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Trout's two-level jump straight to the Majors trumps Harper's jump to Double-A
1) Bryce Harper, OF, Washington Nationals
Like Matt Wieters before him, Bryce Harper has blown away all the expectations about his first season. He tore through the South Atlantic League, hitting at a .318/.423/.554 clip, crushing 14 home runs and racking up 46 RBI.
Those numbers were good enough to warrant a promotion, straight past High-A ball to Double-A Harrisburg, where Harper racked up five hits in his first 10 at-bats.
The right fielder has shown five tools during his debut season, including great speed (20 steals) and a cannon arm that was introduced to the baseball world at the Futures Game (where he fired a 330-foot rocket from the warning track in left field to home plate on one bounce).
2) Mike Trout, OF, Los Angeles Angels
The Angels rewarded Trout for a year-and-a-half's worth of stellar play with a promotion to the Majors just before the All-Star break. Whether or not he sticks around Anaheim for the remainder of the big-league season is still up in the air, but without a doubt, Trout assured fans and experts alike that his dream season of 2010 was no fluke. He hit .324 with 12 doubles, 11 triples and nine homers in 290 at-bats for the Angels' Double-A affiliate, swiping 28 bases in the process.
3) Matt Moore, LHP, Tampa Bay Rays
Moore has led the Minor Leagues in strikeouts each of the past two seasons. And with 125 more this year, in just 96.2 innings, he's well within striking distance of the top spot once again.
This year has been more about pitching to contact for Moore, and he's improved his off-speed stuff dramatically. His stuff is so wicked that he's only allowed 61 hits all season long; his ERA of 2.14 is one of the best anywhere. Moore further showcased his talents at the Futures Game, showing easy 94-98 mph heat and quality breaking stuff.
4) Julio Teheran, RHP, Atlanta Braves
Teheran exploded onto the scene last year, jumping from Low-A to Double-A in just 17 starts. He finished the season with a 9-8 record, a 2.59 ERA and 159 strikeouts in 142.2 innings.
This year, as hard as it is to believe, he's gotten better. His ERA of 1.79 ranks fourth in all of Minor League Baseball, and his .900 winning percentage (9-1) is the best in the International League.
Teheran has produced less strikeouts this season, which has allowed him to go deeper into games. His last two outings of just five innings a piece were his shortest since early May. He also made two big-league outings (the first of his career) earlier in the year, although the results were much worse than his minor league domination.
5) Manny Machado, SS, Baltimore Orioles
Machado tore the cover off the ball for Low-A Delmarva, although a rough finish after his return from the DL dropped his average down to a pedestrian .276. He's only hitting .222 with Frederick, but he does have more walks (nine) than strikeouts (eight).
He's also coming off of his two best performances since his promotion. On July 7th, he was walked four times after doubling in his only official at-bat. The next night he earned two more walks, but not before hitting a solo home run—his eighth of the season.