TOP 20 PROSPECTS
|1. Julio Teheran, rhp, Danville (Braves)
2. Jiovanni Mier, ss, Greenville (Astros)
3. Wilking Rodriguez, rhp, Princeton (Rays)
Matt Hobgood, rhp, Bluefield (Orioles)
5. Gabriel Noriega, ss, Pulaski (Mariners)
6. David Holmberg, lhp, Bristol (White Sox)
7. John Lamb, lhp, Burlington (Royals)
8. Robert Stock, c, Johnson City (Cardinals)
Cesar Puello, of, Kingsport (Mets)
10. Juri Perez, rhp, Greeneville (Astros)
11. Trayce Thompson, of, Bristol (White Sox)
12. Tyler Ladendorf, ss, Elizabethton (Twins)
13. Steve Baron, c, Pulaski (Mariners)
Ty Morrison, of, Princeton (Rays)
15. Santos Rodriguez, lhp, Bristol (White Sox)
16. Tyler Stovall, lhp, Danville (Braves)
17. Mycal Jones, ss, Danville (Braves)
18. Jonathan Meyer, 3b, Greenville (Astros)
Cody Rogers, of, Princeton (Rays)
20. Brett Oberholtzer, lhp, Danville (Braves)
BURLINGTON, N.C.—Order was restored in the Rookie-level Appalachian League when Danville dispatched Elizabethton in two games to win the title. Those two teams have tussled for supremacy in four of the past five seasons. Only Pulaski’s surprise overtaking of the Braves in last year’s Eastern Division playoffs broke the streak.
This year’s Danville squad brimmed with talent, though No. 1 prospect Julio Teheran had matriculated to low Class A by the time the playoffs rolled around. Had he played in just a few more games, 18-year-old Panamanian catcher Christian Bethancourt (No. 1 on our Gulf Coast League Top 20) would have figured prominently in this ranking.
Two of Danville’s first-year pros made a huge impact in the Appy Lague but just missed the cut. First baseman and league MVP Riaan Spanjer-Furstenburg, a 16th-round pick from Nova Southeastern (Fla.), hit .359 to win the batting title, and his strength and knowledge of the strike zone portend a bright future. Lefthander Chris Masters, an 11th-round pick from Western Carolina, led the league with 85 strikeouts in 70 innings and narrowly missed winning the ERA title at 1.42. He expertly spots an 87-92 mph fastball but needs to refine his secondary stuff.
While Danville had four players on our Appy Top 20, Elizabethton featured just one—and he departed the Twins organization before the end of the season. Shortstop Tyler Ladendorf went to the Athletics for Orlando Cabrera at the July 31 trading deadline.
Pulaski’s Jharmidy DeJesus, who signed out of the Dominican for $1 million in 2007, seemed a lock for the Top 20 heading into the season. But an injured shoulder forced the 20-year-old to first base, though, and he batted just .249/.340/.385 while showing spotty pitch-recognition skills.