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MiLB Top 10 Prospects Flashback: 2009 Pioneer League

Even with its picturesque backdrops, the Rookie-level Pioneer League earned a reputation as unrelenting. It plays 76 games, more than any other Rookie league. Its North and South divisions are separated by great distances and mountainous terrain. Oh, and because of its altitude, the Pioneer League is one of the highest scoring environments in affiliated baseball.

Some scouts eagerly volunteer for Pioneer League coverage because of its scenic beauty; players are less eager. Even still, the league has seen its share of epic prospect classes: David Wells and Cecil Fielder in 1982, Helena teammates Gary Sheffield, Greg Vaughn and Darryl Hamilton in 1986; Great Falls teammates Pedro Martinez and Raul Mondesi in 1990 and Joey Votto and Chad Billingsley in 2003.

However, the Pioneer League class of 2009 has them all beat for sheer volume of future major league regulars.

2009 Pioneer League Top 10 Prospects

1Wil MyersCIdaho FallsRoyals3,35311.4
2Jake OdorizziRHPHelenaBrewers1,04215.9
3Bobby Borchering3BMissoulaD-backs
4Garrett RichardsRHPOremAngels80310.3
5Patrick CorbinLHPOremAngels1,20620.5
6Jean Segura2BOremAngels4,64518.9
7Chris OwingsSSMissoulaD-backs2,3460.4
8Nolan Arenado3BCasperRockies4,55832.1
9Chris Balcom-MillerRHPCasperRockies
10Eric ArnettRHPHelenaBrewers

Nolan Arenado (No. 8) showed a “mature, balanced approach” and the “bat speed and raw strength suggest potential plus home run power.” His “soft hands and plus arm strength” play well at third base. “You know he wants the ball hit to him, and that’s an intangible you can’t teach,” Arenado’s manager said.

Wil Myers (No. 1) fell to the third round in 2009 but signed for first-round money. Of his offensive upside, we wrote that he “uses no batting gloves or finger tape, trusting his quick hands and strong wrists to hit with authority.” Myers signed as a catcher, where he wasn’t “always fluid behind the plate,” though he projected for “well above-average power.”

Patrick Corbin (No. 5) played baseball and basketball in junior college and his “premium athleticism and loose arm portend more velocity down the road.” His “quiet confidence” and hard slurve that “sometimes features sharp, deep tilt” marked him as a starter.

The 2009 Pioneer League top 10 was so deep it also featured future quality big leaguers Jake Odorizzi (No. 2), Garrett Richards (No. 4) and Jean Segura (No. 6).

Pioneer League All-Time BA No. 1 Prospects

Players listed with career major league plate appearances/innings and FanGraphs WAR. Stats for active players current through mid August.

1982Joe Citari1BButteRoyals
1983Kurt StillwellSSBillingsReds3,4781.2
1984Mark BerryCBillingsReds
1985Mike DevereauxOFGreat FallsDodgers4,10213.0
1986Gary SheffieldSSHelenaBrewers10,94762.1
1987Andres SantanaSSPocatelloGiants2-0.1
1988Jose OffermanSSGreat FallsDodgers6,58213.9
1989Tom GoodwinOFGreat FallsDodgers4,3153.9
1990Raul MondesiOFGreat FallsDodgers6,36926.5
1991Tyrone HillLHPHelenaBrewers
1992Chad MottolaOFBillingsReds137-1.1
1993Kym AshworthLHPGreat FallsDodgers
1994Aaron Boone3BBillingsReds4,33310.0
1995Ben DavisCIdaho FallsPadres1,6983.7
1996Vladimir NunezRHPLethbridgeD-backs442-0.2
1997Jhensy SandovalOFLethbridgeD-backs
1998Austin KearnsOFBillingsReds4,17916.7
1999Francisco RodriguezRHPButteAngels97624.5
2000Dave KrynzelOFOgdenBrewers540.0
2001Mike JonesRHPOgdenBrewers
2002James Loney1BGreat FallsDodgers5,4876.8
2003Ian Stewart3BCasperRockies1,6922.1
2004Chris NelsonSSCasperRockies901-1.9
2005Jay BruceOFBillingsReds6,55520.5
2006Bryan MorrisRHPOgdenDodgers2362.6
2007Todd FrazierSSBillingsReds4,82624.6
2008Wilin RosarioCCasperRockies1,601-0.5
2009Wil MyersCIdaho FallsRoyals3,24110.4
2010Billy Hamilton2B/SSBillingsReds3,11110.1
2011Trevor StorySS/3BCasperRockies2,39616.5
2012David DahlOFGrand JunctionRockies1,0013.1
2013Hunter Dozier3BIdaho FallsRoyals1,0302.2
2014Aristides AquinoOFBillingsReds2351.0
2015Brendan RodgersSSGrand JunctionRockies88-0.7
2016Riley PintRHPGrand JunctionRockies
2017Jo AdellOFOremAngels41-0.6
2018Grant Lavigne1BGrand JunctionRockies
2019Liover PegueroSSMissoulaD-Backs
Nolan Arenado Photo By Christian Petersen Getty Images

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