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2006 Top 100 Prospects: 1-50

February 23, 2006


Prospects 51-100
Top 100 Demographics
Jim Callis: Top 100 Lists Feature Studs, Spectacular Duds
Chat Wrap: Jim Callis took your questions about the Top 100

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.


Young1. 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
ETA: 2006


Young2. 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


Wood3. 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
ETA: 2007


Hermida4. 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


Drew5. 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


Liriano6. FRANCISCO LIRIANO, lhp, Twins

"He's filthy. We're talking three big league pitches, and everything looks easy."
--Indianapolis manager Trent Jewett
ETA: 2006


Billingsley7. 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
ETA: 2006


Verlander8. JUSTIN VERLANDER, rhp, Tigers

"He's got the arm, the heart and the head to do some very, very great things for that organization."
--anonymous scout
ETA: 2006


Milledge9. 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."
--anonymous scout
ETA: 2006


Cain10. 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
ETA: 2006


11. PRINCE FIELDER, 1b, Brewers

"He's the Prince of Power. He does that one thing that makes guys the most money."
--anonymous scout
ETA: 2006


Kendrick12. 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."
--anonymous scout
ETA: 2007


Gordon13. 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
ETA: 2007


Marte14. 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
ETA: 2006


Zimmerman15. 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
ETA: 2006


16. IAN STEWART, 3b, Rockies

"He makes good adjustments at the plate and has good discipline. He reminds me of Larry Walker."
--anonymous scout
ETA: 2007


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."
--anonymous scout
ETA: 2006


Saltalamacchia18. JARROD SALTALAMACCHIA, c, Braves

"He's got a chance to be Jason Varitek to me. The size, the strength, the power are all there."
--anonymous scout
ETA: 2007


LaRoche19. 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
ETA: 2007


Quentin20. 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."
--anonymous scout
ETA: 2006


Markakis21. 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
ETA: 2006


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
ETA: 2007


Young23. 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
ETA: 2007


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
ETA: 2006


Tulowitzki25. 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."
--anonymous scout
ETA: 2007


Guzman26. 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."
--anonymous scout
ETA: 2007


Pie27. 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
ETA: 2007


28. DARIC BARTON, 1b, Athletics

"You could find 10-year big league veterans who don't have an approach as good as he does."
--anonymous scout
ETA: 2006


Butler29. BILLY BUTLER, of, Royals

"He's Mike Sweeney Jr. He could be even better than Sweeney."
--anonymous scout
ETA: 2007


Ramirez30. 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
ETA: 2006


Maybin31. 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
ETA: 2008


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."
--anonymous scout
ETA: 2008


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


Pelfrey36. 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


Drew37. 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


Bailey38. 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


Hughes39. 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


Reyes41. 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


Loewen45. 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


Miller47. 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 wasnt holding anything back late in the year. Hes a rare combination of power, intelligence and an advanced feel for pitching for a 21-year-old.
--Indians farm director John Farrell
ETA: 2007


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
ETA: 2006


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
ETA: 2008


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