MLB Trade Speculation: Every Team's 5 Most Untouchable Prospects
If you would have asked me before the 2010 season ended who the most untouchable prospects in baseball were, I likely would have included guys like Chicago's Chris Archer and Hak-Ju Lee, Milwaukee's Brett Lawrie and Boston's Casey Kelly, Anthony Rizzo and Reymond Fuentes.
Of course, we all know that I would have been dead wrong, and Chicago's Chris Archer is now Tampa Bay's Chris Archer, while Boston's talented threesome now belongs to San Diego. And, Milwaukee's Lawrie is now property of the Toronto Blue Jays.
That just shows you how little the word "untouchable" actually means in baseball speak. To a degree, everyone is untouchable...until you find the right price.
Take those words of wisdom/caution under advisement as I try to sort through which guys really are indispensable to their current organizations, and who isn't going anywhere unless the perfect trade comes along.
To make matters more interesting, I removed most players who have had any sort of taste of the big leagues.
1) Jarrod Parker, RHP
Parker is one of the few true "No. 1" starters in the minors. He suffered a setback with Tommy John surgery and missed the entire 2010 season. He's now back, healthy and pitching at Double-A. The team likely won't push him too hard too fast.
2) Tyler Skaggs, LHP
The prized piece from the trade that sent Dan Haren to L.A., Skaggs is the best lefty in the D-Backs system. His ceiling is very high, and the only reason he won't be the future ace of this team is due to the presence of Parker.
3) Chris Owings, SS
There are scouts out there who feel that Owings is the best shortstop prospect in the minors. I'm not in that camp, but Owings is an undeniable talent nonetheless. He'll stay at shortstop, at least until he reaches the big leagues, where the position is blocked by Stephen Drew. He'll start 2011 in High-A, however, so any decision regarding his future is still years away.
4) Matt Davidson, 3B
By dealing Mark Reynolds this offseason, the D-Backs ushered in the Davidson era. The 20-year-old has great power, should hit for a decent average and has a better shot to stick at third base than fellow prospect Bobby Borchering. Davidson will also play at High-A this year.
5) Wagner Mateo, OF
Mateo was the darling of the Cardinals' 2009 international class, but once issues with his vision surfaced, St. Louis voided the contract and Mateo struggled to find a deal. Arizona scooped him up for $512,000 and watched him put together a stellar campaign in the DSL last year.
He has great power and should be a solid defender in one of the corner spots. He's still at least four or five years away from reaching the majors.
1) Julio Teheran, RHP
Owner of the most electric arm in the minors, Teheran is as "untouchable" as they come. The scrawny righty throws in the mid-to-high 90s and has two other above-average pitches. Teheran rocketed through the minors in 2010 and could reach Atlanta sometime in 2011.
2) Randall Delgado, RHP
The second in Atlanta's new trio of stud pitchers, Delgado is one of the top prospects ever signed out of Panama. Like Teheran, he throws in the mid-to-high 90s, and has a great curveball. His command is behind Teheran's, but he's still a top-of-the-rotation starter.
Unfortunately, he pitches for the Braves, which means he'll have to scratch and claw his way to a rotation spot.
3) Matt Lipka, SS
The Braves have spent multiple draft picks on shortstops over the years, and Lipka represents the best of their class. The Braves' top pick last year, Lipka has the tools to stick at shortstop, but isn't as seasoned as some of their other players. That could force a move to the outfield, but for now, he'll stay.
His bat is solid, but it's his speed that will scare opposing squads. Lipka stole 21 bases in 52 games last season.
4) Arodys Vizcaino, RHP
Vizcaino represents the final part of the Braves' trio of young, international pitchers. He too features a great fastball with excellent velocity and has the best curveball in the system. Acquired from the Yankees for Javier Vazquez, Vizcaino will start the season in High-A, where his main goal will be to stay healthy, something he's struggled to do since signing back in 2007.
5) Carlos Perez, LHP
Another candidate to take a huge step forward in 2011, Perez ranked as the Appy League's top prospect last year. He was easily the best pitcher in the league, striking out 27 batters in 32 innings, allowing only 20 hits and no homers.
It was rare for any hitter to make solid contact against him, thanks to his low-to-mid-90s fastball and his great changeup. Perez can still get a whole lot better, and could rank ahead of both Delgado and Vizcaino next year.
1) Manny Machado, SS
Fresh off a stellar debut on Thursday, Machado is the definition of "untouchable." Premium position...check. Great bat...check. Potential above-average power...check. Rocket arm...check. And, last but not least, solid defensive ability...check. Next!
2) Xavier Avery, OF
The Orioles have put all of their athletic, toolsy eggs in one basket...Avery. While he may be one of the better athletes in the minors, he's still incredibly raw. He's got as much raw speed as anyone in their system, but the question is if he'll ever make enough contact to utilize it. He's also an above-average defender, thanks in part to his excellent speed.
He's the kind of player that would be enticing to a team looking to deal a veteran come September, which means he's exactly the kind of player the team can't afford to lose.
3) Daniel Klein, RHP
Once a starter, Klein will begin his ascension through the system as a reliever. He was amazing as UCLA's closer in 2010, and the O's are hoping he's still got it. A switch back to starting could be in his future, but for the time being, he's stuck in the 'pen. He's good enough that he could theoretically reach the majors sometime this year. He won't, though, as the O's just want to get him some innings.
4) L.J. Hoes, 2B
One of the team's best hitters, Hoes has solid tools all around. He isn't a natural second baseman, but nobody in the system is. He has enough defensive chops to play center, so he should be able to handle 2B. His plate discipline is what puts him above most others in the system. He also flashes great speed, and occasional power.
5) Mychal Givens, 2B/SS
The team's future shortstop before they won the "Machado sweepstakes," Givens is still a useful piece. He's not necessarily the best fit at second base, but the O's could use some depth there. A Machado-Givens double-play combo could be the best in baseball...and certainly the most athletic. Givens was also a first-round talent on the mound, throwing 97 mph back in high-school.
Boston Red Sox
1) Jose Iglesias, SS
Iglesias is the top defender in the Boston organization, and despite the fact that he might not ever hit above .250 as a big leaguer, the team isn't going to part with him.
2) Anthony Ranaudo, RHP
Ranaudo was the key piece to the LSU Tiger's 2009 CWS championship run. After a down year, he wowed scouts and critics in the Cape Cod League. Luckily, the Red Sox had already secured his rights. They paid him top-15 money, but got a future top-of-the-rotation starter, who throws in the mid 90s and has an excellent curveball.
3) Drake Britton, LHP
Don't sleep on Britton. He is arguably the most talented pitcher that you've never heard of. (Must be something to that Britton name.) The lefty would be a top prospect in many organizations, but injuries have limited him to only 121 innings in three seasons. Finally healthy, he could shoot up the Red Sox depth chart.
4) Will Middlebrooks, 3B
Middlebrooks could be the backup plan if something happens to Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Youkilis is forced to return to first base. His above-average defensive chops would qualify him as big-league ready, while his bat has some sneaky power in it. He could be an average big-league third baseman, and he's already at Double-A, while most of the Red Sox's other corner infield prospects are still three or four years away.
5) Ryan Westmoreland, OF
You can't give up on a guy like Westmoreland. A year after being tabbed as the team's top prospect, Westmoreland underwent brain surgery to remove a malformation. It took some time for him to return to walking and talking, but he's finally healthy. When he's likely to return to the field is a question mark, but you can't give up a guy with his story.
1) Brett Jackson, OF
With the departures of Chris Archer and Hak-Ju Lee, Jackson becomes the new prized possession of the Cubs farm system. Jackson has great speed, solid power and enough defensive chops to survive in center field for the time being. Jackson starts the season in Triple-A and could spend a good chunk of the season with the big-league club.
2) Trey McNutt, RHP
McNutt inherits the title of top pitcher in the system, which is surprising considering he was a 32nd-round pick back in 2009. He throws hard (92–98 mph) and compliments his fastball with a curveball that is the best in the organization. McNutt pitched in Low-A, High-A and Double-A in 2010 and could reach the majors this season.
3) Josh Vitters, 3B
While many have soured on the former No. 3 overall pick, the Cubs still believe in Vitters' talent, despite his abysmal performance at Double-A Tennessee last season. He has great pop and should hit for a decent average. He should also be able to stick at third, despite his propensity for errors.
4) Matt Szczur, OF
Szczur is a multi-sport talent who excelled on the gridiron, leading Villanova to a NCAA championship in 2009, and was impressive enough to warrant a fifth-round pick in last year's draft. The Cubs finally succeeded in luring him away from football, so it's now baseball full-time.
He's easily the best athlete in the system, and one that could be a five-tool talent once he develops his raw skills. His speed is off the charts, and his power is prodigious.
5) D.J. LeMahieu, 2B/SS/3B
Capable of playing almost every position on the diamond, LeMaheiu is indispensable. Following in the footsteps of great Cubs utility guys like Mark DeRosa and Ryan Theriot, the former LSU slugger will go as far as his bat can carry him, and so far he's doing great.
He has little-to-no power, but makes up for it with a solid line-drive approach that resulted in 24 doubles last year and 73 RBI. He's got decent speed too and is nearly big-league ready.
Chicago White Sox
1) Dayan Viciedo, 1B
The heir apparent to Paul Konerko at first base, Viciedo missed out on an opportunity to make the big-league club when he was sidelined with a fractured thumb. Instead, he'll start the season in Triple-A, but with his power and surprising ability to hit for average, he could be back in the majors very soon.
2) Jared Mitchell, OF
Mitchell was the darling of the White Sox's 2009 draft class, making a huge impression in the AFL and instructional-league play before suffering an ankle injury that sidelined him for the entire 2010 season. Now fully healthy, Mitchell is back on the field, currently in High-A ball. He could move really fast.
3) Gregori Infante, RHP
You don't give up on a guy capable of touching triple digits with his fastball, so you know the Sox will refuse to deal Infante, who has come on nicely since switching to the bullpen from the rotation. His curveball is also a great pitch. His control is spotty but, like I said, you don't give up a guy who throws 100 mph.
4) Jacob Petricka, RHP
What don't you give up? Certainly not another guy who can throw in the high 90s and touch 100 mph. Petricka wowed the club by upping his velocity after signing as a second-round pick, and while he's probably more suited to a bullpen role, he'll remain a starter in order to get more innings.
5) Mike Blanke, C
A.J. Pierzynski is only one bad season away from retiring (for good), and the Tyler Flowers experiment doesn't look as promising as it did in 2010, so it looks like it's time for a new White Sox catcher.
Blanke could be just the guy. He is solid defensively, despite his size (6'4", 220 lbs), and looked like the complete package at the plate in the Pioneer League last year, hitting .329 with 20 doubles, seven HR and 43 RBI in 62 games.
1) Billy Hamilton, 2B/SS
One of the most exciting players in the minors, Hamilton is also one of the fastest. He stole 48 bases last year in only 69 games. His swing is very Ichiro-like, and he's usually already running by the time his bat makes contact. That leads to a good amount of strikeouts, but he still managed to hit .318 in the Pioneer League last year.
Hamilton is still a few years away from the big leagues, but he's the Reds No. 1 prospect according to Baseball America.
2) Yorman Rodriguez, OF
Rodriguez was, once upon a time, the typical Reds outfielder—five tools, plenty of speed and decent pop. He's breaking the mold now, and has begun to develop into a solid, power-hitting corner outfielder. He has as much raw power as anyone in the Reds system, and he'll head to full-season ball for the first time in 2011 to see if it translates into games.
3) Zack Cozart, SS
For a team that has utilized a defense-first shortstop for the past few years, it's a wonder that the Reds haven't turned the reigns over to Cozart already. He has much more in his bat than Paul Janish or Edgar Renteria, and his defensive value is a tad bit under that of Janish's. Cozart hit 17 homers last season in Triple-A, and was forced to return to Louisville for the second consecutive season.
4) Yasmani Grandal, C
You don't hear much talk about the Reds' other catching prospect, Grandal, whom the team handed a major-league contact to last June. That has left Devin Mesoraco as the subject of trade talks.
Both catchers are very similar, and while Mesoraco has more power, Grandal has more polish. Grandal is also about two years behind Mesoraco, meaning the Reds will get to see what they have in the latter in the majors before deciding on the former.
5) Drew Cisco, RHP
One of the more polished pitchers in the 2010 high-school draft crop, Cisco slid to the Reds in the sixth round. He throws in the low 90s, but is already developed, so he'll have to rely on his command to make up for his subpar velocity. It helps that he has two above-average pitches, a curveball and a changeup; those should help him dominate the lower levels of the minors.
1) Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B
One of the best pure hitters in the minors, Chisenhall is going nowhere, and is ticketed as the Tribe's third baseman for the next decade.
2) Alex White, RHP
The Indians need a big boost from their pitching in order to claw their way back to respectability, and White will play a huge role in that. He reached Double-A in his first pro season and could make his debut this year.
3) Jason Kipnis, 2B
The switch to second base didn't affect Kipnis' offensive ability. He had arguably the most productive season of any player at the position in the minors, and enters the 2011 season one step away from Cleveland. His combo of power and defensive ability should make him one of the top second basemen in the majors in three-to-five years.
4) Drew Pomeranz, LHP
The team's first pick in last year's draft, Pomeranz was arguably the best pitcher available. He has two plus-pitches and throws in the mid 90s. He didn't make his debut last season, and will start 2011 in High-A ball. He could be on a track similar to White, pitching over two levels and ending in Double-A.
5) Jason Knapp, RHP
Even though Knapp has been a part of a major trade already (see: Cliff Lee to Philly), it likely won't happen again. Knapp throws about as hard as any minor leaguer, and when he's on, he's as un-hittable as they come. He's a strikeout machine and should be a front-of-the-rotation starter if he can stay healthy, something he's had trouble with in his three pro seasons.
1) Tyler Matzek, LHP
Matzek is arguably the top lefty in the minors, combining low-to-mid-90s velocity with three complementary pitches that should give him one of the best repertoires in the minors by the time he's big-league ready.
He's still pretty scrawny and could stand to add some weight; it would help him make it through a 162-game season and would allow him to develop his other pitches more effectively. Matzek is the team's future ace.
2) Wilin Rosario, C
Rosario could have been behind the plate for this year's season opener, but was sidelined with a torn ACL last August. That set him back a good bit, but doesn't diminish his talent. He has the tools to be a quality defender, while his bat should produce 20 homers per season.
3) Nolan Arenado, 3B
One of the unsung heroes of the 2010 season, Arenado mauled Sally League pitching. He hit .308 and 56 of his 115 base hits went for extra bases, including 41 doubles. For a high-school draftee (in 2009), Arenado has shown great polish and could move quickly if he continues to hit.
4) Christian Friedrich, LHP
It's tough to turn your back on a 6'4" lefty who throws in the mid 90s with a great curveball. Friedrich has had some trouble staying healthy, but when he's at 100 percent, he's one of the best pitchers in the game. His command needs some work, but he should slot in nicely behind Matzek in the team's rotation heading into the future.
5) Peter Tago, RHP
Another young fireballer, Tago could be one of the steals of the 2010 draft. He can touch 98 mph with his fastball and has the makings of a plus-curveball. He was a UCLA commit, so you know he's talented.
1) Jacob Turner, RHP
Turner is a stud who blew away hitters at two levels in 2010, finishing the season in High-A, generating huge strikeout numbers and showing control beyond his years. He'll start 2011 back in High-A, but a promotion to Double-A could be only a few starts away. He could reach Triple-A if he pitches really well, and will force his way into the team's plans for next season.
2) Nick Castellanos, 3B
One of the best pure hitters in the minors, Castellanos somehow lasted 44 picks in last year's draft. The Tigers scooped him up and inked him for $3.45 million, which could turn out to be a steal if he lives up to his billing. He has the potential to be a Miguel Cabrera-style hitter.
3) Casey Crosby, LHP
The Tigers don't have too much pitching depth, but aside from Turner, Crosby is the best. A hard-throwing lefty who lost the 2010 season rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, he should be finally healthy for the 2011 season. His workload will be limited, but if he can regain the polish he had before T.J. surgery, he could move quickly
4) Chance Ruffin, RHP
Ruffin is a piece that could help the big-league club right now. A shutdown closer at Texas, the Tigers made him their second pick after Castellanos in last year's draft; he'll start the 2011 season in Double-A, but could be up in the majors by the All-Star break.
5) Bryan Holaday, C
The team was pleased to find Holaday in the sixth round of last year's draft, giving them some catching depth in a very poor catching system. Aside from V-Mart and Alex Avila in the big leagues, the team has very little help behind the plate, meaning Holaday will be very untouchable. An excellent leader who's intangibles far outweigh his ability, he has a solid bat, and good defensive ability.
1) Matt Dominguez, 3B
The future cornerstone at third base, Dominguez is the best prospect in the system. He's developing into a pretty fine young hitter, but it's his defense that makes him so valuable. He should be a perennial Gold Glove winner.
2) Chad James, LHP
James went to Florida with the 18th overall pick in the 2009 draft, and despite his terrible showing in 2010 (5-10, 5.12 ERA) he is still one of the top young left-handed pitchers in the minors.
He has excellent velocity (91–96 mph) and a curveball-slider pitch that is the best breaking ball in the system. James lost all control of his pitches last year and didn't trust his stuff. If he does better in 2011, he could be on the fast track.
3) Christian Yelich, OF
There's no deal that would convince the Marlins to part with Yelich. He's a great hitter with an advanced approach at the plate. He played first base in high school, but will move to the outfield as a pro, starting in CF this year in Low-A ball. His bat is as good as any in the system.
4) Jhan Marinez, RHP
A lanky right-hander from the Dominican, Marinez has really great stuff—good enough to reach the big leagues less than five years after signing. He combines a great fastball that scrapes the high 90s with a solid slider. He looks like the Marlins' closer of the future, but for now, he'll head back to Double-A.
5) Kyle Skipworth, C
The Marlins invested heavily ($2.3 million) in Skipworth, the second catcher taken in the 2008 draft, one pick after Buster Posey. They've had to watch as he's struggled to find his footing, having two of the worst seasons a top-10 pick has ever put together.
Slowly, but surely, he's creeping his way back, and last season he showed some good power (17 HR). He's only 21, but he'll just now be taking his first stab at High-A ball in 2011.
1) Jordan Lyles, RHP
Lyles threatened to become the first teenager to reach the majors in a very long time last year, before his final few starts at Triple-A slowed him down. Still, Lyles will be pitching this season at the highest level of the minors as a 20-year-old. Lyles throws in the low 90s and has an excellent changeup that has allowed him to have instant success in the minors. He should get a call-up sometime during the 2011 season.
2) Delino DeShields Jr., 2B
DeShields featured arguably the best speed of any player drafted last year, and the Astros were thrilled to snag him with the eighth overall pick. They were also happy because he looks like he could develop into a pretty solid hitter. He has the bloodlines, as his dad, Delino Sr., racked up 463 stolen bases over a 13-year career.
3) Mike Foltynewicz, RHP
You knew the Astros were serious about getting a hold of Foltynewicz when they shelled out $1.3 million to sign him, the second-highest bonus Houston has ever paid a pitcher and the team's sixth-highest bonus ever. He looks like he'll be worth it, with his mid-90s fastball and potential above-average changeup and curveball.
4) Jio Mier, SS
Mier gets the nod over Villar because the latter has already been a part of a major trade (Roy Oswalt to Philly), making him more likely to be moved again. Mier was the stud of the system after a terrific 2009 debut, but he took some steps backward last season, playing in Low-A ball. His batting average dipped and his strikeout number more than doubled.
Still, he's got solid batting and defensive tools and Baseball America compares him favorably to J.J. Hardy.
5) Ariel Ovando, OF
If you haven't heard the name, keep an eye on Ovando in 2011. The Astros top international signee from 2010, Ovando signed for a team record $2.6 million after flashing tools that earned him comps to Cliff Floyd, Jason Heyward and Darryl Strawberry.
Ovando is pretty much all bat, though, and doesn't figure to be an impact player defensively. Still, he projects as a middle-of-the-order bat, which makes him pretty darn untouchable.
Kansas City Royals
1) Eric Hosmer, 1B
Hosmer is arguably the best all-around hitter in the minors, and as such, he's not going anywhere. He's a major part of the Royals rebuilding plan and figures to impact the big-league club sometime in late 2011, securing a long-term spot for 2012.
2) Wil Myers, OF
The Royals moved Myers to the outfield for the 2011 season, accelerating his path to the majors, which is now solely contingent on his ability to produce at the plate. He'll start 2011 in Double-A, but could reach Triple-A. Like Hosmer, Myers has a special bat.
3) Mike Moustakas, 3B
From two of the best hitters in the minors to the guy with the best power anywhere—"Moose" is a beast who crushed 36 homers last season, striking out only 67 times all year. He showed a good ability to hit for average last year as well, and that would be an added bonus for the Royals future cleanup hitter.
4) Mike Montgomery, LHP
Despite having to compete with John Lamb, Danny Duffy and Chris Dwyer in his own organization, Montgomery is easily the most untouchable of the bunch. His easy, left-handed heat is great, and he complements his fastball with a solid curveball and a good changeup. He's ticketed for Double-A in 2011, but could make his big-league debut come September.
5) Christian Colon, SS/2B
Despite playing shortstop for his entire high-school and college careers, Colon's long-term future with K.C. is at second base, where he'll hopefully get some playing time in 2011. The team drafted Colon, however, for his bat, which should be capable of producing 15–25 homers and a .290–.310 average annually.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
1) Mike Trout, OF
If you're a baseball fan and you haven't heard of Trout's awesome talents, then turn in your card. There's no way the team is trading the No. 1 prospect in baseball.
2) Tyler Chatwood, RHP
Chatwood moved incredibly fast for a high-school draft pick, shooting up from rookie ball to Triple-A in less than three full seasons. The right-hander breezed through High-A and Double-A in 2010, utilizing a mid-90s fastball and a great curve. If Chatwood can sharpen his command, he could be a front-of-the-rotation kind of guy.
3) Jean Segura, 2B/SS
Segura is the prized possession of the team's 2007 international class. In his first full season last year, he hit .313 and stole 50 bases, earning rave reviews for his hitting ability and speed on the basepaths. He also rapped 24 doubles, racked up 12 triples and hit 10 homers, driving in 79 runs.
And, to make his season even more impressive, he compiled a decent BB-to-K ratio. Segura will jump to High-A in 2011, and will try his hand at shortstop for the first time.
4) Hank Conger, C
When the Angels dealt Mike Napoli, that sealed Conger's status as an "untouchable." Conger scraped the line between Triple-A and the majors several times over the past few seasons, but there was always an injury that kept him from taking over full-time at the big-league level. Now the job is his.
5) Randal Grichuk, OF
The player taken one pick before Trout in the 2009 draft, Grichuk is still quite the prospect for the Angels. While he hasn't developed as nicely, or as quickly, as Trout, he's still one of the best power hitters in the system. He was struck with some bad luck in the form of multiple injuries, but he should be healthy enough to start the 2011 season in Low-A ball.
Los Angeles Dodgers
1) Dee Gordon, SS
Gordon is arguably the most exciting player in the minors right now, and with the entire organization in a state of confusion due to the owner's divorce trial, Gordon isn't going anywhere, which is great for the team, considering he's the best hitter in the system, not to mention it's fastest player. Gordon stole 53 bases last year and stole a whopping 73 the year before, and he has a .297 career average.
2) Zach Lee, RHP
The Dodgers sure as heck aren't parting with a guy they shelled out $5.2 million to sign. Lee has future No. 1 stuff.
3) Rubby de la Rosa, RHP
De la Rosa is another one of those guys who can light up a radar gun like nobody's business. He had a breakout 2010 season, racking up strikeouts by the truckload, and he's worked his way into the team's long-term plans.
4) Jerry Sands, OF/1B
Think what you will about Sands. Yes, maybe he overachieved last year, or maybe he took advantage of the opportunity to play against much younger players, but the guy can still hit. His outburst of power, with a little dash of speed, could be a perfect fit for this club, and the Dodgers aren't going to get rid of him until they see if he's the real deal.
5) Ethan Martin, RHP
The team's first-rounder in 2008, Martin struggled to stay healthy after signing. Now, he's just struggling to survive. He lost his last seven starts in 2010, and finished with a 9-14 record and an ERA of 6.35. That's bad no matter how you look at it.
Luckily for him, he has a mid-90s fastball and an assortment of pitches that make him a legit No. 2 or 3 starter.
1) Mark Rogers, RHP
Rogers ranked as the team's top prospect, which isn't saying much, because at his best, he's a back-end starter. Still, with the state that the Brewers system is in, they simply can't afford to deal Rogers.
What if something happens to Greinke or Marcum? Rogers is big-league ready, so he isn't going anywhere.
2) Cody Scarpetta, RHP
Scarpetta is still a few years away from Milwaukee, but like Rogers, he's one of a few quality starting pitching prospects.
3) Wily Peralta, RHP
4) Tyler Thormburg, RHP
5) Cody Hawn, 1B
With the uncertainty that is Prince Fielder's expiring contract, the Brewers have got to have a backup plan in place. That could be Hawn, who tore up the Pioneer League last season and is the most powerful hitter the team has. Hawn will start 2011 in High-A ball, and if he hits, he could be in Double-A by the end of the year.
1) Kyle Gibson, RHP
At the forefront of the next wave of great Twins prospects is Gibson. Many passed on Gibson out of the 2009 draft, but the Twins did not, scooping him up at pick No. 22 and then watching him blossom into a No. 1 starter. Gibson reached Triple-A last season and should factor heavily into the team's plans for this season.
2) Aaron Hicks, OF
Don't read too much into Hicks' two-year exile to Low-A ball. He's still one of the team's top prospects, and arguably their best all-around talent. An incredible athlete, Hicks is a potential Gold Glove talent in the outfield, and has a very even approach at the plate. He's good for 15–25 homers and a .280–.300 average, as well as 20 steals.
3) Miguel Sano, 3B
Sano was the talk of the 2009 international signing class, and finally agreed with the Twins for $3.15 million. His power is the best in the system, and if he is developed properly, he could be good for 35–40 homers per season. He's already outgrown shortstop, and if he gets too much bigger, he could be destined for a corner outfield spot.
4) Ben Revere, OF
It's not too often you see teams willing to deal guys who put up .379 season averages in the minors. That means Revere is likely safe for the time being.
The most polished hitter in the system, he doesn't offer any power, but has great speed and would profile well at the top of the lineup. He too has reached Triple-A, making a brief debut in Minnesota last season.
5) Oswaldo Arcia, OF
One of the toolsiest players in the system, Arcia put up video-game numbers last season in the Appy League. He hit .375 with 21 doubles, seven triples, 14 homers and 51 RBI, shattering all sorts of records. His power is for real, even if his ability to maintain a high average isn't. He's a future middle-of-the-lineup bat for the Twins.
New York Mets
1) Jenrry Mejia, RHP
With Johan Santana on the shelf, Mejia has become more valuable than ever. The team tried, and failed, to turn him into a reliever to speed his rise to the majors, but now he's coming back as a starter. He'll start the season at Triple-A, but could be up sometime during the summer, bringing his mid-90s heat and plus-curveball.
2) Wilmer Flores, SS/3B
It's not too often you see a hitter of Flores' caliber moved, and for a team like New York that isn't expected to do much contending this season, he seems like a surefire bet to stick around. After all, he's a major piece of their rebuilding effort.
Flores has the ability to hit for a very high average with solid pop. His only question mark is his defense.
3) Cesar Puello, OF
Puello is one of the most talented, unknown hitters in the minors. He has shown the ability to hit for average, and has as much raw power as anyone in the system, even though it hasn't shown through in games yet. And, oh yeah, he also stole 45 bases last year. He also has a rocket for an arm that would fit well in one of the outfield corners.
4) Matt Harvey, RHP
At the rate that the Mets cycle through starting pitchers, it's comforting to see pitchers like Harvey making their way through the system. Armed with a mid-90s fastball and an awesome curveball, Harvey should move quickly through the minors.
5) Jeurys Familia, RHP
One of the Mets' top relief prospects, even though he's still starting in the minors, Familia has the stuff (94–98 mph fastball, high-80s slider) to close games for the Mets. His lack of a true third pitch has hurt him in the minors, and is another reason he'd fit well in the bullpen. For the time being, though, the Mets will try to mold him as a starter, this time at Double-A.
New York Yankees
1) Gary Sanchez, C
The Yankees may have the best catching depth in the minors, but at the end of the day, the only two players who have the skills to stick at the position are Austin Romine and Sanchez. Of the two, Sanchez has the vastly superior bat-skills.
He tore up the GCL and held his own in the NYPL as an 18-year-old and will get his first taste of full-season ball this year.
2) Dellin Betances, RHP
Gone are the days of the Yankees winning every free-agent battle (see: Cliff Lee), and as such, the team is going to have to fall back on its own homegrown pitching, and it all starts with Betances. He might not be the first to get a crack at the rotation, but he probably has the best chance to stick.
3) Manny Banuelos, LHP
The team's best lefty pitching prospect, Banuelos looks to be as untouchable as Betances, which could mean something...or nothing.
4) Andrew Brackman, RHP
5) Slade Heathcott, OF
As you can clearly see, the Yankees seem to have a thing for toolsy outfielders (Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson, etc.), and the best young player they have in the system is Heathcott, the team's first-round pick from 2009. Scouts seem to agree that Heathcott is a more powerful version of Gardner, with slightly less speed.
1) Grant Green, SS
Green is the toast of the A's system, and out of their group of position players, he's likely the most big-league ready. He hit 20 homers last season for the team's High-A club, and should be good for that many in the big leagues as well. His defense might force a switch to second base, but he'd still be one of the better offensive second basemen around.
2) Michael Choice, OF
The team's 2010 first-round pick, Choice opened all sorts of eyes in spring training. He wowed teams and scouts alike with his athleticism and his powerful bat. He had some of the best power in the 2010 draft crop and complements it with a stellar batting eye. He's playing a little bit of center for now, but a move to a corner spot is inevitable.
3) Jemile Weeks, 2B
Jemile Weeks is the younger brother of Milwaukee's Rickie Weeks, and if Jemile has anything in common with his bro, it's his bat. Jemile has a solid game all around, from his ability to hit .300, to his surprising pop to his solid defensive ability. He might not be as good as his brother, but if he can come close, he's worth hanging onto.
4) Max Stassi, C
Despite the long-term deal the A's shelled out to Kurt Suzuki, Stassi is the team's catcher of the future. He should develop into at least an average hitter in the big leagues, but he'll rise up the charts thanks to his ability to handle a pitching staff and his rocket arm that cut down 34 percent of base-stealers last year.
Stassi, who will start the 2011 season in the hitter-friendly High-A Cal League, is still at least three years away from Oakland.
5) Yordy Cabrera, SS
Cabrera was the team's second-round pick in last year's draft, and even though he has the international look, he's been playing ball in the States since he was a teenager. He's more developed physically than most due to his early emigration, and has a chance for above-average power. He likely won't stick at shortstop, but could easily handle third base.
1) Jon Singleton, OF
Singleton is definitely untouchable. The team recently moved him to the outfield so that he wouldn't be blocked by Ryan Howard when it was time for him to reach the big leagues. A solid all-around player, he has good power and some surprising speed.
2) Brody Colvin, RHP
The Phillies are loaded with high-upside arms like Colvin, who throws in the mid 90s and has a solid changeup and curveball. Colvin performed well in the Low-A Sally League last year and will move up to High-A in 2011.
3) Jarred Cosart, RHP
Similar to Colvin, Cosart also offers mid-90s heat and a good curveball. Where he's lacking is in the development of his changeup. Cosart hasn't experienced too much failure as a pro, and could be a No. 1 guy, which, on a team that has Halladay and Lee, means he could end up in the bullpen.
4) Trevor May, RHP
The third of the team's top trio of righties, May looks to be the safest bet among the three. He too tosses in the mid 90s and has a very polished set of secondary pitches. His control isn't quite there all the time, leading to lots of walks, but he made some great strides after a demotion to Low-A ball last year. The team is hoping he's straightened out, and he'll pitch alongside Cosart and Colvin in High-A in 2011.
5) Sebastian Valle, C
The Phillies dealt their future backstop (Travis D'Arnaud) to the Jays last season, leaving Valle as the new guy. Valle made great improvements during the 2010 season, finally translating some of his raw power into games. The result was 16 homers and 74 RBI in 117 games. He also upped his average and sharpened his defense. He'll be the guy behind the plate to catch the three pitchers on this list at High-A Clearwater.
1) Jameson Taillon, RHP
The story on Taillon has been beaten to death. The Pirates preferred him to eventual No. 1 pick Bryce Harper, and ended up with a hard-throwing (93–99 mph) pitcher with two potential a