Top 10 Prospects Index
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2005 Top 20 Prospects: Pacific Coast LeagueComplete Index of League Top 20s
By Jim Callis
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Chat Wrap: Jim Callis took your PCL questions
Tacoma righthander Felix Hernandez entered 2005 with more hype than the latest Harry Potter book. Best teenaged pitching prospect since Dwight Gooden, scouts agreed. Best pitching prospect they'd ever seen, some said.
Though shoulder bursitis knocked him out for a month, Hernandez delivered. Despite winning just nine games and working just 88 innings, he was the obvious choice for PCL pitcher of the year. He toyed with veteran hitters much older than him, throwing three above-average pitches, and was even more spectacular once he joined the Mariners in August.
Behind Hernandez, hitters were the talk of the league. Nashville had the top two position players in second baseman Rickie Weeks and first baseman Prince Fielder, though both had been promoted by the time the Sounds won the playoff championship.
The PCL was uncommonly rich in first basemen, led by Fielder, Tucson's Conor Jackson, Salt Lake's Casey Kotchman and Sacramento's Dan Johnson. Albuquerque's Josh Willingham (a catcher more suited for first base) and Omaha's Justin Huber also made the Top 20, while Oklahoma's Adrian Gonzalez and Colorado Springs' Ryan Shealy just missed.Subscribers can access scouting reports on all twenty players. (How to subscribe)