Top 10 MLB Prospects
The Rays rose from baseball's basement to AL pennant winners by drafting well, trading for young talent, and letting that talent develop. The Rays had the best farm system last year and this ensures the Rays will be around for a while. The Red Sox and Yankees are both concentrating more on their farm systems.
Who will be the next impact player to make his debut in the Bigs.
David Price and Matt Wieters have already arrived, but could somebody else alter the pennant race like Jacoby Ellsbury did in 2007 and Price did in 2008?
10. Lars Anderson
Anderson is at Double AA Portland and is a first baseman who has very good power.
Drafted in 2006, he is another impact player in a Sox system that has become much better with Theo Epstein as GM. At 6-foot-4 and weighing more than 200 pounds he could be in the middle of the Sox lineup for years.
Anderson will probably not make his debut this year, but could come to the Majors around May of next year like Ryan Braun. The Sox will need to find a position for him with Kevin Youkilis planted firmly at first and David Ortiz currently holding down the spot at DH.
9. Tim Beckham
The No. 1 pick in 2008 by the Rays is a shortstop who is part of the stellar Rays farm system.
He's still very young and raw but has all of the tools to become a major league player. He is rated at average to above average in every tool. He has the quickness and range to play at short or could move to the outfield like B.J. Upton did. His bat is still getting adjusted to pro pitching but is improving every month.
He will be a 20-20 threat while batting for a good average. He is at least two years away.
8. Clay Buchholz
Some may question two Red Sox in the Top 10, but Buchholz is flat out nasty. Part of the amazing 2005 draft, Buchholz pitched a NO-HITTER in 2007!
And yet he is still waiting in Pawtucket mowing down Triple AAA batters. He has a 2.11 ERA and owns a 7-1 record. If John Smoltz falters or the Sox trade Brad Penny, Buchholz should be a more than capable replacement and could give the Sox the extra lift to reach the playoffs.
He has a lot of different pitches he can rely on and will be an ace for the Sox very soon.
7. Cameron Maybin
The centerpiece in the Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis trade is still trying to break through to the majors.
A lot of people say that Maybin was rushed to the majors before he was ready. He is still only 22 and could come up for the Marlins this year. Maybin has been seen as a future star for years now.
He will be a good centerfielder who hits for decent average and power and also steals a lot of bases. The Marlins are hoping that he can pair with Hanley Ramirez to make the Marlins contenders in the tough AL East.
6. Mike Moustakas
Despite the weird fact that there aren't any images of him on Getty, Mike Moustakas is a stud.
He was drafted with the second pick in the 2007 draft out of high school. He lead the Midland League in home runs as a teenager. Like many prospects he was drafted as a shortstop but his future lies elsewhere.
He should be in the majors sometime next year. Alex Gordon has been a major disappointment for the Royals, but Moustakas should do much better.
5. Tommy Hanson
He made his debut earlier this year, but was just optioned back to Triple AAA. He did great in the majors posting a 4-0 record.
Hanson is big at 6-6 and has a couple of above-average pitches. The Braves will recall Hanson later this year and he'll be in the big leagues to stay. Hanson is another player from the 2005 draft.
He has dominated minor league batters and last season really exploded onto the scene. The Braves are hoping he is a future ace who will start another 13-year run of division titles.
4. Neftali Feliz
Feliz was part of the Mark Teixeira trade to Atlanta and the Braves miss him badly.
Signed out of the Dominican Republic he is still only 21 and could arrive in the majors by next year. He's part of the best farm system in the league. He has an effortless delivery but still has a very high K rate.
His command is good and his fastball has been clocked in the 100s. He has risen quickly in the Rangers system and is part of Nolan Ryan's emphasis on young pitching.
3. Madison Bumgarner
I know, I know, that is Barry Zito in that photo.
There were no pictures of Bumgarner. The picture of Zito represents the old Giants way of signing free agents, while Bumgarner is part of the new Giants way focusing on the farm system.
He had a great 2008 season posting a 1.74 ERA in the minors. He is a big lefty with a very good fastball.
He was drafted in 2007 out of high school and is still very young. Look for him to pair with Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain to form a dominant rotation for the Giants.
2. Justin Smoak
I don't know how the Rangers do it, but they just churn out power hitting first basemen. Smoak is a switch hitter who is constantly compared to Teixeira.
He was drafted in 2008 out of college, and will be in the majors next year. Smoak started the year in Double AA but has been promoted to Triple AAA. Scouts love his defense and ability to hit for both average and power.
Smoak isn't usually rated this highly but I love his potential to be a 30 home run and .300 hitter for years.
1. Jason Heyward
Matt Wieters and David Price were the top two prospects at the beginning of the year. With both now in the majors, Heyward is a clear No. 1.
He was drafted in 2007 by the Braves out of high school and has done nothing but excel in the minors. An outfielder who can hit for power and average, Heyward is still only 20.
He hasn't encountered any real bumps in his development. The Braves can't wait for him to get to the majors and he should be there by next year. Heyward can also run a little, and should be an all-star for years with the Braves.