CHICAGO WHITE SOX
Prospect Star Of Camp: Dan Hudson is what he is, solid but not spectacular. The 23-year-old righthander came into camp showing exactly what he showed in breezing through four levels of the minor leagues en route to Chicago in 2009, flashing a low-90s fastball, a solid-average changeup and an inconsistent slider with average tilt at times and more sweeping action at others. All of Hudson's stuff plays up because of his advanced feel for pitching, and it shouldn't be too long before he returns to Chicago after opening the year with Triple-A Charlotte.
Keep An Eye On: Sergio Santos' transition from shortstop to reliever continues to progress, and he showed the White Sox enough to give him a spot in the big league bullpen. Santos' lack of experience on the mound are evident—he throws across his body, his command is questionable and his secondary stuff is still inconsistent. Still, Santos' fastball touched 97 mph in spring training (and he's hit even higher in the past) and he flashed a slider with occasional sharp bite this spring. Keep your other eye on hard-throwing righthander Nathan Jones, who will transition from the bullpen to the starting rotation for high Class A Salem.
A Rough Spring: Brent Morel already surpassed Dayan Viciedo as the system's top third-base prospect, so a move to first base at least makes Viciedo the team's top prospect at his new position. Viciedo will have to show a lot more at the plate, however, to ever become a regular at the position. One scout who saw Viciedo said he looked comfortable defensively at first base and showed impressive raw power and bat speed at the plate, but his approach to hitting is still a mess, as he's a free-swinger who struggles to recognize or make contact with the soft stuff.
Prospect Star Of Camp: Jason Kipnis was a potential tweener as a second-round pick last year out of Arizona State, but his move from the outfield to second base has gone more smoothly than even the Indians had imagined. Third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall was a standout in big league camp, where his sweet stroke continued to impress scouts.
Keep An Eye On: Lefthander Kelvin de la Cruz may have been on the verge of a breakout year last season, but elbow problems derailed nearly his entire 2009 season. One scout who saw de La Cruz in mid-March said he pitched at 85-88 mph with a promising mid-70s curveball, but a return to consistently low-90s velocity could help him take off.
A Rough Spring: As if Travis Hafner, Matt LaPorta and Michael Brantley taking up all of Jordan Brown's potential positions on the big league roster weren't enough, Brown won't even get the chance to take the field for Triple-A Columbus on Opening Day after having surgery on his right knee in early March. Brown suffered the torn meniscus in an outfield drill at spring training and was expected to miss one to two months.
Prospect Star Of Camp: From a performance or a scouting standpoint, Austin Jackson wasn't necessarily a standout this spring, but he will be under the most scrutiny this year as the centerpiece of the deal that sent predecessor Curtis Granderson to the Yankees. A scout who saw Jackson this spring liked Jackson's bat speed and solid defensive play in center field, but added that he also took several defensive swings and had trouble covering the outer half of the plate. Jackson is an excellent athlete, but his all-around tools are more average than plus and his high strikeout rate is still a concern for a player without the thump to make up for it, so expectations for his rookie season should be tempered.
Keep An Eye On: Injuries limited righthander Jay Sborz to just 32 innings last year, mostly with Double-A Erie, but he still has one of the strongest arms in the system and isn't far away from a possible spot in Detroit's bullpen. Sborz threw 91-94 mph this spring, though he'll have to refine his 82-84 mph slider, which at times shows solid bite but tends to flatten out at times. The Tigers added lefthander Jay Voss in the Nate Robertson deal, and he could be a sleeper with the potential to provide Detroit with solid work in middle relief. Voss pounded the zone with a high-80s fastball this spring, but he should be throwing in the low-90s with a solid slider by the time the season going.
A Rough Spring: Wilkin Ramirez played 15 games in the majors and spent the rest of the season with Triple-A Toledo last year, but the 24-year-old outfielder will break camp with a demotion to Erie. Ramirez did flash solid work in the field, but he remains an aggressive hacker prone to chasing too many pitches outside of the strike zone.
KANSAS CITY ROYALS
Prospect Star Of Camp: Aaron Crow's fastball is already at its best, as he showed 91-96 mph velocity in big league camp. He'll start in Double-A Northwest Arkansas, where refining his command and turning his changeup into a more reliable third option will help get him to the big leagues.
Keep An Eye On: Cuban lefthander Noel Arguelles received more money and media hoopla than Cheslor Cuthbert, but then again it's probably harder for a 16-year-old from a small island in Nicaragua to find a good publicist. Cuthbert, who signed with the Royals for a seven-figure bonus last summer, has shown an advanced offensive skill set against more experienced competition. He should be one of the top prospects this year in the Rookie-level Arizona League when the circuit begins play in two months.
A Rough Spring: Well, lefthander Danny Duffy's retirement is certainly the most damaging to the farm system. Among others, Mike Moustakas isn't expected to begin his season until early May, as he's recovering from a strained oblique. Lefthander Chris Dwyer came in to the season as the club's No. 9 prospect, but after working at 90-94 mph last year in Clemson, the 2009 fourth-round pick was working at just 85-89 mph late in spring training.
Prospect Star Of Camp: If one of the first thoughts to pop in to your head when you saw Joe Mauer's new contract (aside from how many fishing trips in Cabo $184 million can buy) was about how it affects Wilson Ramos, you think the way I do. Ramos might not be the Twins' everyday catcher of the future, but he stood out in big league camp. One scout came away impressed with Ramos' potential at the plate as well as behind it, praising Ramos for his footwork, arm strength and ability to use his hands to manipulate the barrel at the plate.
Keep An Eye On: Losing Joe Nathan could be a devastating blow to the Twins' bullpen. So while righthander Anthony Slama's superb numbers as a closer in the minors—he averaged 12.4 strikeouts per nine innings last year between Double-A New Britain and Triple-A Rochester—are better than his pure stuff, he could be a useful piece in Minnesota's bullpen at some point this year. A scout who saw Slama over multiple outings this spring said that he ranged from 87-92 mph with his fastball, which he complemented with a slurvy breaking ball. Slama has been a minor league strikeout machine, but expect that lofty K rate to go down in the big leagues, where his deception might not work as well and his margin for error will be thin.
A Rough Spring: Ben Revere might have 80 speed, but he still has a ways to go to become a plus defender in the outfield. Revere's arm strength is below-average at best, but his speed alone should translate to better outfield play than he showed this spring. One scout who watched Revere for a week liked Revere's speed and short, quick stroke, but came away disappointed with his outfield instincts and reads off the bat.
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