Midwest League Top 20 Prospects List

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1. Clayton Kershaw, lhp, Great Lakes (Dodgers)
2. Travis Snider, of, Lansing Lugnuts (Blue Jays)
3. Brett Anderson, lhp, South Bend (Diamondbacks)
4. Gorkys Hernandez, of, West Michigan (Tigers)
5. Hank Conger, c, Cedar Rapids (Angels)
6. Carlos Triunfel, ss, Wisconsin (Mariners)
7. Jose Ceda, rhp, Peoria (Cubs)
8. Gerardo Parra, of, South Bend (Diamondbacks)
9. Josh Bell, 3b, Great Lakes (Dodgers)
10. Drew Stubbs, of, Dayton (Reds)
11. Tyler Herron, rhp, Quad Cities (Cardinals)
12. Omar Poveda, rhp, Clinton (Rangers)
13. Jeff Manship, rhp, Beloit (Twins)
14. John Whittleman, 3b, Clinton (Rangers)
15. Juan Francisco, 3b, Dayton (Reds)
16. Drew Miller, rhp, Fort Wayne (Padres)
17. Kasey Kiker, lhp, Clinton (Rangers)
18. Sean O’Sullivan, rhp, Cedar Rapids (Angels)
19. Trevor Cahill, rhp, Kane County (Athletics)
20. Tyler Robertson, lhp, Beloit (Twins)

The low Class A Midwest League witnessed a special crop of talent in 2006, led by outfielders Jay Bruce, Cameron Maybin and Justin Upton and Colby Rasmus. All have gone on to bigger and better things, with Bruce winning Baseball America’s 2007 Minor League Player of the Year award, Maybin and Upton reaching the majors and Rasmus capturing the Double-A Texas League home run crown. The pitching group, led by Nick Adenhart and Jake McGee, was star-studded as well.

There was no way the MWL could live up to last year’s standard, and it didn’t. Nevertheless, the league was headlined by Great Lakes lefthander Clayton Kershaw, who can stake a claim to being the game’s best pitching prospect, and Lansing outfielder Travis Snider, arguably the best teenage hitter in the minors. After those two, the star power dropped off considerably.

One constant that remained was West Michigan winning the league championship with a young, athletic center fielder on a club of mostly older players. The Whitecaps rode Maybin to the 2006 title and Gorkys Hernandez, the MWL’s best all-around player, to a 2007 repeat.

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