League Top 20 Prospects

Southern League Top 20 Prospects List

Pitching the story on the Southern League list





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TOP 20 PROSPECTS
1. Homer Bailey, rhp, Chattanooga (Reds)
2. Yovani Gallardo, rhp, Huntsville (Brewers)
3. Scott Elbert, lhp, Jacksonville (Dodgers)
4. Matt Kemp, of, Jacksonville (Dodgers)
5. Andy LaRoche, 3b, Jacksonville (Dodgers)
6. Ryan Braun, 3b, Huntsville (Brewers)
7. Joey Votto, 1b, Chattanooga (Reds)
8. Jeff Niemann, rhp, Montgomery (Devil Rays)
9. Anibal Sanchez, rhp, Carolina (Marlins)
10. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, c, Mississippi (Braves)
11. Miguel Montero, c, Tennessee (Diamondbacks)
12. Sean Gallagher, rhp, West Tenn (Cubs)
13. Tyler Lumsden, lhp, Birmingham (White Sox)
14. George Kottaras, c, Mobile (Padres)
15. Alberto Gonzalez, ss, Tennessee (Diamondbacks)
16. Mitch Talbot, rhp, Montgomery (Devil Rays)
17. Eric Patterson, 2b, West Tenn (Cubs)
18. Juan Salas, rhp, Montgomery (Devil Rays)
19. Andy Sonnastine, rhp, Montgomery (Devil Rays)
20. Lance Broadway, rhp, Birmingham (White Sox)
Team for team, the Double-A Southern League had more talent than any minor league circuit in 2005. Last year's prospect list started with outfielders Delmon Young, Jeremy Hermida, Jeff Francoeur and Chris Young, and the pitchers were led by Chad Billingsley.

Considering the standard that group established, it's no surprise the 2006 class couldn't match it. Even by midseason, Southern League observers were struggling to find players who had separated themselves from the pack.

"We've been through every team in this league once, and we still haven't seen an arm that really stands out," one hitting coach said in June. "Normally this league is pretty strong, but it's like here we are halfway though and you're just scratching your head still looking for somebody to wow you."

Then reinforcements began to arrive from the high Class A Florida State League. The top three players on this list are pitchers promoted from the FSL--where Homer Bailey, Yovani Gallardo and Scott Elbert also ranked 1-2-3. After joining him at the Futures Game, third baseman Ryan Braun also came up with Gallardo from Brevard County and emerged as one of the SL's elite hitters.

For the second straight year, Jacksonville had the league's best group of position prospects. Outfielder Matt Kemp and third baseman Andy LaRoche were the best, while middle infielders Tony Abreu and Chin-Lung Hu also drew support.
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