Every MLB Team's Most Electrifying Lower-Level Prospect

Robert Knapel@@RobertKnapel_BRCorrespondent IFebruary 24, 2012

Every MLB Team's Most Electrifying Lower-Level Prospect

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    Every team's prospects gain more and more attention as they get closer and closer to the major leagues. There are also a number of players at the lower levels that can be very exciting as well.

    These players have the ability to light up the leagues that they are in but they are not often given as much attention as they deserve because most of them are not going to be in the majors for a few years.

    None of these players have any experience above High-A ball and almost all of them will not even reach Double-A this year. Remember these names because these guys could be making a big impact in the major leagues in a few seasons.

Arizona Diamondbacks: Archie Bradley

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    2011 Stats: 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.50 WHIP, 4 K (Rookie)

    With the No. 7 overall pick in the 2011 MLB draft, the Arizona Diamondbacks selected Archie Bradley. He played two games for the Diamondbacks Rookie Ball team.

    Bradley has all of the makings of a top-of-the-rotation starter, but he still needs a decent amount of seasoning in the minor leagues.

Atlanta Braves: Andrelton Simmons

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    2011 Stats: .311/.351/.408, 1 HR, 52 RBI, 26 SB (High-A)

    Andrelton Simmons is one of the best young shortstops in the minor leagues. He posted one of the highest averages in High-A last year.

    However, there are still things that Simmons needs to work on. He has some issues with his glove and he made 28 errors last year. Simmons is not a disciplined base stealer as he was caught stealing 18 times last year which means that he was only successful 59 percent of the time.

Baltimore Orioles: Manny Machado

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

    Baseball America recently named Manny Machado as the 11th-best prospect in baseball heading into the 2012 season. There is no better prospect in the Baltimore Orioles system.

    Machado is a power hitting shortstop who is expected to play a big role in the Orioles' future. He has been compared to Alex Rodriguez.

Boston Red Sox: Xander Bogaerts

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    2011 Stats: .260/.324/.509, 16 HR, 45 RBI, 1 SB (Single-A)

    The Boston Red Sox are certainly happy that they managed to find Xander Bogaerts. He is rated as Baseball America's 58th-best prospect.

    Bogaerts has outstanding power potential and this is something that certainly excites Red Sox fans. He has problems defensively and he may need to move away from shortstop.

Chicago Cubs: Javier Baez

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    2011 Stats: .278/.278/.389, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 2 SB (Rookie and Low-A)

    Javier Baez got his first taste of professional ball in 2011 when he played five games in the Chicago Cubs minor league system. They are looking forward to seeing what he can do in a full year.

    One of the best attributes that Baez has is his tremendous bat speed. He profiles to be a very solid hitter which is why Baseball America has him ranked as their 61st-best prospect.

Chicago White Sox: Tyler Saladino

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    2011 Stats: .270/.363/.501, 16 HR, 55 RBI, 7 SB (High-A)

    The Chicago White Sox have one of the weakest minor league systems in baseball and the talent that they do have is at the upper levels.

    Tyler Saladino is the most exciting prospect that the team has at the lower level. He is an interesting prospect that people might want to keep an eye on.

Cincinnati Reds: Billy Hamilton

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    2011 Season: .278/.340/.360, 3 HR, 50 RBI, 103 SB (Single-A)

    No one is baseball is faster than Billy Hamilton. The only reason that his speed is rated as an 80 is because that is as high as the scale goes.

    It will be interesting to see if Hamilton will be able to swipe bases at such a high rate once he gets to the higher levels. If he can then he will be incredibly fun to watch.

Cleveland Indians: Francisco Lindor

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

    The Cleveland Indians were very happy with their selection of Francisco Lindor in the 2011 MLB draft. He immediately became the top prospect in the Indians' system.

    Lindor was ranked as baseball's 37th-best prospect by Baseball America entering this season. He should be able to live up to all of the expectations that are surrounding him.

Colorado Rockies: Trevor Story

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    2011 Stats: .268/.364/.436, 6 HR, 28 RBI, 13 SB (Rookie)

    Nolan Arenado would have been the choice here but he will almost definitely begin the year in Double-A which disqualifies him from making the list. As a result, Trevor Story is the team's most electrifying lower-level prospect.

    Story looked impressive during his 45-game stint in Rookie Ball during 2011. He has some solid pop and he can also steal bases.

Detroit Tigers: Nick Castellanos

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    2011 Stats: .312/.367/.436, 7 HR, 76 RBI, 3 SB (Single-A)

    Nick Castellanos is the top position prospect in the Detroit Tigers system. The young third baseman is talented both at the plate and in the field.

    Baseball America's 45th-best prospect will be just 20 years old by the time that the 2012 season starts and Castellanos could find himself in Double-A by midseason.

Houston Astros: George Springer

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    2011 Stats: .179/.303/.393, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 4 SB (Low-A)

    For the Houston Astros there is a very large focus on the future. Top prospect Jonathan Singleton is expected to start the year in Double-A so he doesn't make the cut here.

    George Springer makes the list for the Astros as a result of this. The outfielder out of the University of Connecticut has impressive power and speed.

Kansas City Royals: Bubba Starling

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    2011 Stats: .508 BA, 8 HR, 21 SB (High School)

    There was a chance that Bubba Starling was going to go to the University of Nebraska to play football but the Kansas City Royals gave him a few million reasons to turn that offer down.

    Starling is an elite prospect that is ranked as the game's 24th-best prospect by Baseball America. He has all of the tools that the Royals could want in a player.

Los Angeles Angels: C.J. Cron

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    2011 Stats: .308/.371/.629, 13 HR, 41 RBI (Rookie)

    The most impressive things about C.J. Cron's statistics are that he only played 34 games in 2011 and that he was dealing with injuries for part of the year.

    Cron was a bit old for Rookie Ball at 21, but the numbers are still very impressive. He should be an interesting player to watch as he could move up through the minors quickly.

Los Angeles Dodgers: Zach Lee

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    2011 Stats: 9-6, 3.47 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 91 K (Single-A)

    Zach Lee is an incredibly talented athlete who looked very good on the mound during his first professional season. He not only has a great arm when it comes to throwing a baseball, but he was also recruited to play quarterback at LSU.

    Lee seems to have made the right choice as he looks very comfortable and intimidating on the pitchers mound. He is the 62nd-best prospect in baseball according to Baseball America.

Miami Marlins: Christian Yelich

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

    The Miami Marlins had a pair of exciting young hitters in Single-A last season with Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna. Yelich is the more impressive of the two at this point.

    Yelich should see his season begin at High-A ball although he may not be there for too long. He has a great combination of power and speed and he should find his way to Double-A.

Milwaukee Brewers: Taylor Jungmann

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    2011 Stats: 13-3, 1.60 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, 126 K (College)

    Taylor Jungmann has yet to pitch in the minor leagues so the Milwaukee Brewers will be interested to see what he can do with their system.

    Based on his college performance as well as his makeup, Baseball America has ranked Jungmann as the 70th-best prospect in the game today.

Minnesota Twins: Miguel Sano

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    2011 Stats: .292/.352/.637, 20 HR, 59 RBI, 5 SB (Rookie)

    It is hard to deny that Miguel Sano's power potential is incredibly impressive. The 20 home runs that he hit last season came in just 267 at-bats.

    One aspect of his game that Sano needs to improve significantly is his defense. He has a career fielding percentage under .900 at both shortstop and third base.

New York Mets: Brandon Nimmo

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    2011 Stats: .211/.318/.368, 2 HR, 4 RBI (Rookie)

    The New York Mets made Brandon Nimmo their first overall pick during the 2011 MLB draft. They are hoping that he can develop into a solid starting outfielder.

    Nimmo could become the type of player that can hit 15 home runs and steal 15 bases a year while hitting for a high average if everything goes right.

New York Yankees: Gary Sanchez

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    2011 Stats: .256/.335/.485, 17 HR, 52 RBI, 2 SB (Single-A)

    Like many prospects in the minor leagues, Gary Sanchez has some problems with his defense. However, with his bat, the New York Yankees are going to find some place for him to play.

    Sanchez has outstanding offensive abilities which is a big reason why Baseball America considers him to be the 81st-best prospect in baseball.

Oakland Athletics: Raul Alcantara

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    2011 Stats: 1-4, 2.20 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 50 K (Rookie and Low-A)

    The Oakland Athletics acquired Raul Alcantara when they dealt Andrew Bailey to the Boston Red Sox. He is part of a newly revamped farm system. The top half of the Athletics' farm system is already at the upper levels.

    He has a fairly high ceiling and he has the potential to be a starter in the majors for a number of years.

Philadelphia Phillies: Jesse Biddle

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    2011 Stats: 7-8, 2.98 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 124 K (Single-A)

    Jesse Biddle just edged out Sebastian Valle as the Philadelphia Phillies' most electrifying prospect in the low minors since Trevor May should be in Double-A.

    Biddle has all of the potential to turn into a No. 2 starter in the major leagues. He is working on his curveball and if he improves the pitch then he should continue to get better.

Pittsburgh Pirates: Gerrit Cole

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    2011 Stats: 6-8, 3.31 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 119 K (College)

    It should come as no surprise that the No. 1 overall pick from the 2011 MLB draft is the most electrifying prospect in the low minors for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

    Gerrit Cole has the potential to be a top-of-the-rotation starter that could help usher in a new era in Pittsburgh. Baseball America sees him as the 12th-best prospect in baseball.

San Diego Padres: Rymer Liriano

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    2011 Stats: .298/.365/.465, 12 HR, 66 RBI, 68 RBI (Single-A and High-A)

    There is no doubt that Rymer Liriano possesses all of the tools to be a successful major league player. He has been a favorite of scouts for a few years.

    Now he is starting to improve and produce at a very high level. Liriano could be a player that is able to move up prospect lists very quickly after this season.

San Francisco Giants: Joe Panik

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    2011 Stats: .341/.401/.467, 6 HR, 54 RBI, 13 SB (Low-A) 

    After an impressive 2011 season, Gary Brown will likely begin the year in Double-A which means that Joe Panik is the choice for the San Francisco Giants on this list.

    Panik was the Giants' first-round pick this past year and he has impressed both in the minors and during the Arizona Fall League.

Seattle Mariners: Taijuan Walker

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    2011 Stats: 6-5, 2.89 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 113 K (Single-A) 

    The Seattle Mariners have a number of elite pitching prospects in their minor league system and Taijuan Walker is the best of the bunch.

    A young right-hander, Walker projects to be a No. 1 starter. He would make an outstanding complement to Felix Hernandez. He is currently the 20th-best prospect in the game according to Baseball America.

St. Louis Cardinals: Carlos Martinez

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    2011 Stats: 6-5, 3.93 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 98 K (Single-A and High-A)

    Carlos Martinez is a flamethrower that has put together a number of impressive games in the low minors. He is one of the St. Louis Cardinals' top pitching prospects.

    Martinez has the potential to become a top-of-the-rotation fireballer. His elite fastball is one of the reasons why Baseball America has him ranked as the game's 27th-best prospect.

Tampa Bay Rays: Oscar Hernandez

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    2011 Stats: .402/.503/.732, 21 HR, 66 RBI, 3 SB

    To find the Tampa Bay Rays' most electrifying low-level prospect, one must take a trip to Venezuela. Oscar Hernandez absolutely tore apart the Venezuelan Summer League last year in the 69 games that he played.

    He set the league record for home runs and he was responsible for 11 percent of the home runs that were hit in the league. Not much is know about Hernandez, but there is a lot to like.

Texas Rangers: Jurickson Profar

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

    There are few prospects in baseball that are better than Jurickson Profar. He was rated as the game's seventh-best prospect by Baseball America.

    Profar should begin the season at Class-A Advanced. There is not much that Profar can't do on a baseball field and the Rangers can't wait until he reaches the majors.

Toronto Blue Jays: Jake Marisnick

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    2011 Stats: .320/.392/.496, 14 HR, 77 RBI, 37 SB (Single-A)

    Jake Marisnick put on clinic during his time in Single-A last season. He turned into a top-100 prospect and he is now rated as the 67th-best prospect by Baseball America.

    Marisnick saw significant improvement last season and he still has some room to get better. He could be a top-10 prospect next year.

Washington Nationals: Anthony Rendon

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    2011 Stats: .327/.520/.523, 6 HR, 37 RBI, 13 SB (College)

    There was a time when Anthony Rendon was considered to be the No. 1 prospect for the 2011 MLB draft. He fell to the No. 6 spot and the Washington Nationals were happy to take him.

    He has the potential to eventually unseat Ryan Zimmerman as the Washington Nationals third baseman.