MLB Prospect Watch: Brett Lawrie and 10 of the Hottest Farmhands in Baseball

Mark MillerCorrespondent IMay 4, 2011

MLB Prospect Watch: Brett Lawrie and 10 of the Hottest Farmhands in Baseball

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    It may seem far too early for Major League teams to pull the plug on their players in favor of a member of their respective farm systems.

    If you look at the production from some players down in the minors though you'd have to think they'll give it some serious consideration.

    Players from A-ball all the way up to the Triple-A level have been playing for better than a month now, and many are producing some eye-popping results.

    Many of these players will continue to hone in on their skills within their respective farm systems while waiting for the call, but if current performance is any indication they could be playing in front of a much bigger audience in a matter of no time.

Manny Machado, Delmarva Shorebirds (Orioles)

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    Since being drafted third overall in last year's MLB Entry draft, Manny Machado has certainly turned the heads of the top of the Baltimore Orioles organization.

    Machado only played in nine games in 2010 but batted a productive .306 during that span, giving fans a glimpse of what was to come.

    After 24 games this season his batting average is currently sitting at an impressive .333. Machado has driven in 21 runs while also going deep five times.

    Still biding his time in Single-A, it wouldn't be surprising to see a promotion at some time in the summer.

Jacob Pettit, Delmarva Shorebirds (Orioles)

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    While Machado is holding down the offensive side of things for the Shorebirds, his teammate Jacob Pettit is taking care of his side of the bargain on the mound.

    Pettit is currently 3-0 after five starts this season with an ERA of 2.59. In 31.1 innings pitched he's struck out 22 batters while walking only eight.

    His 2010 season was less impressive from a record standpoint as he went 3-5, but he did manage to strike out 55 batters while walking only five in his 12 appearances.

Anthony Rizzo, Tuscon Padres (Padres)

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    To say that Anthony Rizzo has gotten off to a hot start in 2011 may just be an understatement.

    With the Triple-A Tuscon Padres, the first baseman is batting .384 in 24 games played. He's driven in 33 runs and has made seven round trippers already.

    Combine that with his 1.143 OPS and you'd think that he'd be just about ready to make his home at Petco Park, but his eye at the plate still does have some work left as his strikeout total is relatively high.

Matthew Harvey, St. Lucie Mets (Mets)

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    After making just five starts in 2011 for the St. Lucie Mets of the Florida State League, Matthew Harvey is already in Major League form.

    His 4-1 record is impressive in itself, but his 1.37 ERA is just stellar. He's struck out 30 batters in his 26.1 innings of action and has only walked nine.

Chris Wallace, Lexington Legends (Astros)

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    Perhaps the best hitter in the Class A South Atlantic League, Chris Wallace has been a dominating force for his Lexington Legends.

    His 2010 season was less impressive as he batted .293 in the 67 games he played, but he's certainly redeemed himself this time around.

    Wallace is currently batting .389 in 25 games and has already hit seven home runs during that span.

    With an OBP of .458 and a slugging percentage of .747 it's clear that the Legends count on Wallace for significant production.

Jai Miller, Sacramento River Cats (A's)

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    A September call-up of the Oakland Athletics last fall, Jai Miller made the most of his opportunity in the bigs.

    He appeared in 20 games and while he only batted .236 he did hit his first career home run and undoubtedly gained valuable experience.

    Starting the season with the Sacramento River Cats, Miller has done his part in ensuring that the A's look his way when a move needs to be made.

    He's currently batting .329 in the 20 games he's played and has gone deep six times while driving in 22 runs and stealing four bases.

Cole DeVries, New Britain Rock Cats (Twins)

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    Based on how the Minnesota Twins are playing right now (aside from Francisco Liriano's no-hitter) it wouldn't be entirely surprising to see Cole DeVries' name called sometime in the near future.

    Making eight relief appearances for the Double-A New Britain Rock Cats this season, DeVries hasn't yet allowed a run in the 16.2 innings he's pitched.

    He has struck out 23 batters during that span while only walking two. Holding opponents to a .056 average, he's clearly on his game right now.

Bryce Massanari, Asheville Tourists (Rockies)

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    With a 1.166 OPS this season, Bryce Massanari is making waves in the Colorado Rockies organization.

    He's batting .388 so far this season and has already hit seven home runs after appearing in just 22 games.

    Massanari has made a remarkable improvement this season after a 2010 season in which he debuted with a .242 average and had an OPS just barely more than half of what it is right now.

Brett Lawrie, Las Vegas 51s (Blue Jay's)

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    In the Triple-A Pacific Coast League Brett Lawrie is the cream of the crop. The third baseman is currently batting .361 and has knocked 15 extra bases including four home runs so far this season.

    After making appearances in the MLB Futures game in 2009 and 2010 Lawrie has certainly been recognized throughout the league as an immense talent that will be with the Toronto Blue Jays in only a matter of time.

Kevin Whelan, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees (Yankees)

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    If the New York Yankees run into serious trouble with their bullpen at some point in 2011, Kevin Whelan may just be one of the names called upon to step up.

    In the Triple-A International League Whelan has made 12 appearances in relief, allowing only two earned runs which is good for an impressive 1.32 ERA.

    In those 13.2 innings Whelan has struck out 15 batters and has only walked four. The righty is particularly effective in pressure situations, holding opponents to a .118 batting average with runners on base.