Tim Linecum?, Ryan Zimmerman?, Evan Longoria?, Adam Jones?.F
Five years ago these names were seldom known; now they're the faces of their franchises and headed onto bright careers. Here's a look at the future of the MLB. A lot of the comparisons are of what they can do if they reach their highest ceiling.
Drafted No. 2 overall from Vanderbilt University in the 2008 Draft, just behind Tampa's Tim Beckham. The Bronx born slugger has as sweet of a swing as you'll see for a young player. He'll more than likely move to first base, although he's a better third basemen than he gets credit for. He will make an appearance in Pittsburgh in 2010, hopefully from the start, either way hes got a bright future. Two words=Pure hitter.
Prospect Comparison: Chase Utley- Aramis Ramirez
Baltimore has quietly done a very nice job reviving their team with young talent instead of signing washed up veterans. Matt Wieters, Nick Markakis, Adam Jones, Nolan Reimold and Brian Matusz all look like very capable big leaguers. Jones and Markakis showed signs of stardom in 2009, the 6'5" Tillman looks like the next big hit for the O's. With a mid 90's fastball, a great curve and an improving changeup, Tillman could be the young staffs ace by 2011.
Prospect Comparison: Adam Wainwright
The son of former NL Cy Young Award winner Doug Drabek, Kyle has a great shot to be better than his dad who won 155 games and a 3.73 era. Kyle is a lot more of a power pitcher than his father was. The key piece in return for the Blue Jays in the Roy Halladay deal, many think the Phillies would have rather separated with the rookie sensation lefty J.A. Happ than the younger Drabek. I've seen both in person at the Lakewood Blueclaws, Kyle Drabek has the most potential of any pitcher on this list.
Prospect Comparison: John Lackey
The 11th overall pick in the 2008 draft, Smoak is a big switch hitter, who can field and can mash the baseball...heard this one before? The comparisons to Mark Teixeria are inevitable for Smoak. The 23-year-old's biggest strength is his ability to hit for power and average from both sides of the plate, but many believe he'll dominate the AL First Base Gold Glove for several years.
Prospect Comparison: Mark Teixeria
The first pick in the loaded 2008 draft, Beckham is the definition of a five-tool player. His athleticism is unrivaled, he runs the 60 yard dash in 6.35 seconds and bench presses 280 lbs. Along with great athleticism hes also got one of the best infield arms in the minors and one scout thinks his intangibles could be his biggest asset (6th tool?. His bat his better than most 5 tool players at this stage and his fielding ability is major league ready now. I'm not giving a prospect comparison here, because if Beckham can reach his potential, there won't be an adequate comparison because he's a freak of nature.
If you were to look at Baseball America's Top 10 Yankees Prospects, you'll notice that 4 of the top 10 are interestingly enough....catchers? Strange, yes, but Austin Romine (No. 2), Gary Sanchez (No. 7) and J.R. Murphy (No. 8) should not fear they will never play backstop for the Bombers with Montero in front of them, Montero is likely to move to first base, designated hitter, or right field. Even though Montero just turned 20 in November, he'll start this season in Scranton Wilkes-Barre and could be in the majors by this fall or 2011. Montero can absolutely mash the baseball, between High-A and Double A last year he hit a combined .337 with 17 Hrs and 70 RBI in a mere 92 games. Regardless of his position the Yankees will find a spot for someone with his hitting ability.
Prospect Comparison: Miguel Caberera
Mike Stanton will eventually be paired with Hanley Ramierez and make one of the better 3-4 combos in baseball. Standing at 6'5", 240 lbs, Stanton can not only drive the ball to the gaps, hit it out of the park, but he can also hose you from right and plays very good defense for a person of his size. Stanton should be around for the opening of the new stadium in Miami, hopefully he can help make baseball more legitimate in South Florida.
Prospect Comparison: Ryan Braun (with better fielding skills)
The key part for the Rangers in the Mark Teixeria deal with the Braves, Feliz debuted last year with the Rangers as a reliever and was lights out going 1-0 with a 1.74 era and 39 ks in 31 innings. Feliz will eventually be the ace of the Rangers staff, who if you didn't know have the deepest and most talented minor league prospects in the game. Feliz dons a high 90s fastball and above average secondary pitches. Texas Rangers baseball is looking up in the coming years.
Prospect Comparison: Carlos Zambrano
As if Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain needed any help, Bumgarner will sandwiched in between the two to give the hitters of the NL West even more nightmares than they already have. I'll make this statement, call it bold if you'd like but no team in the last 30 years has had three pitchers of this ability at such a young age.
Prospect Comparison: Jon Lester
The best amateur prospect since Joe Mauer. Just a quick summary of Heyward...6'4"...220 lbs...L/L..whose been the best player at every level hes played at. Plus Arm strength, plus range, plus power potential and plus-plus overall hitting ability. He'll be a top ten player in five years.
Prospect Comparison: It's totally unfair to compare him to Ken Griffey Jr., but it's the only person that truly sums up his overall ability. He won't be as good as Junior, but he'll be somewhere between Griffey Jr. and Dave Parker.
Ryan Kalish-OF-Red Sox
Lars Anderson-1B-Red Sox