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Ask BA: What MLB Prospects Will Make A Jump In 2006?

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You know how you can tell that there's a whole lot of nothing going on in spring training? When the will-Alfonso-Soriano-play-left-field story dominates baseball for days. Thankfully, that's over now.

        Each season, there are good prospects who elevate themselves into elite status. Rockies third baseman Ian Stewart (No. 57 on

the Top 100 Prospects list in 2004, No. 4 in 2005) and Angels shortstop Brandon Wood (No. 83 in 2005, No. 3 in 2006) are two recent examples. What prospects are going to make a similar jump this year?

Mike Parnell, Boston

Jim Callis:

Great question, Mike. Most of the prospects who make that leap are young guys without much of a track record rather than older players who suddenly break out in the upper minors. When I combed through the current Top 100 list looking for candidates, I found eight guys who piqued my interest—none of whom played above Class A in 2005.

It won't be a huge jump, but I think Diamondbacks outfielder Carlos Gonzales (No. 32 on this year's list) will be in the top 10 next year. He's going to be a .300-hitting, 30-homer right fielder with a strong arm, and he's going to put up monster numbers in the high Class A California League in 2006.

My other breakout candidates, all from the bottom half of the Top 100: Dodgers lefthander Scott Elbert (No. 55) and third baseman Blake DeWitt (No. 82), Reds outfielder Jay Bruce (No. 76), Cubs lefty Mark Pawelek (No. 85), Angels righty Nick Adenhart (No. 90), Orioles outfielder Nolan Reimold (No. 99) and Twins righty Anthony Swarzak (No. 100).

As a bonus, I'll give you two more guys I like who just missed the Top 100 cut. Shortstop Reid Brignac and righty Wade Davis, both Devil Rays, are going to make bigger names for themselves in 2006.

Brandon Wood Lisablumenthalgetty

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