1. Carlos Gonzales, of, South Bend
2. Homer Bailey, rhp, Dayton
3. Eric Hurley, rhp, Clinton
4. Javier Herrera, of, Kane County
5. Cliff Pennington, ss, Kane County
6. Travis Buck, of, Kane County
7. Ryan Harvey, of, Peoria
8. Anthony Swarzak, rhp, Beloit
9. Rafael Rodriguez, rhp, Cedar Rapids
10. Matt Garza, rhp, Beloit
11. Jay Rainville, rhp, Beloit
12. Trevor Plouffe, ss, Beloit
13. Luis Cota, rhp, Burlington
14. David Winfree, 3b, Beloit
15. Sean Gallagher, rhp, Peoria
16. Eric Patterson, 2b, Peoria
17. Reid Brignac, ss, Southwest Michigan
18. Matt Tuiasosopo, ss, Wisconsin
19. Asdrubal Cabrera, if, Wisconsin
20. Wilkin Ramirez, 3b, West Michigan
The low Class A Midwest League has been good for at least one star hitting
prospect each year this decade, with an alumni list that includes Albert
Pujols and Adam Dunn (2000), Miguel Cabrera (2001), Joe Mauer (2002),
Prince Fielder (2003) and Brandon Wood (2004).
The latest addition is South Bend outfielder Carlos Gonzales, who led the Silver Hawks to the league championship while catching the eye of everyone who saw him. He won the league MVP award and managers rated him the MWL's best batting prospect, defensive outfielder and outfield arm as well its most exciting player.
"I've seen all the guys who came through the league the last five years," a National League scout said, "and I'm not sure Gonzales isn't better than all of them except Joe Mauer. He's better than Daric Barton and Casey Kotchman. He's better than Justin Morneau, Jason Stokes and Adrian Gonzalez.
"That bat is so special. He's an easy, easy great bat."
While Gonzales earned can't-miss status, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2004 draft played to mixed reviews and couldn't crack the top 20 list. Fort Wayne shortstop Matt Bush raised more doubts about his bat by hitting .221 and showing below-average speed. He had the strongest infield arm in the league and is a potential Gold Glover, though he led MWL shortstops with 38 errors.
"If you look at him as the No. 1 pick, your expectations are going to be too high," veteran Clinton manager Carlos Subero said. "If you look at him as just coming out of high school, you'll say that this kid can play some baseball."