Top 100 Prospects Update

Lefties Kershaw, Price narrowly edge Wieters for top spot




TOP 25 PROSPECTS: MIDSEASON SNAPSHOT

With three months of the season expired, we have a pretty good idea what the top quarter of the Top 100 Prospects list would look like. To qualify for this list, a player must be rookie-eligible; he must to be in the minor leagues at the time of the Futures Game; and he must have been under contract prior to 2008. Statistics for batters are average, on-base percentage and slugging; for pitchers, they are ERA, strikeouts per nine innings and walks per nine innings.

Rk. Player, Pos., Age, Team Stats (Level) In Brief
1. Clayton Kershaw, lhp, 20, Dodgers 2.37/9.3/3.1 (AA) A bit wild in big leagues, but still has two elite pitches and ideal build
2. David Price, lhp, 22, Rays 1.68/9.2/2.4 (AA) Elbow injury limited him to nine starts, but he's pitched as advertised
3. Matt Wieters, c, 22, Orioles .345/.448/.577 (AA) Power from both sides of plate, a good eye and plus defense to boot
4. Colby Rasmus, of, 21, Cardinals .249/.351/.401 (AAA) Has rebounded from brutal start, and remains on track for 2009
5. Jason Heyward, of, 19, Braves .340/.400/.497 (LoA) Prototypical corner outfield profile: big bat, good eye, solid glove
6. Cameron Maybin, of, 21, Marlins .265/.357/.461 (AA) Raw tools will play but pitch recognition needs refinement
7. Matt LaPorta, of, 23, Indians .288/.402/.576 (AA) Immense power bat acclimated quickly to Southern League
8. Rick Porcello, rhp, 19, Tigers 2.79/5.0/2.5 (HiA) Up to the challenge of High A only one year out of high school
9. Andrew McCutchen, of, 21, Pirates .286/.372/.413 (AAA) Showing good approach, glove, speed and developing power in Triple-A
10. Travis Snider, of, 20, Blue Jays .271/.344/.473 (AA) Has struggled with strikeouts, but power at young age is undeniable
11. Chris Tillman, rhp, 20, Orioles 3.12/9.3/4.6 (AA) Youngest Eastern League hurler has been both wild and dominating
12. Neftali Feliz, rhp, 20, Rangers 2.69/11.6/3.0 (AA) Truly special fastball was too much for Low A batters to handle
13. Trevor Cahill, rhp, 20, Athletics 2.62/10.2/3.3 (AA) Minor league strikeout leader also adept at keeping ball down
14. Austin Jackson, of, 21, Yankees .269/.349/.431 (AA) Burgeoning five-tool talent refining game in Double-A
15. Dexter Fowler, of, 22, Rockies .330/.409/.517 (AA) Free from injury, switch-hitter has started driving the ball
16. Brett Anderson, lhp, 20, Athletics 3.87/10.2/2.0 (AA) Advanced command more than enough to tame Cal League
17. Michael Bowden, rhp, 21, Red Sox 2.36/8.4/2.0 (AA) Despite unorthodox delivery, results at Double-A speak too loudly
18. Jarrod Parker, rhp, 19, D'backs 3.25/8.2/2.5 (LoA) One of top prep arms from '07 draft has been solid if unspectacular
19. Tim Alderson, rhp, 19, Giants 3.35/7.8/2.9 (HiA) Like Porcello, an '07 high school draft making good in High A
20. Mat Gamel, 3b, 22, Brewers .371/.432/.615 (AA) Hitting machine leads Double-A in average, doubles, extra-base hits
21. Wade Davis, rhp, 22, Rays 3.98/6.6/3.5 (AA) Not the smoothest transition to Double-A, but have faith in the profile
22. Jeremy Hellickson, rhp, 21, Rays 2.76/9.1/0.6 (AA) Always around the strike zone, but a bit homer-prone (14 in 91 innings)
23. Mike Moustakas, 3b, 19, Royals .244/.306/.405 (LoA) Good power in Midwest League (12 homers), but not stellar for No. 2 pick
24. Fernando Martinez, of, 19, Mets .293/.330/.429 (AA) Improved power in repeat of Double-A, but injury problems persist
25. Madison Bumgarner, lhp, 18, Giants 1.77/10.1/1.7 (LoA) Big lefty's peripherals off the charts—three home runs in 81 innings
Just missing the cut: Lars Anderson, 1b, Red Sox; Adrian Cardenas, 2b, Phillies; Alcides Escobar, ss, Brewers; Michael Saunders, of, Mariners; Max Scherzer, rhp, Diamondbacks.

In addition to ranking the midseason top 25 prospects, here's a look at how all of the preseason Top 100 Prospects (complete with rankings) are faring in 2008.

BRING YOUR TOOLBOX

Elusive as he is, the five-tool player is still the baseball gold standard. While the group here may lack for a true five-tool behemoth, like Justin Upton last year, you can't go wrong with Colby Rasmus, Cameron Maybin or Andrew McCutchen—three of the biggest hauls from the high-school outfield crop of the 2005 draft—or Austin Jackson or Dexter Fowler.

5. Colby Rasmus, of, Cardinals
6. Cameron Maybin, of, Marlins
7. Clayton Kershaw, lhp, Dodgers
10. David Price, lhp, Rays
12. Matt Wieters, c, Orioles
14. Andrew McCutchen, of, Pirates
21. Rick Porcello, rhp, Tigers
28. Jason Heyward, of, Braves
39. Reid Brignac, ss, Rays
41. Austin Jackson, of, Yankees
67. Chris Tillman, rhp, Orioles
74. Dexter Fowler, of, Rockies
92. Gorkys Hernandez, of, Braves
93. Neftali Feliz, rhp, Rangers

RIGHT ON SCHEDULE

The top talents of the 2007 draft on the mound (David Price) and at the plate (Matt Wieters) highlight this section, as both have reached Double-A in short order and lived up to their college billing. Two members of the amazing 2005 draft, outfielders Cameron Maybin and Colby Rasmus, have hit some speed bumps this year but both have continued to show premium tools as they refine their hitting and power in the high minors. The top talents in the South Atlantic League two years ago included shortstop Elvis Andrus and outfielder Fernando Martinez, who have progressed to Double-A but haven't quite produced breakthrough seasons yet. Despite just so-so results, we'll give Ryan Kalish and Phillippe Aumont a pass because of their amateur backgrounds; Kalish, who is recovering from a hamate bone injury, is a New Jersey prep product, while Aumont, who has missed time with a sore elbow, hails from Quebec.

5. Colby Rasmus, of, Cardinals
6. Cameron Maybin, of, Marlins
10. David Price, lhp, Rays
11. Travis Snider, of, Blue Jays
12. Matt Wieters, c, Orioles
14. Andrew McCutchen, of, Pirates
19. Elvis Andrus, ss, Rangers
20. Fernando Martinez, of, Mets
21. Rick Porcello, rhp, Tigers
28. Jason Heyward, of, Braves
33. Angel Villalona, 1b, Giants
36. Brett Anderson, lhp, Athletics
39. Reid Brignac, ss, Rays
40. Lars Anderson, 1b, Red Sox
41. Austin Jackson, of, Yankees
46. Jarrod Parker, rhp, Diamondbacks
54. Carlos Carrasco, rhp, Phillies
57. Daniel Cortes, rhp, Royals
67. Chris Tillman, rhp, Orioles
74. Dexter Fowler, of, Rockies
76. Adrian Cardenas, ss, Phillies
81. Jordan Walden, rhp, Angels
83. Phillippe Aumont, rhp, Mariners
84. Tim Alderson, rhp, Giants
85. Bryan Anderson, c, Cardinals
87. Beau Mills, 1b, Indians
91. Nolan Reimold, of, Orioles
92. Gorkys Hernandez, of, Braves
93. Neftali Feliz, rhp, Rangers
94. Michael Bowden, rhp, Red Sox
96. Ryan Kalish, of, Red Sox

THE GRADUATES

Maybe you've heard of Evan Longoria, the Rays third baseman who has terrorized pitchers (.280/.350/.529) and played an excellent third base for the AL East leaders. Jay Bruce made a similar splash for Cincinnati, going 11-for-his-first-19 with three doubles and a walk-off homer, but he's come back to earth a bit since then.

1. Jay Bruce, of, Reds
2. Evan Longoria, 3b, Rays
3. Joba Chamberlain, rhp, Yankees
4. Clay Buchholz, rhp, Red Sox
8. Franklin Morales, lhp, Rockies
9. Homer Bailey, rhp, Reds
13. Jacoby Ellsbury, of, Red Sox
22. Carlos Gonzalez, of, Athletics
30. Kosuke Fukudome, of, Cubs
31. Andy LaRoche, 3b, Dodgers
32. Chase Headley, of/3b, Padres
34. Johnny Cueto, rhp, Reds
44. Joey Votto, 1b, Reds
45. Ian Kennedy, rhp, Yankees
47. Geovany Soto, c, Cubs
48. Daric Barton, 1b, Athletics
49. Jair Jurrjens, rhp, Braves
52. Carlos Gomez, of, Twins
53. J.R. Towles, c, Astros
55. Chin-Lung Hu, ss, Dodgers
56. Nick Blackburn, rhp, Twins
63. Luke Hochevar, rhp, Royals
64. Justin Masterson, rhp, Red Sox
69. Radhames Liz, rhp, Orioles
72. Manny Parra, lhp, Brewers
82. Sean Gallagher, rhp, Cubs
98. Greg Reynolds, rhp, Rockies

STAY AWAY FROM TRAINERS

Jake McGee and Fautino de los Santos both succumbed to Tommy John surgery, while Adam Miller had surgery on his right middle finger to reattach the flexor tendon to the bone. Scott Elbert missed the first two months of the season—and most of 2007—after having surgery to remove scar tissue from the labrum of his left shoulder. Troy Patton also dealt with shoulder woes, going down with a torn labrum. Desmond Jennings had shoulder surgery, just months after being slowed by a back injury. Hector Gomez has been out all year with an injury sustained after hitting a foul ball off his left knee.

10. David Price, lhp, Rays
15. Jake McGee*, lhp, Rays
20. Fernando Martinez, of, Mets
27. Chris Marrero*, of, Nationals
29. Adam Miller*, rhp, Indians
59. Desmond Jennings*, of, Rays
60. Fautino de los Santos*, rhp, Athletics
78. Troy Patton*, lhp, Orioles
79. Hank Conger, c, Angels
83. Phillippe Aumont, rhp, Mariners
88. Scott Elbert, lhp, Dodgers
95. Hector Gomez*, ss, Rockies
*Out for the year

ON THE BRINK

Players in this group have proven themselves in the high minors and may not qualify for next year's Top 100, so we acknowledge their fine work.

7. Clayton Kershaw, lhp, Dodgers
23. Matt LaPorta, of, Brewers
38. Ian Stewart, 3b, Rockies
42. Jeff Clement, c, Mariners
58. Chris Volstad, rhp, Marlins
65. Chris Davis, 1b, Rangers
66. Max Scherzer, rhp, Diamondbacks
73. Jed Lowrie, ss, Red Sox
77. Eric Hurley, rhp, Rangers
86. Collin Balester, rhp, Nationals
89. Steve Pearce, of/1b, Pirates
97. Chris Perez, rhp, Cardinals
99. Jeff Niemann, rhp, Rays

GROWING PAINS

Brandon Wood has yet to prove he can hit major league pitching, and his performance has not improved in a second try at Triple-A. In some cases, like Jose Tabata and Carlos Triunfel, suspensions have joined struggles at the plate, while a 50-game suspension for human growth hormone gutted Jordan Schafer's first half. Josh Vitters, the third overall pick in 2007, is still looking to stick in full-season ball. Matt Antonelli (.189/.316/.272) and Neil Walker (.233/.271/.438) are having bad years at Triple-A, while Deolis Guerra's flashes of greatness are still there, but he's looking for consistency in results and velocity. Gio Gonzalez, the centerpiece of the Nick Swisher trade, has dominated at times, but he's also got a 4.84 ERA.

16. Brandon Wood, ss, Angels
17. Wade Davis, rhp, Rays
18. Mike Moustakas, 3b, Royals
24. Nick Adenhart, rhp, Angels
25. Jordan Schafer, of, Braves
26. Gio Gonzalez, lhp, Athletics
35. Deolis Guerra, rhp, Twins
37. Jose Tabata, of, Yankees
43. Josh Vitters, 3b, Cubs
50. Matt Antonelli, 2b, Padres
51. Ross Detwiler, lhp, Nationals
61. Neil Walker, 3b, Pirates
62. Carlos Triunfel, ss, Mariners
68. Brett Sinkbeil, rhp, Marlins
70. Brandon Jones, of, Braves
71. Chuck Lofgren, lhp, Indians
75. Tyler Colvin, of, Cubs
80. Taylor Teagarden, c, Rangers
90. Joe Savery, lhp, Phillies
100. Drew Stubbs, of, Reds

ON THE RISE

By definition this group is disparate, a group of all kinds of players who weren't in the Top 100 coming into the season but are strong contenders right now. Tommy Hanson, James McDonald and Jess Todd have big arms and have had similar success at the Double-A level. Two other groups find themselves represented regularly: young international prospects, such as outfielders Engel Beltre (Ranges) and Greg Halman (Mariners), catcher Jesus Montero (Yankees), shortstop Wilmer Flores (Mets) and righthander Julio Teheran (Braves); and 2007 draftees establishing themselves in their first full seasons, such as Marlins prospects Matt Dominguez and Mike Stanton, Blue Jays lefthander Brett Cecil and Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman.

Jake Arrieta, rhp, Orioles
Engel Beltre, of, Rangers
Peter Bourjos, of, Angels
Michael Burgess, of, Nationals
Brett Cecil, lhp, Blue Jays
Jhoulys Chacin, rhp, Rockies
Chris Coghlan, 2b, Marlins
Matt Dominguez, 3b, Marlins
Sean Doolittle, 1b, Athletics
Alcides Escobar, ss, Brewers
Wilmer Flores, ss, Mets
Freddie Freeman, 1b, Braves
Jaime Garcia, lhp, Cardinals
Greg Halman, of, Mariners
Tommy Hanson, rhp, Braves
David Huff, lhp, Indians
Will Inman, rhp, Padres
James McDonald, rhp, Dodgers
Jesus Montero, c, Yankees
Logan Morrison, 1b, Marlins
Gerardo Parra, of, Diamondbacks
Josh Reddick, of, Red Sox
Ben Revere, of, Twins
Michael Saunders, of, Mariners
Mike Stanton, of, Marlins
Julio Teheran, rhp, Braves
Daryl Thompson, rhp, Reds
Jess Todd, rhp, Cardinals
Chris Valaika, ss, Reds
Nick Weglarz, of, Indians