League Top 20 Prospects

2011 Florida State League Top 20 Prospects With Scouting Reports




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FIVE YEARS AGO
*1. Homer Bailey, rhp, Sarasota (Reds)
*2. Yovanni Gallardo, rhp, Brevard County (Brewers)
*3. Scott Elbert, lhp, Vero Beach (Dodgers)
*4. Ryan Braun, 3b, Brevard County (Brewers)
*5. Donald Veal, lhp, Daytona (Cubs)
*6. Colby Rasmus, of, Palm Beach (Cardinals)
*7. Mark Rogers, rhp, Brevard County (Brewers)
*8. Mike Carp, 1b, St. Lucie (Mets)
*9. Blake DeWitt, 2b/3b, Vero Beach (Dodgers)
*10. Kevin Slowey, rhp, Fort Myers (Twins)
*11. Sean Gallagher, rhp, Daytona (Cubs)
*12. Terry Evans, of, Palm Beach (Cardinals)
13. Gaby Hernandez, rhp, Jupiter (Marlins)
*14. Johnny Cueto, rhp, Sarasota (Reds)
*15. Jaime Garcia, lhp, Palm Beach (Cardinals)
*16. Jair Jurrjens, rhp, Lakeland (Tigers)
*17. Jose Mijares, lhp, Fort Myers (Twins)
*18. Alexi Casilla, ss/2b, Fort Myers (Twins)
19. Ryan Patterson, of, Dunedin (Blue Jays)
*20. Greg Golson, of, Clearwater (Phillies)
* Has played in major leagues
Thanks to the high Class A Florida State League's big parks and sea-level altitude, pitchers typically stand out more than the hitters. This year was no different, as power-armed righthanders Shelby Miller (Palm Beach) and Matt Harvey (St. Lucie) headlined our Top 20 Prospects list. Charlotte shortstop Hak-Ju Lee was the highest-ranked position player at No. 3, followed by three more righties in Trevor May (Clearwater), Alex Colome (Charlotte) and Carlos Martinez (Palm Beach). Clearwater placed three starters on the Top 20, with righthanders Jarred Cosart and Brody Colvin joining May, and nearly had two more. Julio Rodriguez (2.76) and Jon Pettibone (2.96) drew consideration after posting the best ERAs in the Threshers rotation and ranking in the top five in the FSL, with Rodriguez leading the league with 16 wins.

Despite placing a league-high five players on the list, Clearwater failed to reach the postseason. By contrast, Daytona won the FSL championship with only one Top 20 prospect, outfielder Matt Szczur. Though he often looked worn out after his mid-July promotion, his athleticism was obvious and he rallied to bat .368 in the playoffs.

1. SHELBY MILLER RHP, PALM BEACH CARDINALS
Age: 20. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 195. Drafted: HS—Brownwood, Texas '09 (1).
Daytona manager Buddy Bailey called Miller the best pitching prospect the FSL has seen in recent years, high praise indeed considering that Matt Moore won the minor league strikeout title pitching for Charlotte last year. Miller challenges opponents with an explosive fastball that reaches as high as 95-97 mph with boring action. He has a commanding mound presence and comes right after hitters.

Miller's downer curveball was inconsistent at times, but it showed promise when it was on. He throws his curve in the upper 70s with depth and the right shape to it. He also has an 85-87 mph changeup with good arm speed that he can sink or fade inside against lefthanders.

Miller was leading the FSL in strikeouts when he was promoted in late May, so he didn't run into much trouble. When Miller got into trouble, it usually resulted from inconsistent fastball command. His heater diminishes after the early innings, usually sitting in the low 90s, but his clean delivery and strong frame should allow him to better hold his velocity once he matures physically.
G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
9 9 2 3 0 2.89 53 49 20 17 2 20 81 .204
 
2. MATT HARVEY RHP, ST. LUCIE METS
Age: 22. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 210. Drafted: North Carolina '10 (1).
The seventh overall pick in last year's draft, Harvey made his pro debut as St. Lucie's Opening Day starter and immediately reeled off a streak of four straight starts without allowing an earned run. He had succeeded Miller as the FSL's strikeout leader when he was promoted in late June.

"Even from just sitting in the stands, he looked the part," a National League scout said. "Physical. Held his velocity. All the stuff was projectable, too."

Harvey has some deception in his delivery and generates good downhill angle on his fastball, which sits at 91-94 mph and reaches as high as 98. The heater also shows sinking action down in the zone and he can command it to both sides of the plate. He features a pair of power breaking balls in a 12-to-6 curveball and a slider that touches 87 mph, though the latter's bite can get inconsistent.

Harvey's changeup is the least effective of his offerings, though it does feature some fading action. He pitches with an aggressive mentality and rarely needed the changeup to overmatch FSL hitters. Fort Myers manager Jake Mauer said Harvey could have dominated the league with just two pitches.
G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
14 14 8 2 0 2.37 76 67 24 20 5 24 92 .238
 
3. HAK-JU LEE SS, CHARLOTTE STONE CRABS (RAYS)
Age: 20. B-T: L-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 170. Signed: Korea '08.
Righthander Chris Archer was the headliner among the five prospects the Rays received in the offseason deal that sent Matt Garza to the Cubs, but Lee may end up being the biggest prize. Managers have rated Lee the best defensive shortstop in his league two years running, and he has every asset to be a major league shortstop.

Charlotte manager Jim Morrison quipped that Lee rarely has to make backhanded plays because of how fast he gets to everything. He makes good reads on balls and is a well above-average runner with excellent range. He has a strong and accurate arm, with fast hands and a quick release as well, though he can play out of control at times.

Lee slapped balls the other way early in the season, but turned on pitches as the season progressed and finished third in the FSL batting race at .318. While he has a line-drive approach that won't produce big home run numbers, he has the bat and foot speed to compile plenty of doubles and triples. He's an adept bunter who needs to get better at reading pitchers to become a more efficient basestealer.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
400 82 127 16 11 4 23 42 72 28 14 .318 .389 .443
 
4. TREVOR MAY RHP, CLEARWATER THRESHERS (PHILLIES)
Age: 21. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-5. Wt.: 215. Drafted: HS—Kelso, Wash. '08 (4).
After going 5-5, 5.01 and earning a midseason demotion after his mechanics got out of whack in his first taste of the FSL last year, May fared much better in 2011. Better able to repeat his delivery and pitch around the strike zone in his second tour of the league, May led the minors in strikeouts per nine innings (12.4) and the FSL with 208 whiffs. His fastball sits in the low 90s and peaks at 94 mph. He throws downhill with a strong frame, and he has some deception that helps his fastball play a little faster. He also began toying with a two-seamer late in the season in order to induce more groundouts.

May has two projectable secondary pitches in his curveball and changeup. The curve is close to being a straight downer, though it also can get slurvy at times. He has a tendency to slow his arm down on his changeup, but he can locate it and it gets some sink.

Though he improved his control and command, the question with May remains whether he can throw enough quality strikes and get ahead against more advanced competition. He got into too many deep counts against FSL hitters, finishing third in the league in walks.
G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
27 27 10 8 0 3.63 151 121 65 61 8 67 208 .221
 
5. ALEX COLOME RHP, CHARLOTTE STONE CRABS (RAYS)
Age: 22. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 184. Signed: Dominican Republic '07.
Colome's ceiling is as high as that of the pitchers ahead of him on this list, but he has further to go. He's capable of dominating hitters with a lively fastball that sits in the mid-90s and tops out at 97 mph. His heater comes out of his hand easily and he shows some feel for moving it around the strike zone.

Though Colome's breaking pitches can blend together at times, they both have their moments. He can spin a sharp curveball and add or subtract velocity from it, and he mixes in an average slider that gets as high as 88 mph and has some tilt. His 83-84 mph changeup features late movement at times. Colome 's impressive arsenal allowed him to limit opponents to three earned runs or less in 16 of 19 FSL starts succeeded in spite of below-average command. He tended get out of control on the mound and overthrow, losing his arm slot. Some observers felt Colome would fit better as a two-pitch reliever, but he has frontline starter potential with improved command.
G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
19 19 9 5 0 3.66 106 78 45 43 8 44 92 .214
 
6. CARLOS MARTINEZ RHP, PALM BEACH CARDINALS
Age: 19. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 165. Signed: Dominican Republic '10.
Signed for $1.5 million in June 2010, Martinez made his U.S. debut this year. He breezed through low Class A and punctuated his first half with an electrifying appearance at the Futures Game. He found the FSL more of a struggle, battling command and ranking third in the league in walks during his two months with Palm Beach.

Despite his lack of physicality, Martinez still generates easy mid-90s heat and touches 100 mph, even when he has trouble locating the strike zone. He gets some sink on his fastball as well, making it that much more of a weapon.

Martinez had the most problems trying to command his curveball, tending to slow his arm and have the pitch get loopy when he tried to guide it into the strike zone. It's a tight downer at its best. His changeup shows promising fade and has the potential to become a third quality offering, but he presently throws it too hard at 87-88 mph.
G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
10 10 3 3 0 5.28 46 49 31 27 2 30 48 .269
 
7. JONATHAN SINGLETON 1B/OF, CLEARWATER THRESHERS (PHILLIES)
Age: 19. B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 215. Drafted: HS—Long Beach '09 (8).
The FSL's youngest everyday player, Singleton opened the season in left field because his path with the Phillies was blocked by Ryan Howard. The experiment was shelved in May and his hitting improved markedly after he returned to his natural position of first base. It became a moot point when he accompanied Jarred Cosart to Houston in the Hunter Pence trade.

Singleton has a balanced swing, as well as the strength and bat speed to produce above-average power. He has an advanced feel for waiting for pitches he can drive and laying off ones he can't. He did struggle against lefthanders (.189/.339/.232) and at times with recognizing breaking balls, but he shows a good aptitude for making adjustments.

"He's got a pretty good eye," Dunedin manager Clayton McCullough said. "He's pretty selective up there. He's got a good feel for what he's doing. There's no reason why this guy won't hit for power down the road."

Singleton likes to play a shallow, aggressive style at first base. His well below-average speed and fringy arm made left field a stretch, and his inexperience also was a factor. Regardless of what position he ultimately plays, his bat will be his meal ticket.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
320 48 91 14 0 9 47 56 83 3 3 .284 .387 .413
 
8. MATT SZCZUR OF, DAYTONA CUBS
Age: 22. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 195. Drafted: Villanova '10 (5).
A potential mid-round pick in the 2011 NFL draft as a wide receiver, Szczur gave up football when the Cubs gave him a $1.5 million deal in January. Multisport athletes usually need time to develop when they settle on baseball, but he reached high Class A in his first full pro season. After playing football and baseball nearly nonstop for two years, he wore down after reaching Daytona but his upside remained apparent.

Szczur has a compact swing and good bat speed. He's strong for his size and has sneaky power, with most of his five FSL homers coming on line drives. He has well above-average speed, and Bailey called him one of the fastest righthanded batters he's seen. Szczur is still learning now to steal bases but his speed already gives him plenty of range in center field. His breaks and routes on flyballs improved, and he earned constant praise for his hustle and work ethic. He has a solid arm.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
173 20 45 7 2 5 19 5 20 7 0 .260 .283 .410
 
9. JARRED COSART RHP, CLEARWATER THRESHERS (PHILLIES)
Age: 21. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 180. Drafted: HS—League City, Texas '08 (38).
Cosart went 6-3, 2.83 through the FSL all-star break before getting hit hard in the second half of June and July. He recovered to throw seven shutout innings on July 28, one day before he and Singleton became the centerpieces of the package the Phillies used to pry Pence away from the Astros.

Cosart had the strongest arm in Clearwater's prospect-heavy rotation, capable of pitching in the mid-90s and peaking at 99 mph with his fastball. He gets jumpy with his mechanics at times, but he spins a quality curveball when he stays over his back side in his delivery. His changeup has some sink and grades ahead of his curve at this point.

Some observers project Cosart to fit better as a closer than as a starter. His delivery has some effort and he throws across his body, though he does get good angle on his pitches. He has yet to show much durability, missing time with elbow tenderness in 2010 and fading in the second half this year.
G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
20 19 9 8 0 3.92 108 98 55 47 7 43 79 .243
 
10. A.J. JIMENEZ C, DUNEDIN BLUE JAYS
Age: 21. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 5-11. Wt.: 200. Drafted: HS—Bayamon, P.R. '08 (9).
Jimenez tends to get overlooked playing in a Blue Jays system already deep in catching prospects. But he can't stay in the shadows much longer after he had his best year yet with the bat and managers voted him the best defensive catcher in his league for the second straight season.

Jimenez's plus arm helped him rank second in the FSL in terms of erasing 44 percent of basestealers. He has a feel for calling games and is a good receiver, allowing just six passed balls in 98 games. He also runs well for a catcher, rating close to average overall.

As a hitter, Jimenez shows promising pitch recognition and bat speed with a contract-oriented, all-fields approach. He has only fringy power but has a knack for barreling the ball, so some of his doubles could turn into homers as he gets stronger.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
379 49 115 29 1 4 52 28 60 11 2 .303 .353 .417
 
11. ZACK COX 3B, PALM BEACH CARDINALS
Age: 22. B-T: L-R. Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 215. Drafted: Arkansas, '10 (1).
Rated the best pure hitter in the 2010 draft class, Cox had no problems handling FSL pitching en route to a promotion to Double-A in late May. He has a smooth, compact swing and stays inside the ball, utilizing the whole field. He ranked fifth in the league in batting at the time of his departure.

Cox shows some power to his pull side when he does turn on balls, but he prefers to stay gap-to-gap. He does have the quickness in his bat and some lift in his swing to settle in between 15-20 homers per season, with the potential to be a .300 hitter.

Cox's best defensive asset is his solid throwing arm, which is good enough for third base, and he consistently makes the routine play. However, he lacks athleticism and first-step quickness, and he needs to work on getting ready for balls earlier. He's a below-average runner.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
164 22 55 8 0 3 20 11 29 2 2 .335 .380 .439
 
12. SEBASTIAN VALLE C, CLEARWATER THRESHERS (PHILLIES)
Age: 21. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 170. Signed: Mexico, '06.
The youngest everyday catcher in the league, Valle excelled in the first half, hitting .343/.355/.482 before tailing off. He hit 16 homers in low Class A year ago, but the FSL's difficult hitting environments took their toll on his power production.

When he's going well, Valle displays tremendous bat speed and stays inside the ball well, showing he could drive balls to right-center. He has the potential for average raw power, but he needs to shorten his swing and refine his approach. He gets too pull-conscious and is too much of a free swinger, allowing opponents to exploit him by pitching backwards.

Valle is an athletic catcher with solid blocking and receiving skills who handled a prospect-laden pitching staff replete with hard throwers. He has a strong arm and improved his footwork on his throws this year, doing a better job of staying balanced and not falling off to the side. He threw out 32 percent of basestealers.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
348 34 99 19 2 5 40 13 84 0 0 .284 .312 .394
 
13. DREW HUTCHISON RHP, DUNEDIN BLUE JAYS
Age: 21. B-T: L-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 165. Drafted: HS—Lakeland, Fla., '09 (15).
One of the rising stars in the Blue Jays's burgeoning farm system, Hutchison rose from low Class A to Double-A this year. He cruised through the FSL, posting a 0.90 WHIP that would have led the league and a 2.74 ERA that would have ranked second had he stayed long enough to qualify.

A solid strikethrower, Hutchison received praise around the league for his aptitude for pitching. He doesn't have overwhelming heat on his fastball, pitching at 89-93 mph, but it has tremendous life in the zone and he can command it to both sides of the plate.

"He's got good size to get a little stronger, maybe pick up a little bit more velocity," Bailey said. "But he really doesn't need velocity if he continues to command the ball the way that he does. He's a real pitcher. He knows what he's doing."

Hutchison's 81-84 mph changeup is his second-best weapon, and he has the feel for when to use it. His hard slider lags behind his other pitches, because he doesn't command it as well and it gets slurvy at times.
G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
11 10 5 3 0 2.74 62 42 20 19 3 14 66 .194
 
14. TYLER THORNBURG RHP, BREVARD COUNTY MANATEES (BREWERS)
Age: 22. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 5-11. Wt.: 185. Drafted: Charleston Southern, '10 (3).
In his first full year as a pro, Thornburg reached Brevard County in late June. Over the remainder of the season, he ranked second in the league in opponent average (.186) and third in strikeouts (84).Thornburg pitches with an aggressive mentality, attacking hitters with an 89-94 mph fastball that has touched 97 in the past. His changeup is a plus pitch at times, featuring some fading action and 78-81 mph velocity. His 11-to-5 curveball has the potential to be a solid offering, and he's also starting to work on a two-seam fastball to complement his four-seamer.

Thornburg is able to generate good downhill plane despite his lack of size, and his funky delivery gives him added deception. Some scouts worry about his motion hurting his ability to locate his pitches, but he showed average control in the FSL.
G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
12 12 3 6 0 3.57 68 45 30 27 5 33 84 .186
 
15. OSWALDO ARCIA OF, FORT MYERS MIRACLE (TWINS)
Age: 20. B-T: L-R. Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 210. Signed: Venezuela, '07.
Elbow problems limited Arcia to DH duty early in the season at low Class A Beloit and eventually required surgery that landed him on the disabled list for two months. He joined Fort Myers in late June, allowing him to resume playing while being near the Twins' rehab facilities.

Though he wasn't 100 percent, Arcia still displayed his plus power to all fields. He has the strength and bat speed to profile as a slugging corner outfielder. He doesn't draw many walks and needs to control the strike zone better, but he does show a willingness to make adjustments and shorten his stroke with two strikes.

Arcia had average arm strength before he got hurt. He was still tentative with his throws when he first came back, but he did learn to trust his elbow and get better carry on his throws. An average runner at best, he gets good enough reads and jumps on balls to be a serviceable defender.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
213 27 56 14 2 8 32 9 53 1 1 .263 .300 .460
 
16. DREW SMYLY LHP, LAKELAND FLYING TIGERS (TIGERS)
Age: 22. B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 190. Drafted: Arkansas, '10 (2).
A polished college lefthander, Smyly was one of the league's most effective pitchers despite missing a month with a sore arm. Following his promotion to Double-A in late July, he gave up just six earned runs in seven starts.

Smyly lacks a single overwhelming pitch but his all-around package gives him a chance to move quickly as a starter. His fastball tops out at 92 mph but he mostly pitches at 87-89 with some slight tailing action. He can mix in a mid-80s cutter as well that serves as an effective weapon against righthanders, whom he held to a .214 average between his two stops. He also mixes in a curveball, slider and changeup, with the curve showing the most promise.

Smyly has a good pitcher's frame and repeats his delivery easily. He lives in the bottom half of the strike zone, knows when he can elevate the ball and isn't afraid to pitch inside.
G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
14 14 7 3 0 2.58 80 71 32 23 1 21 77 .241
 
17. DECK McGUIRE RHP, DUNEDIN BLUE JAYS
Age: 22. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-6. Wt.: 220. Drafted: Georgia Tech, '10 (1).
Like Smyly, McGuire doesn't have any one pitch that blows opponents away but gets results by mixing several effective ones. The No. 11 pick in last year's draft, he made his pro debut in the FSL this spring and finished the year in Double-A.

McGuire pitches at 88-92 mph with a fastball that gets some sinking action. He does a good job of working around the plate, though he'll need to tighten his fastball command to succeed at higher levels. His 83-85 mph slider is his best secondary pitch, and he also gets good arm action on his changeup and has a get-me-over curveball.
G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
19 18 7 4 0 2.75 105 89 38 32 9 38 102 .228
 
18. AARON HICKS OF, FORT MYERS MIRACLE (TWINS)
Age: 21. B-T: B-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 185. Drafted: HS—Long Beach, '08 (1).
Hicks still has "all-star tools," as one FSL observer put it, but the results continue to underwhelm. He had the worst season of his four-year pro career in 2011 and hit just .195/.309/.300 in the final two months.

Hicks has a quick bat and is a patient hitter, sometimes too patient. He ranked fourth in the league with 78 walks but also laid off many pitches he might have been able to drive and then swing at ones he couldn't. He mostly has doubles power right now, though he still has a lean frame and could develop more pop as he matures physically.

A natural righthander, Hicks continues to struggle mightily from the left side of the plate. He batted just .228/.357/.348 as a lefty, compared to .263/.349/.401 as a righty.

Hicks' defense remains ahead of his offense. He has the plus speed to play a shallow center field and go get balls, though it hasn't translated into bunting and stealing effectively. His excellent arm ranks among the best in the minors, and managers rated it the strongest in the FSL.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
443 79 107 31 5 5 38 78 110 17 9 .242 .354 .368
 
19. BRODY COLVIN RHP, CLEARWATER THRESHERS (PHILLIES)
Age: 21. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 195. Drafted: HS—Lafayette, La., '09 (7).
The third strong-armed member of Clearwater's rotation, Colvin's results have yet to match up with his stuff. He has gone just 9-16, 3.96 since signing for $900,000 as a seventh-round pick two years ago. He missed a month after injuring his back in his first start this year and never got untracked.

Colvin's repertoire can be impressive, starting with a 90-94 mph fastball that peaks at 95. He gets good arm speed and sink on his changeup but has trouble spotting it. He flashes the ability to spin a quality curveball, though it comes and goes.

Colvin is still learning to mix his pitches effectively and gets too predictable with his fastball. He tends to throw across his body, and while the Phillies have tried to straighten him out, he has trouble repeating his altered mechanics. He leaves ball up in the zone too frequently, throwing hittable pitches and not missing bats like someone with his stuff should.
G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
22 21 3 8 0 4.71 117 131 67 61 10 42 78 .289
 
20. WILMER FLORES SS, ST. LUCIE METS
Age: 20. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 175. Signed: Venezuela, '07.
While Flores couldn't match the .300/.324/.415 numbers he put up at St. Lucie in the second half of 2010, his hitting skills still impressed league observers. He has an advanced feel for hitting for his age, making consistent contact, using the whole field and improving his pitch recognition as the season went on. As he fills out and gets stronger, he could become a 20-homer threat.

"He's got a pretty good idea of what he's doing at the plate," Mauer said. "He knows the strike zone. He's going to hit some balls over the fence, no doubt about it."

Flores' bat will have to carry him because his speed and athleticism are below-average and not conducive to playing shortstop at higher levels. He throws well enough to play third base, but some scouts think he lacks infield actions and eventually will have to move to an outfield corner or first base.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
516 52 139 26 2 9 81 27 68 2 2 .269 .309 .380