League Top 20 Prospects

AZL Top 20 Prospects With Scouting Reports

Mike Trout leads an Angels-heavy list




FIVE YEARS AGO
(Click here for the complete list)
1. *Matt Tuiasosopo, ss, Mariners
2. *Hernan Iribarren, 2b, Brewers
3. Mark Rogers, rhp, Brewers
4. Miguel Vega, 1b/3b, Royals
5. Matt Bush, ss, Padres
6. Daryl Jones, 1b, Padres
7. K.C. Herren, of, Rangers
8. Daniel Santin, c, Mariners
9. Elvin Puello, 3b/ss, Cubs
10. Marcus Sanders, 2b, Giants
*Has played in major leagues.
TEMPE, Ariz.—Baseball's three southern California franchises dominated our Rookie-level Arizona League Top 20 Prospects list. The Angels, Dodgers and Padres combined to produce the five best players and 11 overall, starting with top prospect Mike Trout.

Trout, the 25th overall choice in the 2009 draft, finished second in the batting race at .360, six points behind Indians third baseman Jesus Brito. He was one of the few high-profile draft picks to qualify for the list. Mariners shortstop Nick Franklin (first round), Angels lefthander Tyler Skaggs (supplemental first), Padres outfielder Everett Williams (second), Rangers southpaw Robbie Erlin (third), Cubs lefty Austin Kirk (third) and Athletics lefty Ian Krol (seventh) all would have ranked high on the Top 20 if they had played longer in the AZL.

The most notable absentee from the list is Athletics righthander Michael Ynoa, who signed last year for an international amateur-record $4.25 million. Ynoa was supposed to make his pro debut in the AZL but didn't take the mound until instructional league after coming down with elbow tenderness.

For the second year in a row, a Padres prospect with the surname of Decker won league MVP honors. But unlike outfielder Jaff, who was No. 2 on our 2008 Top 20, first baseman Cody (no relation) failed to crack our prospects list. Cody, a 22-year-old UCLA alum, made a run at the triple crown with a .354 average and league highs in homers (15) and RBIs (63).

1. Mike Trout, of, Angels
B-T: R-R Ht.: 6-1 Wt.: 200 Age: 18 Signed: Angels '09 (1)
As the only player who appeared at the MLB Network's studios for its live coverage, Trout was in the spotlight on draft day. He continued to stand out in his pro debut, leading the league in hitting for much of the season. He demonstrated sound strike-zone judgment, good gap power and the ability to use the entire field.

Interestingly, his speed and defense are better pure tools than his bat. He's a plus-plus runner who gets out of the batter's box quickly and gets good jumps in center field. He has average arm strength and could become a plus thrower if he improves his throwing mechanics.

Trout also drew raves for his character and bulldog approach.

"He goes about things like a professional," Angels manager Tyrone Boykin said. "He's got tremendous makeup."
 
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
164 29 59 7 7 1 25 18 28 13 2 .360 .418 .506
 
2. Fabio Martinez, rhp, Angels
B-T: R-R Ht.: 6-3 Wt.: 190 Age: 19 Signed: Dominican Republic '07
One of the top pitchers in the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League in 2008, Martinez was dominant at times in his first season in the United States. He led the AZL with 92 strikeouts in 61 innings, showing the ability to carry a mid-90s fastball deep into games. His slider is a plus-plus pitch at times, and his changeup gives him a potential third above-average offering.

Martinez often struggles with his command, however, leading to inconsistency. Already 6-foot-3, he's still getting bigger and should do a better job of throwing strikes once he grows into his body. Angels pitching coach Trevor Wilson compared him to Merkin Valdez, whom he coached in the Giants system.
 
G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
14
13 3 2 0 3.26 61 45 33 22 136 36 92 .197
 
3. Allen Webster, rhp, Dodgers
B-T: R-R Ht.: 6-2 Wt.: 165 Age: 19 Drafted: Dodgers '08 (18)
No AZL player boosted his prospect stock this season as much as Webster, who's listed in the MLB database by his first name (Carl) but prefers to go by his middle name. An 18th-round pick in 2008, he walked 17 batters in 18 innings during his first pro season in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League. After moving to Arizona when the Dodgers shifted their complex-based affiliate, he posted a 56-14 K-BB ratio in 48 innings before continuing to excel following a promotion to the Rookie-level Pioneer League.

Though Webster still is growing into his 6-foot-2, 165-pound frame, he already has a fastball that reaches 94-95 mph. He throws strikes with his heater, as well as with a plus breaking ball and a promising changeup that he needs to use more often.

Dodgers pitching instructor George Culver said an improved delivery was the key to Webster's big step forward.

"He had a lot of issues with it last year. He was a green pea," said Culver. "His mechanics right now are as good as you want to see with a kid with no more pitching experience than he's had."
 
G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
12
8 2 1 0 2.08 48
35 19 11 0 14 56 .197
 
4. Rymer Liriano, of, Padres
B-T: R-R Ht.: 6-0 Wt.: 211 Age: 18 Signed: Dominican Republic '07
Liriano signed with the Padres in July 2007 for a $300,000 bonus. He batted just .198 with 106 strkeouts in 67 games in his pro debut in the Dominican Summer League last summer, but he improved significantly in his first year in the United States. He ranked in the top five in all three triple-crown categories at .350-8-44 and also stole 15 bases.

He still needs to tighten his strike zone, but that should come with experience. He has good power potential, above-average speed and a plus-plus arm that's very accurate. Though he gets good jumps on balls, he projects more as a right fielder than a center fielder.

"He has the biggest upside that I've seen in a Latin kid in my years of managing," Padres manager Jose Flores said.
 
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
197 44 69 8 1 8 44 15 52 14 5 .350 .398 .523
 
5. Randal Grichuk, of, Angels
B-T: R-R Ht.: 6-1 Wt.: 195 Age: 18 Signed: Angels '09 (1)
The first of the Angels' five picks before the second round in the 2009 draft, Grichuk went one spot ahead of Trout. He had a reputation as a pull hitter in high school but used the entire field and showed power to both gaps in the AZL.

Grichuk batted .322, led the league with 76 hits and 10 triples and ranked second with 30 extra-base hits. Power is his calling card, and it was first evident when he led the 2004 Little League World Series with four homers. He can get overly aggressive at the plate (hence his 64-9 strikeout-walk ratio), but he has strong hands and good bat speed.

Grichuk isn't a bad athlete, but his bat will have to carry him. His speed and arm strength are fringy, which probably will limit him to left field. He can improve his throwing mechanics, which may allow him to shift to right.
 
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
236 47
76 13 10 7 53 9 64 6 4 .322 .352 .551
 
6. Julio Morban, of/dh, Mariners
B-T: L-L Ht.: 6-1 Wt.: 190 Age: 17 Signed: Dominican Republic '08
After signing Morban for $1.1 million last summer, the Mariners aggressively assigned him to an advanced Rookie league (the Appalachian) as a 17-year-old. He tried to play through an AC sprain in his left shoulder suffered in May, but after four games he returned to the organization's Arizona training complex for the remainder of the summer. Morban was forced to DH for most of the season, only getting back in the outfield in the last week for the eventual league champions.

Morban has a smooth swing but needs to refine his approach at the plate. He has solid power and average speed. He stands out in center field, where his instincts give him more range than his pure speed would suggest, and has a plus arm with good carry on his throws.

"Once he understands who he is and the kind of hitter he is," Mariners manager Andy Bottin said, "he's going to take off and he's going to be fun to watch."
 
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
154 28 41 9 7 5 23 7 49 8 3 .266 .306 .513
 
7. Adys Portillo, rhp, Padres
B-T: R-R Ht.: 6-2 Wt.: 185 Age: 17 Signed: Venezuela '08
Portillo received one of the larger contracts during the 2008 international signing period, and his $2 million bonus set a record for a Venezuelan amateur until Reds outfielder Yorman Rodriguez signed for $2.5 million a month later. Portillo made his pro debut this summer as a 17-year-old. He led the AZL with nine losses in 10 decisions, and he struggled with his control and tired toward the end of the season.

Nevertheless, his potential was obvious. Portillo's fastball sits at 91-92 mph and touches 93. He should be able to add more velocity as he cleans up and learns to repeat his delivery. Both his curveball and changeup should become average pitches or better.

Portillo has a tall, projectable frame. He has very good body control, which Padres pitching coach Jimmy Jones believes eventually will translate into improved mechanics. "We'll see a completely different guy when he's 20," Jones said.
 
G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
13
12 1 9 0 5.13
53
67 41 30 2 28 44 .321
 
8. Rafael Rodriguez, of, Giants
B-T: R-R Ht.: 6-5 Wt.: 198 Age: 17 Signed: Dominican Republic '08
As with Portillo, Rodriguez received a huge bonus in 2008 ($2.55 million) and was challenged by coming to the United States for his pro debut. He didn't turn 17 until after the start of the AZL season, and while he's still very raw, he shows some intriguing skills.

Presently 6-foot-5 and 198 pounds, Rodriguez projects to add another 2-3 inches and several pounds. He didn't homer in 127 AZL at-bats, but should develop considerable power as he gets stronger, makes better use of his lower half and develops better balance at the plate. Though he often swings wildly and chases pitches, his excellent hand-eye coordination helped him control the strike zone and make consistent contact.

Rodriguez improved defensively as the season progressed, particularly in his ability to charge balls. He played mostly left field, though he has average speed and plenty of arm for right field.

"He just needs to understand how to play the game," Giants hitting coach Victor Torres said. "He's learning. Mentally, he has a lot to learn and assimilate."
 
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
127 25 38 8 0 0 19 16 23 5 4 .299 .392 .362
 
9. Jonathan Garcia, of, Dodgers
B-T: R-R Ht.: 5-11 Wt.: 175 Age: 17 Drafted: Dodgers '09 (8)
The Dodgers may have gotten a steal when they selected Garcia out of Puerto Rico in the eighth round of the 2009 draft. He had a reputation in high school as a player who was better in workouts than in games, but that wasn't the case in the AZL. He hit .304 with 16 doubles in 138 at-bats.

Garcia, 17, is very aggressive at the plate and the ball jumps off his bat. He has power to all fields and is expected to get stronger. He worked closely with hitting coach Leo Garcia and continually made adjustments during games.

Garcia doesn't have the speed to play center field, where he saw some action in Arizona, but his plus arm should allow him to handle right field. He has below-average speed but could get quicker with better technique, as he currently runs on his heels.

"He's a hard-working kid," Dodgers manager Jeff Carter said. "He wants to learn and has fun playing the game."
 
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
138 22
42 16 1 3 21 10 37 4 0 .304 .362 .500
 
10. Jon Bachanov, rhp, Angels
B-T: R-R Ht.: 6-4 Wt.: 210 Age: 20 Drafted: Angels '07 (1s)
Bachanov was practically a forgotten man coming into this season. A supplemental first-round choice in 2007, he didn't make his pro debut until this season because of a slow recovery from Tommy John surgery. The Angels used Bachanov in relief to ease him back into action, and that may be his role moving forward.

Bachanov has excellent command of his fastball, which sits at 92-93 mph and peaks at 96. He had a 47-4 strikeout-walk ratio in 29 innings. His slider is also a big league pitch, according to Wilson, and Bachanov flashes a plus changeup that he doesn't use much.

"I don't see this guy being in the minor leagues too long," Wilson said. "He really pitches with a lot of energy and he's into every pitch."
 
G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
16
0 4 0 0 3.14 29 26 10 10 0 4 47 .239
 
11. Maverick Lasker, rhp, Brewers
B-T: R-R Ht.: 6-2 Wt.: 190 Age: 19 Drafted: Brewers '08 (5)
A fifth-round pick in 2008, Lasker missed all of his first pro season with a back injury but was impressive when he finally got on the mound this year. He had an easy time in his native Arizona and drew a late-season promotion to low Class A Wisconsin after the AZL season ended, pitching seven scoreless innings in his first start.

Lasker's best pitch is a natural sinking fastball that ranges from 88-92 mph. He's making progress with his slider, getting more depth and tilt with it. His changeup has the makings of a quality pitch, but he's reluctant to throw it.
 
G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
13
1 5
1 0 3.26 47 43 19 17 2 9 39 .246
 
12. Richard Alvarez, rhp, Rangers
B-T: R-R Ht.: 6-2 Wt.: 180 Age: 17 Signed: Dominican Republic '08
Alvarez signed with the Rangers in December 2008 for $800,000, and he pitched nearly the entire AZL season at age 16. What separates Alvarez from other Latin pitchers his age is his advanced feel for pitching and his quality and command of secondary pitches.

"He does all the little things so well," Rangers manager Bill Richardson said. "He has great sequences with his pitches and controls the running game. He's advanced for this level."

Alvarez's 80-mph curveball is his best pitch and should add bite when he gets more arm strength. His changeup is also a potential plus pitch, and he throws it with good arm speed and deception.

His fastball only sits at 86-87 mph, but he's able to retire batters by locating it effectively. As he grows and fills out, he could another 5 mph on his heater.
 
G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
11
9 2 3 0 5.49 41
42
29 25 1 19 35 .268
 
13. Edward Concepcion, rhp, Giants
B-T: B-R Ht.: 6-3 Wt.: 190 Age: 20 Signed: Dominican Republic '06
Rival AZL managers and scouts who saw Concepcion early in the season weren't impressed with his inconsistent delivery, but he made tremendous strides during the course of the summer.

"I tried to simplify his mechanics a little bit," said Giants pitching coach Mike Caldwell. "He's got a lot of arm swing. His mechanics are getting better with a more consistent release point."

Concepcion struck out 70 batters in 55 innings, mainly relying on a mid-90s fastball that touches 98. Caldwell believes that Concepcion eventually will reach 100 mph with his heater. His second-best pitch is a curveball that needs tighter spin, and he's also working on a changeup.

Concepcion spent three years in the Dominican Summer League before coming to the United States. Now 20, he'll need to start moving quickly. While Caldwell projects him as a starter, Concepcion drew an Armando Benitez comparison as a potential power reliever.
 
G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
13
12 4 3 0 4.61
55 55 33 28 3 26 70 .258
 
14. Jesus Brito, 3b, Indians
B-T: R-R Ht.: 6-1 Wt.: 160 Age: 21 Signed: Dominican Republic '06
Brito also spent three years in the Dominican Summer League before coming to the United States. Now 21, he won the AZL batting title with a .366 average and hit .333 after an August promotion to the short-season New York/Penn League.

At 6-foot-1 and 160 pounds, Brito should add weight and get stronger. Pitchers threw fastballs past him early in the season but he made adjustments to be able catch up with those pitches. He presently has good gap power, and Indians manager Ted Kubiak says Brito has the potential to hit 20-plus homers per season.

An outfielder prior to 2009, Brito initially struggled with the transition to third base, primarily in going to his right and getting throws off quickly. But he has improved his footwork and owns a strong, accurate arm. He's an average runner but won't steal many bases.
 
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
134 36 49 12 8 3 25 18 26 2 1 .366 .439 .642
 
15. Hector Sanchez, c, Giants
B-T: B-R Ht.: 6-0 Wt.: 185 Age: 19 Signed: Venezuela '07
Sanchez's strength is his defense. He has a solid-average arm and led all AZL catchers by throwing out 45 percent of basestealers. He's a good receiver, blocks balls well and has made strides with his game-calling. Doug Mapson, the Giants' coordinator of amateur scouting, compared him to Bengie Molina.

Though Sanchez sometimes gets lazy on his backside, which produces a long uppercut stroke, he has had success at the plate. He led the Dominican Summer League in hitting (.348) and RBIs (63) in 2008 and batted .299/.403/.410 while drawing nearly as many walks (16) as strikeouts (21) in Arizona.

Sanchez should hit for more power once he matures physically. His 6-foot, 185-pound frame is a little soft right now, and he needs to lose some weight and get stronger in order to hold up over a full season.
 
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
117 13 35 8 1 1 22 16 21 0 0 .299 .403 .410
 
16. Tomas Telis, c, Rangers
B-T: B-R Ht.: 5-8 Wt.: 175 Age: 18 Signed: Venezuela '07
The switch-hitting Telis was a shortstop when he signed out of Venezuela in 2007, but his stocky build led the Rangers to decide he'd be better off behind the plate. He's still very raw as a catcher and needs to dedicate himself to improving his defense. Despite average arm strength and a quick release, he threw out just 19 percent of AZL basestealers.

Telis, who hit .322 in his first season in the United States, makes consistent contact and gets good carry on the ball. He won't be a big power hitter, but he could hit 15-20 homers per years once he learns that a few more strikeouts will be acceptable as long as he drives the ball.
 
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
183 30 59 11 5 2 28 4 15 8
1 .322 .333 .470
 
17. Rolando Gomez, ss, Angels
B-T: L-R Ht.: 5-7 Wt.: 150 Age: 20 Drafted: Angels '08 (11th)
The Angels paid Gomez $450,000 as an 11th-rounder in 2008 to keep him from attending the University of Miami. An injury limited him to just four games in his first pro season, so he returned to the AZL, where he was a favorite of managers for his flashy defense and hard-nosed play.

"He's tough on himself," Boykin said. "He comes every day to play."

Gomez's biggest strength is his defense. He has great instincts, above-average range and a strong arm, calling to mind his cousin, former Gold Glove shortstop Tony Fernandez. Gomez does need to work on his throwing mechanics, as he sometimes flips the ball instead of putting his full strength behind it. He played a few games in center field this summer and looked good despite never having played there before.

Though he's only 5-foot-7, 150 pounds, Gomez has surprising power thanks to his strong wrists and quick bat. He hit .304/.408/.464 and showed off plus speed with five triples and 12 stolen bases.
 
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
181 48 55 13 5 2 19 32 43 12 4 .304 .408 .464
 
18. Jonathan Galvez, ss/2b, Padres
B-T: R-R Ht.: 6-2 Wt.: 175 Age: 18 Signed: Dominican Republic '07
Signed for $750,000 out of the Dominican Republic in 2007, Galvez has turned in two solid pro seasons at the plate but his future is difficult to project.

His approach improved in 2009, as he focused on getting better pitches to hit. He has a clean stroke and good plate coverage, and he has promising power potential. He has average speed, though he's a tick below average getting out of the box.

The biggest question about Galvez relates to his defense. His arm is too weak for him to stay at shortstop and makes playing the outfield a stretch, which will confine him to second base or a utility role in the future. He has good hands but needs to work harder on his defense and on bringing consistent effort to the game.
 
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
193
45 57 16 3 6 27 30 44 14 6 .295 .399
.503
 
19. Danny Danielson, rhp, Dodgers
B-T: R-R Ht.: 6-4 Wt.: 220 Age: 20 Signed: Dodgers '07 (7th)
Danielson is a product of Russell County (Ala.) High, the same school that produced first-round or sandwich picks Kasey Kiker and Colby and Cory Rasmus. A seventh-rounder in 2007, Daniels pitched just 30 innings in his first two years as a pro. After losing 30 pounds in the offseason, he completed an entire season and managers noted his ability to put hitters away.

"This is the first season we've had him healthy through the whole season," Culver said. "He's made huge strides. He's been a pleasant surprise."

Danielson's fastball topped out at 88-89 mph in 2009, though he reached 93 in the past. His best pitch is an outstanding changeup, and he also uses a big, slow curveball. Culver believes that Danielson will need a harder breaking ball in order to remain a starter, so he may switch to a slider.
 
G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
14
9 5 2 0 3.08 61 65 30 21 5 12 77 .257
 
20. Max Walla, of, Brewers
B-T: L-L Ht.: 5-11 Wt.: 195 Age: 18 Drafted: Brewers '09 (2)
The Brewers' top pick (second round) in the 2009 draft, Walla hit just .199/.283/.280 in the AZL but scouts and Brewers officials still are encouraged by his bat. He has very strong hands and wrists to go with short, compact swing, but he needs to learn the strike zone. The ball jumps off his bat when he makes contact.

"Once he learns to slow everything down and trust those talents more," Brewers manager Tony Diggs said, "he's going to be fine."

Walla's bat will have to carry him, but his other tools aren't terrible. He has slightly below-average speed and won't steal bases, but he gets good jumps and reads in left field and has an accurate arm.
 
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
186 18 37 5 2 2 19 15 82 4 2 .199 .283 .280