Chat Wrap: Will Kimmey took your Northwest League questions
TOP 20 PROSPECTS
1. Javier Herrera, of, Vancouver
2. Ryan Harvey, of, Boise
3. Carlos Gonzalez, of, Yakima
4. Craig Whitaker, rhp, Salem-Keizer
5. Matt Tuiasosopo, ss, Everett
6. Juan Morillo, rhp, Tri-City
7. Richie Robnett, of, Vancouver
8. Asdrubal Cabrera, ss, Everett
9. Matt Macri, 3b, Tri-City
10. Chris Carter, of/dh, Yakima
11. Jim Miller, rhp, Tri-City
12. Kurt Suzuki, c, Vancouver
13. Eric Hurley, rhp, Spokane
14. Shawn Nottingham, lhp, Everett
15. A.J. Shappi, rhp, Yakima
16. Landon Powell, c, Vancouver
17. Ross Ohlendorf, rhp, Yakima
18. Orlando Mercado Jr., c, Yakima
19. Mike Nickeas, c, Spokane
20. Tomas Santiago, rhp, Tri-City
The short-season Northwest League played more like the NFL than NWL because parity was prevalent. Five of the eight teams registered between 40 and 42 wins, and the divisional races came down to the final weekend before Boise and Vancouver won with 42 wins each.
"I've never seen two divisions in a league be so close to each other the entire season," Tri-City manager Ron Gideon said. "It's been tight all year; nobody ran off with it."
The same was true among prospects, as few players seemed to rise above their teammates. The 2004 draft did little to help matters because few premium picks spent much time in the league.
"There's a lot of parity in the league among the players," Yakima manager Bill Plummer said. "There were a lot of guys last year that stuck out (such as Felix Hernandez, Conor Jackson, Brian Dopirak, Nate Schierholtz and John Danks). This year there aren't as many pitching prospects, or hitters."
Many top 2004 selections didn't make the list because they received quick promotions (Spokane righthander Thomas Diamond and Yakima righthander Garrett Mock), came up too late to make a major impact (Everett shortstop Matt Tuiasosopo and Spokane righthander Eric Hurley) or didn't play enough to qualify (Eugene shortstop Matt Bush and Tri-City outfielder Seth Smith).