1. Scott Elbert, lhp, Columbus
2. Neil Walker, c, Hickory
3. Marcus Sanders, ss, Augusta
4. Troy Patton, lhp, Lexington
5. Ryan Braun, 3b, West Virginia
6. Philip Hughes, rhp, Charleston
7. Blake DeWitt, 3b, Columbus
8. Matt Harrison, lhp, Rome
9. Yunel Escobar, ss, Rome
10. Brandon Jones, of, Rome
11. Jimmy Barthmaier, rhp, Lexington
12. Gio Gonzalez, lhp, Kannapolis
13. Mark Rogers, rhp, West Virginia
14. Greg Golson, of, Lakewood
15. Hunter Pence, of, Lexington
16. Collin Balester, rhp, Savannah
17. J.T. Restko, of, Greensboro
18. Gaby Hernandez, rhp, Hagerstown
19. Ian Desmond, ss, Savannah
20. Chris Nelson, ss, Asheville
The South Atlantic League was stacked in 2004. Not only were a plethora of high-profile prospects on hand, but talents such as Delmon Young and Ian Stewart stayed in the low Class A league all season.
The SAL wasn't quite the same this year. Managers said the players seemed older and had fewer standout tools. The hitters who dominated the league were mostly college products rather than high schoolers like Young and Stewart were. And few of the top players spent the entire season in the Sally League.
If the SAL had a player to rival its Class of '95 (Andruw Jones and Vladimir Guerrero) or '04 (Young and Stewart), it wasn't obvious to managers and scouts. It had talent, though, particularly depth among pitchers and especially among lefthanders. It also had excellent finishes to pro debuts by 2005 draftees such as Ryan Braun (Brewers) and Yunel Escobar (Braves), who helped shore up the crop of position-player talent.