MLB Power Rankings: 2012 MLB Top 100 Prospects

Joel ReuterFeatured ColumnistFebruary 6, 2012

MLB Power Rankings: 2012 MLB Top 100 Prospects

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    As we push ever closer to the beginning of the 2012 season and spring training, it is once again time to assess the farm systems of each MLB team.

    From youngsters who will make an impact at the big league level this coming season, to players who provide a solid building block and plenty of hope moving forward as they continue to develop, every team has a handful of young players that potentially represent the future of the game.

    From Baseball America to MLB.com, every major publication puts out a yearly Top 100 prospect list, and we here at Bleacher Report are no different, so here is another take on the Top 100 MLB prospects for 2012.

Breakdown

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    San Diego: 8
    Toronto: 6
    Boston: 5
    Kansas City: 5  
    Oakland: 5
    Seattle: 5  
    Texas: 5  
    New York Yankees: 4 
    Pittsburgh: 4
    St. Louis: 4
    Tampa Bay: 4
    Arizona: 3
    Atlanta: 3
    Chicago Cubs: 3
    Colorado: 3
    Houston: 3
    Los Angeles Angels: 3
    Milwaukee: 3
    New York Mets: 3
    Philadelphia: 3
    Washington: 3
    Baltimore: 2
    Chicago White Sox: 2 
    Cincinnati: 2
    Detroit: 2
    Los Angeles Dodgers: 2
    Minnesota: 2
    Cleveland: 1 
    Miami: 1 
    San Francisco: 1 

No. 100 to No. 96

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    No. 100 SP Deck McGuire, Toronto Blue Jays
    23 G, 21 GS, 9-5, 3.02 ERA, 124 Ks, 125.1 IP at High Single-A and Double-A

    The Blue Jays selected McGuire 11th overall in the 2010 draft, and he lived up to his lofty selection with a solid first season. He profiles as a workhorse-type starter and could see the big leagues as soon as this coming season, as he left Georgia Tech as one of the more polished pitchers of his class.

     

    No. 99: SP Alex Torres, Tampa Bay Rays
    27 GS, 9-7, 3.08 ERA, 156 Ks, 146.1 IP at Triple-A
    4 G, 1-1, 3.38 ERA, 9 Ks, 8 IP at Tampa Bay

    Yet another impressive arm in the Rays' collection of solid starting pitchers, Torres made his big league debut last season and would likely already be a part of most other teams' rotations. As it is, he will likely have to wait until someone is injured or pitch out of the bullpen in 2012, but he has the stuff to be a middle-of-the-rotation guy at the very least.

     

    No. 98: SP Matt Barnes, Boston Red Sox
    17 GS, 11-5, 1.93 ERA, 117 Ks, 121 IP at University of Connecticut

    The 19th overall selection in last year's draft out of the University of Connecticut, Barnes was the Big East Pitcher of the Year last season. With a solid three-pitch repertoire and experience against top-level competition pitching for Team USA and in the Cape Cod League, he should be a quick riser.

     

    No. 97: CF Leonys Martin, Texas Rangers
    .295/.362/.421, 4 HR, 42 RBI, 53 R, 19 SB at Rookie League, Double-A and Triple-A
    .375/.375/.500, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 2 R, 0 SB at Texas

    Signed out of Cuba to a five-year, $15.5 million contract with a $5 million signing bonus last season, Martin moved quickly through the minors and earned an eight-game stint with the Rangers. He could push for a starting outfield spot this spring and has .300 BA, 30 SB potential.

     

    No. 96: SP Taylor Guerrieri, Tampa Bay Rays
    6-1, 1.10 ERA, 72 Ks, 51 IP at Spring Valley High School

    The 24th-overall pick in last year's draft, Guerrieri was taken out of Spring Valley High School in South Carolina. He has some work to do on his control, but with a fastball that tops out at 98 and a big league-ready slider, he has as much upside as any arm in the 2011 class.

No. 95 to No. 91

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    No. 95: 3B Cheslor Cuthbert, Kansas City Royals
    .267/.345/.397, 8 HR, 51 RBI, 33 R, 33 SB at Single-A

    A native of Nicaragua, Cuthbert was signed to a $1.4 million bonus as a 16-year-old, and he was the youngest regular in the Midwest League last season. A late-season slump cut into his overall numbers, but he has the potential to be an high-impact hitter.

     

    No. 94: SP Alex Meyer, Washington Nationals
    14 GS, 7-5, 2.94 ERA, 110 Ks, 101 IP at University of Kentucky

    At 6'9", Meyer is an intimidating presence on the mound to say the least, and he has the stuff to back it up. He pairs a high-90s fastball with a biting curveball, but his command needs work. He could wind up in the bullpen unless he develops a reliable third pitch, but his physical tools are hard to ignore.

     

    No. 93: C/DH Ryan Lavarnway, Boston Red Sox
    .290/.376/.563, 32 HR, 93 RBI, 75 R at Double-A and Triple-A
    .231/.302/.436, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 5 R at Boston

    In three full minor league seasons, Lavarnway has done nothing but rake with a .287 BA, 75 HR, 282 RBI total line. He may not have the defensive ability to stick behind the plate at the big league level, but his bat is big league ready, and the Red Sox will find a way to get his bat in the lineup soon.

     

    No. 92: SP Drew Hutchinson, Toronto Blue Jays
    28 G, 27 GS, 14-5, 2.53 ERA, 171 Ks, 149.1 IP at Single-A, High Single-A and Double-A

    Overlooked by many due to his 6'2" and 165-pound frame, it is hard to argue with the results Hutchinson had last season as he dominated over three different levels. Not a future ace, but he should be a solid innings eater with top-notch command in the middle of the Blue Jays rotation.

     

    No. 91: SP Taylor Jungmann, Milwaukee Brewers
    19 G, 18 GS, 13-3, 1.60 ERA, 126 Ks, 141 IP at University of Texas

    Coming off a dominant season as the ace of a good Texas staff, Jungmann was taken with the 12th-overall pick in the 2011 draft. He was one of the safer selections of the draft class and should be a third or fourth starter at the worst. Expect him in Milwaukee by the end of 2013.

No. 90 to No. 86

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    No. 90: SP Brody Colvin, Philadelphia Phillies
    22 G, 21 GS, 3-8, 4.71 ERA, 78 Ks, 116.2 IP at High Single-A

    Colvin took some lumps in his second full season of pro ball and battled through a back injury, but he was pitching at High Class-A at the age of 20 and he still has a bright future. With another season at the same level, he should have no problem getting back on track.

     

    No. 89: SP A.J. Cole, Oakland Athletics
    20 G, 18 GS, 4-7, 4.04 ERA, 108 Ks, 89 IP at Single-A

    One of the four players dealt to by the Nationals to the Athletics for Gio Gonzalez, Cole pitched very well at Single-A last season, especially considering he was just 19 years old. If he can work on honing his secondary pitches, he could take a big step forward this season and enter the tier of elite pitching prospects.

     

    No. 88: CF Eddie Rosario, Minnesota Twins
    .337/.397/.670, 21 HR, 60 RBI, 71 R, 17 SB at Rookie League

    A fourth-round selection in the 2010 draft, Rosario displayed unexpected power last season and can now be considered a legitimate five-tool prospect. This coming season will be a big step for him, seeing his first action outside of the rookie league, and if he can put up similar numbers he'll fly up this list next year.

     

    No. 87: SP Nestor Molina, Chicago White Sox
    26 G, 23 GS, 12-3, 2.21 ERA, 148 Ks, 130.1 IP at High Single-A and Double-A

    Acquired from the Blue Jays for closer Sergio Santos this offseason, Molina immediately became the best starting pitching prospect in the White Sox system. He was dominant in five Double-A starts at the end of last season, posting a 0.41 ERA in 22 innings of work, and at 23 he will likely get a shot in the majors at some point this coming season.

     

    No. 86: SP Jed Bradley, Milwaukee Brewers
    16 GS, 7-3, 3.49 ERA, 106 Ks, 98 IP at Georgia Tech University 

    Selected 15th overall in this past year's draft, Bradley was selected as much on his potential as he was on his performance. While his college career was solid, it was his performance as the top player in the Cape Cod League prior to his final year at Georgia Tech that really put him on the map. His fastball-slider combination is fantastic, but he'll need a third pitch.

No. 85 to No. 81

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    No. 85: SP Nathan Eovaldi, Los Angeles Dodgers
    20 G, 19 GS, 6-5, 2.62 ERA, 99 Ks, 103 IP at Double-A
    10 G, 6 GS, 1-2, 3.63 ERA, 23 Ks, 34.2 IP at Los Angeles

    Forced into big league action when the Dodgers' rotation was riddled with injuries, Eovaldi held his own at the big league level in 10 appearances. It wasn't enough to earn him a rotation spot in 2012, as the team signed Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang to fill out their rotation, but he should be in the majors to stay soon enough.

     

    No. 84: SP Jeurys Familia, New York Mets
    23 GS, 5-5, 2.90 ERA, 132 Ks, 124 IP at High Single-A and Double-A

    The Dominican native reached Double-A last season at the age of 21 and took a big step forward with his control as his BB/9 mark dropped from 5.5 to 3.1. He could wind up a closer in the long run, but regardless of his role he has a bright future.

     

    No. 83: SP Joe Wieland, San Diego Padres
    26 G, 25 GS, 13-4, 1.97 ERA, 150 Ks, 155.2 IP at High Single-A, Double-A and Triple-A

    Acquired from the Rangers along with fellow top prospect Robbie Erlin in the trade that sent reliever Mike Adams to Texas, Wieland doesn't have overpowering stuff, but there is no denying his success in 2011. As long as he continues to display pinpoint control (1.2 BB/9), he should find plenty of success pitching in Petco Park.

     

    No. 82: RP Addison Reed, Chicago White Sox
    43 G, 2-1, 5 Saves, 1.26 ERA, 111 Ks, 78.1 IP at Single-A, High Single-A, Double-A and Triple-A
    6 G, 0-0, 0 Saves, 3.68 ERA, 12 Ks, 7.1 IP at Chicago 

    The White Sox closer of the future, Reed is the top relief-pitching prospect in baseball right now and the pride of the White Sox farm system. He will likely open the season in the big league bullpen and could wind up closing before 2012 is over.

     

    No. 81: 2B Jean Segura, Los Angeles Angels
    .293/.341/.447, 4 HR, 26 RBI, 31 R, 50 SB at Rookie League and High Single-A

    Plagued by a hamstring injury much of last season, Segura saw his numbers drop across the board after a .313 BA, 10 HR, 79 RBI, 50 SB season in 2010. He will need to prove he is healthy and that the hamstring injury won't be a lingering problem, but he has plenty of upside.

No. 80 to No. 76

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    No. 80: 2B Kolten Wong, St. Louis Cardinals
    .378/.492/.560, 7 HR, 53 RBI, 48 R at University of Hawaii 
    .335/.401/.510, 5 HR, 25 RBI, 39 R at Single-A

    Perhaps the most big league-ready position player in the 2011 draft, Wong was taken 22nd overall after a fantastic career at the University of Hawaii. He signed early and played well in 47 games at Single-A, and seeing as the second base position remains a question mark in St. Louis, he could be on the fast track.

     

    No. 79: SP Sonny Gray, Oakland Athletics
    19 GS, 12-4, 2.43 ERA, 132 Ks, 126 IP at Vanderbilt University 
    6 G, 1-0, 0.82 ERA, 20 Ks, 22 IP at Rookie League and Double-A

    Gray enjoyed a fantastic career at Vanderbilt, winning 22 games over the past two seasons and pitching in some big games in the College World Series. He is very polished, and how quickly he develops a quality changeup to go with his impressive fastball-curveball combination will determine when he is pitching in Oakland.

     

    No. 78: CF George Springer, Houston Astros
    .343/.450/.608, 12 HR, 77 RBI, 61 R, 31 SB at University of Connecticut 
    .179/.303/.393, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 8 R at Low Single-A

    The second major college position player off the board when the Astros took him 11th overall this past summer, Springer has five-tool ability and was one of the few college hitters who was relatively unaffected by the bat change. He could be a major part of Houston's rebuilding effort and should move quickly through the system.

     

    No. 77: SP Jesse Biddle, Philadelphia Phillies
    25 G, 24 GS, 7-8, 2.98 ERA, 124 Ks, 133 IP at Single-A

    Taken 27th overall in the 2010 draft, Biddle spent all of last season as a 19-year-old pitching at Single-A and more than held his own. He needs to lower his walk rate, but he profiles as a front-of-the-rotation starter, and with improved breaking stuff he could be an ace.

     

    No. 76: SS Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox
    .260/.324/.509, 16 HR, 45 RBI, 38 R at Single-A

    Among the youngest everyday players in full-season Single-A last year, Bogaerts showed very impressive power for his age. He is still a raw talent and could wind up sliding over to third base before too long, but he has as much offensive upside as anyone on this list.

No. 75 to No. 71

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    No. 75: SP Noah Syndergaard, Toronto Blue Jays
    13 G, 11 GS, 5-2, 1.83 ERA, 68 Ks, 59 IP at Rookie League, Low Single-A and Single-A

    Taken with the 38th-overall pick in the 2010 draft out of high school, Syndergaard actually signed for below slot when the Blue Jays gave him a signing bonus of just $600,000. With a 6'5" frame and a mid-90s fastball, he could be a future ace, and he is one to watch in 2012 as he could move way up this list.

     

    No. 74: RF Oscar Taveras, St. Louis Cardinals
    .386/.444/.584, 8 HR, 62 RBI, 52 R at Single-A

    After hitting .303 in the rookie league in 2010, Taveras tore through Single-A pitching last season at the age of 19. The biggest question moving forward is how much power he will develop, but regardless he is a natural hitter and should have no problem continuing to hit over .300. Huge upside.

     

    No. 73: 2B Cory Spangenberg, San Diego Padres
    .477/.553/.?, 5 HR, 32 RBI, 50 R, 33 SB at Indian River State College
    .316/.419/.418, 3 HR, 44 RBI, 55 R, 25 SB at Single-A and High Single-A

    After transferring from VMI to Indian River State Junior College, Spangenberg put up gaudy offensive numbers and was taken 10th overall by the Padres. He signed immediately and managed to get 330 plate appearances under his belt last season. While he was a bit of a reach that early in the draft, he is a pure hitter with great on-base skills and should be a significant part of the Padres in the near future.

     

    No. 72: RF Bryce Brentz, Boston Red Sox
    .306/.365/.574, 30 HR, 94 RBI, 91 R at Single-A and High Single-A

    Brentz spent three seasons at Middle Tennessee State putting up huge numbers, including a .465 BA, .930 SLG, 28 HR sophomore season, and that was enough for the Red Sox to take him 36th overall despite his playing inferior competition. He struggled to a .198 average in 262 at bats in 2010 after signing but bounced back last year with a 30 HR campaign, and he ranks among the top power prospects in the game.

     

    No. 71: SS Nick Franklin, Seattle Mariners
    .281/.352/.418, 7 HR, 26 RBI, 64 R, 18 SB at Rookie League, High Single-A and Double-A

    Franklin saw his season cut short last year when, in a freak accident, he was hit in the jaw by a teammate's bat. That was followed by a bout with mono, and in the end it was more or less a lost season. However, his 2010 line of .283 BA, 23 HR, 65 RBI, 25 SB suggests big things for one of the more "toolsy" shortstop prospects in all of baseball.

No. 70 to No. 66

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    No. 70: SP Robbie Erlin, San Diego Padres
    26 G, 25 GS, 9-4, 2.99 ERA, 154 Ks, 147.1 IP at High Single-A and Double-A

    The second player on this list that the Padres acquired in exchange for Mike Adams, Erlin earns the higher ranking over Joe Wieland thanks to the fact that he is left-handed and nearly a year younger. Pitching at 20 years old in Double-A last season, he was stellar and put up particularly good numbers after joining the Padres with a 1.38 ERA in 26 innings.

     

    No. 69: CF Mason Williams, New York Yankees
    .349/.395/.468, 3 HR, 31 RBI, 42 R, 28 SB at Low Single-A

    The sample size is a small one for Williams, as the 2010 fourth-round pick has just 287 professional at-bats under his belt, but so far he has shown plenty of five-tool potential. His power is the biggest question mark, but as his 6' and 150-pound frame fills out more, he should develop enough pop to be a 20-20 threat with a .300 average.

     

    No. 68: SP Jarred Cosart, Houston Astros
    27 G, 26 GS, 10-10, 4.12 ERA, 101 Ks, 144.1 IP at High Single-A and Double-A

    A former 38th-round pick by the Phillies, Cosart quickly proved to be much more talented than his draft position might suggest. Last season, he was dealt to the Astros along with fellow Top 100 prospect Jonathan Singleton for Hunter Pence, and while he is still a work in progress, he projects well with a big frame and a hard fastball.

     

    No. 67: 3B Mike Olt, Texas Rangers
    .264/.381/.500, 15 HR, 46 RBI, 41 R at Rookie League and High Single-A

    One of the top power prospects in the minors right now, Olt's .264 batting average last year is deceiving as he, in fact, had a very good year. With a .381 on-base percentage, he got on base plenty, and he hit 15 home runs in just 254 at bats. His transition to full-season ball will be an interesting one as he could go .275 BA, 30 HR, 100 RBI right off the bat.

     

    No. 66: SP James Paxton, Seattle Mariners
    17 GS, 6-3, 2.37 ERA, 131 Ks, 95 IP at Single-A and Double-A

    A first-round pick by the Blue Jays in 2009, Paxton did not sign and wound up ineligible to return to school when it was revealed that Scott Boras had negotiated with Toronto for him. He spent part of 2010 in the Independent League before being taken in the fourth round of the 2010 draft. He moved quickly through the system last year and wound up making seven starts in Double-A. With a mid-90s fastball and solid off-speed stuff, he ranks among the best left-handed pitching prospects in the game.

No. 65 to No. 61

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    No. 65: SP Chad Bettis, Colorado Rockies
    27 GS, 12-5, 3.34 ERA, 184 Ks, 169.2 IP at High Single-A

    A second-round selection in 2010, Bettis was dominant after signing that year with a 1.07 ERA in 67 innings of work, and he once again put up impressive numbers last season. He will be 23 this coming year, and sub-par breaking stuff has kept him from pitching above Single-A so far, but he could take a big step forward in 2012 and wind up a middle-of-the-rotation guy or possibly a closer.

     

    No. 64: RF Rymer Liriano, San Diego Padres
    .298/.365/.465, 12 HR, 68 RBI, 89 R, 66 SB at Single-A and High Single-A

    Signed out of the Dominican at the age of 17, Liriano went through an up-and-down first three professional seasons before finally starting to see some of his vast potential result in production last season. As a 20-year-old playing at Single-A and High Single-A, he showed the best power of his career while going 66-of-87 on stolen base attempts. He's a five-tool talent with plenty of upside.

     

    No. 63: SP Brad Peacock, Oakland Athletics
    25 G, 23 GS, 15-3, 2.39 ERA, 177 Ks, 146.2 IP at Double-A and Triple-A
    3 G, 2 GS, 2-0, 0.75 ERA, 4 Ks, 12 IP at Washington 

    Another pitcher who was acquired by the A's from the Nationals in the Gio Gonzalez deal, Peacock was a 41st-round pick in 2006 out of high school, and he took his game to another level last season. After three straight minor league seasons with an ERA over 4.00, he turned in a dominant season last year with career highs across the board before earning a call-up. He'll likely open the season in the A's rotation and could be among the most productive rookie starters in the league.

     

    No. 62: 3B Jedd Gyorko, San Diego Padres
    .333/.400/.552, 25 HR, 114 RBI, 119 R, 12 SB at High Single-A and Double-A 

    A second-round pick in 2010, Gyorko signed early and managed to hit .302 BA, 7 HR, 41 RBI over 268 at-bats. That early experience looks to have paid huge dividends, as he then proceeded to destroy High Single-A and Double-A pitching last season. He may never be a 30-HR guy in the majors and playing in Petco won't help, but he should be a consistent .300-hitter with good run production numbers.

     

    No. 61: C Gary Sanchez, New York Yankees
    .256/.335/.485, 17 HR, 52 RBI, 49 R at Single-A

    Ranked ahead of Jesus Montero by some last year following a .329 BA, 8 HR, 43 RBI debut season at the age of 17, Sanchez saw his average drop quite a bit, but he was still just 18 years old playing in Single-A and managed 17 HR and 52 RBI. He is still a ways off, but he certainly has the look of a future franchise catcher and perennial All-Star.

No. 60 to No. 56

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    No. 60: SS Javier Baez, Chicago Cubs
    .771 BA, 22 HR, 52 RBI, 3 K at Arlington Country Day High School
    .278/.278/.389, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 2 R at Rookie League and Low Single-A

    Despite the fact the Cubs already have their shortstop of the present and future in Starlin Castro, the team couldn't pass on Baez with the ninth overall pick in last year's draft. He went an absolutely ridiculous 64-for-83 with 20 doubles and 22 HR in his senior year of high school. A move to third base could be in his future, and he should have no problem hitting enough to stick there.

     

    No. 59: SP Garrett Richards, Los Angeles Angels
    22 G, 21 GS, 12-2, 3.15 ERA, 103 Ks, 143 IP at Double-A
    7 G, 3 GS, 0-2, 5.79 ERA, 9 Ks, 14 IP at Los Angeles 

    With 24 wins over the past two years in the minors, Richards doesn't have much more to gain down on the farm, and he could compete with Jerome Williams for the fifth spot in the Angels' rotation this spring. He has come a long way since posting an ERA over 6.00 his final year in college, and he is proof that drafting pitchers more on upside than production works out sometimes.

     

    No. 58: RF Josh Bell, Pittsburgh Pirates
    .412/.528/.897, 11 HR, 36 RBI, 40 R at Dallas Jesuit High School

    With a strong verbal commitment to play at the University of Texas, Bell slipped to the second round despite being considered by most to be the top high school power prospect. The Pirates took a chance on him with the first pick of the second round, and a $5 million bonus convinced him to forgo school. Could be a bit of a project, but the offensive potential is unquestionable.

     

    No. 57: 3B Will Middlebrooks, Boston Red Sox
    .285/.328/.506, 23 HR, 94 RBI, 62 R at Low Single-A, Double-A and Triple-A

    After three sub-par seasons to start his professional career, the 2007 fifth-round selection broke out last season and established himself as the Red Sox third baseman of the future. His plate discipline needs work (114:26 K:BB), but he has a solid glove, and another year at Double-A could put him in position to take over at the hot corner in Boston to open the 2013 season when Kevin Youkilis hits free agency.

     

    No. 56: SP Mike Montgomery, Kansas City Royals
    28 G, 27 GS, 5-11, 5.32 ERA, 129 Ks, 150.2 IP at Triple-A

    One of the top-rated pitching prospects entering last season, Montgomery struggled in his first season at Triple-A. He still has the stuff to be an impact starter in the majors though, and he should be able to get back on track with some minor tinkering to his game. He could be in the majors at some point in 2012 if he is able to bounce back.

No. 55 to No. 51

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    No. 55: CF Jake Marisnick, Toronto Blue Jays
    .320/.392/.496, 14 HR, 77 RBI, 68 R, 37 SB at Single-A

    After getting a taste of Single-A as a 19-year-old in 2010, Marisnick spent the whole season there last year and posted impressive numbers across the board. He has terrific plate discipline for his age and should develop into a consistent 20-20 threat if his power progresses as expected. Overall, just an awful lot to like about the 2009 third-round pick.

     

    No. 54: SP Casey Kelly, San Diego Padres
    27 GS, 11-6, 3.98 ERA, 105 Ks, 142.1 IP at Double-A

    The key acquisition of the Adrian Gonzalez to Boston trade, Kelly was drafted as a shortstop out of high school in the first round of the 2008 draft. After hitting .215 in his first season, he was shifted to the mound where he struggled early on but looked much more comfortable last season. With a fresh arm and a legitimate three-pitch repertoire, he has tons of upside, and more results would land him higher on this list.

     

    No. 53: C Yasmani Grandal, San Diego Padres
    .305/.401/.500, 14 HR, 68 RBI, 69 R at High Single-A, Double-A and Triple-A

    One of four players the Padres acquired from the Reds for starter Mat Latos, Grandal is among the top backstop prospects in all of baseball but was trapped behind fellow top prospect Devin Mesoraco on the Reds' depth chart. He may have out-performed his potential last season offensively, but he should be a starting catcher in the league for years, provided he continues to progress defensively as he has.

     

    No. 52: SP Randall Delgado, Atlanta Braves
    25 GS, 7-7, 3.88 ERA, 135 Ks, 139 IP at Double-A and Triple-A
    7 GS, 1-1, 2.83 ERA, 18 Ks, 35 IP at Atlanta 

    One of three young Braves pitchers on this list, Delgado reached the majors last season as a 21-year-old, and while he was very good over seven starts, he will likely see more time in the minors this coming season. If everything goes well and he continues to progress, he profiles as a No. 2 starter, although he could wind up pitching at the bottom of good, young Braves rotation.

     

    No. 51: SP Zach Lee, Los Angeles Dodgers
    24 GS, 9-6, 3.47 ERA, 91 Ks, 109 IP at Single-A

    Assumed by many to be unsignable when the Dodgers selected him 28th overall in the 2010 draft, Lee was committed to LSU to play quarterback for the football team and pitch for the baseball team. It took a $5.25 million bonus to sway his decision, but in the end the Dodgers got their man and he pitched very well as a 19-year-old in full-season ball last year. Expectations will be high for him until he is pitching in the Dodgers' rotation, but he has the three-pitch repertoire to live up to the hype.

50. CF Anthony Gose, Toronto Blue Jays

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    2011 Stats (Double-A)
    .253/.349/.415, 16 HR, 59 RBI, 87 R, 70 SB

    Sent from the Phillies to the Astros in the Roy Oswalt deal and then immediately flipped to the Blue Jays for Brett Wallace, Gose was coming off a season in which he hit .259 and went 76-of-96 on stolen base attempts when the trade was made.

    His average has continued to stay well below what teams look for in a lead-off hitter in two seasons since the trade, but he has continued to steal bases at a high rate, and last season he showed some legitimate pop for the first time.

    He has the tools to profile as a Carl Crawford-type at the next level, but he will need to improve his plate discipline (154:62 K:BB) significantly if he wants to reach that level. Still, on tools alone he ranks this high.

49. CF Michael Choice, Oakland Athletics

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    2011 Stats (High Single-A)
    .285/.376/.542, 30 HR, 82 RBI, 79 R

    Coming out of Texas-Arlington, Choice had arguably the best raw power of anyone in the 2010 MLB Draft, and that was enough for the Athletics to select him with the tenth-overall pick.

    He signed on a $2 million bonus in time to play 30 games in 2010, hitting .266 BA, 7 HR and 26 RBI playing in Low Single-A.

    Then he showed the Athletics what that raw power was capable of production-wise last season as he belted 30 home runs in 467 at-bats at High Single-A.

    He'll likely never be a .300 hitter, but his power should translate to the big league level as well as any prospect's, and he should be a perennial 30 home run hitter once he reaches the big leagues, which could be as soon as 2013.

48. SP Jake Odorizzi, Kansas City Royals

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    2011 Stats (High Single-A and Double-A)
    27 GS, 10-7, 3.73 ERA, 157 Ks, 147 IP

    One of four players that the Brewers sent to the Royals last offseason to acquire Zack Greinke, Odorizzi was a first-round pick in the 2008 draft coming out of high school.

    After dominating Single-A hitters last season (5-4, 2.87 ERA, 103 Ks, 78.1 IP), he scuffled a bit after being called up to Double-A (5-3, 4.72 ERA, 54 Ks, 68.2), but considering he was still just 21 years old that was to be expected.

    He has as much potential as any pitcher in the Royals system, and considering what a hole the starting rotation currently is at the big league level, he could be put on the fast track.

47. SS Billy Hamilton, Cincinnati Reds

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    2011 Stats (Single-A)
    .278/.340/.360, 3 HR, 50 RBI, 99 R, 103 SB

    No, that's not a typo, Hamilton swiped 103 bases last season for the Reds' Single-A affiliate on 123 attempts, as it is safe to say he had the green light whenever he was on.

    However, as the old adage goes, you can't steal first base, and he still has some work to do on his offensive game if he is to take full advantage of those wheels at the big league level.

    The former second-round pick is still just 21 years old, and he held his own last year with the bat as one of the younger players in his league.

    His defense may be the biggest thing holding him back at the moment, as he committed 39 errors last season for a .932 fielding percentage. Still, few have the speed that he does, and the Reds will do everything they can to find a way to utilize it once he's ready for the majors.

46. SP Wily Peralta, Milwaukee Brewers

16 of 61

    2011 Stats (Double-A and Triple-A)
    26 GS, 11-7, 3.17 ERA, 157 Ks, 150.2 IP

    The Brewers' farm system is relatively thin following an offseason last year in which they gave up a good deal of their young talent to acquire Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum.

    However, Peralta remains a top-tier pitching prospect and someone capable of stepping into the rotation very soon in Milwaukee.

    Signed as a 17-year-old out of the Dominican Republic, Peralta will be 23 this coming season but already has five seasons and 474 minor league innings under his belt, and after the success he had between Double-A and Triple-A last year, he is as close to big league-ready as anyone.

    He likely won't break camp with the team, but expect him to be a part of the Brewers' rotation by mid-season, and he has the potential to be the team's future No. 2 starter behind Yovani Gallardo.

45. 3B Nick Castellanos, Detroit Tigers

17 of 61

    2011 Stats (Single-A)
    .312/.367/.436, 7 HR, 76 RBI, 65 R

    The Tigers' supplemental first-round pick in the 2010 draft, Castellanos signed in time to get his feet wet with a seven-game stint in the rookie league.

    He opened last year at full-season Single-A and more than held his own offensively as a 19-year-old in the Midwest League, while also playing solid defense.

    He will need to cut down on his strikeout rate moving forward, as he whiffed 130 times in 507 at bats while walking just 45 times, but he has plenty of time to develop with Miguel Cabrera moving back to third base. He could take a big step this coming season in his second year in the low minors.

44. SP Trevor May, Philadelphia Phillies

18 of 61

    2011 Stats (High Single-A)
    27 GS, 10-8, 3.63 ERA, 208 Ks, 151.1 IP

    The top arm in the Phillies' stable of young starting pitchers, May was taken in the fourth round of the 2008 MLB Draft.

    He was dominant in his second year of full-season ball, putting up a 12.4 K/9 mark and dropping his walk rate from 5.4 BB/9 to 4.0 BB/9.

    He will likely start the season at Double-A this year, and if he can have similar success at that level he could get a late-season call-up and set himself up for a potential rotation spot in 2013. He projects as a workhorse type and could be the Phillies' ace of the future.

43. SP Arodys Vizcaino, Atlanta Braves

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    2011 Stats (High Single-A, Double-A and Triple-A)
    26 G, 17 GS, 5-5, 3.06 ERA, 100 Ks, 97 IP

    2011 Stats (Atlanta)
    17 G, 1-1, 4.67 ERA, 17 Ks, 17.1 IP

    Acquired from the Yankees in the trade that sent Javier Vazquez out of Atlanta, Vizcaino started last season at High Single-A and ended up pitching out of the bullpen in Atlanta by season's end.

    He has had some injury concerns in the past but managed to pitch a full season last year and could dispel any further concerns with another healthy season.

    With the Braves' rotation full, he will likely start the season in the minors, but there is a chance he could earn a bullpen spot out of spring.

    Still just 21 years old, he has a bright future, and it is hard to believe he is not even the best starting-pitching prospect in the Braves' system.

42. 1B Jonathan Singleton, Houston Astros

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    2011 Stats (High Single-A)
    .298/.392/.441, 13 HR, 63 RBI, 68 R

    Picked up in the trade that sent Hunter Pence from Houston to Philadelphia, Singleton was blocked in Philadelphia by Ryan Howard but will be a big part of the rebuilding effort in Houston.

    Singleton has big-time power potential and spent the whole season at High Single-A last year at the age of 19, launching 13 home runs and driving in 63 runs over just 449 at bats.

    Despite a high strikeout rate, whiffing 123 times last season, he has solid on-base skills as well with 70 walks last year and a .392 OBP. He could need a few years in the minors before he reaches his full potential, but he should anchor the Astros' lineup for years once he reaches the majors.

41. SS Francisco Lindor, Cleveland Indians

21 of 61

    2011 Stats (Montverde Academy High School)
    .528 BA, 6 HR, 13 RBI, 31 R, 20 SB 

    2011 Stats (Low Single-A)
    .316/.350/.316, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 4 R, 1 SB 

    Taken with the eighth-overall pick in last year's draft, Lindor is an elite defensive shortstop already and profiles as a future Gold Glove winner.

    His offense is the biggest question mark at this point, but he will play all of next season at the age of 18 and has plenty of time to develop into a legitimate offensive threat.

    He could wind up as a solid contact hitter with good speed, hitting at the top of the Indians' lineup and anchoring the infield. He will need more time than some other high school prospects from his class, but his upside is big.

40. CF Starling Marte, Pittsburgh Pirates

22 of 61

    2011 Stats (Double-A)
    .332/.370/.500, 12 HR, 50 RBI, 91 R, 24 SB

    Signed out of the Dominican Republic at the age of 17 for a modest $85,000 bonus, Marte has slowly worked his way through the Pirates' organization and spent the entire season at Double-A last year at the age of 22 in his first action above Single-A.

    He has posted high averages throughout his minor league career but displayed some legitimate power potential for the first time last season as he hit 12 home runs after tallying just 15 in his first four minor league seasons combined.

    He could wind up being used as a trade chip, and he definitely needs another season in the minors to develop his plate discipline (100:22 K:BB ratio in 2011). His future will hinge greatly on his 2012 season, as he has the tools to be a future star but could wind up sliding into a fourth outfielder role if he doesn't take the next step.

39. 1B Yonder Alonso, San Diego Padres

23 of 61

    2011 Stats (Triple-A)
    .296/.374/.486, 12 HR, 56 RBI, 46 R

    2011 Stats (Cincinnati)
    .330/.398/.545, 5 HR, 15 RBI, 9 R

    After spending the better part of the past two seasons in Triple-A blocked by Joey Votto at the big league level, the Reds dealt Alonso along with three other players to the Padres for starter Mat Latos.

    Among the oldest players on this list, he will be 25 this coming season, but he figures to open the year as the Padres' starting first baseman after fellow prospect Anthony Rizzo was dealt to the Cubs.

    He has solid on-base skills and decent power, and should be able to post modest numbers in his rookie season despite playing in the cavernous Petco Park. Something along the lines of a .280 BA, 15 HR, 75 RBI rookie season seems reasonable, and he should settle into a role as a productive middle-of-the-order hitter.

38. SP Dellin Betances, New York Yankees

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    2011 Stats (Double-A and Triple-A)
    25 GS, 4-9, 3.70 ERA, 142 Ks, 126.1 IP

    2011 Stats (New York)
    2 G, 1 GS, 0-0, 6.75 ERA, 2 Ks, 2.2 IP

    Generally, any mention of Betances comes along with mention of fellow Yankees' pitching prospect Manny Banuelos, but the fact of the matter is the two are very different prospects.

    Betances will already be 24 this coming season, and while he is coming off a solid season at Triple-A, he has dealt with command problems throughout his career.

    He has the upside to be a frontline starter but could also wind up in the bullpen if his control does not improve. He has little left to prove in the minors, and if he can take a step forward with his K:BB rate, he could make a big contribution to the big league team in 2012.

    He has as much space between his floor and ceiling as any prospect in baseball, and 2012 will be a big year for him.

37. SS Hak-Ju Lee, Tampa Bay Rays

25 of 61

    2011 Stats (High Single-A and Double-A)
    .292/.365/.416, 5 HR, 30 RBI, 98 R, 33 SB

    Dealt from the Cubs to the Rays in the Matt Garza deal last offseason, Lee reached Double-A last season at the age of 20.

    He is a polished defensive shortstop, and his offense didn't miss a beat with his promotion last year, as he has solid on-base skills and plus speed.

    With such a big hole at shortstop in Tampa, he could get a look at some point this season, and if nothing else he will provide a decent average, some steals and good defense. There is certainly still time for him to take the next step offensively, and he has big upside as the Rays' shortstop of the near future.

36. SP Carlos Martinez, St. Louis Cardinals

26 of 61

    2011 Stats (Single-A and High Single-A)
    18 GS, 6-5, 3.93 ERA, 98 Ks, 84.2 IP

    Signed out of the Dominican Republic, Martinez was in just his second pro season last year but spent the year at full-season Single-A at the age of 19.

    He has as live an arm as any pitching prospect in baseball, and he demonstrated that with a 10.4 K/9 ratio last season, although his control still needs some refining.

    Martinez could be headed for another season in the low minors, as the Cardinals have no reason to rush him, but he could be a future ace and should be even more dominant in another season at Single-A. This is someone who could find himself in the top 10-15 of this list next season with another strong year.

35. CF Gary Brown, San Francisco Giants

27 of 61

    2011 Stats (High Single-A)
    .336/.407/.519, 14 HR, 80 RBI, 115 R, 53 SB

    After a solid career at Cal State Fullerton, Brown was selected 24th overall by the Giants in the 2010 draft, and he opened his first full pro season last year at High Single-A.

    He went on to dominate at that level, displaying impressive defensive ability, speed and the ability to hit for a high average.

    There is no question he is the center fielder of the future in San Francisco, and while he is more of a doubles hitter than a power hitter, he should continue to hit for a high average and profiles as an ideal lead-off hitter down the line in San Francisco.

34. SP Matt Harvey, New York Mets

28 of 61

    2011 Stats (High Single-A and Double-A)
    26 GS, 13-5, 3.32 ERA, 156 Ks, 135.2 IP

    Taken seventh overall out of North Carolina in the 2010 draft, Harvey was far from dominant in his senior season of college, posting a 5.40 ERA and 81:42 K:BB ratio.

    However, he took to the pro game quickly and reached Double-A last season in his first pro action, as he was promoted midseason and held his own.

    A Futures Game selection last year, Harvey would benefit from a full season at Double-A as he continues to refine his changeup into a legitimate third pitch, but he and Zack Wheeler should make a formidable one-two punch in the Mets' rotation in the not-too-distant future.

33. 3B Miguel Sano, Minnesota Twins

29 of 61

    2011 Stats (Rookie League)
    .292/.352/.637, 20 HR, 59 RBI, 58 R

    Sano spent all of last season in the Appalachian Rookie League and managed to launch 20 home runs in just 267 at bats, all at the age of 18.

    His defense remains a big question mark, as he committed 26 errors splitting time between third base and shortstop, but that should improve as he gets more reps in the minors.

    At his age, it is hard to ignore his power potential, and he has been compared to Miguel Cabrera. He is the stud of the Twins farm system, but the team would be wise to bring him along slowly and allow him to enjoy some success at the lower levels of the minor leagues. 

32. 3B Anthony Rendon, Washington Nationals

30 of 61

    2011 Stats (Rice University)
    .327/.520/.523, 6 HR, 37 RBI, 58 R, 13 SB 

    Following a sophomore season at Rice University in which he won the Dick Howser Player of the Year Award and hit .394 BA, 26 HR, 85 RBI, Rendon suffered through shoulder and ankle injuries last season and spent much of the year at DH.

    Projected as a top-two pick entering the year, he fell to the Nationals at sixth overall, and the team jumped at the opportunity to select the top college position player in the draft.

    With Ryan Zimmerman manning third base for the foreseeable future in Washington, he could be shifted to second base, but regardless he likely won't need much time in the minors if he proves to be healthy and should be a lock for a .300 average and 20 home runs on a yearly basis at the next level.

31. LF Christian Yelich, Miami Marlins

31 of 61

    2011 Stats (Single-A)
    .312/.388/.484, 15 HR, 77 RBI, 73 R, 32 SB

    Drafted 23rd overall in the 2010 draft as a high school first baseman, the Marlins moved Yelich to the outfield in his first pro season and he responded with a fantastic year.

    As a 19-year-old, Yelich spent the whole season at Single-A and not only held his own but put up one of the better offensive lines in all of minor league baseball.

    While his average and power numbers were impressive, perhaps the most surprising stat was his 32-for-37 success rate on stolen bases, as the 6'4" slugger displayed impressive speed.

    He didn't hit lefties particularly well and still only projects as a 10-15 HR guy at the big league level, but you couldn't ask for much more out of his first pro season.

30. SP Zack Wheeler, New York Mets

32 of 61

    2011 Stats (High Single-A)
    22 GS, 9-7, 3.52 ERA, 129 Ks, 115 IP

    Acquired from the Giants at the deadline last year for Carlos Beltran, Wheeler was the sixth-overall pick in the 2009 draft out of high school and signed to a $3.3 million bonus, the second highest in team history.

    He is a little older than fellow prospect Matt Harvey and also closer to being big league ready, although his secondary pitches could still use some minor league seasoning.

    As dismal as things look for the Mets entering the 2012 season, the imminent ascent of Wheeler and Harvey could give them a one-two punch that rivals any in the majors down the line.

29. SP Martin Perez, Texas Rangers

33 of 61

    2011 Stats (Double-A and Triple-A)
    27 G, 26 GS, 8-6, 4.33 ERA, 120 Ks, 137.1 IP

    Signed out of Venezuela at the age of 17, no current pitching prospect has moved through the minor leagues faster than Perez.

    In Double-A by the age of 18 and already with 56 appearances above Single-A at the age of 21, Perez has posted respectable numbers as one of the youngest players at the high levels of the minors.

    His three-pitch repertoire of fastball, curveball and changeup is legitimately plus-plus-plus, and he should be in line for a look this September and potential rotation spot in 2013. He doesn't have the best stuff in the minors, but he is so far advanced for his age that it is hard not to imagine him as a future frontline starter.

28. CF Brett Jackson, Chicago Cubs

34 of 61

    2011 Stats (Double-A and Triple-A)
    .274/.379/.490, 20 HR, 58 RBI, 84 R, 21 SB

    Taken in the first round of the 2009 MLB Draft out of the University of California, Jackson put himself on the top prospect map with a fantastic overall stat line between High Single-A and Double-A in 2010.

    Aside from a .297 BA, 12 HR, 66 RBI line, he also had 32 doubles, 14 triples and went 30-of-41 on stolen base attempts.

    His average dropped a bit last season, but he did little to convince anyone he would be anything but a legitimate five-tool player moving forward. He will get a long look in spring training this year and will be in Chicago at some point in 2012 regardless, as he is one of the key pieces of the Cubs' rebuilding efforts.

27. SP Jarrod Parker, Oakland Athletics

35 of 61

    2011 Stats (Double-A)
    26 GS, 11-8, 3.79 ERA, 112 Ks, 130.2 IP

    2011 Stats (Arizona - including postseason)
    2 G, 1 GS, 0-0, 1.50 ERA, 1 Ks, 6 IP

    After pitching his way onto the Diamondbacks' postseason roster after just six innings of work down the stretch, Arizona dealt Parker to the Athletics this winter for starter Trevor Cahill.

    Just one of a handful of pitching prospects the A's acquired this winter, he should break camp with a rotation spot and could emerge as the ace of the Oakland staff by season's end.

    The ninth-overall pick in the 2007 draft, Parker has an injury history that raises at least a few red flags, but if he can refine his off-speed stuff and bump up his strikeout rate a bit, there is no reason he shouldn't be a considered a future staff ace.

26. C Travis D'Arnaud, Toronto Blue Jays

36 of 61

    2011 Stats (Double-A)
    .311/.371/.542, 21 HR, 78 RBI, 72 R

    Acquired from the Phillies in the Roy Halladay deal, d'Arnaud took a big step forward last season in his first action at the Double-A level.

    His offensive numbers alone make him an elite prospect, perhaps the highest upside catching prospect not named Jesus Montero.

    He needs work throwing out base runners (27 percent caught stealing in 2011), strikes out a lot (100 Ks in 424 at bats) and has J.P. Arencibia to compete with for at-bats in Toronto, but one way or another he will find at-bats at the big league level soon, be it through a position change for someone or a trade.

25. SP Drew Pomeranz, Colorado Rockies

37 of 61

    2011 Stats (High Single-A and Double-A)
    20 GS, 4-3, 1.78 ERA, 119 Ks, 101 IP

    2011 Stats (Colorado)
    4 GS, 2-1, 5.40 ERA, 13 Ks, 18.1 IP

    The key piece of the trade that sent Ubaldo Jimenez from the Rockies to the Indians last season, Pomeranz was selected fifth overall in the 2010 draft out of Ole Miss and made a meteoric rise through the minor leagues in 2011.

    After just 101 dominant innings in the minors, he ended the season in the Rockies' rotation last year, and he could be in line for a rotation spot out of spring training this coming season.

    His changeup still needs some work, and he may benefit from starting the season in the minors, but he will be atop the Rockies' rotation for years to come once he reaches the majors for good.

24. SP Taijuan Walker, Seattle Mariners

38 of 61

    2011 Stats (Single-A)
    18 GS, 6-5, 2.89 ERA, 113 Ks, 96.2 IP

    A former stud high school basketball player, the Mariners took a big chance on drafting the relatively inexperienced Walker in the first round of the 2010 MLB Draft.

    That risk was rewarded this past season, as Walker won Pitcher of the Year honors in the Mariners' organization while dominating Single-A batters at the age of 18.

    A true athlete on the mound with future ace potential, Walker is still a ways off from the major leagues, but as of now he has done nothing but exceed what were lofty expectations to begin with. By 2014 he could join Felix Hernandez, Danny Hultzen and James Paxton to form a phenomenal front of the Mariners' rotation.

23. 1B Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs

39 of 61

    2011 Stats (Triple-A)
    .331/.404/.652, 26 HR, 101 RBI, 64 R

    2011 Stats (San Diego)
    .141/.281/.242, 1 HR, 9 RBI, 9 R

    A sixth-round pick of the Red Sox in 2007, Rizzo has already been through a lot in his short baseball career. After beating Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2008, Rizzo bounced back with a strong season in 2010.

    The following offseason, he was dealt to the Padres in the trade that sent Adrian Gonzalez to the Red Sox, and he got 128 big league at-bats last season at the age of 21 before being sent back to Triple-A, where he continued to dominate.

    This offseason, he was dealt again to the Chicago Cubs for pitcher Andrew Cashner, as new Cubs' GM Jed Hoyer who drafted him in Boston and traded for him as GM in San Diego once again acquired the slugger. He will open the season in the minors, but he is the Cubs' future cleanup hitter and has legitimate .300 BA, 30 HR, 100 RBI potential.

22. SP Archie Bradley, Arizona Diamondbacks

40 of 61

    2011 Stats (Broken Aarow High School)
    14 G,12 GS, 12-1, 0.29 ERA, 137 Ks, 71.1 IP

    2011 Stats (Rookie League)
    2 G, 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 4 Ks, 2 IP

    After taking perhaps the safest arm in the draft in UCLA starter Trevor Bauer at third overall, the Diamondbacks selected highly-touted high school hurler Archie Bradley with their second top-10 pick at seventh overall.

    He has a big league-ready fastball-curveball combination and a changeup that was largely forgotten in high school thanks to the success of those other two pitches but solid nonetheless. He sits comfortably at 95 with the fastball and has an ideal pitcher's frame at 6'4" and 225 pounds.

    While Dylan Bundy was the top high school arm, and rightfully so, Bradley could very well end up being the better pitcher, and with a good first pro season there is no reason he couldn't be in the top 10 on this list next season.

21. SP Manny Banuelos, New York Yankees

41 of 61

    2011 Stats (Double-A and Triple-A)
    27 GS, 6-7, 3.75 ERA, 125 Ks, 129.2 IP

    After being deemed untouchable in seemingly endless Yankees' trade rumors, Banuelos enters the 2012 season as one of the most frequently talked about prospects in all of baseball.

    Signed out of Mexico, he already has four big-league seasons under his belt and reached Triple-A last season at the age of 20.

    He got a solid look last spring, and while his control still needs some work, he could find himself in a bullpen role out of spring training this year and in the Yankees' rotation at the soonest possible opening.

    The lefty throws hard, despite his small 5'10" frame, with his fastball sitting around 93 and capable of hitting 96. He pairs that with a devastating curveball and solid changeup. He has as much pressure on him to perform as any prospect in baseball, but he has the stuff to make an impact in New York in 2012.

20. RF Wil Myers, Kansas City Royals

42 of 61

    2011 Stats (Double-A)
    .254/.353/.393, 8 HR, 49 RBI, 50 R

    Another in a line of stellar Royals' position prospects, Myers is a converted catcher who was taken in the third round of the 2009 MLB Draft.

    He shot up prospect lists prior to last year after a .315 BA, 14 HR, 83 RBI season as a 19-year-old in Single-A and High Single-A, but his numbers dropped across the board this past season.

    The production dip was largely due in part to a freak off-field incident in which he fell in the rain and tore up his left knee, and with that behind him he should have no problem returning to the ranks of the prospect elite.

    This is a player who was ranked right alongside Eric Hosmer as the Royals' top prospect, and if he proves to be 100-percent healthy, he could be in the majors at some point in 2012, giving the Royals yet another top-tier young hitter.

19. C Devin Mesoraco, Cincinnati Reds

43 of 61

    2011 Stats (Triple-A)
    .289/.371/.484, 15 HR, 71 RBI, 60 R

    2011 Stats (Cincinnati)
    .180/.226/.360, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 5 R

    Taken 15th overall in the 2007 MLB Draft, Mesoraco started off his pro career in less-than-inspiring fashion, hitting a combined .240 BA, 18 HR, 87 RBI over 755 bats in his first three pro seasons.

    However, he turned it around in a big way in 2010 with a .302 BA, 26 HR, 75 RBI season that began at High Single-A and ended with a 14-game stint at Triple-A.

    He proved that those numbers were no fluke with a solid full season at Triple-A last year, and his emergence allowed the Reds to include fellow top catching prospect Yasmani Grandal in the package to acquire Mat Latos from the Padres.

    The Reds have indicated that Ryan Hanigan will likely open the season as the starting catcher, but Mesoraco should take that job from him by midseason. Moving forward, he looks like he will be a plus defensive catcher and one of the top power-hitting backstops in the big leagues.

18. SP Danny Hultzen, Seattle Mariners

44 of 61

    2011 Stats (University of Virginia)
    18 GS, 12-3, 1.37 ERA, 165 Ks, 118 IP 

    Taken second overall in last year's draft, Hultzen was as dominant as any college pitcher in the nation last season as the ace of a good University of Virginia team.

    He may not have the upside of some of the other pitchers taken in the draft, but he still projects as a second or third starter thanks to a mid-90s fastball, plus changeup and solid slider that could develop into his out pitch.

    He'll be among the first players from the 2011 draft to reach the majors, and he is as sure a thing as anyone on this list of enjoying a lengthy and productive major league career.

17. SP Jacob Turner, Detroit Tigers

45 of 61

    2011 Stats (Double-A and Triple-A)
    20 GS, 4-5, 3.44 ERA, 110 Ks, 131 IP

    2011 Stats (Detroit)
    3 GS, 0-1, 8.53 ERA, 8 Ks, 12.2 IP

    The ninth-overall pick in the 2009 MLB Draft, Turner reached the majors last year at just 20 years old and looks to be in the running for the Tigers' fifth starter spot this coming year.

    For being a power pitcher, he has very good control with a 2.1 BB/9 mark over his two minor league seasons, and that will certainly help as he transitions to the majors at such a young age.

    He likely won't unseat Justin Verlander as the ace of the Tigers staff, but he should be a durable No. 2 starter as his 6'5" and 210-pound frame should hold up well over the grind of a full season. Pitching on a good Tigers team with a potential rotation spot out of spring training, he could be a dark-horse candidate for AL Rookie of the Year.

16. 3B Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies

46 of 61

    2011 Stats (High Single-A)
    .298/.349/.487, 20 HR, 122 RBI, 82 R

    A second-round pick in the 2009 MLB Draft out of high school, Arenado already ranks as the top third base prospect in the game despite not yet playing above High Single-A.

    After a solid first season in 2010 in which he hit .308 BA, 12 HR and 65 RBI over 373 at bats at Single-A, he proved capable of putting up those numbers over a full season of at-bats last year at High Single-A.

    He plays a solid third base, and he struck out just 53 times in 517 at-bats last season, displaying superior contact skills. He looks every bit the part of a future All-Star third baseman and middle-of-the-order run producer.

15. SP Tyler Skaggs, Arizona Diamondbacks

47 of 61

    2011 Stats (High Single-A and Double-A)
    27 GS, 9-6, 2.96 ERA, 198 Ks, 158.1 IP

    Drafted by the Angels in the first round of the 2009 MLB Draft, Skaggs came to the Diamondbacks at the deadline in 2010 in the deal that sent Dan Haren to Los Angeles.

    Taken out of high school, Skaggs split last season between High Single-A and Double-A at the age of 19 and continued to post dominant numbers with an 11.3 K/9 mark and just 2.8 BB/9.

    He ranks behind only the Rays' Matt Moore as far as left-handed pitching prospects go, and despite his age he could very well wind up in the Diamondbacks' rotation at some point this coming season, as Arizona's rotation looks incredibly bright moving forward with Trevor Bauer and Archie Bradley joining Skaggs.

14. SP Jameson Taillon, Pittsburgh Pirates

48 of 61

    2011 Stats (Single-A)
    23 GS, 2-3, 3.98 ERA, 97 Ks, 92.2 IP

    While first-overall pick Gerrit Cole has stolen the headlines in Pittsburgh, the team has another top-tier starting pitching prospect in Taillon, who was taken second overall out of high school in the 2010 draft.

    The team was careful to keep him to a strict innings limit last season, as he averaged just over four innings per start, and they will continue to bring him along slowly moving forward.

    He posted impressive strikeout numbers, despite the team limiting his use of breaking pitches, and as the organization continues to turn him loose more and more, he should put up even better numbers. 

    While Cole gets the attention, it could very well be Taillon who winds up being the future ace of the Pirates staff, and pairing that duo at the top of their rotation along with a good young core of hitters could be the Pirates' ticket back to contention.

13. RF Bubba Starling, Kansas City Royals

49 of 61

    2011 Stats (Gardner-Edgerton High School)
    Stats Not Available

    The legend of Bubba Starling ranks among the greats in high school sports history, from his 95-mph fastball and powerful bat on the baseball field, to his 4.4 40-yard dash, ability to throw a football 50 yards from his knees and commitment to play quarterback at the University of Nebraska on the gridiron and even onto the basketball court where he likely would have been a D-1 recruit. Starling was a man among boys as a prep athlete.

    It took a $7.5 million signing bonus to lure him away from his football commitment, and the Royals are banking more on his tremendous athletic ability than his actual success thus far on the baseball diamond.

    Still, few athletes of his caliber have opted to play baseball, and while he will likely take a good amount of minor league seasoning before he is big league ready, he has as high a ceiling as anyone in the sport.  


12. SP Gerrit Cole, Pittsburgh Pirates

50 of 61

    2011 Stats (UCLA)
    16 GS, 6-8, 3.31 ERA, 119 Ks, 114.1 IP 

    Selected first overall by the Pirates in last year's draft based more on stuff and potential than on actual success, Cole earned an $8 million signing bonus to join the Pirates.

    He made his pro debut in the Arizona Fall League, where he was reportedly hitting 100-mph on the radar gun while mixing in an upper-80s slider as well.

    Cole made a name for himself when he was selected 28th overall by the Yankees in the 2008 draft but opted not to sign, turning down a $4 million bonus to attend UCLA, and it appears he made the right decision there.

    He will likely spend more time in the minors than most college pitchers, as his stuff is still relatively raw, but few pitchers have the stuff that he does, and his future looks incredibly bright at this point.

11. SS Manny Machado, Baltimore Orioles

51 of 61

    2011 Stats (Single-A and High Single-A)
    .257/.335/.421, 11 HR, 50 RBI, 48 R, 11 SB

    Drafted third overall in the 2010 MLB Draft, Machado started his first pro season in impressive fashion last year before injuries cut into his final season numbers.

    The 6'3" shortstop has already drawn comparisons to Alex Rodriguez, and while he too could wind up moving to third base, he is already a plus defensive shortstop.

    He could start this coming season in Double-A as a 19-year-old, and as he continues to fill out he should develop some serious power. It is still very early in Machado's development, but there is plenty to be excited about for Orioles' fans, as he looks to be a future superstar and the anchor of the team's offense

10. SP Dylan Bundy, Baltimore Orioles

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    2011 Stats (Owasso High School)
    11-0, 0.30 ERA, 158 Ks, 4 BB, 71 IP 

    The top high school arm in last year's draft, Bundy was taken fourth overall after a senior season that was nearly perfect, as he struck out 158 and walked just four with a 0.30 ERA in 71 innings of work.

    His fastball sits in the mid-90s comfortably, and he can dial it up to triple-digits, and he mixes in a cutter, filthy curveball and changeup that all rate as plus pitches.

    His mechanics are nearly perfect, and he is as solidly built as any high school pitcher out there at 6'1" and 200 pounds, as he has been groomed to be a big league pitcher since a very young age.

    As polished as he is, it will be hard for the Orioles not rush him through the minors, but with $6.225 million in bonus money committed to the right-hander they will likely be cautious with their new weapon early on.

9. SS Jurickson Profar, Texas Rangers

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    2011 Stats (Single-A)
    .286/.390/.493, 12 HR, 65 RBI, 86 R, 23 SB

    A former Little League World Series star while playing for his home country of Curacao, Profar was signed at the age of 17 as a player with a great glove and significant offensive upside.

    However, few expected him to tap into that offensive upside as quickly as he did, as he tore apart Single-A pitching at the age of 18 last season, displaying an impressive power-speed combination and plate discipline that far exceeded his age with 65 walks and just 63 strikeouts.

    There is very little that Profar does not already do well at the age of 19, and it is scary to think just how good he will be within a couple of seasons. His defense is good enough to move Elvis Andrus to second base once he's ready, and his bat is good enough to fit right into the Rangers' potent lineup.

8. SP Trevor Bauer, Arizona Diamondbacks

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    2011 Stats (UCLA)
    16 GS, 13-2, 1.25 ERA, 203 Ks, 136.2 IP 

    2011 Stats (High Single-A and Double-A)
    7 GS, 1-2, 5.96 ERA, 43 Ks, 25.2 IP

    Arguably the most dominant college pitcher in the nation last season, the Diamondbacks selected Bauer with the third-overall pick in last year's draft.

    Bauer began his pro career with three starts at High Single-A last season and ended the year with four starts at Double-A, a testament to just how polished he was coming out of college and how close to big league ready he is.

    With a delivery that reminds many of Tim Lincecum and a five-pitch repertoire that includes a mid-90s fastball, curveball, slider, circle-change and a splitter, all of which he has plus command of, Bauer has the stuff to be a rotation anchor very soon in Arizona.

    Durability is a concern, as he has more mileage on his arm than some prospects and a high-effort delivery, but so far he has held up just fine.  If he comes out strong to open the 2012 season, he could find himself in the majors before too long.

7. C/DH Jesus Montero, Seattle Mariners

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    2011 Stats (Triple-A)
    .288/.348/.467, 18 HR, 67 RBI, 52 R

    2011 Stats (New York)
    .328/.406/.590, 4 HR, 12 RBI, 9 R

    Rating as a top prospect in New York comes with an added amount of hype, but all signs point to Montero being the real deal moving forward.

    He was dealt to the Mariners for starter Michael Pineda this winter, and that will likely mean a full season in the big leagues hitting in the middle of the order this coming season for the 22-year-old, but he has the offensive tools to thrive in that role.

    It remains to be seen if he will spend much time at catcher or simply settle into a DH role, but he is perhaps the best pure-hitting prospect in the league right now and should be a .300 BA, 20 HR, 80 RBI guy right of the bat in Seattle regardless of where he plays.

6. SP Shelby Miller, St. Louis Cardinals

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    2011 Stats (High Single-A and Double-A)
    25 GS, 11-6, 2.77 ERA, 170 Ks, 139.2 IP

    The pride of the Cardinals' organization since being selected 19th overall in the 2009 draft out of high school, Miller has been brought along slowly to this point with impressive numbers every step of the way.

    He was promoted to Double-A midway though last season, and in 16 starts he went 9-3, 2.70 ERA, 89 Ks, 86.2 IP as he proved more than capable against advanced competition.

    With no open spot in the Cardinals' rotation, he is likely looking at a full season in the minors in 2012, but with continued success he should secure a rotation spot in 2013 and quickly rise to the top of the Cardinals' rotation from there.

5. SP Julio Teheran, Atlanta Braves

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    2011 Stats (Triple-A)
    25 G, 24 GS, 15-3, 2.55 ERA, 122 Ks, 144.2 IP

    2011 Stats (Atlanta)
    5 G, 3 GS, 1-1, 5.03 ERA, 10 Ks, 19.2 IP

    After rising three levels and establishing himself as one of the top pitching prospects in the game in 2010, Teheran continued to dominate in a full season at Triple-A at the age of 20 last year.

    He scuffled in a brief taste of the big leagues but his stuff is undeniable, and while he looks to be headed back to the minors to open the 2012 season, the Braves won't be able to keep him down much longer.

    With a fastball that sits comfortably in the mid-90s and can be dialed up even faster, a knockout 12-6 curveball and a solid changeup, he has the stuff to be a frontline starter right now. Once he arrives in the majors for good he should emerge as one of the top pitchers in the game before too long.

4. CF Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels

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    2011 Stats (Double-A)
    .326/.414/.544, 11 HR, 38 RBI, 82 R, 33 SB

    2011 Stats (Los Angeles)
    .220/.281/.390, 5 HR, 16 RBI, 20 R, 4 SB

    Ranked ahead of Bryce Harper by some entering last season, Trout had a phenomenal season in 2010 as he hit .341 BA, 10 HR and 58 RBI with 56 SB, reaching High Single-A at the age of 18.

    It was more of the same last year, as he spent a full season in Double-A and even earned a big league call-up when center fielder Peter Bourjos went down with an injury.

    He was a bit over-matched in 123 big league at-bats, but that is to be expected at 19 years old. He profiles more as a top-of-the-order hitter right now, as his power looks to be somewhat limited, and he may be moved to a corner outfield position as Bourjos is among the top defensive outfielders in the game. Wherever he winds up. he is a future superstar.

3. SP Yu Darvish, Texas Rangers

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    2011 Stats (Nippon-Ham Fighters)
    28 GS, 18-6, 1.44 ERA, 276 Ks, 232 IP

    Not a prospect in the traditional sense of the word, the 2012 season will nonetheless be Darvish's first in the major leagues, so he deserves a mention on this list.

    Signed by the Rangers to a six-year, $60 million deal with a $51.7 million posting fee to go along with it, the team has made a significant investment in the Japanese right-hander, and with good reason.

    In five seasons pitching in the Japan Pacific League, Darvish posted a career line of 76-28, 1.72 ERA, 1,083 Ks, 1,024.1 IP, and the now 25-year-old will be counted on to help replace C.J. Wilson and then some in the Rangers' rotation this coming season.

2. SP Matt Moore, Tampa Bay Rays

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    2011 Stats (Double-A and Triple-A)
    27 GS, 12-3, 1.92 ERA, 210 Ks, 155 IP

    2011 Stats (Tampa Bay - including postseason)
    5 G, 2 GS, 2-0, 1.88 ERA, 23 Ks, 19.1 IP

    The 2011 Minor League strikeout champion, Moore was selected in the eighth round of the 2007 draft in what now looks to be a steal for the Rays.

    After a dominant season in the minors, Moore earned a cup of coffee at the end of last season and wound up not only finding his way onto the Rays' postseason roster but was the team's Game 1 starter in the ALDS against a potent Rangers lineup.

    He responded to the challenge by throwing seven innings of shutout ball, allowing just two hits while walking two and striking out six.

    That is likely only be a taste of things to come, as Moore is the odds-on favorite to win AL Rookie of the Year this coming season and is expected to move to the front of the Rays' rotation before too long.

1. RF Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals

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    2011 Stats (Single-A and Double-A)
    .297/.392/.501, 17 HR, 58 RBI, 63 R, 26 SB

    Perhaps the most-hyped baseball prospect of all time, Harper has been on the MLB radar since Sports Illustrated deemed him the "Chosen One" while he was still in high school.

    His tools grade at the top of the charts across the board, but he is also as arrogant as anyone in the league and clearly has some maturing to do before he becomes baseball's next great slugger.

    That said, all signs point to the hype being justified, and he could open the 2012 season as the Nationals' starting right fielder at the age of 19.

    He is a once-in-a-generation talent, and all of baseball will be anxiously awaiting his debut in Washington, which will more than likely come at some point in 2012.