Hak-Ju Lee, ss, Boise (Cubs)
2. Edinson Rincon, 3b, Eugene (Padres)
3. Brett Jackson, of, Boise (Cubs)
Mario Martinez, 3b, Everett (Mariners)
5. Tim Wheeler, of, Tri-City (Rockies)
6. Ryan Wheeler, 3b, Yakima (Diamondbacks)
7. Robbie Ross, lhp, Spokane (Rangers)
8. Francisco Peguero, of, Salem-Keizer (Giants)
Matt Davidson, 3b, Yakima (Diamondbacks)
10. Miguel Velazquez, of, Spokane (Rangers)
11. Tommy Mendonca, 3b, Spokane (Rangers)
12. James Jones, of, Everett (Mariners)
13. Chris Dominguez, 3b, Salem-Keizer (Giants)
14. Julio Ramos, lhp, Vancouver (Athletics)
15. Rob Scahill, rhp, Tri-City (Rockies)
16. Ben Paulsen, 1b, Tri-City (Rockies)
17. Jerry Sullivan, rhp, Eugene (Padres)
Connor Hoehn, rhp, Vancouver (Athletics)
Logan Watkins, 2b, Boise (Cubs)
20. Braden Tullis, rhp, Spokane (Rangers)
Position players dominated the short-season Northwest League prospect scene in 2009. The first seven prospects on our Top 20 list are everyday players, starting with a pair of international signees, Boise shortstop Hak-Ju Lee and Eugene third baseman Edinson Rincon. Prominent 2009 draftees also made their mark, with first-round outfielders Brett Jackson (Boise) and Tim Wheeler (Tri-City) standing out the most.
Several other high-profile draftees, such as Everett shortstop Nick Franklin and Vancouver catcher Max Stassi, performed well but didn’t spend enough time in the NWL to qualify. There also were a number of older hitters, like Salem-Keizer third baseman Drew Biery (the league MVP at age 23) and Everett first baseman Gerardo Avila (the NWL home run leader with 13 at age 23 and in his sixth pro season), who didn’t profile as top prospects.
Last year’s NWL crop featured a better balance between hitters and pitchers, with talented arms (Martin Perez, Christian Friedrich) who went on to bigger and better things in 2009. For the second straight summer, the league’s best pitching prospect was a Spokane lefthander, as Robbie Ross followed in Perez’s footsteps. Tri-City lefty Rex Brothers, a supplemental first-round pick, would have factored prominently on the list had he pitched enough to qualify.