|Top Royals Prospect|
|Eric Hosmer (8) vs. Mike Moustakas (9) vs. Wil Myers (10)|
Will Lingo: I agree with that point. I put Moustakas first because he has proven himself at the highest level (Triple-A), and because people in the Texas League thought his defense at third would be not just adequate, but solid. So I think that gives him a little bit more value than the other guys, though I think they all can be impact hitters.
John Manuel: Perhaps I'm just riding the hot hand by ranking Hosmer first, but his 2010 season was impossible to ignore. Moustakas is a rare player who doesn't walk a lot but makes a ton of hard contact. I also believe he'll stick at third base, at least while he's in the cost-controlled phase of his big league career. Myers involves the most projection at this point, which is why he's third on this list for me, and moving off catcher to the outfield dents his value just a little bit.
|Future Second Basemen?|
|Christian Colon (51) vs. Nick Franklin (53) vs. Jason Kipnis (54) vs. Jean Segura (57)|
Jim Callis: I'm not sold that Dustin Ackley or Brett Lawrie will stay at second base, so these guys (and maybe Billy Hamilton, who'll play shortstop this year) are the best second-base prospects. I like Kipnis the best, because he has proven himself at the highest level and I believe has the best chance to have an impact bat. All four of these guys will hit, and Kipnis and Franklin have the most pop. Segura is the fastest and the most underrated, and he's the best defender of the group, too.
Conor Glassey: I think the two players in this group with the best chance of sticking at shortstop are Colon and Franklin and the two best bats are Franklin and Kipnis. I've been a huge Franklin fan since he was in high school and I think he has the most star power of this group, which is why he was tops for me. The list of teenagers who have matched Franklin's .837 OPS in the Midwest League over the past six years is an impressive group: Carlos Gonzalez, Jay Bruce, Cameron Maybin, Travis Snider, Jaff Decker and Matt Davidson.
J.J. Cooper: With the exception of more strikeouts, Franklin's 2010 Midwest League season looks an awful lot like Mike Moustakas' 2008 Midwest League season at the same age—and Franklin has the speed and quickness to at least stick at second base. I was glad to see these four all bunched up within six picks, because they (and Nationals middle infielder Danny Espinosa) are hard to separate.
|Travis d'Arnaud (36) vs. Tony Sanchez (46) vs. Wilin Rosario (49) vs. Devin Mesoraco (64) vs. Derek Norris (72)|
Jim Callis: If you don't believe Jesus Montero can stay behind the plate, and you want to see some more out of Gary Sanchez, then the best catching prospect in the minors is part of this group. I'll go with Rosario, and I think it would be a very easy call had he not torn the ACL in his right knee last August. I think he's going to hit .275 with at least 15-20 homers per year, he's a quality defender and he's athletic for a catcher. d'Arnaud is similar, but Rosario is a slightly better defender and has proven himself at a higher level. Sanchez is the best defensive catcher in the minors.
John Manuel: I went with d'Arnaud because he's the youngest in this group, and he's the best defender who also has a chance to have an impact bat. You could flip the order around, though, and defend it. Mesoraco had the best 2010 but his prior track record was shady, and I never saw him receive well when I saw him in September (International League playoffs) and November (Arizona Fall League).
Matt Eddy: A catcher who can receive and throw will be given a long leash at the big league level to iron out his offensive game. That's why d'Arnaud, Tony Sanchez and Rosario are on another plane for me—they all receive 60-70 grades for defense and throwing. While questions remain about Rosario's bat, both d'Arnaud and Sanchez have demonstrated the hitting approach and bat speed to succeed at the highest level.
|Ceiling Vs. Floor|
|Brent Morel (85) vs. Jonathan Villar (94)|
John Manuel: I like Morel a lot as a solid prospect, and he'll be a big leaguer a long time, at least as a utility guy, because he has shown he can fill in at shortstop. However, I was the high man on Villar. He has one real question mark in that he struck out a lot last season. But outside of Manny Machado, there isn't a shortstop in the minors with Villar's tools, from his playmaking ability at short to impact speed on the bases. He needs time, but I think he'll hit as well.
Conor Glassey: Would you rather have a player with a decent chance of being Joe Randa or a guy that's a longshot to match the career of Cesar Izturis? Personally, I don't think either player has that high of a ceiling. Morel obviously has a pretty high floor, as he's already reached the big leagues. I don't think he'll ever be a star, but I don't think Villar will either and he's much further away from contributing at the big league level.
|Jacob McGee (71) vs. Tanner Scheppers (84) vs. Craig Kimbrel (86)|
Jim Callis: I lined these guys up all next to each other in this order: Kimbrel, McGee, Scheppers. Kimbrel has been the most dominant, has had the most major league success and has the best medical history of the group. I worry the most about Scheppers' health, but he has the best breaking ball, a hard slider. McGee is the only lefthander, of course. You can really make the case for any of the three being the best.
Conor Glassey: These three weren't as close in my rankings as they ended up being when we mashed all the numbers together. I like Scheppers the best of the three because I believe in his ability to succeed as a starter, whereas the other two are limited to relief only. Even if Scheppers does wind up as a reliever, I think he has the best combination of size and stuff of this group. In hindsight, I was too low on Kimbrel, but he still wound up in a good spot when everything averaged out.
Will Lingo: Scheppers has been a hard guy to figure ever since his injury problems messed up his draft year in 2008. Now we have to figure out if he's going to be a starter or reliever. I think he has the potential to have the two best pitches, so that's why I had him the highest on my list.
|Top Lefthanded Starters|
|Matt Moore (15) vs. John Lamb (18) vs. Mike Montgomery (19) vs. Martin Perez (24) vs. Zach Britton (28)|
John Manuel: Moore stands out from this group for me for his consistent bat-missing stuff and two pitches that push for 70 grades. I had Perez next, recalling his age and his dominant 2009 turn and giving him something of a pass for 2010.
Will Lingo: I like Britton the best of this group because I think his sinker might be the best pitch of the bunch. He's also a safe bet, and I love the way he has shown consistent improvement—not just in stuff but in his feel for pitching—throughout his minor league career.
Conor Glassey: I had Lamb ranked the highest of this group because of his low walk rate and low home run rate. I also like how he handled himself while moving from low-A to high-A to Double-A in his first full pro season, and he showed he can pitch deep into games even without his best stuff.