League Top 20 Prospects

South Atlantic League Top 20 Prospects

The Sally League had a number of power arms in 2009

See also: South Atlantic League Top 20 Prospects With Scouting Reports Premium

1. Martin Perez, lhp, Hickory (Rangers)
2. Casey Kelly, rhp/ss, Greenville (Red Sox)
3. Matt Moore, lhp, Bowling Green (Rays)
4. Derek Norris, c, Hagerstown (Nationals)
5. Tim Beckham, ss, Bowling Green (Rays)
6. Jordan Lyles, rhp, Lexington (Astros)
7. Jason Knapp, rhp, Lakewood (Phillies)/
Lake County (Indians)
8. Jared Mitchell, of, Kannapolis (White Sox)
9. Manny Banuelos, lhp, Charleston (Yankees)
10. Wilmer Flores, ss, Savannah (Mets)
11. Rudy Owens, lhp, West Virginia (Pirates)
12. Tony Sanchez, c, West Virginia (Pirates)
13. Anthony Gose, of, Lakewood (Phillies)
14. Tim Federowicz, c, Greenville (Red Sox)
15. Dexter Carter, rhp, Kannapolis (White Sox)
16. Nick Barnese, rhp, Bowling Green (Rays)
17. Travis D'Arnaud, c, Lakewood (Phillies)
18. Alex Perez, rhp, Lake County (Indians)
19. Trevor May, rhp, Lakewood (Phillies)
20. Melky Mesa, of, Charleston (Yankees)
To be eligible for a league's list, a pitcher must have thrown 1/3 inning for each team game or have made 20 appearances (10 in short-season and rookie-level leagues). Hitters need one plate appearance for each team game.

Most years, the best teams are led by the best players. In the previous two years in the low Class A South Atlantic League, for example, No. 1 prospects Desmond Jennings (Columbus in 2007) and Madison Bumgarner (Augusta in 2008) sparked their clubs to championships. This season, the storyline was different. League champion Lakewood's highest-rated prospect, outfielder Anthony Gose, checked in at No. 13. Righthander Jason Knapp, who ranked seventh, opened the season with the BlueClaws but finished the season in Lake County after getting included in the trade that sent Cliff Lee from the Indians to the Phillies.

In another change, pitchers rather than position players dominated the league. Thirty-one of the 40 prospects on our 2007-08 SAL Top 20s were hitters, but this year pitchers claimed the first three spots and seven of the top 11. And Asheville lefthander Christian Friedrich would have ranked prominently had he not missed qualifying by two-thirds of an inning. The Rockies' 2008 first-round pick went 3-3, 2.18 with 66 strikeouts in 45 innings for the Tourists.

"There's no question about it. The starting pitching was the cream of the crop," Bowling Green manager Matt Quataro said. "Pitching is where the majority of the talent was."

Subscribers can see scouting reports for the entire South Atlantic League Top 20 Prospects list. Premium