TOP 20 PROSPECTS
|1. Manny Machado, ss, Bowie (Orioles)|
|2. Zack Wheeler, rhp, Binghamton (Mets)|
|3. Gerrit Cole, rhp, Altoona (Pirates)|
|4. Nick Castellanos, 3b/of, Erie (Tigers)|
|5. Jackie Bradley, of, Portland (Red Sox)|
|6. Oswaldo Arcia, of, New Britain (Twins)|
|7. Brian Goodwin, of, Harrisburg (Nationals)|
|8. Aaron Hicks, of, New Britain (Twins)|
|9. Jake Marisnick, of, New Hampshire (Blue Jays)|
|10. Tommy Joseph, c, Richmond (Giants)/
|11. Avisail Garcia, of, Erie (Tigers)|
|12. Bruce Rondon, rhp, Erie (Tigers)|
|13. Mike Kickham, lhp, Richmond (Giants)|
|14. Jonathan Schoop, 2b/ss, Bowie (Orioles)|
|15. Rob Brantly, c, Erie (Tigers)|
|16. Gary Brown, of, Richmond (Giants)|
|17. Cody Asche, 3b, Reading (Phillies)|
|18. Wilmer Flores, 3b/2b, Binghamton (Mets)|
|19. Jon Pettibone, rhp, Reading (Phillies)|
|20. Drake Britton, lhp, Portland (Red Sox)|
A midseason ranking of Eastern League prospects would have yielded much less robust Top 20 than the one that follows. That’s because most of the Double-A circuit’s 12 clubs added a rising star midway through the year, with many of them occupying spots near the top of the list.
Among those who joined the EL midstream were 2011 draft picks such as righthander Gerrit Cole (Altoona), center fielders Jackie Bradley (Portland) and Brian Goodwin (Harrisburg) and third baseman Cody Asche (Reading). Four of the EL’s finest prospects signed out of Venezuela in 2007 and made their way to the league during the season: right fielders Oswaldo Arcia (New Britain) and Avisail Garcia (Erie), reliever Bruce Rondon (Erie) and third baseman Wilmer Flores (Binghamton). Several other high-profile prospects joined the EL in August—including righthanders Dylan Bundy (Bowie) and Jameson Taillon (Altoona) and shortstop Xander Bogaerts (Portland)—but they didn’t play enough to qualify for this list.
Reading first baseman/outfielder Darin Ruf won the EL MVP award, almost took the league’s triple crown and led the minors with 38 homers (including 20 in July) but didn’t crack the Top 20. He’s 26 and scouts aren’t sold that he’ll be able to handle major league pitching.