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2003 Top 100 Prospects

March 3, 2003

Baseball America's 14th annual Top 100 Prospects list is based on each player's ceiling and the likelihood that he reaches that potential. All players who haven't exceeded the rookie limits of 130 at-bats or 50 innings were considered. Major league service time wasn't an issue. Editor Allan Simpson, managing editor Will Lingo, executive editor Jim Callis and associate editor Josh Boyd compiled the Top 100 after consulting with general managers, scouting directors, farm directors, scouts, managers and instructors. Callis wrote the summaries. We also break them down by position, age, nationality and other categories.

1. Mark Teixeira, 3b, Rangers
He's starting to reduce Hank Blalock, the top hitter on last year's list, to something of an afterthought.
ETA: 2003

2. Rocco Baldelli, of, Devil Rays
Went from not making the Top 100 to Minor League Player of the Year in 2002. Memo to Chuck LaMar: Give him some more time in Triple-A.
ETA: 2003

3. Jose Reyes, ss, Mets
Will push Rey Sanchez aside so quickly when he's ready. Which should be June.
ETA: 2003

4. Joe Mauer, c, Twins
Think Florida State fans wish he had decided to play quarterback? Think Twins fans aren't thankful every day that he didn't?
ETA: 2005

5. Jesse Foppert, rhp, Giants
Baseball's top pitching prospect is coming off his second full season on the mound.
ETA: 2003

6. Jose Contreras, rhp, Yankees
The Yankees didn't hand the world's top amateur pitcher $32 million to pitch relief.
ETA: 2003

7. Brandon Phillips, 2b/ss, Indians
Will emerge as the heart and soul of the Indians when they're ready to contend again in 2005.
ETA: 2003

8. Hideki Matsui, of, Yankees
Godzilla will show whether Japanese power hitters can make the transition to the U.S. majors.
ETA: 2003

9. Gavin Floyd, rhp, Phillies
As if Brett Myers weren't enough, the Phillies have a second version rising through the minors.
ETA: 2005

10. Francisco Rodriguez, rhp, Angels
Technically shouldn't have been playoff-eligible, but those five October victories still count.
ETA: 2003

11. Scott Kazmir, lhp, Mets
What's crazier—the Mets getting him with the 15th overall pick or signing him for slot money?
ETA: 2005

12. Miguel Cabrera, 3b, Marlins
Jumped ahead of former low Class A roommate Adrian Gonzalez in Marlins' pecking order last year.
ETA: 2005

13. Casey Kotchman, 1b, Angels
If he can figure out how to avoid wrist injuries, he'll be batting third for the Angels in no time.
ETA: 2005

14. Justin Morneau, 1b, Twins
Doug Mientkiewicz isn't close to being in Morneau's league as a hitter.
ETA: 2003

15. Jason Stokes, 1b, Marlins
Led the minors with a .645 slugging percentage last year despite a painful cyst in his left wrist.
ETA: 2005

16. Victor Martinez, c, Indians
We'll go out on a limb and say his two-year streaks of batting titles and league MVP awards will end when he reaches the majors this season.
ETA: 2003

17. Michael Cuddyer, of, Twins
The Twins couldn't find a lineup spot for him last season but have to this year.
ETA: 2003

18. Adam Wainwright, rhp, Braves
Coming off back-to-back league strikeout crowns, he still has room for projection.
ETA: 2005

19. Hanley Ramirez, ss, Red Sox
Anonymous before 2002, when he ranked as the No. 1 prospect in the Gulf Coast and New York-Penn leagues.
ETA: 2005

20. Jeremy Bonderman, rhp, Tigers
Yes, Billy Beane may have made an ill-advised trade.
ETA: 2005

21. B.J. Upton, ss, Devil Rays
No. 2 pick in 2002 draft could be upstaged by younger brother Justin, a possible No. 1 in 2005.
ETA: 2006

22. Hee Seop Choi, 1b, Cubs
Eric Karros was acquired simply to dump Todd Hundley's contract, not to keep Choi on the bench.
ETA: 2003

23. Brad Nelson, 1b, Brewers
The Brewers don't have much, but they do have a lot of talent at first base.
ETA: 2005

24. John VanBenschoten, rhp, Pirates
Former scouting director Mickey White's decision to put him on the mound looks more astute by the day.
ETA: 2005

25. Sean Burnett, lhp, Pirates
His velocity may be only fringe average, but there is nothing else fringy about him.
ETA: 2004

26. Scott Hairston, 2b, Diamondbacks
.346 AVG, .430 OBP, .596 SLG as a pro; brother Jerry has .277/.352/.404 totals.
ETA: 2004

27. Rafael Soriano, rhp, Mariners
Struck out Mark Teixeira three times in 2002 Texas League championship game.
ETA: 2003

28. Joe Borchard, of, White Sox
Has been slow to pay dividends on record $5.3 million bonus but continues to show big-time power.
ETA: 2003

29. Rich Harden, rhp, Athletics
Central Arizona JC lost Hairston and Harden from 2001, yet won 2002 national championship.
ETA: 2003

30. Cliff Lee, lhp, Indians
Mark Shapiro got two of the game's top 30 prospects, plus Grady Sizemore, for Bartolo Colon last summer.
ETA: 2003

31. Adrian Gonzalez, 1b, Marlins
Not even the top first baseman in the Marlins system any longer, but still one of the best in the minors.
ETA: 2004

32. Colby Lewis, rhp, Rangers
One of just 16 first-round junior college picks in draft history; Kevin Appier has been the best.
ETA: 2003

33. Josh Hamilton, of, Devil Rays
Made three more trips to the disabled list last season but still has a huge ceiling.
ETA: 2004

34. James Loney, 1b, Dodgers
Most teams preferred him as a pitcher—until he hit .350 in his pro debut.
ETA: 2005

35. Jonathan Figueroa, lhp, Dodgers
Spent 14 months on the showcase circuit and may not spend much more than that in the minors.
ETA: 2004

36. Dustin McGowan, rhp, Blue Jays
Sally League strikeout leader is starting to harness his power stuff.
ETA: 2005

37. Michael Restovich, of, Twins
Not as advanced as Cuddyer, but more athletic and more powerful.
ETA: 2004

38. Jose Lopez, ss, Mariners
The Mariners hope he'll develop better than their last Cal League breakout shortstop, Antonio Perez.
ETA: 2005

39. Chris Snelling, of, Mariners
Australia's Pete Reiser needs to practice a little self-preservation.
ETA: 2003

40. Andy Marte, 3b, Braves
Led the Sally League with 105 RBIs in 2002 after batting .200 in Rookie ball the year before.
ETA: 2005

41. Aaron Cook, rhp, Rockies
Making up for lost time after spending five years without getting past high Class A.
ETA: 2003

42. Franklyn German, rhp, Tigers
Not only did the Tigers get Bonderman, but they also landed German and Carlos Pena for Jeff Weaver last summer.
ETA: 2003

43. Dontrelle Willis, lhp, Marlins
Commands his pitches down in the strike zone as well as just about any minor leaguer.
ETA: 2004

44. Xavier Nady, of, Padres
Broke Mark McGwire's Pac-10 career slugging percentage record; nearly ready to mash in the majors.
ETA: 2003

45. Aaron Heilman, rhp, Mets
Two-time first-round pick pitched well in Triple-A in his first full pro season.
ETA: 2003

46. Travis Hafner, 1b, Indians
He's not Jim Thome, but he'll help make his departure easier on Indians fans.
ETA: 2003

47. Angel Guzman, rhp, Cubs
Has a chance to follow Mark Prior's path from Double-A to the majors this year.
ETA: 2004

48. Jeff Mathis, c, Angels
Like Kotchman, Mathis gives the World Series champs a bright future at one of their weakest current positions.
ETA: 2005

49. Wilson Betemit, 3b, Braves
Scouts still see 20-20 potential despite his down year in Triple-A; don't forget he was just 20.
ETA: 2003

50. Jerome Williams, rhp, Giants
Reached Triple-A at age 20 and is on the verge of putting it all together.
ETA: 2004

51. Johan Santana, rhp, Angels
At its best, his stuff rivals Jenks'. At its worst, his command is still better.
ETA: 2005

52. Bryan Bullington, rhp, Pirates
No. 1 pick in 2002 draft is best thing to come out of Ball State since David Letterman.
ETA: 2005

53. Andy Sisco, lhp, Cubs
Six-foot-9 southpaw has much more polish than Randy Johnson had at age 20.
ETA: 2005

54. Zack Greinke, rhp, Royals
Had 2.45 ERA, two walks in 26 innings as 19-year-old in unprecedented trip to Puerto Rico this winter.
ETA: 2006

55. Juan Rivera, of, Yankees
If the Yankees really cared about costs, they'd just give the deserving Rivera a starting job.
ETA: 2003

56. Mike Jones, rhp, Brewers
Could pass Ben Sheets and Nick Neugebauer to become the Brewers' future ace.
ETA: 2005

57. Khalil Greene, ss, Padres
The college version of Baldelli: went from 14th-round pick in 2001 to College Player of the Year and 13th overall choice in 2002.
ETA: 2004

58. Bubba Nelson, rhp, Braves
Believed to be the first pitcher named "Bubba" to lead the minors in ERA (1.66 in 2002).
ETA: 2004

59. Mike Gosling, lhp, Diamondbacks
May go from college in 2001 to Double-A to 2002 to Arizona's Opening Day rotation in 2003.
ETA: 2003

60. Bobby Jenks, rhp, Angels
Will the real Bobby Jenks please stand up? A guy with a high-90s fastball and dominant curve should do better than 11-25, 5.46 as a pro.
ETA: 2005

61. Shin-Soo Choo, of, Mariners
His power remains a question but at worst he should become Korea's version of Mark Kotsay.
ETA: 2005

62. Clint Everts, rhp, Expos
Kazmir's high school teammate went 10 picks ahead of him in the 2002 draft.
ETA: 2006

63. Marlon Byrd, of, Phillies
Poor man's Kirby Puckett will give the Phillies much more offense than they got out of Doug Glanville.
ETA: 2003

64. Kurt Ainsworth, rhp, Giants
Somewhat overshadowed by Foppert and Williams at Triple-A Fresno last year, Ainsworth may beat them both to the Giants rotation.
ETA: 2003

65. Lyle Overbay, 1b, Diamondbacks
Career .345 hitter in the minors is similar to the veteran he's displacing, Mark Grace.
ETA: 2003

66. Justin Huber, c, Mets
They had to travel to Australia to get it done, but the Mets have found Mike Piazza's eventual successor.
ETA: 2005

67. John Buck, c, Astros
If he gets his bat going a little bit more, Buck would be the minors' best all-around catcher.
ETA: 2004

68. Macay McBride, lhp, Braves
Yet another reason the Braves won't ever run out of pitching.
ETA: 2005

69. Bobby Basham, rhp, Reds
His two 78-pitch shutouts might be more impressive than his 97-9 strikeout-walk ratio.
ETA: 2004

70. Jeremy Guthrie, rhp, Indians
Has yet to make his pro debut but still may be first 2002 draftee to reach the majors.
ETA: 2004

71. Josh Karp, rhp, Expos
At times, his stuff is every bit as good as former Pac-10 rival Mark Prior's.
ETA: 2004

72. Felix Pie, of, Cubs
Corey Patterson is stalling, but Pie gives the Cubs another potential five-tool center fielder.
ETA: 2006

73. Kris Honel, rhp, White Sox
On the fast track from a suburban Chicago high school to the big city.
ETA: 2005

74. Dewon Brazelton, rhp, Devil Rays
How desperately do the Devil Rays need him to lead a wave of pitching hopefuls to the majors?
ETA: 2003

75. David Wright, 3b, Mets
Mets third basemen have been almost as dismal as their Cubs counterparts, but that's about to change.
ETA: 2005

76. Clint Nageotte, rhp, Mariners
Used his wicked slider to lead the minors with 214 strikeouts last year.
ETA: 2005

77. Chris Gruler, rhp, Reds
Third pick in 2002 avoided shoulder surgery to end last season, and is on track to start Opening Day in Dayton.
ETA: 2006

78. Prince Fielder, 1b, Brewers
May have a higher ceiling than his dad, who won two home run and three RBI titles.
ETA: 2005

79. John Patterson, rhp, Diamondbacks
Finally regained his pre-Tommy John surgery form in 2002.
ETA: 2003

80. Ben Kozlowski, lhp, Rangers
The Rangers stole this potential Barry Zito from the Braves for Andy Pratt last April.
ETA: 2003

81. Chase Utley, 3b/2b, Phillies
Smokes line drives and has more power than Little League teammate Sean Burroughs.
ETA: 2004

82. Todd Linden, of, Giants
Some much-needed help for Barry Bonds in the Giants outfield is only a year away.
ETA: 2004

83. Francisco Liriano, lhp, Giants
His arm is so strong, the Giants immediately shifted him from the outfield to the mound when he showed up at their tryout camp.
ETA: 2005

84. Mark Phillips, lhp, Padres
Oliver Perez shot by him last season, but Phillips has superior pure stuff.
ETA: 2005

85. Laynce Nix, of, Rangers
After giving away Brian Giles, John Hart is holding onto this possible clone.
ETA: 2005

86. Jose Castillo, ss, Pirates
A potential five-tool shortstop, albeit not a huge basestealer, could wind up at third base.
ETA: 2005

87. Wily Mo Pena, of, Reds
His Sammy Sosa ceiling would be more attainable if not for his big league contract.
ETA: 2003

88. Taylor Buchholz, rhp, Phillies
Similar to Brett Myers and Floyd but without anywhere near the same fanfare.
ETA: 2005

89. Donald Levinski, rhp, Marlins
Yet another member of the Great Prospect Exodus from Montreal last year.
ETA: 2005

90. Ben Hendrickson, rhp, Brewers
One of the best curveballs in the minors evokes memories of Darryl Kile's.
ETA: 2004

91. Corey Hart, 3b/1b, Brewers
Could be another Richie Sexson, with the possible bonus of playing third base.
ETA: 2005

92. Jon Rauch, rhp, White Sox
Has recovered from shoulder surgery in 2000 and mishandling by the White Sox in 2001.
ETA: 2003

93. Chin-Hui Tsao, rhp, Rockies
Tommy John surgery only delayed his progress toward becoming the first Taiwanese big league star.
ETA: 2005

94. Jayson Werth, of/c, Blue Jays
Trading Werth for John Bale is just one reason Syd Thrift got fired by the Orioles.
ETA: 2003

95. Jeff Francoeur, of, Braves
All-America defensive back turned down opportunity to play football at Clemson.
ETA: 2006

96. Mike Hinckley, lhp, Expos
New York-Penn League ERA leader at 1.37 last year, down from 5.24 in pro debut.
ETA: 2006

97. Jason Arnold, rhp, Blue Jays
Has gone 20-6 and reached Double-A in 1 1/2 years as a pro.
ETA: 2003

98. Seth McClung, rhp, Devil Rays
High school seven-sport athlete could have played college basketball.
ETA: 2005

99. Edwin Jackson, rhp, Dodgers
Loney in reverse: Other clubs saw him as an outfielder, Dodgers wanted him on the mound.
ETA: 2005

100. Nic Jackson, of, Cubs
Will start putting heat on Moises Alou and Corey Patterson if he stops fouling pitches off his leg.
ETA: 2004

Top 100 Breakdown

By Position

Righthanders (40)
5. Jesse Foppert, Giants
6. Jose Contreras, Yankees
9. Gavin Floyd, Phillies
10. Francisco Rodriguez, Angels
18. Adam Wainwright, Braves
20. Jeremy Bonderman, Tigers
24. John VanBenschoten, Pirates
27. Rafael Soriano, Mariners
29. Rich Harden, Athletics
32. Colby Lewis, Rangers
36. Dustin McGowan, Blue Jays
41. Aaron Cook, Rockies
42. Franklyn German, Tigers
45. Aaron Heilman, Mets
47. Angel Guzman, Cubs
50. Jerome Williams, Giants
51. Johan Santana, Angels
52. Bryan Bullington, Pirates
54. Zack Greinke, Royals
56. Mike Jones, Brewers
58. Bubba Nelson, Braves
60. Bobby Jenks, Angels
62. Clint Everts, Expos
64. Kurt Ainsworth, Giants
69. Bobby Basham, Reds
70. Jeremy Guthrie, Indians
71. Josh Karp, Expos
73. Kris Honel, White Sox
74. Dewon Brazelton, Devil Rays
76. Clint Nageotte, Mariners
77. Chris Gruler, Reds
79. John Patterson, D’backs
88. Taylor Buchholz, Phillies
89. Donald Levinski, Marlins
90. Ben Hendrickson, Brewers
92. Jon Rauch, White Sox
93. Chin-Hui Tsao, Rockies
97. Jason Arnold, Blue Jays
98. Seth McClung, Devil Rays
99. Edwin Jackson, Dodgers

Outfielders (18)
2. Rocco Baldelli, Devil Rays
8. Hideki Matsui, Yankees
17. Michael Cuddyer, Twins
28. Joe Borchard, White Sox
33. Josh Hamilton, Devil Rays
37. Michael Restovich, Twins
39. Chris Snelling, Mariners
44. Xavier Nady, Padres
55. Juan Rivera, Yankees
61. Shin-Soo Choo, Mariners
63. Marlon Byrd, Phillies
72. Felix Pie, Cubs
82. Todd Linden, Giants
85. Laynce Nix, Rangers
87. Wily Mo Pena, Reds
94. Jayson Werth, Blue Jays
95. Jeff Francoeur, Braves
100. Nic Jackson, Cubs

Lefthanders (12)
11. Scott Kazmir, Mets
25. Sean Burnett, Pirates
30. Cliff Lee, Indians
35. Jonathan Figueroa, Dodgers
43. Dontrelle Willis, Marlins
53. Andy Sisco, Cubs
59. Mike Gosling, Diamondbacks
68. Macay McBride, Braves
80. Ben Kozlowski, Rangers
83. Francisco Liriano, Giants
84. Mark Phillips, Padres
96. Mike Hinckley, Expos

First Basemen (10)
13. Casey Kotchman, Angels
14. Justin Morneau, Twins
15. Jason Stokes, Marlins
22. Hee Seop Choi, Cubs
23. Brad Nelson, Brewers
31. Adrian Gonzalez, Marlins
34. James Loney, Dodgers
46. Travis Hafner, Indians
65. Lyle Overbay, Diamondbacks
78. Prince Fielder, Brewers

Third Basemen (7)
1. Mark Teixeira, Rangers
12. Miguel Cabrera, Marlins
40. Andy Marte, Braves
49. Wilson Betemit, Braves
75. David Wright, Mets
81. Chase Utley, Phillies
91. Corey Hart, Brewers

Shortstops (6)
3. Jose Reyes, Mets
19. Hanley Ramirez, Red Sox
21. B.J. Upton, Devil Rays
38. Jose Lopez, Mariners
57. Khalil Greene, Padres
86. Jose Castillo, Pirates

Catchers (5)
4. Joe Mauer, Twins
16. Victor Martinez, Indians
48. Jeff Mathis, Angels
66. Justin Huber, Mets
67. John Buck, Astros

Second Basemen (2)
7. Brandon Phillips, Indians
26. Scott Hairston, Diamondbacks

By Organization
6
Braves. 5 Angels, Brewers, Cubs, Devil Rays, Giants, Indians, Mariners, Marlins, Mets. 4 Diamondbacks, Phillies, Pirates, Rangers, Twins. 3 Blue Jays, Dodgers, Expos, Padres, Reds, White Sox, Yankees. 2 Rockies, Tigers. 1 Astros, Athletics, Red Sox, Royals. 0 Cardinals, Orioles.

By Original Organization
7
Braves. 6 Cubs, Expos. 5 Angels, Brewers, Devil Rays, Giants, Mariners, Mets, Yankees. 4 Diamondbacks, Phillies, Pirates, Rangers, Twins. 3 Athletics, Dodgers, Marlins, Padres, White Sox. 2 Indians, Reds, Rockies. 1 Astros, Blue Jays, Orioles, Red Sox, Royals. 0 Cardinals, Tigers.

By Nation
73
United States. 10 Dominican Republic. 8 Venezuela. 2 Australia, Canada, Korea. 1 Cuba, Japan, Taiwan.

By Where They Came From
48
High school draft picks. 25 International free agents. 21 College draft picks. 6 Junior college draft picks.

By Opening Day Age
20
21-year-olds. 16 22-year-olds. 15 19-year-olds, 20-year-olds. 13 24-year-olds. 10 23-year-olds. 5 18-year-olds. 3 25-year-olds. 1 26-year-old, 28-year-old, 31-year-old.

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