League Top 20 Prospects

2011 Southern League Top 20 Prospects With Scouting Reports




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FIVE YEARS AGO
*1. Homer Bailey, rhp, Chattanooga (Reds)
*2. Yovani Gallardo, rhp, Huntsville (Brewers)
*3. Scott Elbert, lhp, Jacksonville (Dodgers)
*4. Matt Kemp, of, Jacksonville (Dodgers)
*5. Andy LaRoche, 3b, Jacksonville (Dodgers)
*6. Ryan Braun, 3b, Huntsville (Brewers)
*7. Joey Votto, 1b, Chattanooga (Reds)
*8. Jeff Niemann, rhp, Montgomery (Devil Rays)
*9. Anibal Sanchez, rhp, Carolina (Marlins)
*10. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, c, Mississippi (Braves)
*11. Miguel Montero, c, Tennessee (Diamondbacks)
*12. Sean Gallagher, rhp, West Tenn (Cubs)
13. Tyler Lumsden, lhp, Birmingham (White Sox)
*14. George Kottaras, c, Mobile (Padres)
*15. Alberto Gonzalez, ss, Tennessee (Diamondbacks)
*16. Mitch Talbot, rhp, Montgomery (Devil Rays)
*17. Eric Patterson, 2b, West Tenn (Cubs)
*18. Juan Salas, rhp, Montgomery (Devil Rays)
*19. Andy Sonnastine, rhp, Montgomery (Devil Rays)
*20. Lance Broadway, rhp, Birmingham (White Sox)
* Played in major leagues
Pitching prospects stood out in the Double-A Southern League this year, none more than Montgomery lefthander Matt Moore. He started to establish himself as the top pitching prospect in the minors while with the Biscuits, solidified the notion with even more dominating numbers in Triple-A and put an exclamation point on it by striking out 11 Yankees in five shutout innings in his first big league start.

Mobile had the most prospect-laden rotation in the league by the end of the season with Tyler Skaggs, Jarrod Parker, Patrick Corbin and No. 3 overall pick Trevor Bauer. Despite the promotion of league MVP Paul Goldschmidt to Arizona, the BayBears won the playoffs thanks to their pitching staff and a well-rounded lineup.

Pitchers grabbed 13 of the spots on this Top 20, and that number would have been higher had Bauer, Chattanooga's Rubby de la Rosa, Jackson's James Paxton and Birmingham's Addison Reed logged enough work to qualify.

1. MATT MOORE LHP, MONTGOMERY BISCUITS (RAYS)
Age: 22. B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 205. Drafted: HS—Moriarity, N.M., '07 (8).
After winning back-to-back minor league strikeout titles, Moore ranked second in the minors with 210 whiffs this year and cemented his case as baseball's top pitching prospect.

Moore has a smooth delivery and easy arm action that allows him to pitch at 92-95 mph and touch 97. His curveball is a power breaker in the low 80s with quick, late bite, a plus-plus putaway pitch against lefties and righties.Moore had shown feel for his changeup in the past, but it accelerated quickly for him this year with an increased emphasis on the pitch. His changeup is now more consistently a plus offering that he throws with good arm speed, deception and fade. While throwing strikes was an issue for him early in his career, he improved in that area as well.

"You wonder what is this guy even doing in this league," Mobile manager Turner Ward said. "He just didn't belong."
G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
18 18 8 3 0 2.20 102 68 31 25 8 28 131 .187
 
2. TYLER SKAGGS LHP, MOBILE BAYBEARS (DIAMONDBACKS)
Age: 20. B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 195. Drafted: HS—Santa Monica, Calif., '09 (1s).
Skaggs signed with the Angels as a supplemental first-round pick in 2009, then moved to the Diamondbacks a year later in a four-player deal for Dan Haren. Skaggs made a strong first impression with his new organization, ranking fourth in the minors with 198 strikeouts and making his Double-A debut two days after his 20th birthday.

He has a simple delivery and feel for pitching beyond his years. He commands a lively 88-92 mph fastball that can touch a tick higher. His best pitch is his sharp curveball, though some scouts think he'll have to make adjustments as hitters at higher levels will recognize the pitch out of his hand earlier. Skaggs also shows feel for a changeup that has good fade, giving him another potential plus pitch.
G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
10 10 4 1 0 2.50 58 45 20 16 4 15 73 .216
 
3. PAUL GOLDSCHMIDT 1B, MOBILE BAYBEARS (DIAMONDBACKS)
Age: 23. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 245. Drafted: Texas State, '09 (8).
The MVP of the high Class A California League last year, Goldschmidt added a Southern League MVP trophy to his collection this year.

Goldschmidt has outstanding balance and doesn't have many moving parts in his swing, so there's minimal wasted effort getting his swing started. He's strong, keeps his weight back well and stays within his swing, driving the ball for plus-plus power to all fields. He's prone to chasing high fastballs and always will have a high strikeout rate, but he'll also draw plenty of walks and maintain a high OBP.

Though he's a well below-average runner, Goldschmidt has worked to improve his defense and become close to an average first baseman. He has gotten better at picking balls in the dirt and turning the double play.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
366 84 112 21 3 30 94 82 92 9 3 .306 .435 .626
 
4. BRETT JACKSON OF, TENNESSEE SMOKIES (CUBS)
Age: 23. B-T: L-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 210. Drafted: California, '09 (1).
Jackson was one of the circuit's best two-way threats for the first three months and then kicked his offensive game into an extra gear after he was promoted to Triple-A in July. He's a well-rounded player with the potential for five average or better tools.

Jackson is an aggressive hitter within the strike zone but has a selective approach. He works deep counts and when he swings, he swings hard and shows good bat speed with solid-average raw power. He's not a high-contact hitter, though, as he'll swing through fastballs and breaking balls and he pulls off the ball occasionally.

Though he's not a burner, Jackson is an above-average runner who can steal bases. He plays a solid center field with good jumps and an average, accurate arm.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
246 45 63 10 3 10 32 45 74 15 6 .256 .373 .443
 
5. JARROD PARKER RHP, MOBILE BAYBEARS (DIAMONDBACKS)
Age: 22. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 195. Drafted: HS—Norwell, Ind., '07 (1).
Parker reached Mobile as a 20-year-old in 2009, but Tommy John surgery after the season caused him to miss all of last season. He initially struggled upon his return to the mound this year, but he posted a 2.84 ERA in the second half to earn a September callup. He pitched 5 2/3 shutout innings against the Dodgers in his first big league start.

A good athlete with a sound delivery, Parker ranges from 90-95 mph with his fastball. He has learned to pitch more off a two-seamer, getting plenty of grounders and improving his command. His slider was a plus-plus offering before he got hurt, and though he struggled to regain his feel for it early in 2011, it was an above-average pitch again by midseason.

He started using his average curveball more frequently this year. He throws a changeup with deceptive arm speed, and it could become a consistent swing-and-miss pitch.
G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
26 26 11 8 0 3.79 131 112 61 55 7 55 112 .236
 
6. ARODYS VIZCAINO RHP, MISSISSIPPI BRAVES
Age: 20. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 190. Signed: Dominican Republic, '07.
One of three players the Yankees gave up in the Javier Vazquez trade in December 2009, Vizcaino partially tore an elbow ligament in his first season in the Braves system. He didn't require surgery, however, and rose quickly in 2011, starting the season in high Class A and finishing in Atlanta's bullpen.

Vizcaino throws a lively 92-97 mph fastball and a knee-buckling curveball that grades out as at least a plus pitch, though some scouts would like to see him pitch off his fastball more. His changeup made significant strides, flashing as a third plus pitch at times with good fade.

While Vizcaino has frontline-starter stuff, his durability to remains in question. He has worked just 286 innings in four pro seasons. The Braves moved him to the bullpen in mid-July and kept him there the rest of the year.
G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
11 8 2 3 0 3.81 50 44 21 21 3 18 55 .234
 
7. RANDALL DELGADO RHP, MISSISSIPPI BRAVES
Age: 21. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 200. Signed: Panama, '06.
The Braves find more prospects in Panama than anyone, and Delgado could be their greatest success story. He was Atlanta's most effective big league starter down the stretch, posting a 2.52 ERA in five September starts.

Delgado is a good athlete with clean mechanics. He uses the same arm speed on all of his pitches, making it difficult for hitters to pick up the ball. His fastball sits at 92-93 mph and tops out at 97, his curveball gives him a second plus pitch and his changeup is a solid though inconsistent third offering.

While Delgado has three quality pitches, he hasn't dominated as much as his stuff might suggest. His fastball command still needs improvement if he's to become a mid-rotation starter. He mixes his pitches well, but some scouts would like him use his fastball more.
G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
21 21 5 5 0 3.84 117 116 58 50 11 46 110 .258
 
8. WILY PERALTA RHP, HUNTSVILLE STARS (BREWERS)
Age: 22. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 240. Signed: Dominican Republic, '05.
Since missing the 2007 season recovering from Tommy John surgery, Peralta has ascended steadily through the Brewers system. After a brief Double-A cameo in 2010, he returned to lead the SL in ERA (3.46) and excelled following a promotion to Triple-A in August.

Peralta has a big, physical frame and a repeatable delivery. He sits at 91-95 mph with his fastball, reaching as high as 98. He throws both two- and four-seam fastballs, with the two-seamer running hard down and in to righties.

Peralta's secondary pitches are at least average, with most observers preferring his hard slider to his sometimes-inconsistent changeup. He has made strides with his strike-throwing, but he still needs better command and pitchability to make it as a mid-rotation starter.
G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
21 21 9 7 0 3.46 120 106 57 46 9 48 117 .243
 
9. YASMANI GRANDAL C, CAROLINA MUDCATS (REDS)
Age: 22. B-T: B-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 205. Drafted: Miami, '10 (1).
The 12th overall pick in 2010, Grandal moved from high Class A to Triple-A in his first full pro season. His bat came as advertised but his defense needs some work. He reminded SL observers of Ramon Hernandez.

Grandal is a balanced hitter with good bat speed and an advanced approach at the plate. He understands the strike zone and uses the whole field, so he should be able to hit for a high average. He has average power with perhaps more down the road.

Before he can catch in the big leagues, Grandal will have to clean up his receiving ability. He committed 19 passed balls in 90 games between his three stops. He has solid arm strength and threw out 36 percent of SL basestealers.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
156 20 47 15 0 4 26 13 39 0 1 .301 .360 .474
 
10. ALLEN WEBSTER RHP, CHATTANOOGA LOOKOUTS (DODGERS)
Age: 21. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 185. Drafted: HS—Madison, N.C., '08 (18).
After posting a 2.33 ERA in high Class A to open the year, Webster had continued success in Chattanooga before he tired in August.

With an easy delivery, Webster pitches off a fastball that ranges from 90-95 mph. It's a power sinker that he uses to get ahead in the count or induce groundballs, though he's still refining his fastball command.

His best pitch is a sinking, fading changeup that he throws with deceiving arm speed. Some scouts project it as a future plus-plus pitch. His curveball is inconsistent but can be an average pitch at times.
G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
18 17 6 3 0 5.04 91 101 53 51 7 36 73 .286
 
11. CHRIS ARCHER RHP, MONTGOMERY BISCUITS (RAYS)
Age: 22. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 185. Drafted: HS—Clayton, N.C., '06 (5).
Archer and shortstop Hak-Ju Lee were the central pieces in the trade that sent Matt Garza from the Rays to the Cubs last offseason. Instead of building on a breakout 2010 season, Archer struggled to find the strike zone and finished third in the Southern League with 80 walks, though he pitched well in two September starts for Triple-A Durham.

Despite his struggles, Archer still has very good stuff. Big and athletic with a quick arm, he has a fastball that sits at 90-95 mph and tops out at 97. His best pitch is a plus-plus slider, a true out pitch with good tilt and depth in the mid- to high 80s.

As good as his slider is, he leans on it too heavily and his overuse of it has become predictable for hitters. He employs his slider as a chase pitch early in the count and tries to trick hitters, avoiding contact rather than attacking more aggressively in the strike zone with his fastball. Because he works behind in the count so often, he doesn't use his changeup much, and it's a below-average pitch right now.

With a hard fastball/slider combination, Archer could slow down hitters' bats with a more reliable changeup. If he can throw more strikes and pitch off his fastball, he could be a frontline starter. If not, he still has the repertoire to be a top arm out of the bullpen, where his fastball would play up even more.
G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
25 25 8 7 0 4.42 134 136 76 66 11 80 118 .266
 
12. ALFREDO SILVERIO OF, CHATTANOOGA LOOKOUTS (DODGERS)
Age: 24. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 205. Signed: Dominican Republic, '03.
Though he's already 24, Silverio boosted his prospect stock this year as he combined quality production with the potential for five average or better tools. He led the league with a 18 triples (tied for the most in the minors) and 76 extra-base hits, and his .882 OPS was 99 points better than his best in three previous full pro seasons.

Silverio is athletic, strong and has a quick bat. He has a powerful swing that generates loft and average power. He doesn't draw a high number of walks but gets good marks for his pitch recognition and approach. He takes quality at-bats and doesn't put himself into many bad counts by chasing out of the strike zone, combining good plate coverage with an understanding of his own hitting zone.

"You have to make good pitches to get him out, " Barkett said. "That's what you look for in this league—if you've really got to execute pitches to get somebody out. He was one of the guys."

Silverio is a solid-average runner with the speed to be a basestealing threat, but his efficiency needs to improve after he got thrown out 12 times in 23 attempts this year. He's a reliable center fielder who gets good jumps and has a strong, accurate arm.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
533 90 163 42 18 16 85 30 91 11 12 .306 .340 .542
 
13. NATHAN EOVALDI RHP, CHATTANOOGA LOOKOUTS (DODGERS)
Age: 21. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 185. Drafted: HS—Alvin, Texas, '08 (11).
Eovaldi threw a career-high 138 in 2011, starting the year in Double-A before making his major league debut on Aug. 6. He gave up 11 runs in six big league starts for the Dodgers before transitioning into a bullpen role in September.

Eovaldi throws from a high three-quarters slot, working at 92-95 mph and peaking at 98 with his fastball, which shows occasional sink and late life. He threw a curveball in the past, but he struggled to throw it consistently for strikes and switched to a slider last year during instructional league. His slider is an average pitch that gets some swings and misses but has inconsistent tilt and bit.

While Eovaldi's straight changeup is below average, it can keep hitters off balance. He throws with some effort and wraps his wrist in the back of his arm action, which hampers his control and can create stress on his arm. If he doesn't have the durability or command to hold up as a starter, he could profile as a quality reliever.
G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
20 19 6 5 0 2.62 103 76 41 30 3 46 99 .203
 
14. A.J. POLLOCK OF, MOBILE BAYBEARS (DIAMONDBACKS)
Age: 23. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 205. Drafted: Notre Dame, '09 (1).
After missing all of 2010 with a freak elbow injury that required surgery, Pollock was one of the most well-rounded players in the Southern League. He played solid defense in center field while leading the league in runs (103) and hits (169) while ranking third in steals (36) and doubles (41) and fourth in total bases (244). He endeared himself to managers around the league with his hard-nosed style of play and overall feel for the game.

Pollock doesn't have one standout tool, but he can do a bit of everything on the field and has the baseball instincts to play above his raw physical ability. He has feel for hitting and is an aggressive within the strike zone. His power is below average, so he projects more as a line-drive hitter who uses the gaps rather than a major home run threat.

Pollock is a slightly above-average runner with excellent instincts on the bases and a quick first step, which makes him more of a basestealing threat than his pure speed would suggest. Some scouts project him as a quality defender in center field, while others see him as merely adequate. He has an average arm.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
550 103 169 41 5 8 73 44 86 36 7 .307 .357 .444
 
15. VINNIE CATRICALA OF/3B, JACKSON GENERALS (MARINERS)
Age: 22. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 210. Drafted: Hawaii, '09 (10).
As a 10th-round pick, Catricala has had to prove himself at every level, and so far he has exceeded all expectations. He has hit .322/.397/.536 in three pro seasons, putting up his best numbers after he arrived in Jackson in late June.

Catricala has a sound approach, good bat speed and a feel for making contact, so could hit for a average and post high OBPs. With his bat speed and strength, the ball jumps off his bat and he's able to generate above-average raw power. He has the power to hit 20-plus homers per year, as well as a level swing that gets to the zone quickly and stays there for a long time.

Questions about Catricala revolve more around his glove than his bat. While some league observers liked his play at third base, he has bounced between third, first base and left field because of his erratic defense. He made 14 errors in 54 games at third base this year, and he has significantly below-average speed and range to go with just an average arm.

"He has one of the best swings and hitting approaches I've seen in a long time, " Huntsville manager Mike Guerrero said. "He can hit for average and power. His offense is going to carry him a long way."
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
239 45 83 29 3 11 45 24 47 9 1 .347 .420 .632
 
16. PATRICK CORBIN LHP, MOBILE BAYBEARS (DIAMONDBACKS)
Age: 22. B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 165. Drafted: HS—Chipola (Fla.) JC, '09 (2).
The Diamondbacks got two quality lefthanded pitching prospects in the Haren trade a year ago. In addition to Skaggs, they also landed Corbin, who topped the SL in innings (160) and strikeouts (142).
A former basketball player at Mohawk Valley (N.Y.) CC, Corbin has tremendous athleticism that helps him repeat his delivery and throw plenty of strikes from his three-quarters arm slot. He pitches to both sides of the plate with his 87-92 mph fastball, working aggressively to get ahead of hitters. He spots his tailing fastball well enough that he can pitch nearly exclusively with it early in the game, then use his offspeed stuff later in the game when necessary.

Corbin's sharp, late-breaking slider grades out as average or a tick better. He mixes in an effective changeup that's average now and could be a plus pitch in time. Though his arm action does give some scouts pause, he has the upside of a solid mid-rotation starter.
G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
26 26 9 8 0 4.21 160 172 78 75 15 40 142 .275
 
17. TYLER PASTORNICKY SS, MISSISSIPPI BRAVES
Age: 20. B-T: L-R. Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 150. Drafted: HS—Bradenton, Fla., '08 (5).
After growing frustrated with Yunel Escobar in 2010, the Braves dealt him and Jo-Jo Reyes to Toronto to acquire Alex Gonzalez, Tim Collins and Pastornicky. While Escobar has bounced back to become one of baseball's best shortstops, Gonzalez scuffled at the plate this year and Atlanta sent Collins to the Royals a month after acquiring him. Yet Pastornicky still could salvage some value from the deal for the Braves.

The son of former big leaguer Cliff Pastornicky makes consistent contact thanks to his feel for hitting, compact swing and ability to get the bat head through the zone quickly. He could be an above-average hitter who strokes line drives to all fields. His power is well below average, so he projects as no more than a gap-to-gap doubles hitter.

Pastornicky is an above-average runner with sound defensive fundamentals. He has soft hands, quick feet and a slightly above-average arm. Some scouts view him as an everyday shortstop, while other think he profiles better at second base and others wonder if his lack of power might make him better suited to be a utilityman.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
269 42 94 11 6 3 31 20 41 28 12 .349 .395 .468
 
18. CHRIS WITHROW RHP, CHATTANOOGA LOOKOUTS (DODGERS)
Age: 22. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 195. Drafted: HS—Midland, Texas, '07 (1).
Since signing as a first-round pick in 2007, Withrow has combined quality stuff with mediocre results. He led the SL with 9.1 strikeouts per nine innings, but his erratic control prevented him from working deep into games. He recorded consecutive quality starts only once all year.

Withrow has plenty of arm strength, with a sinking fastball that sits at 90-94 mph and can touch 98. His curveball shows flashes of becoming a plus pitch with hard downward bite. Both his fastball and curveball are inconsistent and can flatten out, and his fringy changeup is a distant No. 3 pitch for now.

Withrow's main need is to develop better control. He doesn't throw enough strikes, leading to too many walks and allowing hitters to sit on his fastball. His athleticism should help him make adjustments and repeat his delivery, but so far he hasn't been able to do so.
G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
25 25 6 6 0 4.20 129 111 68 60 8 75 130 .239
 
19. BRETT OBERHOLTZER LHP, MISSISSIPPI BRAVES
Age: 22. B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 230. Drafted: Seminole (Fla.) CC, '08 (8).
Rising through the Braves system quickly since signing as an eighth-rounder in 2008, Oberholtzer opened the year in Double-A as a 21-year-old. He pitched well for Mississippi before going to the Astros in a four-player package for Michael Bourn in July.

Oberholtzer doesn't have the upside of his former teammates Vizcaino and Delgado, but he has the average stuff and the strike-throwing ability to profile as a quality No. 4 starter. Throwing from a high three-quarters slot, he has some funkiness in his mechanics but he's athletic and repeats his delivery well, which helps him pound the strike zone with four pitches.

Oberholtzer pitches at 88-92 mph and touches 94 with his fastball. His changeup is average to a tick above with good deception, and his sharp slider earns similar grades. His curveball gives him a fourth average offering at times.
G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
21 21 9 9 0 3.74 128 119 65 53 6 42 93 .249
 
20. SHAWN TOLLESON RHP, CHATTANOOGA LOOKOUTS (DODGERS)
Age: 23. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 215. Drafted: Baylor, '10 (30).
Once a top prospect, Tolleson fought injuries and inconsistency for four years at Baylor before signing as a 30th-rounder in 2010. He has driven his prospect stock back up in a hurry by posting numbers that look like a misprint: a 1.01 ERA, .198 opponent average and 144-23 K-BB ratio in 98 pro innings.

Tolleson operates at 91-93 mph with his fastball and backs it up with an average slider with good bite and a cutter than can give hitters fits. He mixes his pitches well, throws them for strikes and all of his pitches have good movement, a combination that keep opponents off balance. He has effort in his delivery, releasing the ball from a high three-quarters slot and finishing with a head jerk, but that also adds to his deception.
G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
38 0 4 2 12 1.62 44 42 14 8 2 11 55 .251