See also: Appalachian League Top 20 Prospects Chat
TOP 20 PROSPECTS
|1. Miguel Sano, 3b/ss, Elizabethton Twins
2. Brandon Drury, 3b, Danville Braves
3. Tyrell Jenkins, rhp, Johnson City Cardinals
4. Noah Syndergaard, rhp, Bluefield Blue Jays
5. Eddie Rosario, of, Elizabethton Twins
6. Drew Vettleson, of, Princeton Rays
7. Jake Hager, ss, Princeton Rays
8. J.R. Graham, rhp, Danville Braves
9. Felipe Rivero, lhp, Princeton Rays
10. Ryan Brett, 2b, Princeton Rays
11. Chris Hawkins, of, Bluefield Blue Jays
12. Aaron Sanchez, rhp, Bluefield Blue Jays
13. Josh Sale, of, Princeton Rays
14. Guillermo Pimentel, of, Pulaski Mariners
15. Justin O’Conner, c, Princeton Rays
16. Jeff Ames, rhp, Princeton Rays
17. Madison Boer, rhp, Elizabethton Twins
18. Nick Ahmed, ss, Danville Braves
19. Jordan Scott, of, Greeneville Astros
20. Kevan Smith, c, Bristol White Sox
Several Rookie-level Appalachian League prospects had high pedigrees in 2011. A dozen players selected in the first two rounds of the last two drafts played enough to qualify for this prospect list and 10 cracked the Top 20, led by righthander Tyrell Jenkins of league champion Johnson City. Additionally, the league also featured a quintet of international players who signed for seven-figure bonuses, with Elizabethton third baseman/shortstop Miguel Sano and Pulaski outfielder Guillermo Pimentel making the list.
Sano ranked No. 1 after dueling teammate Eddie Rosario for the league home run title all season long. Ray Smith has seen thousands of players pass through the Appy League in 18 seasons as Elizabethton’s manager, among them No. 1 overall draft picks and future American League MVPs Josh Hamilton and Joe Mauer. Smith said Sano’s offensive potential at the same age compares favorably with that dynamic duo.
Appy League observers also liked the offensive upside of the circuit’s No. 2 prospect, Danville third baseman Brandon Drury, who didn’t arrive with the same reputation as many of the league’s other top prospects. A 13th-round pick in 2010, Durry nearly won the bating title and shared Appy player-of-the-year honors with Rosario.
Princeton may have gone just 30-38, but the Rays monopolized the Top 20 list with seven selections. Leading the way among that contingent were outfielder Drew Vettleson and shortstop Jake Hager, two of six players taken in the top 100 picks by Tampa Bay in the last two drafts.