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2004 Top 20 Prospects: Gulf Coast League
Complete Index of League Top 20s

By Allan Simpson
September 20, 2004


Subscribers can access scouting reports on all twenty players. (How to subscribe)

Chat Transcript: Allan Simpson took your
questions on the two complex leagues

TOP 20 PROSPECTS
1. Luis Soto, ss, Red Sox
2. Gaby Hernandez, rhp, Mets
3. Greg Golson, Phillies
4. Kyle Waldrop, rhp, Twins
5. Neil Walker, c, Pirates
6. Christian Garcia, rhp, Yankees
7. Marcos Vechionacci, 3b, Yankees
8. Jay Rainville, rhp, Twins
9. Christian Lara, ss, Red Sox
10. Greg Burns, of, Marlins
11. Jose Campusano, ss, Marlins
12. Juan Portes, 3b, Twins
13. Jamie Hoffmann, 3b, Dodgers
14. Carlos Carrasco, rhp, Phillies
15. Anthony Swarzak, rhp, Twins
16. Jesus Flores, c, Mets
17. Johan Silva, of, Braves
18. Carlos Gomez, of, Mets
19. Willy Mota, of, Red Sox
20. Scott Mitchinson, rhp, Phillies
For the second time in three years, the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League's top prospect is a 6-foot-1, 170-pound, 18-year-old Red Sox shortstop from the Dominican Republic.

Hanley Ramirez was the rage of the league in 2002, when he hit .341-6-26 and flashed five-tool ability. Now 20, Ramirez started the 2004 season at high class A Sarasota and finished it at Double-A Portland, hitting .310 at both stops.

The latest Red Sox phenom is Luis Soto, signed to a $500,000 bonus last November. He hit just .261 and committed 14 errors in 30 games, but he's no less a prospect than Ramirez in the eyes of GCL managers.

"He's the best in the league," said Reds manager Freddie Benavides, a former big league shortstop. "He can do it all, both ways. His tools are comparable to Ramirez, but he may be a better prospect because he has a much better attitude."

Had they compiled enough innings to qualify for the prospect list, first-round picks Homer Bailey (Reds) and Philip Hughes (Yankees) might have wrested the No. 1 spot from Soto. Bailey, whose fastball touched 97 mph, was on a strict pitch count after pitching nearly 100 innings in the spring and threw just 12 innings. Hughes, who topped out at 95, was limited to three innings because of a tender arm.

Subscribers can access scouting reports on all twenty players. (How to subscribe)

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