League Top 20 Prospects

2012 California League Top 20 Prospects

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1. Billy Hamilton, ss, Bakersfield (Reds)
2. George Springer, of, Lancaster (Astros)
3. Joc Pederson, of, Rancho Cucamonga (Dodgers)
4. Kaleb Cowart, 3b, Inland Empire (Angels)
5. Zach Lee, rhp, Rancho Cucamonga (Dodgers)
6. Rymer Liriano, of, Lake Elsinore (Padres)
7. Miles Head, 3b, Stockton (Athletics)
8. Kyle Parker, of, Modesto (Rockies)
9. C.J. Cron, 1b, Inland Empire (Angels)
10. Andrew Chafin, lhp, Visalia (Diamondbacks)
11. Tony Cingrani, lhp, Bakersfield (Reds)
12. Chris Owings, ss, Visalia (Diamondbacks)
13. David Holmberg, lhp, Visalia (Diamondbacks)
14. Domingo Santana, of, Lancaster (Astros)
15. Leon Landry, of, Rancho Cucamonga (Dodgers)/
High Desert (Mariners)
16. Nick Maronde, lhp, Inland Empire (Angels)
17. Donn Roach, rhp, Inland Empire (Angels)/
Lake Elsinore (Padres)
18. Brad Miller, ss, High Desert (Mariners)
19. Cory Spangenberg, 2b, Lake Elsinore (Padres)
20. Joe Panik, ss, San Jose (Giants)
Without question, Billy Hamilton was the biggest story to come out of the high Class A California League—and the entire minor leagues—this season. The Bakersfield shortstop set a professional baseball record with 155 steals, won the league MVP award and edged Lancaster outfielder George Springer for the top spot on this prospect list.

The California League lived up to its reputation as a haven for hitters, with teams scoring 5.4 runs per game, easily the highest average among full-season circuits. Position players occupy eight of the first nine spots on this list, with Rancho Cucamonga righthander Zach Lee at No. 5 the lone exception. While elite pitching prospects were few and far between, lefthanders Tony Cingrani (Bakersfield) and Nick Maronde (Inland Empire) rocketed from the Cal League to the majors in their first full pro seasons.

Rancho Cucamonga would have featured the two best pitching prospects in the league if lefthander Chris Reed had logged enough innings to qualify. Another notable Quake who made only a cameo was Cuban outfielder Yasiel Puig, who hit .327/.407/.423 in 52 at-bats after signing for $42 million.