Reading Between the Baselines: '08 Top 100 Watch
http://www.projectprospect.com/rbtb-08- ... ch-5-4-07/
Following prospects closely over the last three years, one of the questions I’ve rarely seen taken head-on is: Who can I expect to jump into Top 100 lists next year? Yes, it’s pretty tough to predict something like that, but offering a stab at it couldn’t hurt.
I wouldn’t wish similar bouts of endless curiosity upon anyone, so my plan is to provide regular columns on groupings of players who could be consensus Top 100 prospects entering 2008.
Low-A is a great place to start. Many of the elite prospects in the South Atlantic League and Midwest League are top high school draft picks and international signees. You’ll also get some college and junior college guys who open the year in Low-A before jumping to High-A. Fernando Martinez, Jose Tabata, Clay Buchholz, Jacob McGee, Brandon Erbe, Deolis Guerra, and Dexter Fowler are all examples of ‘06 SAL and MWL players who first started to pop up on 2007 Top 100 lists.
We included the following current Low-A/Extended Spring Training players in our 2007 Top 100 prospect list: Travis Snider (46), Billy Rowell (52), Jeremy Jeffress (83), Jeremy Hellickson (85), Hank Conger (89), and Lars Anderson (99). So you should already be somewhat familiar with them, and they were omitted from this watch list.
Anyways, that’s enough background. Without further ado – I’ve always wanted to write that – let’s take a glance at 10 of the players who already appear to have a strong chance of making 2008 Top 100 prospect lists:
Adrian Cardenas, 2B, PHI (10/10/87) – Drafted 37th overall in 2006, Cardenas is a 6-foot, 185-pound middle infielder who showed a ton of power during his senior year in high school. He’s only hitting .264/.296/.374 with six XBH right now (91 at-bats), but he has the resume to blossom.
Chris Coghlan, 3B, FLA (6/18/85) – The Mississippi product has 31 BB vs. 23 K through his first 56 pro games. Greensboro’s cozy confines are a great place for last year’s 36th overall pick to at last find his power stroke.
Kyle Drabek, RHP, PHI (12/8/87) – Drabek has only shown signs of breaking out to the extent that the Phillies expect after taking him 18th last year. He has as much potential as any high school pitcher from the ’06 draft outside of Kershaw.
Tommy Hanson, RHP, ATL (8/28/86) – Clay Buchholz is certainly showing that junior college players can offer a ton of upside. A 6-foot-6, 210-pounder, Hanson has already struck out 45 batters through 30.0 innings – good for 2nd in the minors behind Tim Lincecum.
Cedric Hunter, CF, SD (3/10/88) – Hunter’s playing a lot better in his first full season than most of his fellow 3rd rounders. And Reid Brignac has recently proven that relatively under-the-radar high schoolers can turn into elite prospects.
Jeff Lyman, RHP, ATL (1/14/87) – After some early-season struggles, Lyman appears to be back on track and ready to piece together a monster year. A 2005 2nd rounder, Lyman has given up just five hits while striking out nine in his last 11.0 innings.
Chris Marrero, LF, WAS (6/2/88) – Marrero is a quiet but confident kid who has tons of raw power. Though he failed to go yard in his first 34 pro games, last year’s 15th overall pick has hit four home runs in his last 11 games.
Chris Parmelee, 1B, MIN (2/24/88) – A power-hitting lefty, Parmelee has been ice cold but he should turn it on and end up with numbers comparable to Marrero’s. The Twins took the 6-foot-1, 200-pounder with the 20th overall pick last June.
Chris Tillman, RHP, SEA (4/15/88) – Out of the same high school that produced Luke Hudson and Casey Janssen (Fountain Valley in CA), Tillman has been putting on a show with the Timber Rattlers. He now has 70 strikeouts through 50.1 pro innings.
Chris Valaika, SS, CIN (8/14/85) – Really, the key to jumping onto 2008 Top 100 lists is having the first name Chris. Valaika is an athletic shortstop with more of a second baseman’s bat, but he’s hitting .382/.430/.528 so far this season – about as hot of a start as any elite prospect not named Jacoby Ellsbury.