Chat Wrap: Jim Callis took your Midwest League questions
TOP 20 PROSPECTS
1. Brian Dopirak, 1b, Lansing
2. Daric Barton, c, Peoria
3. Eric Duncan, 3b, Battle Creek
4. John Danks, lhp, Clinton
5. Brandon Wood, ss, Cedar Rapids
6. Jairo Garcia, rhp, Kane County
7. Joey Votto, 1b, Dayton
8. Ian Kinsler, ss, Clinton
9. Sean Marshall, lhp, Lansing
10. Adam Harben, rhp, Quad Cities
11. Wladimir Balentien, of, Wisconsin
12. Howie Kendrick, 2b, Cedar Rapids
13. Adam Jones, ss, Wisconsin
14. Glen Perkins, lhp, Quad Cities
15. Melky Cabrera, of, Battle Creek
16. Kevin Jepsen, rhp, Cedar Rapids
17. Ambiorix Burgos, rhp, Burlington
18. Billy Petrick, rhp, Lansing
19. Baltazar Lopez, 1b, Cedar Rapids
20. Dana Eveland, lhp, Beloit
Promising young hitters usually are as common as cornfields in the low Class A Midwest League.
The Class of 2000 featured Albert Pujols, Adam Dunn and Austin Kearns, and the next year's crop included Justin Morneau, Grady Sizemore and Wily Mo Pena. Neither of those groups could match the astonishing depth in 2002, when the MWL was the home of Joe Mauer, Casey Kotchman, Dallas McPherson, Scott Hairston, Brad Nelson and Jason Stokes, among others.
The well dried up in 2003, however. Prince Fielder slugged his way to MVP and No. 1 prospect honors, but the next-best position player was Felix Pie, whose bat has yet to catch up to his impressive athleticism.
After that one-year drought, batting prospects were plentiful throughout the MWL in 2004. A first baseman once again pulled off the MVP/top prospect double, but Brian Dopirak didn't stand alone like Fielder did. Hitters age 20 and younger claimed five of the first seven spots on this list, and Quad Cities third baseman Matt Moses likely would have been right with them if back problems hadn't ruined his season.
There were so many bats that 2003 first-round picks such as third baseman Brian Snyder (Kane County), outfielder Chris Lubanski and third baseman Mitch Maier (both Burlington) couldn't crack the Top 20. The MWL also had its share of live young arms, but the pitchers generally weren't as polished as their hitting counterparts.