2005 Top 20 Prospects: Appalachian LeagueComplete Index of League Top 20s
By Matt Eddy
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Holding with recent trends for American rookie leagues, the Appalachian League featured more second-year players and fewer young Latin prospects than it had in recent years. Managers agreed the overall talent level was down from 2004, when true shortstops and projectable lefthanders were plentiful. This year, the Rookie league's strengths were offense-first catchers and toolsy outfielders with a chance to play in center.
First-round picks Brandon Snyder (13th overall to the Orioles) and Colby Rasmus (28th to the Cardinals), the highest-drafted players to play in the league, proved to be the brightest lights. They impressed managers not only with their tools but also with their professional approaches.
Three of the league’s top righthanded power-hitting prospects—Princeton outfielder Ryan Royster, Danville outfielder Jon Mark Owings and Kingsport first baseman Nick Evans—missed the cut because of limited playing time and a lack of supporting tools. Johnson City shortstop Donovan Solano, at 17 the youngest qualifier for this list, also just missed. His defensive actions and knowledge of the strike zone were advanced for a young player.