2006 Top 100 Prospects



Baseball America's 17th annual Top 100 Prospects list is based on each player's long-term major league value, a combination of his upside and his likelihood of reaching that ceiling. Consideration was given to each player's physical skills as well as his track record of performance. All players who haven't exceeded the rookie limits of 50 innings or 130 at-bats are eligible, regardless of their big league service time. Founding editor Allan Simpson, editors in chief Will Lingo and John Manuel, and executive editor Jim Callis compiled the top 100 after discussions with general managers, scouting directors, farm directors, scouts, managers and instructors. The quotes on each player were gathered by Baseball America staff and correspondents. Minor league managers are identified with their 2005 clubs.


1. DELMON YOUNG, of, Devil Rays
"Delmon's going to be as good as Delmon wants to be. He can do whatever he puts his mind to do."
--anonymous scout
ETA: 2006


2. JUSTIN UPTON, ss, Diamondbacks
"If you stick him in center field right now, he could be an all-star in two years."
--anonymous scouting director
ETA: 2007

3. BRANDON WOOD, ss, Angels
"He's still going to get better. He looks like the next Cal Ripken to me."
--San Jose manager Lenn Sakata
ETA: 2007

4. JEREMY HERMIDA, of, Marlins
"Everything he does is so easy. He has a 70 arm and he has one of the sweetest swings from the left side I've ever seen."
--anonymous scout
ETA: 2006

5. STEPHEN DREW, ss, Diamondbacks
"He's got power. He can hit for average. He's got instincts. He has all the defensive tools to play an outstanding shortstop. He is one of the most instinctual players for his age that I've ever seen."
--Diamondbacks scouting director Mike Rizzo
ETA: 2006

6. FRANCISCO LIRIANO, lhp, Twins
"He's filthy. We're talking three big league pitches, and everything looks easy."
--Indianapolis manager Trent Jewett
ETA: 2006

7. CHAD BILLINGSLEY, rhp, Dodgers
"There are times when his command is a little off, but his arm strength, demeanor on the mound, presence--everything is good. He has a chance to be a dominant starter in the big leagues."
--Birmingham manager Razor Shines
ETA: 2006

8. JUSTIN VERLANDER, rhp, Tigers
"He's got the arm, the heart and the head to do some very, very great things for that organization."
--anonymous scout
ETA: 2006


9. LASTINGS MILLEDGE, of, Mets
"He's going to be an all-star caliber player. You hit home runs with a quick bat, which he's got, and down the road he could steal 35 to 40 bases."
--anonymous scout
ETA: 2006

10. MATT CAIN, rhp, Giants
"The quality of his stuff has never been a question. The question was his command and ability to make adjustments. Well, he's doing those things now."
--Fresno manager Shane Turner
ETA: 2006

11. PRINCE FIELDER, 1b, Brewers
"He's the Prince of Power. He does that one thing that makes guys the most money."
--anonymous scout
ETA: 2006

12. HOWIE KENDRICK, 2b, Angels
"I just love his bat. He gets the barrel into the zone very quickly and it stays there for a very long time."
--anonymous scout
ETA: 2007

13. ALEX GORDON, 3b, Royals
"Alex Gordon is obviously a guy we had targeted for a long time. We feel like he's going to be a cornerstone for this organization for many years to come."
--Royals scouting director Deric Ladnier
ETA: 2007

14. ANDY MARTE, 3b, Indians
"Andy profiles as a guy who has the ability to hit in the middle of the lineup of a championship major league team. He has all the ingredients to be a special hitter."
--Braves farm director Dayton Moore
ETA: 2006

15. RYAN ZIMMERMAN, 3b, Nationals
"You don't necessarily draft someone based on defense in our business--usually the bat's the No. 1 tool--but his defensive ability is so special that it really pushed him up. And the bat is also special"
--Nationals special assistant Bob Boone
ETA: 2006

16. IAN STEWART, 3b, Rockies
"He makes good adjustments at the plate and has good discipline. He reminds me of Larry Walker."
--anonymous scout
ETA: 2007

17. CONOR JACKSON, 1b, Diamondbacks
"You get the feeling he's going to get a hit every time up. He must have Superman vision or something."
--anonymous scout
ETA: 2006

18. JARROD SALTALAMACCHIA, c, Braves
"He's got a chance to be Jason Varitek to me. The size, the strength, the power are all there."
--anonymous scout
ETA: 2007

19. ANDY LaROCHE, 3b, Dodgers
"When he comes to the plate, you can just tell that he is ready to have a good at-bat. When I say he can hit a fastball, some players aren't that gifted that they can hit a good fastball, but LaRoche can."
--Jacksonville manager John Shoemaker
ETA: 2007

20. CARLOS QUENTIN, of, Diamondbacks
"He sees the ball very well. He goes up looking for what he'll get, not what he wants. He knows when to go the other way and when to pull."
--anonymous scout
ETA: 2006

21. NICK MARKAKIS, of, Orioles
"Moon shots. That's all I think of when I hear the name Markakis. We couldn't find a way to get him out."
--Salem manager Ivan DeJesus
ETA: 2006

22. JON LESTER, lhp, Red Sox
"The first time I saw him pitch, I called [GM] Theo Esptein and said, 'Whatever you do, don't trade Jon Lester.' "
--Red Sox scouting director Jason McLeod
ETA: 2007

23. CHRIS YOUNG, of, Diamondbacks
"This guy is getting it quick. Just from spring training till now, it's amazing the adjustments he's made."
--Birmingham manager Razor Shines
ETA: 2007


24. BOBBY JENKS, rhp, White Sox
"I think he's got the mentality to be an outstanding closer. When you throw the ball 100 miles an hour and then command a wicked breaking ball, I don't think you need much more."
--Birmingham manager Razor Shines
ETA: 2006


25. TROY TULOWITZKI, ss, Rockies
"He's better than Bobby Crosby. He could play in the big leagues right now. He can hit, hit for power and he's the whole package defensively with a plus-plus arm."
--anonymous scout
ETA: 2007

26. JOEL GUZMAN, ss/3b, Dodgers
"I had scouted Chipper Jones and A-Rod before and to me, Guzman's bat was better. At 16 years old, the kid was as good as or better than anyone I'd ever seen."
--anonymous scout
ETA: 2007


27. FELIX PIE, of, Cubs
"He just creates excitement with his play--period. I see him as a guy who could potentially hit in the middle of a lineup and drive in runs, be a real exciting Carlos Beltran-type player."
--West Tenn manager Bobby Dickerson
ETA: 2007


28. DARIC BARTON, 1b, Athletics
"You could find 10-year big league veterans who don't have an approach as good as he does."
--anonymous scout
ETA: 2006

29. BILLY BUTLER, of, Royals
"He's Mike Sweeney Jr. He could be even better than Sweeney."
--anonymous scout
ETA: 2007

30. HANLEY RAMIREZ, ss, Marlins
"He's got a chance to be pretty special. The ball comes off his bat in batting practice like a man."
--Red Sox manager Terry Francona
ETA: 2006


31. CAMERON MAYBIN, of, Tigers
"He's an offensive player, a very good defensive player, a plus runner. And the one thing that really struck me was Cameron's work ethic and desire."
--Tigers scouting director David Chadd
ETA: 2008

32. CARLOS GONZALES, of, Diamondbacks
"This guy looks like Carlos Beltran when Beltran is going good. He doesn't run as well but he's a better hitter. And he's got that great arm."
--anonymous scout
ETA: 2008


33. JEFF CLEMENT, c, Mariners
"You always hear about how he's an offensive catcher. But I was really excited to see him catch."
--Mariners director of minor league operations Greg Hunter
ETA: 2007

34. SCOTT OLSEN, lhp, Marlins
"You could see he was oozing with talent. The way he attacked the zone, he stuck it to us. He's a live-arm lefty, works both sides of the plate and throws all his pitches for strikes."
--West Tenn manager Bobby Dickerson
ETA: 2006


35. JOEL ZUMAYA, rhp, Tigers
"I've always had him in as a closer. The effort to his delivery has improved, but to me you bring him in for one inning, he throws 100 and you shake hands."
--anonymous scout
ETA: 2006


36. MIKE PELFREY, rhp, Mets
"He's one of the few guys in the aluminum-bat era who gets people out with his fastball. Ben Sheets is another guy who could do that."
--Former Mets scouting director Russ Bove
ETA: 2007


37. JONATHAN PAPELBON, rhp, Red Sox
"To go into a market like Boston and perform the way he has is indicative of his future."
--Portland manager Todd Claus
ETA: 2006


38. HOMER BAILEY, rhp, Reds
"He'll break off a hammer curve after a 97 mile an hour fastball and there's just nothing you can do about it. Unless your name is Ichiro, you're not going to hit that."
--Dayton outfielder B.J. Szymanski
ETA: 2008


39. PHILIP HUGHES, rhp, Yankees
"He throws hard and he throws strikes. That's why for me he's a Mark Prior Lite."
--Charleston manager Bill Mosiello
ETA: 2007

40. ANIBAL SANCHEZ, rhp, Marlins
"Outside of his stuff, which has certainly improved, he's also a cerebral kid who prepares himself well. He's got the pieces of the puzzle that make a pitcher successful."
--Red Sox vice president of player personnel Ben Cherington
ETA: 2006


41. ANTHONY REYES, rhp, Cardinals
"He's going to make you put the ball in play and give the defense a chance to make plays behind him. He is always ahead in the count and he is not going to beat himself."
--Round Rock manager Jackie Moore
ETA: 2006

42. RUSSELL MARTIN, c, Dodgers
"He's obviously one of the better hitters in the league, yet at the most premium position. He basically shut our running game down and said, 'If you're going to run, you're going to make outs.' "
--West Tenn manager Bobby Dickerson
ETA: 2006


43. NEIL WALKER, c, Pirates
"When you consider what he has done at his age against competition that has been older, it's really remarkable. We're extremely pleased with the progress he has made in two years."
--Pirates farm director Brian Graham
ETA: 2007

44. MARK ROGERS, rhp, Brewers
"His last outing in instructional league, when he was throwing 96 mph at the knees with a hard curve for strikes and mixing in a changeup, you could see the light bulb going off."
--Brewers roving pitching instructor Jim Skaalen
ETA: 2008


45. ADAM LOEWEN, lhp, Orioles
"He'll go 3-0 on you and then the next thing you know it's boom-boom-boom, every pitch on the black. I've never seen anything like it."
--Kinston manager Luis Rivera
ETA: 2007

46. ERICK AYBAR, ss, Angels
"He's one of the most exciting players I've had to manage against, offensively and defensively. He loves to play and is just fun to watch."
--Tulsa manager Tom Runnells
ETA: 2007


 47. ADAM MILLER, rhp, Indians
"He went through a process to getting back to where he was, both in terms of velocity and command, but he wasn't holding anything back late in the year. He's a rare combination of power, intelligence and an advanced feel for pitching for a 21-year-old."
--Indians farm director John Farrell
ETA: 2007


48. DUSTIN McGOWAN, rhp, Blue Jays
"For a power pitcher, he's got some kind of changeup. If he starts locating that fastball a little better, he's got everything."
--Blue Jays manager John Gibbons
ETA: 2006

49. RYAN BRAUN, 3b, Brewers
"He's got awesome bat speed but also has some things to work on. He's got all the talent to be a legitimate middle-of-the-order bat down the road."
--West Virginia hitting coach Johnny Narron
ETA: 2007


50. ANDREW McCUTCHEN, of, Pirates
"Andrew has the same outstanding speed and ability to cover a lot of ground in center field like Grissom. And like Marquis, he has good power. He also has great makeup and comes from a very good family background, like Marquis did."
--Pirates scouting director Ed Creech
ETA: 2008


51. BRIAN ANDERSON, of, White Sox
"He can do just about anything he wants to do on the field. You don't find too many guys with all the tools to play any position out there in the outfield."
--White Sox farm director David Wilder
ETA: 2006


52. JASON HIRSH, rhp, Astros
"He really made huge strides. He really pitched inside effectively and is able to locate his fastball anywhere he wants to. He really stepped up this year and took the bull by the horns."
--Astros farm director Ricky Bennett
ETA: 2007


53. JEREMY SOWERS, lhp, Indians
"He just commands all his pitches well and finds a way to get it done. Sometimes you don't know how he did it, but by that time you're walking back to the dugout shaking your head."
--Winston-Salem manager Chris Cron
ETA: 2006


54. CRAIG HANSEN, rhp, Red Sox
"You can see the kid has all the talent in the world. He's got a major league arm and major league stuff."
--Red Sox manager Terry Francona
ETA: 2006
 
55. SCOTT ELBERT, lhp, Dodgers
"He made quick bats look like palm trees through peanut butter."
--Greenville manager Chad Epperson
ETA: 2008


56. EDISON VOLQUEZ, rhp, Rangers
"He's got special arm speed, special arm strength, special talent and special makeup. He's got a great temperament for the game and a very special set of skills."
--Former Rangers farm director Dom Chiti
ETA: 2006

57. JERED WEAVER, rhp, Angels
"He's a polished pitcher with an innate feel for putting hitters away."
--anonymous scout
ETA: 2006

58. JASON KUBEL, of, Twins
"You never know how a player is going to rebound mentally from injuries, but with Jason there's never been any doubt of where his desire is. It's to be back on the field."
--Twins farm director Jim Rantz
ETA: 2006


59. JOHN DANKS, lhp, Rangers
"He's always grouped with Thomas Diamond and Edison Volquez because they've played together all year. But people need to realize that he's playing with them and he's two years younger."
--anonymous scout
ETA: 2007

60. JEFF MATHIS, c, Angels
"I've loved him forever. I think he's probably better defensively than offensively because of his intangibles. I love his makeup."
--anonymous scout
ETA: 2006


61. ELVIS ANDRUS, ss, Braves
"He has it all for his age. His whole game is very mature."
--GCL Tigers manager Kevin Bradshaw
ETA: 2009


62. TROY PATTON, lhp, Astros
"I think Troy is as good of a lefthander as we have brought into this system since I've been here. His stuff is plenty good."
--Astros senior director of player personnel Paul Ricciarini
ETA: 2007

63. JONATHAN BROXTON, rhp, Dodgers
"He blows it by people, has deception in his delivery, a power breaking ball and a feel for it. Broxton looked like a bigger Bartolo Colon out there, with a better body."
--anonymous scout
ETA: 2006


64. ADAM JONES, of/ss, Mariners
"He brings so much to every game. He'll find a different way to beat you on any given day."
--Bakersfield manager Arnie Beyeler
ETA: 2007


65. MARCUS SANDERS, ss/2b, Giants
"He runs down the line as fast as any guy I've seen in a long time. He's one of those players who can change a game with his speed."
--Augusta manager Roberto Kelly
ETA: 2008


66. KENJI JOHJIMA, c, Mariners
"He has a very quick release and a plus arm. He's a very confident kid and he likes to run the game."
--Chiba Lotte Marines manager Bobby Valentine
ETA: 2006

67. DUSTIN NIPPERT, rhp, Diamondbacks
"He just kept pounding his fastball, and being a big guy, it came in at a downhill plane. This guy is a power pitcher, a big guy with a good future."
--Jacksonville manager John Shoemaker
ETA: 2006


68. COLE HAMELS, lhp, Phillies
"We don't want to get too excited because he hasn't pitched much the past year and a half. By the same token, we don't want to hold him back if he's ready."
--Phillies assistant general manager Mike Arbuckle
ETA: 2006

69. YUSMEIRO PETIT, rhp, Marlins
"When you throw 3-and-2 changeups down in the zone with late bite, it's cheating. And he's doing all that off a plus fastball."
--Portland manager Todd Claus
ETA: 2006


70. JEFF NIEMANN, rhp, Devil Rays
"He's so big and long, everything is just right on top of you. He has huge upside."
--San Jose manager Lenn Sakata
ETA: 2007


71. BRAD SNYDER, of, Indians
"He just carries himself differently. You see that maturity in his approach at the plate, in the field. Just everything he does commands your attention."
--Winston-Salem hitting coach Andy Tomberlin
ETA: 2007


72. THOMAS DIAMOND, rhp, Rangers
"He's a big, strong Southern boy. There's little doubt in my mind, he could come in and have a Jonathan Papelbon-type break-in and help us out of the pen this year, but he's a starter."
-- Rangers general manager Jon Daniels
ETA: 2007


73. GIO GONZALEZ, lhp, Phillies
"His curve was unreal and he throws it anytime, anywhere."
--Savannah manager Randy Knorr
ETA: 2007


74. JAVIER HERRERA, of, Athletics
"His best tool is everything. He can run, he has a phenomenal arm, he has power and he can hit."
--Cedar Rapids manager Bobby Magallanes
ETA: 2008

75. MATT MOSES, 3b, Twins
"He has some real life off of that bat. If it's a hittable pitch in the zone, he puts the barrel on the ball, and that's not something you can teach."
--Fort Myers manager Riccardo Ingram
ETA: 2007


76. JAY BRUCE, of, Reds
"He's a five-tool player, and they're kind of rare. He's a center fielder, and the only question is if he grows out of it size-wise."
--Reds scouting director Terry Reynolds
ETA: 2008


77. DUSTIN PEDROIA, 2b/ss, Red Sox
"Everyone scoffed at him and underestimated his ability to play at a high level, but this guy is a winner. The more I watched him beat us in just about every phase of the game, the more I began to realize how much this guy does."
--Norwich manager Dave Machemer
ETA: 2006

78. KENDRY MORALES, 1b, Angels
"He's a guy who can swing the bat pretty darn good. If the guy comes to camp and shows us he's right to be in the major leagues, we'll find a way for him to be in the major leagues."
--Angels general manager Bill Stoneman
ETA: 2007


79. JASON HAMMEL, rhp, Devil Rays
"He went through his ups and downs when he got here, but his stuff plays bigger than it is sometimes. And a 90-mph fastball with that hard curve is pretty big already."
--Durham manager Bill Evers
ETA: 2006

80. JOSH JOHNSON, rhp, Marlins
"He's a true power guy, with a fastball between 91-96. He goes at you and isn't afraid to go inside."
--Tennessee manager Tony Perezchica
ETA: 2006


81. HAYDEN PENN, rhp, Orioles
"The fastball's his best pitch, because he can throw it at any time and to all parts of the zone with command. But he's also got an awfully good curveball."
--Orioles farm director David Stockstill
ETA: 2006

82. BLAKE DeWITT, 3b, Dodgers
"He lets the ball get deep, shows the ability to drive the ball the other way and has easy pull power. The bat will be there."
--anonymous scout
ETA: 2008


83. CLIFF PENNINGTON, ss, Athletics
"He's a gamer with tools. He's as good a shortstop as I've seen for a while."
--anonymous scout
ETA: 2007

84. JUSTIN HUBER, 1b, Royals
"He has worked hard on his stroke. Everyone in the organization is impressed with the way he swings the bat."
--Royals vice president of baseball operations George Brett
ETA: 2006


85. MARK PAWELEK, lhp, Cubs
"He has rare ability. He already throws 92-95 mph, and he'll throw even harder."
--Cubs farm director Oneri Fleita
ETA: 2008


86. ERIC DUNCAN, 3b/1b, Yankees
"He had the kind of year you would expect a 20-year-old kid to have at Double-A. When he is going good ,he is real good at laying off the changeup and breaking ball, and he gets good cuts."
--Trenton manager Bill Masse
ETA: 2007


87. RICKY ROMERO, lhp, Blue Jays
"In addition to all of his physical abilities, the thing we like the most is his competitive nature, his will to win, which we kind of think sets him apart."
--Blue Jays scouting director Jon Lalonde
ETA: 2007


88. CESAR CARRILLO, rhp, Padres
"Carillo has an electric fastball, he locates it and he's aggressive. And his curveball can be really good, too."
--Padres scouting director Bill Gayton
ETA: 2007

89. ANDRE ETHIER, of, Dodgers
"You can't pitch him one way. You've got to throw everything and the kitchen sink at him to get him out."
--Frisco manager Darryl Kennedy
ETA: 2006

90. NICK ADENHART, rhp, Angels
"He's getting there. His fastball was an easy 90-94. He just needs to learn when to throw which pitch."
--AZL manager Brian Harper
ETA: 2008

91. GLEN PERKINS, lhp, Twins
"He came to the park ready to pitch. He's a lefthander with a sneaky fastball that always seems to jump up on the hitters."
--Fort Myers manager Riccardo Ingram
ETA: 2006


92. RYAN SWEENEY, of, White Sox
"I'm confident Sweeney will hit for power. When he does, he'll have three plus tools: hitting for average, hitting for power and arm."
--anonymous scout
ETA: 2008


93. ANTHONY LEREW, rhp, Braves
"He's a power guy with a ton of potential he's just begun to tap into."
--Richmond manager Pat Kelly
ETA: 2006


94. RONNY CEDENO, ss, Cubs
"He never missed a beat here. He has great physical skills, very good hands and wrists, great talent and work ethic. He does so many things."
--Iowa manager Mike Quade
ETA: 2006


95. TOM GORZELANNY, lhp, Pirates
"He has the stuff to win games in the big leagues. He has a chance to be a good one."
--Pirates farm director Brian Graham
ETA: 2006

96. MATT KEMP, of, Dodgers
"He can throw, run, steal a base, hit for average, hit for power, he's a good center fielder. He's got it all."
--Brevard County manager John Tamargo
ETA: 2007

97. CHRIS VOLSTAD, rhp, Marlins
"I was the hitting coach for the Marlins in Double-A in 2004 and I didn't see pitchers there with the command of all three pitches like he has."
--GCL Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez
ETA: 2008


98. CHUCK JAMES, lhp, Braves
"I don't want to face that guy no more. It's that changeup. He threw me a 2-0 changeup and I thought I broke my bat on my back."
--No. 1 prospect Delmon Young
ETA: 2006


99. NOLAN REIMOLD, of, Orioles
"He's got five plus tools and he has a little bit more ability to use them than maybe we knew. He was a good first-round talent that we got in the second round. We're fortunate--really fortunate."
--Orioles scouting director Joe Jordan
ETA: 2007

100. ANTHONY SWARZAK, rhp, Twins
"This guy pitches like he's a big league pitcher. With the exception of John Danks last year, I haven't seen a high school kid polished like that. Nothing shakes this guy."
--Cedar Rapids manager Bobby Magallanes
ETA: 2007