Now that the Marlins have called up Mike Stanton from AA Jacksonville, are there any other players in AA ball that we might see in the majors before the season is out? The following are the top performers/prospects in the Eastern, Southern and Texas Leagues so far this year:
RF Dominic Brown (age 22, Phillies) . He looks to be the Eastern League’s top prospect at the moment. His .958 OPS is second highest in the league, and after the Roy Halladay trade, he’s been widely regarded as the best prospect left in the Phillies’ system.
3B Ryan Kalish (22, Red Sox) and David Adams (23, Yankees) have also played well this year, but both are currently injured (Kalish has a hip flexor strain; Adams a sprained right ankle), which may delay their major league ETAs.
RHP David Phelps (23, Yankees) . Phelps has been the top starter in the Eastern League so far in 2010. He is 5-0 with a 2.00 ERA (second in the league) with a line of 76.1 IP, 52 hits, one HR, 20 walks allowed and 67 Ks, the last number leading the league.
22 year old starters Kyle Drabek (Blue Jays) , Zachary Britton (Orioles) , Rudy Owens and Justin Wilson ( both Pirates) also deserve mention here.
RF Carlos Peguero (23, Mariners) . His .922 OPS is third in the Southern League, behind Mike Stanton (who, despite the recent call-up, is still leading the league by nearly 200 basis points in that category)
26 year old catcher Robinson Chirinos (too old to be considered a top prospect at this level but everyone can use another catcher who can hit)
3B Alex Liddi (21, Mariners) . Liddi’s .857 OPS is good for 6th best in the Southern League. Liddi was born in San Remo, Italy and signed outside of the Draft in 2005. He played for Italy in the 2007 World Baseball Cup and was voted the Class A+ California League’s MVP in 2009. If Liddi develops into a star, and there’s all the reason in the world to think he will given his age and performance the last two seasons, major league organizations will start looking for more Italian ballplayers to sign, if they haven’t already.
SS Osvaldo Martinez (22, Marlins) . His .406 on-base percentage is 4th highest in the Southern League. Martinez was shot several times last September in a drive-by shooting in his home of Puerto Rico, but has obviously made a miraculous recovery.
According to Baseball America, he came into the 2010 season with a reputation as a good-glove, no-hit shortstop. However, young players can get better in a hurry, and Martinez had a pretty good year with the bat in the Class A Sally League at age 20 in 2008.
Assuming that Martinez eventually makes the major leagues as a Marlin, he will presumably be moved to 2B, since he isn’t likely to run Hanley Ramirez off shortstop.
LHP Alexander Torres (22, Rays) . Torres is 7-3 with a 2.42 ERA and 77 Ks. He’s tied for the Southern League lead in wins, his ERA ranks seventh and his strike out total is second only to Mike Minor’s (22, Braves) 96. Minor was the seventh player selected in the 2009 Draft, but he has struggled a bit so far in 2010 due to command issues and the gopher ball.
RHP Alejandro Sanabia (21, Marlins) . Sanabia is 5-1 with a 2.07 ERA and 64 Ks. His ERA is second best and his strike out total is seventh. Both Torres and Sanabia are smaller and slighter of build than you’d like from your pitching prospects, but there aren’t any questions about their results so far in 2010.
RHP Michael Pineda (21, Mariners) . Pineda is 7-1 with a 2.43 ERA and 73 Ks, good for a first place tie, eighth and fourth in the league, respectively.
In what is obviously a pitchers’ league, Matt Klinter (25, Reds) , Elih Villanueva (23, Marlins) and Mauricio Robles (21, Mariners) all deserve mention for their 2010 performances to date.
3B Mike Moustakas (21, Royals) . Moustakis is, far and away, the best position player in the Texas League this year. He currently leads the league with a .337 batting average and a 1.091 OPS. Moustakas was the second player selected in the 2007 Draft, and he’s probably the real reason why the Royals are determined to turn another former No. 2 pick, Alex Gordon, into an outfielder.
1B Koby Clemens (Roger’s son) (23, Astros) and catcher Wilin Rosario (21, Rockies) deserve mention for strong performances.
RHP Jordan Lyles (19, Astros) . Lyles’ record is only 5-4, but his 2.46 ERA (third best in league) and 70 Ks (2nd best in league) from a player not yet 20 at this level makes him the run-away selection as best pitching prospect in the Texas League. Let’s hope his arm holds out.