League Top 20 Prospects

South Atlantic League Top 20 Prospects

Only 19, Bumgarner pitches like a vet

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1. Madison Bumgarner, lhp, Augusta (Giants)
2. Jason Heyward, of, Rome (Braves)
3. Mike Stanton, of, Greensboro (Marlins)
4. Jhoulys Chacin, rhp, Asheville (Rockies)
5. Matt Dominguez, 3b, Greensboro (Marlins)
6. Angel Villalona, 1b, Augusta (Giants)
7. Jesus Montero, c, Charleston (Yankees)
8. Austin Romine, c, Charleston (Yankees)
9. Nick Noonan, 2b, Augusta (Giants)
10. Freddie Freeman, 1b, Rome (Braves)
11. Michael Burgess, of, Hagerstown (Nationals)
12. Che-Hsuan Lin, of, Greenville (Red Sox)
13. Cole Rohrbough, lhp, Rome (Braves)
14. Jeff Locke, lhp, Rome (Braves)
15. Michael Taylor, of, Lakewood (Phillies)
16. Alex Cobb, rhp, Columbus (Rays)
17. Darin Holcomb, 3b, Asheville (Rockies)
18. Caleb Gindl, of, West Virginia (Brewers)
19. Ryan Kalish, of, Greenville (Red Sox)
20. Cody Johnson, of, Rome (Braves)
Youth was served throughout the South Atlantic League in 2008, a season in which teenage talent dominated the low Class A circuit more than at any time in recent memory. League champion Augusta set the tone, with 18-year-old lefthander Madison Bumgarner leading the minors in ERA (1.46), 17-year-old first baseman Angel Villalona topping the GreenJackets with 17 homers and 19-year-old second baseman Nick Noonan pacing the club with 68 RBIs. All three ranked among the SAL's top 10 prospects.

"I thought overall the talent in the league might have been a little down from top to bottom compared to recent seasons," Lakewood manager Steve Roadcap said. "But the number of 18- and 19-year-olds in the league with high ceilings was as impressive a group as I have seen."

"There were several young guys in this league that you're going to be seeing in the big leagues and having an impact up there," Rome manager Randy Ingle concurred. "And if I had to guess, I would think some of them will get there pretty fast."

A number of college first-round picks appeared in the SAL but didn't stay long enough to qualify for this list, most notably Kannapolis shortstop Gordon Beckham and Greenville righthander Daniel Bard. Another college first-rounder, Hickory righthander Brad Lincoln, did pitch enough innings. While he couldn't quite crack the Top 20, he did show that he's making a promising recovery from the Tommy John surgery that sidelined him for all of 2007.

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