2011 was a sensational year for MLB prospects.
The class of 2011 made many lasting memories, whether it was Ryan Lavarnway's mind-blowing performance in the final week of the season as the Red Sox tried to prevent a historic collapse or Tampa Bay's Matt Moore's stunning outing in Game 1 of the American League Division Series, in which he dominated a powerful Rangers lineup for seven shutout innings.
They also put up some otherworldly numbers. The diminutive Jose Altuve shot down concerns about his size by chasing .400 for the Astros for a time after being called up to the majors for the final 57 games of the season.
Fan favorite and prospect expert non-favorite Paul Goldschmidt tore up the Southern League (.306, 30 HR and 94 RBI in 103 games) and likely would have challenged for the circuit's triple crown had he not made the jump directly to Arizona, where he was a welcomed boost to the D-Backs' division-winning effort.
It was also an excellent year for pitching.
Three players (Matt Moore, Trevor May and Edwar Cabrera) topped the 200-strikeout mark, and another three came withing 20 of joining the terrific trio. The biggest names dominated as expected, with Moore winning 12 games in the minors while posting the second-lowest ERA in baseball (1.92). He also threw a nine-inning no-hitter.
The top right-hander in the minors, Julio Teheran, also performed incredibly, winning 15 games (second in MiLB) and posting a 2.55 ERA in between trips to Atlanta.
Heck, it was even a banner year on the basepaths, where Cincinnati's resident speedster Billy Hamilton stole 103 bases in just 123 attempts and 135 games.
Of all the players who made lasting memories, however, only Moore and Teheran were good enough to warrant inclusion among the top 50 prospects in baseball entering the offseason. Those two arms are joined on this list by 48 others, including the possibly top two prospects of our time, Mike Trout and Bryce Harper.
Without further ado, I present the top 50 prospects in the minors, ranked according to both their 2011 production and their helium heading into the 2012 campaign.