good numbers over a full season in 2009.
8. Scott Elbert LHP LAD
Elbert just edges Latos because he is major league ready, and has a better track record; however, Latos has the higher ceiling, especially if Elbert ends up in the bullpen for good. Scott still has top of the rotation stuff, with his plus fastball and slider combo but, due to injuries the Dodgers have him in the bullpen – for now.
7. Angel Villalona 1B SF
Villalona is very young and very undisciplined – recording a K:BB ratio of 6.5:1 in 2008. However, he does have plus plus power potential, and has already started to show some of it but, his power numbers will rise, if he improves his discipline.
6. Tim Alderson RHSP SF
Alderson has great command, and pairs it with a couple of plus pitches in his low-mid 90s fastball, and power curve.
5. Buster Posey C SF
Posey is a plus defender, and has a lot of upside offensively. He will hit for a high average, and average power could develop eventually. He is a good athlete behind the plate. I had him as the number one pick in my mock draft back in June but, instead fell to number five.
4. Jhoulys Chacin RHSP COL
I really like Chacin, he led the minors in wins in 2008. He throws a mid 90s sinking fastball, and plus changeup. He is a number two starter.
3. Jarrod Parker RHSP ARI
Parker is the first of two pitchers on this list to possess a plus plus fastball. He throws his in the mid-high 90s, and has great command of it. He also throws a slider, curveball, and changeup, the first of which could be a plus pitch as well.
2. Dexter Fowler OF COL
I really debated making Fowler the top guy in the NL West but, ultimately decided on Bumgarner instead. Fowler is a 5-tooler who plays exceptional defense, and will be a well above average centerfielder offensively, as well.
1. Madison Bumgarner LHSP SF
Bumgarner, like Parker, throws a plus plus fastball in the mid-high 90s – and he could add a couple ticks of velocity still. It [his fastball] also has a ton of late tailing action. Bumgarner has also messed around with a couple different breaking pitches (curveball, and slider) but, as of yet none of them really stand out. Bumgarner has ace potential if he can establish his secondary stuff.
First Team All NL West Prospects
C Buster Posey SF
No hard decisions here. The outfield even works perfectly for a RF, CF, LF. The pitching staff is full of aces. Even with Elbert in the bullpen.
Second Team All NL West Prospects
C Wilin Rosario COL
There is a significant drop off at all positions except LF, 1B, and possibly 2B, and C. The pitching staff likely only has one top of the rotation guy in Ethan Martin, the rest either have lower ceilings (McDonald, Inman, Lindblom) or have big bust potential (Sosa). Holcomb and Gomez make the list due to a lack of depth on the left side of the infield.
Posted on: November 26, 2008 1:56 pm
The Rockies have a very talented young team led by Troy Tulowitzki, who I expect to bounce back from a very disappointing season. They also have a couple of 2007 top 50 prospects on the roster in Ian Stewart, who is a great all around player, and Carlos Gonzalez - who was with Arizona last offseason, then traded to the Rockies via the A's in the Holliday trade.
I created this blog series to get the casual fan acquainted with their favorite team's top prospects. My rankings are constructed by me using a variety of factors: what a prospect's potential can be, how the prospect has performed in the past, how well the prospect performs in 2008, age, and the minor league level (MLL) the prospect is currently playing at. The success of teams like the Tampa Bay Rays, and the World Series champions, the Philadelphia Phillies has stressed the importance of having a good farm system, and impact prospects. So, I have made it my task to pull out the top 15 prospects of every organization, and analyze them for you.
One thing I like is interaction from different members, and readers. So, if you do read the article, please just leave a comment at the bottom. I am perfectly ok with the comment ranging from your suggestions, to total disgust of my negative thoughts about your favorite team's future. I am not an expert, and am bound to make some mistakes, so if you see one point it out. I would like to this blog to have a forum style atmosphere, if you feel I am missing a prospect, or overvaluing/undervaluing a prospect, tell me, and tell me why you think so, also if you have any questions leave them for me, and I will answer to the best of my ability.
Colorado Rockies Top 15 Prospects
1. Dexter Fowler OF Age: 22 MLL: AA
I could make a case for either Fowler, or Chacin to be top prospect. Fowler is a five-tool outfielder with exceptional defense, and offensive upside. In 2008 Fowler hit .335, with a 431 OBP, and .515 Slugging % (SLG). Despite only 9 HRs Fowler has some power, hitting 49 XBH (extra base hits), and, because he is only 22, a surge in power could still come. His K:BB ratio is about 1.5/1. Fowler also stole 20 bases, and will steal more as he gets older, and his instincts improve. I think Fowler is one of the very best prospects in baseball; all five of his tools are above average, and his defense, and speed are already plus tools. Fowler will be given a chance in Spring Training with the departure of , even if he starts the season in AAA, he will end it as the Rockies’ centerfielder.
2. Jhoulys Chacin RHSP Age: 20 MLL: A
Chacin came out of nowhere last season, and ended up being one of the very best pitchers in the minor leagues. He led the minors with 18 wins. Chacin pitched in 177 innings with an ERA of 2.03, and striking out 160 batters. Chacin throws a heavy sinker up to 94 mph; he also throws a plus changeup – his best pitch – with late drop, and an average curveball. Chacin is a future number two or three starter, and if he continues to pitch as well as he has he could be in Colorado in a couple years, at the young age of 22, or 23.
3. Wilin Rosario C Age: 19 MLL: R
Rosario had a great summer in rookie league; he hit .316, with .371 OBP, and .532 SLG. He has above average power – possibly plus in the future – hitting 12 homeruns in 263 at bats but, still needs to work on his plate patience, recording a K:BB ratio of over 2:1, but that should improve over time as he is only 19. Rosario is also above average defensively, with a very strong arm, he threw out 46% of would be base stealers when he was behind the plate last season. Rosario has all the tools needed to become an elite catcher, he just has to repeat the success he has had this year.
4. Christian Friedrich LHSP Age: 21 MLL: A-/a
The Rockies’ first pick in the 2008 draft, Christian Friedrich excelled in his first couple months as a pro baseball player. He pitched 48 innings striking out 65, and holding opposing batters to a .239 batting average. Friedrich throws his fastball between 93, and 89 mph, his best pitch is his 12-6 plus curveball, he also throws a cutter in the mid 80s, and a changeup every once in awhile. Friedrich is already this system’s best left-hander – now that Morales is officially a bust, don’t bother looking for that guy on this list – he is no worse than one of the better number four starters, and I think he can be a middle of the rotation starter with four pitches which grade as average or better.
5. Mike McKenry C Age: 23 MLL: A+/w
McKenry is an above average defensive catcher, with a plus arm – he threw out almost half of those trying to steal bases off him last season. I am also believe he has some potential on offense. McKenry possesses above average – plus power – hitting 27 homeruns in 2008, and hitting 64 XBHs, which accounted for 48% of his hits. McKerny does, however, lack even average contact skills, he also strikes out twice as many times as he walks. I believe that McKerny can become an average everyday catcher – with great defense – or, he could be more if he drops his K%, and hits for a better contact. He [McKenry] will be ready for the majors before Rosario, and if he plays well in Colorado he will have an edge over Rosario, who has more upside – both McKerny, and Rosario have similar tools; they both have plus power, and a plus arm, to go with above average defense, and lackluster hitting skills.
6. Casey Weathers RHRP Age: 23 MLL: AA
First thing to say is, Weathers will miss all of 2009 with Nonetheless, Weathers was solid in AA in 2008 pitching 44 innings – all in relief – with a 3.05 ERA, and striking out 54 batters. Weathers’ stuff translates to the back-end of the bullpen; he throws his fastball anywhere between 96, and 91 mph, with some late break. He also throws an inconsistent slider in the mid 80s with late break. I expect him to come back in 2010, and almost immediately make an impact in the Rockies’ bullpen, he probably will not, however, close games with stationed in the ninth – for now..
7. Eric Young Jr. 2B Age: 23 MLL: AA
Son of former major leaguer, and Baseball Tonight analyst Eric Young, Jr. is a highly versatile, high speed player – sounds like his father, eh? – Young is one of the most polished players in this system. He does not have as many tools as some of the players further done on this list, but he is very polished, his K:BB rate last season was nearly 1:1 - 77Ks-61BBs – and he hit .290, with a .391 OBP. Young, however, does not possess much power, his was .392 in 2008, and he tallied only a 26 XBH%. Young is good defensively at second, but his “stocky” build limits his lateral range, so even though he is lightning fast, he does not have the range to play shortstop. The Rockies are trying him in centerfield with the plan to make him a super-utility guy, and free up the logjam in the middle infield. I think Young can be an everyday second basemen because of his solid defense, and his high OBP, he does have the ability to have doubles power, but I do not think he needs too to be a good starter, because if he gets a single, or draws a walk, there is a very good chance he is stealing second –Young stole 46 bases in 2008, he stole 73 in 2007, and 87 in 2006. If not a second basemen – or centerfielder I guess, although I see the prospect of him there everyday less likely – Young will be one of the best super-utility players in the league, so I feel confident placing him high on my list.
8. Brandon Hynick RHSP Age: 23 MLL: AA
Another lower ceiling player, but I like Hynick – and by and large like SURE THING middle ceiling, fourth, and fifth starters, closers, average everyday players, over the high upside very high risk players, especially when those players have red flags, like injury problems, or if they are not developing like they should. Anyways in AA in 2008 Hynick pitched 172 innings accumulating a 4.44 ERA but, striking out only 97 batters. He has average stuff, throwing his fastball around 90, but also throwing a splitter, changeup, and curve/slider. My favorite part about Hynick, he has exceptional command. Although he does not have a plus pitch, his command makes him an extremely effective pitcher, who does not usually allow himself to get deep into counts, which allows him to be a workhorse pitcher – he has pitched over 170 innings the last two seasons. This gives me hope that he can a number 4, or 5 starter who pitches close to, or over 200 every year.
9. Hector Gomez SS Age: 20 MLL: A+
Gomez missed all but one game in 2008 due to a series of injuries. Gomez is a very good defender, with above average range, and a plus arm. However, his offensive ability is very raw, and, at least in my opinion, very limited. He has below average plate discipline, and below average contact ability. His power potential does grade as average, but I have yet to see him produce it. This placement is mostly based on potential, he is still only 20, and has plenty of time to develop his offensive ability. Gomez can be an average, or better shortstop, with great defense, and average or below average offense.
10. Darin Holcomb 3B Age: 23 MLL: A+
Holcomb is a little old for his league, but put up some absolutely great numbers. He hit .318, with a .400 OBP; he also walked five more times than he struck out – 60 strike outs, to 65 walks. Holcomb also put up a solid .491 SLG, and .891 OPS. He hit 14 homeruns – the Rockies think he can hit 20 or more HRs in the future - and 60 total XBHs, which accounted for 37% of his hits. Holcomb’s place in the big leagues will depend a lot upon where Ian Stewart ends up – second or third – and also the development of guys like Hector Gomez, and Chris Nelson.
11. Charles Blackmon OF Age: 22 MLL: a
Blackmon was the second pick for the Rockies in 2008. He has a good set of tools with average contact skills, about average power potential, and above average fielding potential, with a plus arm, and plus speed. He played great in 290 at bats this past summer hitting .338 and .390 OBP. We have yet to see Blackmon produce any real power hitting only a 29 XBH%. He also stole 13 bases in his 290 at bats. Blackmon could become an average centerfielder, maybe even higher if he ever hits for power.
12. Chris Nelson SS Age: 23 MLL: AA/A+
Nelson had a breakthrough year in 2007 improving his power, and bat discipline. However, Nelson was hampered by a hand injury in 2008, and claims he never felt right, which caused his numbers to flat out suck. He hit .230, with a .315 OBP, and .657 OPS. He hit an XBH% of 32%, which is not bad, but also not the kind of power Nelson has been touted with. He is only a so-so fielder in my opinion, and is likely to make a shift to second with likely occupying short for the foreseeable future. Nelson still has great tools, and a lot of potential, but it is looking less likely that he will reach it, but I am not ready to drop him below the 26 year olds.
13.1B Age: 26 MLL: AAA
The last two seasons Koshansky has just smashed the ball. In 2008 he hit .300, with a .380 OBP, and .600 SLG%. He hit 31 HRs, and 71 XBHs, which were 52% of his total hits. Koshansky has the bat to play in the majors right now, but with Atkins likely to shift to first when Helton’s done there it seems as though the best he will eve be is an above average pinch hitter.
14. Dan Mayora 2B/SS Age: 23 MLL: A+
Mayora is a super-utility player who can play every infield position. In 2008 he hit .288, with a .360 OBP, and 33 XBH%, he also had a K:BB rate of over 2:1. His ceiling is not that high, but he should help out the major league team at some point.
15.OF Age: 26 MLL: AAA
Smith was apart of the Rockies team which made the World Series in 2007, however, he has yet to accumulate 130 at bats in a season, thus his inclusion here. In 248 AAA at bats Smith hit .323, with a .426 OBP, and .524 SLG%, he also hit 10 HRs in that time and stole 11 bases. If given the chance to play a full season as an everyday player I believe Smith would be at least average, and with the Holliday trade he may get a chance if they think Fowler needs some time in AAA before coming to Colorado. Otherwise he is just a AAAA player, who may or may not ever make a considerable contribution to the big league team.
Honorable Mention: Conor Graham RHSP Age: 23 MLL: A- Cory Riordan RHSP Age: 22 MLL: A-
Strengths: Fowler is an absolute star, and he could be ready to start the season in Colorado’s outfield – he and Carlos Gonzalez are going to make an exciting young duo of outfielders. They also have a few really nice starters in Chacin, Friedrich, and Hynick. They also –like the Brewers- have two catching prospects capable of being major league starters. The Rockies also have good depth, which includes a couple of high upside guys in Nelson, and Gomez, as well as some older guys capable of helping the major league club in case of injury in Smith, and Koshansky.
Weaknesses: Weaknesses? I would not call it a weakness, but this Rockies list would be better if did not fall off the map, and if Nelson and Gomez had not declined/were not injured. Otherwise the major league club is already a pretty young team, include a lot of exciting players, hopefully Tulo will bounce back for them. Do not forget about Ian Stewart, who graduated to the majors last year, he is going to be a star as well.
Next Up: the Las Angeles Dodgers
Posted on: November 10, 2008 5:31 pm
[Top 15 Prospects: Milwaukee Brewers can be found underneath this article]
Whoa there partner, are you trying to tell me that Billy Beane made a move to acquire a superstar going into the last year of his contract, rather than the other way around? When I first heard it I hardly believed it - especially since the Cardinals seemed like a good suitor - but, then I thought about it, and realized this move makes perfect sense.
First of all, I have heard the deal is imminent, but not finalized, so the deal I am about to analyze may be slightly different than the one that becomes official in the coming days, or hours.
The Deal: Matt Holliday to the Athletics - The Rockies receive RP Huston Street, SP Greg Smith, and OF Carlos Gonzalez
If this ends up being the deal, and I expect it to be, I love it for all parties involved, and I will tell you why.
-I love this deal for my own selfish reasons. You see the Athletics did not give up any of their prospects, which means I will not have to go back, and do the work adjusting the A's, and Rockies top 15 prospects lists. Yay!
-The Rockies come out winners because they get the closer they are so desperate for. They also receive a competent SP in Greg Smith, and a future star OF in Carlos Gonzalez, and I assure you Gonzalez is a future star. Holliday was not going to stay in Colorado after next season, he made that clear when he rejected the 80 million dollar extension the Rockies offered him last offseason. Now, you could argue the Rockies should have kept him, and traded him at the deadline next July, but you cannot count on that deal being as good as this one, and they were able to send Holliday out of the NL, and to the AL. Nice moves.
-The A's also benefit, I think they immediately become a playoff contender in 2009, best of all they did it without sacrificing any of their prospects, pure Billy Beane. Just to let you know the A's claim they will not look to flip Holliday at the deadline in 2009, and I suspect they will attempt to resign him to a long term deal. Holliday is the perfect star to piece your team around, once the A's farm system starts to pump out star players (like Brett Anderson, Trevor Cahill, James Simmons, Adrian Cardenas, and plenty of others I will cover when I finally get to the A's system in my top 15 prospects series). If Holliday decides Oakland is not for him, or the Athletics do not agree on an asking price with Boras they will collect two first round picks for Holliday, and no one knows how to use their draft picks like the A's.
-The big winner in this deal is without a doubt the AL West. Seriously, this deal makes the AL West relevant again. Gone are the days of picking the Angels at the beginning of the season, and ignoring it the rest of the year. The A's will be competitive this upcoming season, and, due to their fantastic farm system, the next several seasons, at least. Also the Rangers looked good in 2008, and seem poised to add a big free agent this offseason. If there is a loser in this deal, its the NL West since it now looks like they will be losing two of their best players in Holliday, and the soon to be moved Peavy.