See also: AZL Top 20 Prospects Chat
|AZL TOP 20 PROSPECTS|
|1. Yoan Alcantara, of, Padres
2. Phillips Castillo, of, Mariners
3. Elvis Araujo, lhp, Indians
4. Clayton Blackburn, rhp, Giants
5. Luigi Rodriguez, of, Indians
6. Marco Hernandez, ss/2b, Cubs
7. Duanel Jones, 3b, Padres
8. Humberto Arteaga, ss, Royals
9. Gioskar Amaya, inf, Cubs
10. Jorge Martinez, ss, Indians
11. Alberth Martinez, of, Padres
12. Jordan Akins, of, Rangers
13. Alex Santana, 3b, Dodgers
14. Jake Sisco, rhp, Indians
15. Gabriel Rosa, 3b, Reds
16. Felix Sterling, rhp, Indians
17. Luis Sardinas, ss, Rangers
18. Joan Gregorio, rhp, Giants
19. D’andre Toney, of, Royals
20. Martin Peguero, ss, Mariners
The Rookie-level Arizona League expanded for a third straight year, increasing to 13 teams in 2011 with the Diamondbacks adding a third short-season affiliate to play at their new Salt River Fields training complex. The addition of four clubs since 2008 hasn’t correlated to a bigger pool of top-notch prospects, however.
Fewer high draft picks are making their way into the complex leagues because most wait until the Aug. 15 signing deadline to turn pro. Four 2011 first-rounders made their pro debuts in AZL, but none of them qualified for this Top 20 list and only Rangers lefthander Kevin Matthews came close. Cubs shortstop Javier Baez, Athletics righthander Sonny Gray and Padres righty Joe Ross made only token appearances.
Most of the best prospects in the AZL were signed on the international market, including 10 of the top 11. Leading the way is outfielder Yoan Alcantara, one of three Latin Americans from the AZL Padres to make the list.
Giants third baseman Jose Cuevas, the league MVP, didn’t make the list despite batting .337/.403/.639 with a league-leading nine home runs. A 29th-round pick as a Lee (Tenn.) University senior in 2010, he was extremely old for the AZL at age 23 and doesn’t profile as a prospect.