When spring training arrives next month, every member of last year’s Independent Leagues Top 10 Prospects list will be hoping to make an affiliated club.
Three of the top 10, San Angelo righthander Stephen Artz (Yankees), righthander Dane de la Rosa (Brewers) and outfielder Scott Houin had already latched on with teams by the time the list came out. The other seven have signed deals with affiliated clubs during the offseason.
Independent leagues player of the year and No. 1 prospect Daniel Nava signed with the Red Sox after a standout season in 2007 with Chico (Golden Baseball). He will be joined in Red Sox camp by Joliet catcher Dennis Blackmon, the No. 5 prospect. Fellow Northern League catcher Luis Alen, the No. 3 prospect, latched on with the Mets.
No. 4 prospect Kane Simmons became the final member of the Top 10 to sign with an affiliated club when he inked a deal with the Rockies in late December. No. 8 prospect, righthander Travis Risser, signed with the Devil Rays while No. 9 prospect, outfielder Ronnie Gaines signed with the White Sox. Speedy outfielder Chris Demons, the No. 10 prospect, will be in Blue Jays camp.