Minor League Prospects
(All Quotes and Profiles are via Rotowire.com)
1. Delmon Young, OF, TB, 9/14/1985, AA Montgomery (ML Ready)
• “Young will be the best prospect in all of the minors when the 2005 season opens—unless Tampa Bay decides to start him as their right fielder. That sounds ludicrous, but in this organization it could happen. If and when he's called up grab him posthaste in keeper leagues, but don't expect much 2005 impact.”
• 5 Category Stud will be impact player in TB OF for 2006
2. Justin Upton, SS, ARI, 8/25/1987, Recent Draft Pick
• Speed, Power, Athleticism, the whole package. Just a matter of when.
3. Alex Gordon, 3B, KC, 2/10/1984, Recent Draft Pick
• #2 overall pick in 2005 is a Left handed hitting stud.
4. Ian Stewart, 3B, COL, 4/5/1985, A Modesto
• “Stewart lived up to the hype in 2004 when he became the youngest player in the 107-year history of the South Atlantic league to hit 30 HR. (.319 BA, 101 RBI in 131G)”
5. Andy Marte, 3B, ATL, 10/21/1983, MLB Braves/AAA Richmond (ML Ready)
• 35 HR potential and about a .280 Avg guy.
6. Andy LaRoche, 3B, LAD, 9/13/1983, AA Jacksonville
• Promoted to AA Jacksonville on 6/16 “LaRoche, the younger brother of Atlanta's Adam, had been raking at High-A Vero Beach, hitting .333 with 21 homers and 51 RBI through 63 games.”
• “LaRoche went 4-for-5 and hit his fifth home run in his 10th game with Double-A Jacksonville. LaRoche is hitting .341 so far at Double-A. If he keeps this up, he may yet see Chavez Ravine before September - which would be an amazing achievement.”
7. Daric Barton, C, OAK, 8/16/1985, AA as of 7/5/2005
• May be Oakland’s top hitting prospect.
• Has played 3B, 1B, and C. Could end up a LF.
• 1st Round 2003 pick out of high school.
8. Brian Dopirak, 1B, CHC, 12/20/1983, A Daytona
• .307, 39HR, 120RBI at low-A ball.
• “Dopirak led the low Single-A Midwest League in HR and RBI in 2004 and finished second in slugging with a .593 mark. He followed that up with 7 HR (tied for second) and a .275 average in the Arizona Fall League, but struck out 23 times against just 5 BB. The bottom line is that Dopirak, at 21, has some big-time power upside, but he'll need to improve his plate discipline just a little bit if he expects to succeed at higher levels.”
9. Jeremy Hermida, OF, FLA, 1/30/1984, AA Carolina
• As of 6/7 “Hermida is currently among the Carolina League leaders in several offensive categories: 10th in batting average at .313; fourth in slugging percentage at .569, second in OPS at 1.031, first in walks with 51 (against 47 strikeouts) and he is 11-of-12 on stolen base attempts.”
10. Brandon Wood, SS, ANA, 3/2/1985, A Rancho Cucamonga
• “Wood is hitting .311 with 20 home runs, 50 RBI and a 1.011 OPS over 62 games at Single-A Rancho Cucamonga, according to the team's official site.”
• Wood has speed and power and was the prized SS in the 2003 Draft.
11. B.J. Upton, SS, TB, 8/21/1984, TB/AAA Durham
• “The second overall pick in the 2002 draft could win a starting job this spring. Upton could play short if Julio Lugo is traded or if Lugo is moved to second if the Rays don't sign a veteran to start over Jorge Cantu. Lugo could also play short and Upton third. Or Upton could move to left field with Carl Crawford in center since Rocco Baldelli is hurt. He could DH, too. Or he could start in Triple-A to polish his defense. Either way, if you kicked yourself back in '96 for not drafting then unknown Derek Jeter, take Upton now.”
• 7/6 “Upton had committed 24 errors at short in the first two months of the season, and according to the report, the Rays were just about ready to give up and move Upton to left field. However, it appears that Upton has turned it around just in the nick of time; he committed just five errors in June and looked much more competent, and confident, in the field. "There's no question he's a better shortstop than he was at this time a year ago," Rays GM Chuck LaMar said. "Whether he'll be good enough to play shortstop every day on the major-league level is still to be determined over the next year or year and a half. But there has clearly been improvement." However, the Rays likely will not promote Upton to the majors until there's room for him to play every day at the big-league level, either due to a major injury or a potential trade involving shortstop Julio Lugo.”
12. Conor Jackson, 1B, ARI, 5/7/1982, AAA Tuscon
• As of 6/29 “According to the report, Jackson is day-to-day. The D-Backs prospect is currently second in the Pacific Coast League in batting average (.373), on-base average (.463) and RBI (58).”
13. Carlos Quentin, OF, ARI, 8/28/1982, AAA Tuscon
• As of 6/29 “Quentin is now batting .306 with 14 homers on the season for Triple-A Tucson. He has also posted a fine BB/K ratio of 41/32 through 77 games.”
• Has looked great with high average and solid power.
14. Ian Kinsler, 2B, TEX, 6/22/1982, AAA Oklahoma City
• Amazing A Ball Player (Was hitting over .400 before call up)
• Struggled a little at AA but has shown some pop at AAA.
15. Matt Murton, OF, CHC, 10/3/1981, AA West Tenn/ML CHC
• Called up on 7/7 to ML
• “The 30th overall pick in the 2003 draft, Murton held his own at high Single-A last season, going .301/.372/.452. He's shown decent plate discipline and a fair amount of pop so far, but the true test will be at Double-A where he'll almost certainly begin the year.”
• In 78 Games and over 313 AB’s at AA West Tennessee, Murton was hitting .342 with 8HR, 46RBI, 18SB
16. Val Majewski, OF, BAL, 6/19/1981, ML Baltimore, AA Bowie
• On 60 Day DL with Shoulder Injury
• “Majewski was named the Orioles Minor League Player of the Year in 2004. He was promoted to the majors briefly before being shut down with a shoulder injury. With the Orioles planning on signing a marquee free agent outfielder in the offseason, Majewski will probably not get a chance to play regularly in the majors until at least 2006. Expect him to spend most of the 2005 season in Triple-A before receiving another September call-up.”
• “Majewski, 23, hit .307 with 24 doubles, 15 home runs, 80 RBI, and 14 steals for Double-A Bowie in 112 games, with a not-horrendous 68/33 K/BB ratio in 433 at-bats. Majewski is still a work in progress, and has Larry Bigbie, Jerry Hairston, Jay Gibbons, and a potentially big-name free agent looming ahead of him on the Orioles' depth chart in the outfield. He should start 2005 at Triple-A and earn a late-season call-up to audition for 2006.”
17. Jason Kubel, OF, MIN, 5/25/1982, ML MIN
• (60-Day DL w/Knee Ligament Tear)
• “Kubel rocketed up the charts of baseball's top hitting prospects after tearing up Double-A and Triple-A before a late-season call-up to the Twins that saw him even start at DH in a playoff game. He hit an amazing .328/.394/.557 combined between the three stops. Unfortunately in the offseason Kubel suffered extensive ligament damage to his left knee as well as a torn ACL in the Arizona Fall League. As a result, he's expected to miss the entire 2005 season. Don't forget about him in keeper leagues as he'll likely contend for a starting job in the outfield with the Twins in 2006 if healthy.”
• Good power, some speed.
18. Curtis Granderson, OF, DET, 3/16/1981 AAA Toledo
• “Granderson is widely considered the Tigers top hitting prospect and should start the 2005 season at Triple-A Toledo. If he performs well, he could get called up to the majors early in the season, where the Tigers will give him a chance to show he's ready. When the Tigers finally tire of Alex Sanchez, Granderson should get the call.”
• At AAA Toledo in 2005 Granderson is hitting .285 with 11HR, 47RBI and 15SB over 337 AB’s. He has struck out 102 times.
• 7/7 “Granderson is on a major hot streak slugging 1.267 over his last three games - seven hits total with three doubles and three homers.”
19. Miguel Montero, C, ARI, 7/9/1983, A Lancaster
• 6/23 “Montero has been named as one of two catchers on the World Roster for the XM Satellite Radio All-Star Futures Game. He is hitting .355/.411/.645 for High-A Lancaster with 21 home runs.”
• “Montero wasn't regarded as a top prospect for Arizona before the season started, but he's been tearing it up. He's just 21 so he could move up quickly but his future may not be as a catcher.”
20. Kendry Morales, OF, ANA, 6/20/1983, AA Arkansas
• (Cuban Defector)
• “Morales is a polished switch-hitter, and viewed by many as Cuba's top young player. He is capable of playing at any corner infield or outfield spot, and at 21 (real age, we assume), he's been deemed close to Major League ready.”
• Looked great in A Ball but has been sputtering a little bit at AA
21. Stephen Drew, SS, ARI, 3/16/1983, High A Lancaster
• “Drew was Arizona's top pick in the 2004 draft, but has neither signed with the Diamondbacks nor re-enrolled at Florida State. If Arizona does sign him before the 2005 draft, there's a slim chance he could see major league action this year, although he probably wouldn't be ready. Still, he's a five-tool prospect, so hang onto him in your keeper league for now.”
• “Drafted by Arizona in the first round of the 2004 draft. Signed a four-year deal in May 2005 that gives him a $4 million signing bonus and guarantees him at least $5.5 million over the life of his contract.”
• 7/7 “It doesn't appear that the High-A level is offering much of a challenge for Drew. He has an insane 1.324 OPS and is batting .382 so far. He should see Double-A ball fairly soon.”
22. Cameron Maybin, OF, DET, 4/4/1987
• Tigers 2005 1st Round Pick
• “Maybin was taken by the Tigers with the 10th pick in Tuesday's draft. Maybin, a high schooler out of North Carolina, is a scout-friendly pick. He's drawn raves for his tools and his makeup. We'll see how that translates performance-wise once he faces tougher competition.”
23. Hanley Ramirez, SS, BOS, 12/23/1983, AA Portland
• Boston’s best prospect has great athleticism and some speed. Hasn’t shown power just yet but may have impact in 2006.
24. Josh Barfield, 2B, SD, 12/17/1982, AAA Portland
• Looked great in A-Ball (Speed and power high for 2B) but has struggled in AA and AAA.
25. Marshall McDougall, SS, TEX, 12/19/1978, AAA Oklahoma City/ML TEX
• Showed solid play at AAA with a .335 Avg and 25 HR power with annualized at bats.
26. Casey Kotchman, 1B, ANA, 2/22/1983, AAA Salt Late City/ML ANA
• Darin Erstad type with High Avg and not much power.
• Getting some looks at the ML level right now.
27. Joel Guzman, SS, LAD, 11/1/1984, AA Jacksonville
• Dodgers 2004 Minor League Player of the Year. Good pop, not much speed
28. Felix Pie, OF, CHC, 2/8/1985, AA West Tennessee
• Speed, Leadoff type
• “After an encouraging campaign at low Single-A in 2003, Pie went .297/.358/.441 at high Single-A last season, which for a 19-year-old isn't too shabby. That said, his talent is still on the raw side. Despite his speed, he has yet to develop base-stealing instincts, resulting in 18 CS in 50 attempts, and he needs to improve his plate discipline as he moves to higher levels. Expect a good test at Double-A in 2005. If he does well, he could make his first appearance in the majors sometime in 2006.”
• He is recovering from an ankle injury but had shown some nice pop (11HR in 240 AB in AA for 2005) to go with 13 SB’s after stealing 32 last season in A Ball.
29. Jeff Francoeur, OF, ATL, 1/8/1984, AA Mississippi/ML Braves
• Hit 1st Major League Homerun on 7/7/05 for 1st ML Hit.
• “Francoeur is seen as Atlanta's top outfield prospect, with an all-around skill set that could translate well to fantasy value. He had a successful high Single-A campaign by hitting .293/.346/.508 but struggled in a 19-game call-up to Double-A Greenville. He'll get a look in spring training, but likely needs another year of seasoning in the minors before he gets a shot. He's a solid keeper prospect who'll contend for a starting job as early as 2006.”
• I’m not that impressed by his Minor League #s and doesn’t show much upside.
30. Jeff Mathis, C, ANA, 3/31/1983, AAA Salt Lake
• “Mathis stalled at Double-A last year, with his OPS dropping from .827 to .695 and his average falling to an eyebrow-raising .221. It appeared as if he started pressing after teammates Casey Kotchman and Dallas McPherson were promoted. Even with the setback, Mathis is still considered a fine prospect and should bounce back in 2005.”
• He has been struggling in 2005 and I’m not high on him.
• 6/9 “Mathis is hitless in seven of his last 10 games, batting .162 over that stretch to go with an anemic .243 slugging percentage (three doubles matched with three singles) and a .448 OPS. We'll continue to monitor his progress for signs of a recovery - this is a bit worrisome at this point.”
31. Erick Aybar, SS, ANA, 1/14/1984, AA Arkansas
• “Aybar had another great year in the Anaheim organization at High-A Rancho Cucamonga, posting a .855 OPS to go with his speed. He's showing gap power but still isn't taking many walks. At 5-11, 160 lbs., many scouts question whether he can hit for adequate power at higher levels, so he'll need to fill out significantly in the next couple of seasons.”
• Stole 51 in 87* chances in 2004 at A Ball while hitting .330 with 25 2B, 11 3B, 14 HR, and 65 RBI.
32. Billy Butler, CI, KC, 4/18/1986, A High Desert
• “Butler's rookie-ball season was a monster, with a .373 average and 35 extra-base hits in 260 at-bats.”
• Recently been moved to LF to make room for Alex Gordon.
33. Edwin Encarnacion, 3B, CIN, 1/7/1983, 1/7/1983, AAA Louisville/ML CIN
• A little bit of speed, some pop. Getting some ML experience.
34. Jose Lopez, 2B, SEA, 11/24/1983, AAA Tacoma/ML Seattle
• “Lopez, the organization's top position-player prospect, was part of the Great Auditioning in Seattle last season as the Mariners called up a number of prospects. He proved he could handle the rigors of shortstop, but his bat didn't make the trip from Triple-A Tacoma, where he hit for average and power. In Seattle, he slugged .367. He showed good instincts, though, and the Mariners believe his swing will come in time. His future with the club took a step back in the offseason, though, as the Mariners signed Adrian Beltre and Pokey Reese. Lopez, who now won't be the future third baseman the M's envisioned, likely will start the season at Triple-A Tacoma, losing the opening day shortstop duties to Reese.”
• 7/3/2005 “The 21-year-old batted sixth in the order. In 2004, he hit .293 with 15 homers and 39 RBI for Triple-A Tacoma, and .232/5/22 for the Mariners. Lopez has battled a wrist injury in 2005, recently returning to play in a combined 18 games with Tacoma and Seattle. He'll replace Boone on a full-time basis.”
35. Elijah Dukes, OF, TB, 6/26/1984, AA Montreal
• “Dukes did well at high Single-A Lancaster to finish the season after sitting out a month for anger-management intervention. A typically toolsy Tampa Bay prospect, he'll start 2005 at Double-A.”
• At Montreal in AA Dukes his hitting .302 with 13HR, 47RBI, 11SB over 285AB’s.
36. Lastings Milledge, OF, NYM, 4/5/1985, A St. Lucie
• After signing late and getting just 26 AB in the minors in 2003, Milledge did not get off to a great start in 2004, missing the first month of the year with a fractured fourth metacarpal bone on his right ring finger. Once he finally got on the field, he proved to be everything the Mets thought he would be when they drafted him 12th overall in 2003. He earned Mets' Minor League Rookie of the Year kudos at low Single-A Capital City and received a mid-season promotion to high Single-A Port St. Lucie, but was sent back to Capital City for its pennant run, which was not the worst thing for him, since he was overmatched at high Single-A. Like all young hitters, he needs to work on his plate discipline but has adjusted to using a wood bat and should be the Mets' center fielder of the future. He'll start 2005 in Port St. Lucie and should be promoted to Double-A Binghamton with an ETA of late-2006, early-2007 for Shea.
37. Dustin Pedroia, SS, BOS, 8/17/1983, AAA Pawtucket
• “Pedroia was Boston's first-round pick in 2004 and made two Single-A stops, eventually finishing the year at High-A Sarasota in the Florida State League. Pedroia, who was named the National Defensive Player of the Year in 2003 at Arizona State, held his own with the bat. He knows what to do around the plate and has moderate power for a middle infielder. Pedroia's future with the major league club may be at second base, considering the organization's investment in Edgar Renteria. And he’s still the second-best SS prospect behind Hanley Ramirez. He will likely start the season in Single-A, but Pedroia's on the fast track and could be promoted to Double-A Portland before long.”
38. Nick Markakis, OF, BAL, 11/17/1983, A Delmar
• “Markakis was Baltimore's No. 1 pick in the 2003 draft. He hit well for Greece in this summer’s Olympics, and had a successful season at low Single-A Delmarva. He’ll likely spend most of 2005 with high Single-A Frederick and is at least a couple years away.”
• 7/4 “After winning the home run contest at the High-A Caolina League All-Star game, Markakis went 3-for-5 with two homers and three RBI to garner MVP honors for the game, the Baltimore Sun reports. The Orioles' future in the outfield looks bright with players like Markakis, Val Majewski, and Jeff Fiorentino coming up the pipeline, but Markakis has the most upside of the three at this point. Expect a promotion to Double-A by the end of the season.”
39. Michael Bourn, OF, PHI, 12/27/1982, AA Reading
• “This young Phillies outfielder ran wild in the low Single-A Sally League, leading it with 58 steals and 85 walks while hitting .315. Bourn is a left-handed hitter who makes good contact. He could well be a major league regular, but we won't have a better idea until he hits at Double-A. As someone with three years of college ball under his belt, he will be on the fast track in 2005.”
• After stealing 57 bases in 63 attempts at A Ball in 2004 while hitting .317 over 413AB’s, Bourn is hitting .280 this season with 4HR, 27RBI, and 27SB in 36Attempts this season over 336AB’s.
• He’s a prototypical leadoff hitter who gets on base and steals like a champ.
40. Javier Herrera, OF, OAK, 4/9/1985, A Vancouver
• Over 3 stops at A ball in 2004 as a 19 year old, Herrera totaled a .289 BA, 21HR, 92RBI, and 23 SB in 24 Chances over 564 AB’s.
41. Chris Young, OF, CHW, 9/5/1983, A Kansas City
• Bigtime Speed, Moneyball #s in the box.
• “Young is in the wrong organization. His 24 home runs and 66 walks in Low-A as a 20-year-old would have put him on the fast track in one of the 'Moneyball' systems. He'll play third fiddle to Brian Anderson and Ryan Sweeney in the White Sox's eyes, unless he does something too impressive to ignore -- like double his stolen base total.”
• 6/27 “Young, with 16 home runs and 14 steals on the year, was named to the Futures Game ahead of more heralded White Sox outfield prospects Brian Anderson and Ryan Sweeney. His .247 batting average and 81 strikeouts in 283 at bats have kept him under the radar to some extent, but his power/speed combination and 38 walks point to a very interesting skill set. Still only 21, Young has plenty of time to start learning to make better contact -- he's definitely one to keep an eye on.”
42. Brian A. Anderson, OF, CHW, 3/11/1982, AAA Charlotte
• “Anderson ripped through High-A to start the year, but slowed down noticeably after his promotion to Double-A. He'll be 23 this season so for now he's right on schedule, and with the White Sox outfield suddenly much thinner a big first half could put him on the big league map.”
• 4/9 “The first-rounder from 2003 has been pushed to Triple-A, and there may be an adjustment period. Hopefully he'll not follow the same path of Joe Borchard and get lost at this level, but he's a different player at the plate and capable of overcoming the obstacle. We could see him in the majors this season as situations dictate, but it's more likely that 2006 will be his year.”
• 4/25 “He's now batting .316/.400/.632 in 57 at bats for the Knights, with seven walks against 16 strikeouts. The K's are a bit disconcerting, but otherwise Anderson is proving to be more than a match for this level. If a serious injury opens up a spot in the White Sox OF/DH mix, Anderson could very easily get a call-up.”
• In 2005 at AAA he is batting .284 with 20 2B, 11HR, 41RBI, in 313 AB.
43. Ryan Garko, C, CLE, 1/2/1981, AAA Buffalo
• “An excellent sleeper prospect, this catcher/first baseman might be more valuable in fantasy than in real baseball. A third-round pick from Stanford in 2003, all Garko did in his first full pro season was climb from High-A to Triple-A, hitting well above .300 with good power along the way. He continued to rake in the AFL, ranking among the league leaders with .348-5-30 totals. Some qualifications: Garko won't dislodge Victor Martinez any time soon, his defense behind the plate is questionable, and he may need a full year of Triple-A. He is a good man to keep your eye on”
• 6/23 “The Indians have Victor Martinez so Garko's path to a full-time catching job in the majors may be blocked for a while, but the nice sleeper could force some decisions if he keeps playing so well. On the season (prior to Wednesday's game), Garko has 13 homers, 42 RBI and 45 runs with a .500 slugging percentage. The biggest flaw we see is his 47 strikeouts.”
44. Howard Kendrick, 2B, ANA, 7/12/1983, AA
• “Kendrick had a strong season at low Single-A Cedar Rapids, giving the organization another second baseman behind Alberto Callaspo with high offensive potential. Look for continued growth at high Single-A in 2005. “
• 7/6 “Kendrick is likely to be promoted to Double-A soon after tearning up High-A, the L.A. Times reports. He hit .375/.418/.617 with 10 home runs and 13 stolen bases for High-A Rancho Cucamonga (in 75 games) and was named to the California League All Star team. Kendrick is emerging as one of the better hitting middle infield prospects in baseball after a strong first half, so it will be interesting to see how he responds to Double-A.”
45. Chris Nelson, SS, COL, 9/3/1985, A Asheville
• Rockies 1st Round pick in 2004 is at least 2 years away (2007)
• Hasn’t looked sharp so far in A Ball. Also blocked by Barmes.
46. Eric Duncan, 3B, NYY, 12/7/1984, AA Trenton
• 7/7 “Duncan has been mentioned as potential trade bait for the Yankees, specifically in rumors involving Mark Kotsay, NorthJersey.com reports. Duncan is starting to hit better after a tough April. He's now hitting .255/.354/.413 with 13 homers for Double-A Trenton. Given that he's only 19 years old, that's not too shabby. His defense remains questionable, however, so his future may lie at first base or DH.”
• Hasn’t shown much in A or AA to get excited about.
47. Ryan Sweeney, OF, CHW, 2/20/1985, A Winston Salem
• “Manager Ozzie Guillen took a shine to Sweeney during spring training -- even suggesting he'd keep him on the big league roster if he had room -- but instead the 19-year-old put together a solid High-A campaign. He's got a nice swing and some idea of the strike zone, so if the power eventually shows up (and there's plenty of time for it to arrive) he'll be a keeper.”
• Has not shown any impressive numbers in the minors thus far and is still very young and very raw.
48. Chris Lubanski, OF, KC, 3/24/1985, A High Desert
• “When Carlos Beltran was 19 and hitting well in Single-A, he was two years shy of his first season in the majors and a rookie of the year honor. Lubanski, the fifth player taken in the 2003 amateur draft, has been favorably compared to Beltran during his short career – probably because both were talented and skinny when they joined the Royals. Lubanski hits for average and power, can run (although he’s working on greater success) and plays good defense. He’s a five-tool athlete with a strong sixth tool, as well – heart.”
• 6/16/2005 “In June, Lubanski is batting .452 (19-for-42) with six doubles and five homers for a slugging percentage of .952. He's also showing some improvement in strikeouts per at-bat - dropping from .288 prior to June to .238 during June.”
49. Troy Tulowitzki, SS, COL, 10/10/1984, 2005 7th Overall Pick
• 6/9 “Tulowitzki has agreed to a signing bonus of $2.3 million and will report to high-A Modesto on June 17, pending a physical, the Rocky Mountain News reports.
• 6/8 “The Rockies may start Tulowitzki out as high as the high-A California league, one level above last year's first round pick, Chris Nelson.”
50. Alberto Callaspo, 2B, ANA, 4/19/1983, AA Arkansas
• “Callaspo is one of the better infield prospects in the Anaheim system along with Eric Aybar. He rarely walks or strikes out and is a solid defender with average speed and doubles power. We'd like to see his walk rate increase a bit, but those minor-league doubles could turn into home runs in a year or two.”
51. Yuniesky Betancourt, SS, SEA, 1/31/1982, AAA Tacoma
• Cuban Refugee
• “Betancourt is a 23-year-old refugee from Cuba who entered Mexico in the summer of 2003. Up until that time he played both shortstop and second base in the Cuban National League, and the Cuban age 17-18 national team. At 5-10, 190 pounds he’s an athletic player who the Mariners expect to compete as an offensive shortstop immediately with speed and good hands. Early reports have him with a good bat although without a major league power stroke. Not a great deal is known about his development, so don’t expect too much in 2005 and you won’t be disappointed. This seems reasonable given the team’s commitment to Pokey Reese for the immediate future.”
• Defensive wizard at SS but hasn’t shown much more than a little speed and a .280 type average in the minors thus far.
52. Shin-Soo Choo, OF, SEA, 7/30/1982, AAA Tacoma
• “Choo was named the organization's 2004 minor league player of the year. After a strong stint in the Arizona Fall League, he'll compete for a spot on the major league squad in the spring, but likely is headed for Triple-A Tacoma. He could get called up at some point this season, though, and remains a good keeper candidate.”
• Hits for a .300 Avg and about 35 SB per season. Left handed slap hitter type.
53. Nelson Cruz, OF, MIL, 7/1/1980, AAA Nashville
• Between Single-A Midland and Double-A Modesto in 2004, Cruz hit a combined .329 with 41 2B, 3 3B, and 25 HR in 523 AB. He drew 50 walks, which is acceptable, but did strike out 142 times. Mix in 16 steals in 23 attempts, and you have a decent roto prospect, though he turned 24 in July of this past year. He'll need to improve rapidly at Triple-A in 2005 if he wants to be considered a legit full-time prospect.
• 6/29 “ Promoted to AAA Nashville. Cruz hit .308 for Double-A Huntsville with 16 HR and .387 OBP. He still strikes out too much and needs to work on his plate discipline, but is becoming a top propect. If he can continue this production at Triple-A then he will be a player to watch next spring.”
54. Justin Huber, 1B, KC, 7/1/1982, AA Wichita/ML Royals
• A top prospect in the Mets organization, Huber was shipped out in a three-way deal involving Kris Benson. Injuries have slowed him, including knee surgery that ended his 2004 season, but Huber should be healthy by Spring Training. He’ll spend 2005 in Triple-A and then fight for a major-league job in 2006. Athletic and gifted behind the plate, Huber need only be patient at the plate to be an above-average catcher, offensively, in the big leagues.
• 6/20 “ Recalled from AA Wichita. Ken Harvey is also hurt, so Huber will get an opportunity to play while Sweeney is out. The transition from catcher to first base has worked out well for Huber with the bat - he was hitting .328/.416/.514 at the time of his callup.”
55. Anderson Hernandez, SS/2B, NYM, 10/30/1982, AAA Norwich
• 7/7 “Hernandez had two runs batted in and three hits in Triple-A Norfolk's 9-2 win over Columbus to raise his batting average to .404 in 13 games with the Tides. Hernandez is 21-for-52 and has walked three times in his last 29 plate appearances after zero walks in his first 26. He has continued his hot hitting from Double-A Binghamton to Norfolk, and could be an option for the Mets at second base once he fully adapts to that position after starting the year at shortstop.”
• Not a power hitter but has been hitting for average and will steal 10-20 bags.
56. Melky Cabrera, OF, NYY, 8/11/1984, AAA Columbus/ML Yankees
• Recorded 1st career major league hit in his debut on 7/7
• Slap hitting outfielder without exceptional power or speed.
• 7/7 “The 20-year-old Cabrera began the season with Double-A Trenton and hit .267 with nine homers and 44 RBI in 77 games. He was promoted to Triple-A Columbus on June 28 and batted. 324 with three homers and 11 RBI in nine games. The Yankees have tried several different options in center field this season and the team will now take a look at Cabrera, either to gauge whether or not he is ready for prime time, or perhaps to showcase him for a possible trade.”
Minor League Pitching Prospects
(All Quotes and Profiles are via Rotowire.com)
1. Felix Hernandez, SP, SEA, 4/8/1986, AAA Tacoma (ML Ready)
• “Hernandez, one of baseball's top prospects, turned 19 on April 8, He tore through the California League last season before a successful promotion to Double-A San Antonio. On the major league scouting scale of 20 to 80, Hernandez's curveball and 99 mph fastball rate at 70. He also throws an above-average slider that runs up to 91 mph and looks a lot like his fastball. He could make the big-league team out of spring training, but he'll likely start the season at Triple-A Tacoma. It'll be hard to keep Hernandez, who has been compared to Dwight Gooden, down on the farm.”
• 7/2 “Hernandez (shoulder bursitis) said Thursday he might not return until after the All-Star break, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports. This supposedly "minor" injury is sure keeping Hernandez out longer than expected. The Mariners, though, are being overly cautious. But it's still disconcerting, especially in a franchise that seems jinxed with arm injuries to prospect pitchers.”
2. Francisco Liriano, LHP, MIN, 10/26/1983, AAA Rochester (#1 Twins SP Prospect)
• “After coming back from 2003 shoulder problems, Liriano is a rising star in the Twins minor league system. Acquired in the A.J. Pierzynski trade, Liriano posted a strong K/BB ratio at High Single-A (125/43) before looking strong in seven starts for Double-A New Britain. He has a fastball that can hit the high 90s on the radar gun. If he can prove his durability, a good year at Double-A could have him in the mix for a major league job as early as 2006.”
• 6/17 “Liriano has been promoted to Triple-A Rochester after posting a 3.64 ERA at Double-A New Britain with 92 strikeouts and 26 walks in 76 2/3 innings. "We thought he was just about ready to go up and that he has a high ceiling," general manager Terry Ryan told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "He's done pretty well."
• So far in AAA Rochester he is 2-0 in 4 Games and thrown 26 Innings with 32 K’s and 8 BB’s with a 3.46 ERA and 0.81 WHIP.
3. Chad Billingsley, P, LAD, 7/29/1984, AA Jacksonville
• “Billingsley is a fast-rising prospect in the Dodger system. He was selected as the Dodgers 2004 Minor League Pitcher of the Year and, at only 20-years-old, was the youngest pitcher in the Double-A Southern League in 2004. He'll likely return to Double-A to start the season but a promotion to Triple-A won't be far down the road if he continues to dominate. A spot in the Dodgers 2006 rotation is a possibility.”
• As of 6/9 “In his seven starts since May 3rd, Billingsley has compiled a 46/10 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 40 innings. Removing the one blip on the radar - a three inning, seven earned run, three homers allowed outing on May 23rd - Billingsley has a 1.95 ERA, 1.03 WHIP in his best six of his last seven starts. Next stop: Vegas, baby! Vegas!”
4. Jered Weaver, SP, ANA, 10/4/1982, High A Rancho Cucamonga
• “Weaver is probably the most talented pitcher to come out of college since Mark Prior. He's close to major league-ready but is still slightly shaky mechanically—more similar in this respect to his brother Jeff than to Prior. He has yet to sign with the Angels.”
• 7/7 “Weaver earned his first professional win on Wednesday night with High-A Rancho Cucamonga. It was by far Weaver's most effective outing to date. He pitched five innings, allowed two hits and no walks, two unearned runs and struck out seven.”
5. Thomas Diamond, SP, TEX, 4/6/1983, AA San Francisco
• “So far, so good for the first-rounder out of the June 2004 draft. Diamond handled the promotion to low Single-A Clinton, posting an excellent 42/8 K/BB ratio in 30.2 IP while allowing just 18 hits. He's yet to pass the Double-A litmus test, but keep an eye on him.”
• 6/21 Promoted to AA San Francisco
• “Diamond was Texas' top pick in the 2004 draft, and dominated California League hitters this season (8-0, 1.99 ERA, 81.1 innings, 53 hits, 31 walks and 101 Ks).”
6. Matt Cain, SP, SF, 10/1/1984, AAA Fresno (ML Ready)
• “The Giants' first-round pick (25th overall) in the 2002 draft.”
• Likely in the rotation to start 2006.
7. Anthony Reyes, SP, STL, 10/16/1981, AAA Memphis
• “The Cardinals may have found an answer to their problems of drafting college pitchers only to see them suffer major injuries after they sign. Instead, sign college pitchers like Reyes who had arm troubles in college. Kidding aside, the Cardinals couldn't have imagined a season like this from Reyes, who struck out 102 in 74-plus innings. He also struck out eight consecutive batters in one game en route to a Southern League-record 15 strikeouts. He has the advantage of being older than most of his lower-level opponents, but a season in Triple-A in 2005 ought to show exactly what he has ... especially if he can stay healthy.”
• Reyes is considered one of the best pitching prospects in baseball and looks great at AAA Memphis is this season with K/BB, K/IP, ERA, and WHIP.
8. Joal Zumaya, SP, DET, 11/9/1984, AA Erie (ML Fast Track, 100MPH Gas)
• “With a solid fastball (100 MPH) and devastating curveball, Zumaya led the organization in strikeouts for the second straight year. He'll start the season in Double-A Erie and is on the fast track to the major leagues despite being just 20 years old.”
• 6/19 “"I don't care how old he is or where he's pitching," Dombrowski said. "I haven't been afraid to jump pitchers from Double-A in the past." Zumaya, 20, hit 100 mph on the radar gun while pitching six scoreless innings in a 9-0 win over Double-A Portland on Friday night. He's 5-3 with a 3.32 ERA with 113/44 K/BB in 81.1 innings this season.”
• At AA Erie in 2005, Zumaya is 8-3 in 18 Starts over 107 IP with 143K to 52BB/71H with a 2.77 ERA and 1.15 WHIP.
9. Troy Patton, LHP, HOU, 9/3/1985, A Lexington
• 6/14/2005 - Has posted a 0.98 ERA and 78:17 K:BB ratio over 64.1 innings.
• 6/14/2005 – “Patton takes a 31-inning shutout streak coming into Tuesday night's start for low-A Lexington.”
• 4/21/2005 – “The 19-year-old Texas high-schooler, who posted a 1.93 ERA with a 10.29 strikeout average in six starts at rookie-level in 2004, is considered one of the Astros' better low-level pitching prospects. He's 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA in three starts posting a 15/4 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 14 innings. He has good stuff -- 92-93 mph fastball at present -- and a strong feel for pitching considering his age. He could develop into a top prospect in a couple years.”
10. Jon Papelbon, SP, BOS, 11/23/1980, AAA Pawtucket
• “Papelbon was converted to a starter after Boston drafted him out of Mississippi State in the fourth round of the 2003 draft. And there can be no fault-finding with the season he posted with Single-A Sarasota, with his strikeouts jumping from the page. At 6-4, 220 pounds, he has a good pitcher's body -- some say like Roger Clemens -- and projects as a front-line starter. It's unlikely he makes an appearance with Boston in 2005, but could be ready by 2006.”
11. Anibal Sanchez, SP, BOS, 2/27/1984, AA Portland
• 7/4/05 “The Red Sox promoted Sanchez to Double-A Portland, the Sea Dogs' official site reports. Sanchez takes the place of prized prospect Jon Papelbon, who moved up to Triple-A Pawtucket. For the Single-A Wilmington Blue Rocks, Sanchez was 6-1 with a 2.40 ERA in 14 starts. In 78 2/3 innings, he's allowed 53 hits with a 95/24 K/BB rate.
12. Scott Baker, SP, MIN, 9/18/1981, AAA Rochester/ML Twins
• “Baker, Minnesota's 2003 second-round draft pick, had a strong season at Double-A New Britain but struggled when promoted to Triple-A Rochester. He'll likely start the year at Rochester again and if he performs well he could contend for a bullpen job or the fifth starter job this summer”
• 7/6 “Baker pitched reasonably well in his first major league start against the Angels but picked up the loss. He went five innings, allowing two runs on five hits while striking out five. He'll likely go back to Triple-A Rochester as soon as Brad Radke is available to pitch again.”
13. Yusmeiro Petit, SP, NYM, 11/22/1984, AA Binghampton
• “Petit blew through the Mets organization in 2004, reaching Double-A, and now is considered the team's No. 1 pitching prospect. While he doesn’t throw ultra-fast yet, he does have a low-90s fastball that looks faster because of his deceptive delivery and could increase in velocity as his body matures. He also uses a developing changeup, decent curve and slider. What makes him extremely effective is that he throws all these pitches for strikes and has the confidence to throw each in a critical situation. He'll start the year in Double-A, and if he progresses in 2005 like he did last year, he could see Shea Stadium early in 2006.”
• 7/7 “Petit threw a seven-inning, complete-game, five-hitter in the first game of Double-A Binghamton's double-header split with New Britain. Petit gave up two runs on those five hits and one walk while striking out a season-high 10 batters to improve his record to 3-2. He has a 2.29 ERA in his last six starts and could be promoted to Triple-A Norfolk later this season.”
14. Jose Capellan, RP, MIL, 1/13/1981, AAA Richmond/ML Brewers
• “What's not to like about a pitcher who can hit 100 mph on the radar gun and has received glowing praise from Braves manager Bobby Cox and pitching coach Leo Mazzone? After an impressive spring training, Capellan rocketed all the way from Single-A through three levels of the minors to a late-season call-up with the Braves, posting 94 K in 91.3 IP along the way. Despite struggling in a brief trial in the majors, he's someone to grab in keeper leagues and will get a shot as a starter for Milwaukee following the trade for closer Danny Kolb.”
• 7/6 “Capellan has not allowed a run in 14 innings since being moved to the bullpen and is 4-for-4 in save opportunities. Capellan's velocity was also up around 97-99 on a few of his recent outings. The Brewers may have found a role for him, but don't be surprised if they try him in the starting rotation at least one more time before a permanent switch to the bullpen.”
15. Joey Devine, CL, ATL, 9/19/1983, A Myrtle Beach
• “Devine, the 27th overall selection in the 2005 draft, signed a $1.3 million bonus deal with Atlanta in June of 2005.”
• 7/7 He has a 6 Inning Hitless and Scoreless streak in tact.
• 7/2 “There is some talk that Atlanta's first-round pick in 2005 could be called up late in the season with the Braves with the recent trend of college closers making it quickly to the majors. Even if that doesn't happen, he could rise quickly in the system and get a shot at the majors in 2006 if he continues to pitch well.”
16. Craig Hansen, RP, BOS, 11/15/1983
• 2005 1st Round Draft Pick. Major League Ready.
• Scott Boras as Agent. Will be closer of the future.
• College stud closer at St. John’s
17. Cole Hamels, LHP, PHI, 12/27/1983, AA Reading
• “Aside from four good starts in Single-A, this excellent lefty prospect missed most of 2004 with a sore elbow and triceps. Hamels didn't need surgery and the Phillies attributed that to a cautious approach with what they described as a minor injury. But we won't know for sure until he pitches again. When healthy, Hamels mixes an explosive fastball with a good curveball and an outstanding changeup. He will start 2005 back in high Single-A and hopes to hit the majors some time in 2006.”
• Promoted to AA Early July 2005
• As a 19 Year old in 2003 at A Ball he recorded 147 K’s in 100 IP with 39BB and a 1.13 ERA.
18. Travis Bowyer, RP, MIN, 8/31/1981, AAA Rochester
• “Bowyer finished 2004 a combined 9-3 with a 97/55 K/BB ratio in 91 innings pitched between Single-A and Double-A. He'll likely return to Double-A to start 2005. He's seen as a second tier pitching prospect in the Twins system but another strong year could make him a factor in the majors in 2006.”
• In AAA Rochester in 2005 he has 64 K’s to 24 BB’s in 47 IP with a 1.15 ERA and 1.02 WHIP in 35 Relief Appearances.
19. Mike Hinckley, SP, WAS, 10/5/1982, A Potomac
• “Hinckley made it to Double-A last year and looked good, although he has yet to post the K rate of a truly elite prospect. Clint Everts' Tommy John surgery leaves Hinckley as the Nationals' best arm in the minors -- another three months like he finished 2004, and he could find himself in the majors.”
• Nats top pitching prospect and is at AA/High A Potomac right now looking much better.
20. Edwin Jackson, SP, LAD, 9/9/1983, AAA Las Vegas/AA Jacksonville
• Struggling mightily after being considered a sure thing major leaguer.
21. Jeff Niemann, P, TB, 2/28/1983, AA Montreal
• “The Devil Rays finally signed Niemann, the fourth overall pick in the 2004 draft, to a five-year major-league contract in January 2005. He'll likely start 2005 at Double-A, and a cup of coffee in the majors before year end wouldn't be out of the question for a guy who was viewed as the college starter with the most upside going into the draft.”
• 7/6 “Niemann has been out of action since mid-May. He's been working out at the Rays' minor league complex in St. Petersburg, and is expected to be assigned to one of their minor leagues teams shortly to throw BP and simulated games before taking the hill again. Because of the injury, it's now extremely unlikely that Niemann would see any time with the major league club before the end of this season.”
22. Adam Miller, P, CLE, 11/26/1984, A Kinston
• RHP Throws mid 90’s and looked good in A Ball with nice K/IP and K/BB
• Experiencing some minor elbow injuries thus far in transitioning to AA.
23. Chris Lambert, SP, STL, 3/8/1983, AA
• “A hard-throwing 2004 first-round pick, Lambert was treated with kid gloves last season, averaging just over four innings per start at Peoria. This despite completing seven of 13 starts in his only season at Boston College. He struck out 46 in 38-plus innings at high Single-A, showing his live arm. But he's raw, so a quick climb through the minors should not be expected.”
• “After six unspectacular starts with Double-A Springfield, Lambert pitched very well in his seventh start. He earned his first Double-A win by throwing seven shutout innings. Lambert allowed only three hits while walking two and striking out nine. Control has been Lambert's undoing at Double-A -- walking 21 in 27.2 innings over his first six starts -- so this is definitely a big step in the right direction.”
24. Philip Humber, SP, NYM, 12/21/1982, High A St. Lucie
• “Humber, whom the Mets drafted third overall in the 2004 draft out of Rice university, finally signed in January 2005. Upon his signing, he automatically became one of the team's best, and perhaps most advanced, pitching prospect. Humber possesses a fastball that touches 97 mph and what many considered to be the best breaking pitch (curveball) in the entire draft. The expectation is that he won't need much minor-league seasoning, and could see Shea Stadium in either late-2005, or more realistically, sometime in 2006.”
• 7/6 “Humber allowed six hits and three runs, walking two and striking out four, in a loss to Vero Beach on Monday. Humber is 2-6 with a 4.99 ERA in a league usually dominated by pitchers. In 70 1/2 innings, he has allowed 74 hits and struck out 65 while opponents are hitting .273 against him. Humber has pitched better since a rough patch in May, and could see Double-A Binghamton soon, but the idea of him contending for a major-league job next spring seems extremely unlikely at this point.”
• Belongs higher on the list as far as potential and stuff goes, but is down here since he has struggled in A ball so far.
25. Homer Bailey, SP, CIN, 5/3/1986, A Dayton
• 2005 #7 Overall, #1 HS Pitcher in the draft.
• “The Reds first-round draft pick and the number seven player drafted overall, Bailey was considered to be the high school pitcher with the most upside in the 2004 draft. He was used sparingly after signing with the team and is on a long developmental track.”
• 5/13 “Over the course of seven appearances and 24.1 innings, Bailey has a 2.22 ERA, struck out 35 batters and held opponents to a .211 batting average.”
26. Juan Morillo, RHP, COL, 11/5/1983, A Modesto
• 6/23 “Morillo, who registers 100 mph with his fastball, was the Rockies' lone selection to the Futures Game, the Rocky Mountain News reports. Morillo is a native of the Dominican Republic and will pitch for the World team. Morillo has gone 2-4 with a 4.28 earned-run average at Single-A Modesto this season. He has struck out 41 while walking 14 in 40 innings. Morillo continues to develop but it will be some time before he reaches the big leagues.”
27. Fernando Nieve, SP, HOU, 7/15/1982, AAA Round Rock
• “Nieve excelled in Single-A Salem, posting a 2.96 ERA in 24 starts. The 22-year-old Venezuelan is still very raw but has the talent to one day be a major league starter.”
• 6/26 “Nieve picked up his first win in Triple-A Round Rock Saturday, as he gave up just one run on four hits over seven innings, the team's official site reports. Niever was recently promoted from Double-A Corpus Christi, where he was 4-3 with a 2.65 ERA. Nieve is on course to see a late season call-up to the big leagues.”
• 6/21 “Nieve was promoted to Triple-A Round Rock last Saturday and made his first start on Monday. Nieve gave up three runs on nine hits in six innings while striking out five, the Houston Chronicle reports. Nieve, 22, made 14 starts at Double-A Corpus Christi in the first half of the season and went 4-3 with a 2.65 ERA, third in the Texas League. He had 96 strikeouts, which led the Texas League by nearly 30. Nieve has excelled in each level thus far and should adjust to Triple-A given time.”
28. Gio Gonzalez, LHP, CHW, 9/19/1985, High A
• 4/14 “The Low-A South Atlantic League isn't proving to be much of a challenge in the early going for last year's 38th overall pick. Gonzalez is still very young, so the most realistic timetable would have him in the majors in late 2007 if all goes well -- and so far, it's going very well indeed.”
• 6/18 “Gonzalez, promoted to High-A, lasted just 3 2/3 innings in his first start for Winston-Salem on Friday. He gave up two runs on five hits, but did strike out four. Gonzalez left Low-A Kannapolis having struck out 84 batters (against 22 walks) in 57 2/3 innings, with a 1.87 ERA.”
Let me know what you think. Make some suggestions! I'm new to this Minor League Baseball stuff (less than a week of paying any attention to it).