Baseball America's 17th annual Top 100 Prospects list is based
on each player's long-term major league value, a combination of his
upside and his likelihood of reaching that ceiling. Consideration was
given to each player's physical skills as well as his track record of
performance. All players who haven't exceeded the rookie limits of 50
innings or 130 at-bats are eligible, regardless of their big league
service time. Founding editor Allan Simpson, editors in chief Will Lingo
and John Manuel, and executive editor Jim Callis compiled the top 100
after discussions with general managers, scouting directors, farm directors,
scouts, managers and instructors. The quotes on each player were gathered
by Baseball America staff and correspondents. Minor league managers
are identified with their 2005 clubs.
DELMON YOUNG, of, Devil Rays
"Delmon's going to be as good as Delmon wants to be. He can do whatever he puts his mind to do." --anonymous scout
JUSTIN UPTON, ss, Diamondbacks
"If you stick him in center field right now, he could be an all-star in two years."
--anonymous scouting director ETA: 2007
BRANDON WOOD, ss, Angels
"He's still going to get better. He looks like the next Cal Ripken to me." --San Jose manager Lenn Sakata
JEREMY HERMIDA, of, Marlins
"Everything he does is so easy. He has a 70 arm and he has one of the sweetest swings from the left side I've ever seen."
--anonymous scout ETA: 2006
STEPHEN DREW, ss, Diamondbacks
"He's got power. He can hit for average. He's got instincts. He has all the defensive tools to play an outstanding shortstop. He is one of the most instinctual players for his age that I've ever seen."
--Diamondbacks scouting director Mike Rizzo ETA: 2006
FRANCISCO LIRIANO, lhp, Twins
"He's filthy. We're talking three big league pitches, and everything looks easy."
--Indianapolis manager Trent Jewett
CHAD BILLINGSLEY, rhp, Dodgers
"There are times when his command is a little off, but his arm strength, demeanor on the mound, presence--everything is good. He has a chance to be a dominant starter in the big leagues"
--Birmingham manager Razor Shines
JUSTIN VERLANDER, rhp, Tigers
"He's got the arm, the heart and the head to do some very, very great things for that organization."
LASTINGS MILLEDGE, of, Mets
"He's going to be an all-star caliber player. You hit home runs with a quick bat, which he's got, and down the road he could steal 35 to 40 bases."
MATT CAIN, rhp, Giants
"The quality of his stuff has never been a question. The question was his command and ability to make adjustments. Well, he's doing those things now."
--Fresno manager Shane Turner
11. PRINCE FIELDER, 1b, Brewers
"He's the Prince of Power. He does that one thing that makes guys the most money."
HOWIE KENDRICK, 2b, Angels
"I just love his bat. He gets the barrel into the zone very quickly and it stays there for a very long time."
ALEX GORDON, 3b, Royals
"Alex Gordon is obviously a guy we had targeted for a long time. We feel like he's going to be a cornerstone for this organization for many years to come."
--Royals scouting director Deric Ladnier
ANDY MARTE, 3b, Indians
"Andy profiles as a guy who has the ability to hit in the middle of the lineup of a championship major league team. He has all the ingredients to be a special hitter."
--Braves farm director Dayton Moore
RYAN ZIMMERMAN, 3b, Nationals
"You don't necessarily draft someone based on defense in our business--usually the bat's the No. 1 tool--but his defensive ability is so special that it really pushed him up. And the bat is also special"
--Nationals special assistant Bob Boone
16. IAN STEWART, 3b, Rockies
"He makes good adjustments at the plate and has good discipline. He reminds me of Larry Walker."
17. CONOR JACKSON, 1b, Diamondbacks
"You get the feeling he's going to get a hit every time up. He must have Superman vision or something."
JARROD SALTALAMACCHIA, c, Braves
"He's got a chance to be Jason Varitek to me. The size, the strength, the power are all there."
ANDY LaROCHE, 3b, Dodgers
"When he comes to the plate, you can just tell that he is ready to have a good at-bat. When I say he can hit a fastball, some players aren't that gifted that they can hit a good fastball, but LaRoche can."
--Jacksonville manager John Shoemaker
CARLOS QUENTIN, of, Diamondbacks
"He sees the ball very well. He goes up looking for what he'll get, not what he wants. He knows when to go the other way and when to pull."
NICK MARKAKIS, of, Orioles
"Moon shots. That's all I think of when I hear the name Markakis. We couldn't find a way to get him out."
--Salem manager Ivan DeJesus
22. JON LESTER, lhp, Red Sox
"The first time I saw him pitch, I called [GM] Theo Esptein and said, 'Whatever you do, don't trade Jon Lester.' "
--Red Sox scouting director Jason McLeod
CHRIS YOUNG, of, Diamondbacks
"This guy is getting it quick. Just from spring training till now, it's amazing the adjustments he's made."
--Birmingham manager Razor Shines
24. BOBBY JENKS, rhp, White Sox
"I think he's got the mentality to be an outstanding closer. When you throw the ball 100 miles an hour and then command a wicked breaking ball, I don't think you need much more."
--Birmingham manager Razor Shines
TROY TULOWITZKI, ss, Rockies
"He's better than Bobby Crosby. He could play in the big leagues right now. He can hit, hit for power and he's the whole package defensively with a plus-plus arm."
JOEL GUZMAN, ss/3b, Dodgers
"I had scouted Chipper Jones and A-Rod before and to me, Guzman's bat was better. At 16 years old, the kid was as good as or better than anyone I'd ever seen."
FELIX PIE, of, Cubs
"He just creates excitement with his play--period. I see him as a guy who could potentially hit in the middle of a lineup and drive in runs, be a real exciting Carlos Beltran-type player."
--West Tenn manager Bobby Dickerson
28. DARIC BARTON, 1b, Athletics
"You could find 10-year big league veterans who don't have an approach as good as he does."
BILLY BUTLER, of, Royals
"He's Mike Sweeney Jr. He could be even better than Sweeney."
HANLEY RAMIREZ, ss, Marlins
"He's got a chance to be pretty special. The ball comes off his bat in batting practice like a man."
--Red Sox manager Terry Francona
CAMERON MAYBIN, of, Tigers
"He's an offensive player, a very good defensive player, a plus runner. And the one thing that really struck me was Cameron's work ethic and desire."
--Tigers scouting director David Chadd
32. CARLOS GONZALES, of, Diamondbacks
"This guy looks like Carlos Beltran when Beltran is going good. He doesn't run as well but he's a better hitter. And he's got that great arm."
33. JEFF CLEMENT, c, Mariners
"You always hear about how he's an offensive catcher. But I was really excited to see him catch." --Mariners director of minor league operations Greg Hunter ETA: 2007
34. SCOTT OLSEN, lhp, Marlins
"You could see he was oozing with talent. The way he attacked the zone, he stuck it to us. He's a live-arm lefty, works both sides of the plate and throws all his pitches for strikes." --West Tenn manager Bobby Dickerson ETA: 2006
35. JOEL ZUMAYA, rhp, Tigers
"I've always had him in as a closer. The effort to his delivery has improved, but to me you bring him in for one inning, he throws 100 and you shake hands." --anonymous scout ETA: 2006
MIKE PELFREY, rhp, Mets
"He's one of the few guys in the aluminum-bat era who gets people out with his fastball. Ben Sheets is another guy who could do that." --Former Mets scouting director Russ Bove ETA: 2007
JONATHAN PAPELBON, rhp, Red Sox
"To go into a market like Boston and perform the way he has is indicative of his future." --Portland manager Todd Claus ETA: 2006
HOMER BAILEY, rhp, Reds
"He'll break off a hammer curve after a 97 mile an hour fastball and there's just nothing you can do about it. Unless your name is Ichiro, you're not going to hit that." --Dayton outfielder B.J. Szymanski ETA: 2008
PHILIP HUGHES, rhp, Yankees
"He throws hard and he throws strikes. That's why for me he's a Mark Prior Lite." --Charleston manager Bill Mosiello ETA: 2007
40. ANIBAL SANCHEZ, rhp, Marlins
"Outside of his stuff, which has certainly improved, he's also a cerebral kid who prepares himself well. He's got the pieces of the puzzle that make a pitcher successful." --Red Sox vice president of player personnel Ben Cherington ETA: 2006
ANTHONY REYES, rhp, Cardinals
"He's going to make you put the ball in play and give the defense a chance to make plays behind him. He is always ahead in the count and he is not going to beat himself." --Round Rock manager Jackie Moore ETA: 2006
42. RUSSELL MARTIN, c, Dodgers
"He's obviously one of the better hitters in the league, yet at the most premium position. He basically shut our running game down and said, 'If you're going to run, you're going to make outs." --West Tenn manager Bobby Dickerson ETA: 2006
43. NEIL WALKER, c, Pirates
"When you consider what he has done at his age against competition that has been older, it's really remarkable. We're extremely pleased with the progress he has made in two years." --Pirates farm director Brian Graham ETA: 2007
44. MARK ROGERS, rhp, Brewers
"His last outing in instructional league, when he was throwing 96 mph at the knees with a hard curve for strikes and mixing in a changeup, you could see the light bulb going off." --Brewers roving pitching instructor Jim Skaalen ETA: 2008
ADAM LOEWEN, lhp, Orioles
"He'll go 3-0 on you and then the next thing you know it's boom-boom-boom, every pitch on the black. I've never seen anything like it." --Kinston manager Luis Rivera ETA: 2007
46. ERICK AYBAR, ss, Angels
"He's one of the most exciting players I've had to manage against, offensively and defensively. He loves to play and is just fun to watch." --Tulsa manager Tom Runnells ETA: 2007
ADAM MILLER, rhp, Indians
“He went through a process to getting back to where he was, both in terms of velocity and command, but he wasn’t holding anything back late in the year. He’s a rare combination of power, intelligence and an advanced feel for pitching for a 21-year-old.” --Indians farm director John Farrell
48. DUSTIN McGOWAN, rhp, Blue Jays
"For a power pitcher, he's got some kind of changeup. If he starts locating that fastball a little better, he's got everything." --Blue Jays manager John Gibbons
49. RYAN BRAUN, 3b, Brewers
"He's got awesome bat speed but also has some things to work on. He's got all the talent to be a legitimate middle-of-the-order bat down the road." --West Virginia hitting coach Johnny Narron ETA: 2007
50. ANDREW McCUTCHEN, of, Pirates
"Andrew has the same outstanding speed and ability to cover a lot of ground in center field like Grissom. And like Marquis, he has good power. He also has great makeup and comes from a very good family background, like Marquis did." --Pirates scouting director Ed Creech