2005 Top 20 Prospects: Gulf Coast LeagueComplete Index of League Top 20s
By Allan Simpson
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The Gulf Coast League (and Arizona League) may be in their final year of operation, depending on whether major league owners vote to eliminate complex leagues as part of significant changes to the draft and player development. If this was the GCL's farewell, it went out with a bang with a talented crop better than the league had produced in recent years.
Seventeen players selected in the first or second rounds of the 2005 draft appeared in the league this summer. The three highest picks—outfielders Andrew McCutchen (Pirates) and Jay Bruce (Reds), righthander Chris Volstad (Marlins)—ranked 1-2-3 on the prospect list.
The Marlins drafted five pitchers before the second round, and the four high schoolers they sent to the GCL all made the top 20. Behind Volstad, lefthanders Sean West and Aaron Thompson and righthander Ryan Tucker also made a huge impression, and all four were promoted to the short-season New York-Penn League before the summer ended.
“I’ve been in the game for 25 years and have never seen four quality starting pitchers on one staff like we had this year,” Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez said. “All have excellent makeup, are not afraid to work hard and all recognize they still have a long way to go.”