2008 Mid-Season Top 100 Prospects

A lot can happen in half a season, even when it comes to long-term assets such as prospects. Besides the entry of the 2008 draftees, three months can greatly affect ‘veteran’ prospect rankings. They will not necessarily make or break a career, but all of the prospects had questions attached to their rankings, and many of them have been answered whether in the positive or the negative.

Some prospects’ rankings might not quite jive with where I indicated they would end up. This happens for one of three reasons. First of all, I could simply have changed my mind about a player, or perhaps I was made aware of some information that I did not have before. Second, something may have changed between a prospect’s review and today. For example, Desmond Jennings going down with his third injury of the year is extremely frustrating. On the positive side, Chris Carter of the A’s has continued an absolutely ridiculous hitting tear since he was covered with the first batch of prospects.

Third, the make-up of the list may have an effect. For instance, I believe that this top ten is not as impressive as that of the pre-season list, but I think that the 10-30 range is far stronger. The reason for the latter is the difference in draft quality. Only 3 of the top 25 pre-season prospects were from the 2007 draft; 6 of the top 25 of this list were drafted this year, and Michael Inoa is essentially the seventh member of that group. This should help explain why prospects like Travis Snider and Desmond Jennings are ranked where they are; they would certainly be ranked higher on the pre-season list.

Before the season, the Rays had far and away the best farm system of any team in baseball. Now, one team has made that close: The Oakland Athletics. The two systems have gone in completely different directions in a rather short time. The Rays’ top prospect (Longoria) graduated and others like McGee, Davis and Brignac have disappointed somewhat. The A’s have received outstanding performances from highly-ranked prospects Trevor Cahill and Brett Anderson, while unranked Sean Doolittle has burst onto the scene, and they signed ubermensch prospect Michael Inoa. The gap before the season was so large that the Rays might still have the best farm system in baseball, but I would have no problem giving that title to the A’s.

The best prospects today reside at opposite points of the defensive spectrum, and 1B and C prospects clutter the list. The explosion of 1B prospects is easily explained by the fact that that position housed most of the best prospects in this past draft. The influx of catchers has no other explanation other than the fact that a lot of them are having breakout years. Of course, many C prospects are just 1B prospects in disguise.

Unlike Baseball America’s updated 100 prospects, which does not include anybody signed this year or anybody currently in the majors, the only requirement for eligibity on this list is to be rookie-eligible.

Onto the players. Wieters possesses such an awesome combination of offense and defense at a premium position that I never seriously considered ranking anybody else as #1. Matt LaPorta is simply the best hitter in the minors, while David Price is the best pitcher, although Max Scherzer’s mind-boggling season has made it close.

Enjoy.


1. C Matt Wieters (Baltimore Orioles)
2. LF Matt LaPorta (Cleveland Indians)
3. LHSP David Price (Tampa Bay Rays)
4. RHSP Max Scherzer (Arizona Diamondbacks)
5. 1B Justin Smoak (Texas Rangers)
6. RHSP Trevor Cahill (Oakland Athletics)
7. LHSP Neftali Feliz (Texas Rangers)
8. LHSP Brett Anderson (Oakland Athletics)
9. 1B Yonder Alonso (Cincinnati Reds)
10. 3B/LF Chase Headley (San Diego Padres)
11. RHSP Jeremy Jeffress (Milwaukee Brewers)
12. RF Jason Heyward (Atlanta Braves)
13. C Max Ramirez (Texas Rangers)
14. CF Cameron Maybin (Florida Marlins)
15. RHSP Michael Inoa (Oakland Athletics)
16. LHSP Madison Bumgarner (San Francisco Giants)
17. C Buster Posey (San Francisco Giants)
18. 1B Brett Wallace (St. Louis Cardinals)
19. LHSP Clayton Kershaw (Los Angeles Dodgers)
20. RHSP Jhoulys Chacin (Colorado Rockies)
21. OF Kellen Kulbacki (San Diego Padres)
22. SS Gordon Beckham (Chicago White Sox)
23. CF Colby Rasmus (St. Louis Cardinals)
24. CF Jordan Schafer (Atlanta Braves)
25. 1B Sean Doolittle (Oakland Athletics)
26. 1B Kyle Blanks (San Diego Padres)
27. 1B Lars Anderson (Boston Red Sox)
28. 1B Beau Mills (Cleveland Indians)
29. CF Austin Jackson (New York Yankees)
30. OF Travis Snider (Toronto Blue Jays)
31. CF Desmond Jennings (Tampa Bay Rays)
32. RHSP Chris Tillman (Baltimore Orioles)
33. LHSP Brett Cecil (Toronto Blue Jays)
34. 1B Chris Marrero (Washington Nationals)
35. RHSP Michael Bowden (Boston Red Sox)
36. C Jesus Montero (New York Yankees)
37. 3B Mike Moustakas (Kansas City Royals)
38. 2B/SS Carlos Triunfel (Seattle Mariners)
39. 1B Eric Hosmer (Kansas City Royals)
40. 2B Sean Rodriguez (Los Angeles Angels)
41. RHSP Tommy Hanson (Atlanta Braves)
42. C Jonathon Lucroy (Milwaukee Brewers)
43. LHSP Christian Friedrich (Colorado Rockies)
44. LHSP Brian Matusz (Baltimore Orioles)
45. CF Ben Revere (Minnesota Twins)
46. RHSP Jake Arrieta (Baltimore Orioles)
47. RHSP Tim Alderson (San Francisco Giants)
48. RHSP Rick Porcello (Detroit Tigers)
49. RHSP Blake Wood (Kansas City Royals)
50. 2B Matt Antonelli (San Diego Padres)
51. SS Reid Brignac (Tampa Bay Rays)
52. LHSP Gio Gonzalez (Oakland Athletics)
53. C Hank Conger (Los Angeles Angels)
54. C Luke Montz (Washington Nationals)
55. SS Tim Beckham (Tampa Bay Rays)
56. SS Jed Lowrie (Boston Red Sox)
57. OF Carlos Gonzalez (Oakland Athletics)
58. 3B Mat Gamel (Milwaukee Brewers)
59. LHSP Jacob McGee (Tampa Bay Rays)
60. 1B Angel Villalona (San Francisco Giants)
61. 2B Jemile Weeks (Oakland Athletics)
62. CF Corey Brown (Oakland Athletics)
63. RHP Rob Bryson (Cleveland Indians)
64. RHSP Wade Davis (Tampa Bay Rays)
65. RHSP Jeremy Hellickson (Tampa Bay Rays)
66. RHSP Henry Sosa (San Francisco Giants)
67. C JP Arencibia (Toronto Blue Jays)
68. LHSP Jaime Garcia (St. Louis Cardinals)
69. 1B David Cooper (Toronto Blue Jays)
70. INF/LF Todd Frazier (Cincinnati Reds)
71. RHSP James Simmons (Oakland Athletics)
72. RF Chris Carter (Oakland Athletics)
73. 1B/OF Val Pascucci (New York Mets)
74. C Bryan Anderson (St. Louis Cardinals)
75. C Lou Marson (Philadelphia Phillies)
76. OF Ryan Kalish (Boston Red Sox)
77. LHSP Scott Elbert (Los Angeles Dodgers)
78. LHSP Adam Miller (Cleveland Indians)
79. RHSP Jarrod Parker (Arizona Diamondbacks)
80. LHSP Tyler Robertson (Minnesota Twins)
81. SS Jason Donald (Philadelphia Phillies)
82. RHSP Jess Todd (St. Louis Cardinals)
83. 1B Chris Davis (Texas Rangers)
84. OF Michael Taylor (Philadelphia Phillies)
85. RHRP Casey Weathers (Colorado Rockies)
86. OF Josh Reddick (Boston Red Sox)
87. CF Gorkys Hernandez (Atlanta Braves)
88. RHSP Will Inman (San Diego Padres)
89. RHSP Shooter Hunt (Minnesota Twins)
90. CF Che-Hsuan Lin (Boston Red Sox)
91. SS Chris Valaika (Cincinnati Reds)
92. LHSP Fautino De Los Santos (Oakland Athletics)
93. 2B Taylor Green (Milwaukee Brewers)
94. RHSP Hector Rondon (Cleveland Indians)
95. 2B Adrian Cardenas (Philadelphia Phillies)
96. RHSP Jordan Zimmerman (Washington Nationals)
97. RHSP Kris Medlen (Atlanta Braves)
98. RHSP James McDonald (Los Angeles Dodgers)
99. 1B/LF Nick Evans (New York Mets)
100. RHSP Kyle Lotzkar (Cincinnati Reds)

Just Missed: RHSP Kyle Ginley (Toronto Blue Jays), RHSP Nick Adenhart (Los Angeles Angels), RHSP Jordan Walden (Los Angeles Angels), 2B Chris Coghlan (Florida Marlins), 1B Logan Morrison (Florida Marlins), LF Chris Carter (Boston Red Sox), LHSP Zach Braddock (Milwaukee Brewers), C Kyle Skipworth (Florida Marlins)


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23 Comments »

Comment by Graham
2008-07-17 17:03:00

Snider is kind of low. I think Wallace is also kind high but it doesn’t look too bad. Kyle Ginley has really evolved this year into a nice future power pitcher for the Jays. Boston and NY have some nice prospects. Jackson in the Yankees organization looks to be their next big position player (Probably OF). I’d really like to know why Lars Anderson is rated ahead of Travis Snider however.

 
Comment by Peter
2008-07-17 17:08:11

The 3-spot different between Anderson and Snider is really quite insignificant. They’re essentially the same position, I just decided that Anderson’s better plate approach outweighs Snider’s power advantage.

On a side note, that four-player stretch of 1B at 25-58 may have been the hardest section to rank.

 
Comment by Joey From the boards
2008-07-17 17:21:17

Clayton Kershaw @ 17

Your credibility = Shot

 
Comment by Graham
2008-07-17 17:21:46

Fair enough. 1B are hard to rank because while they usually don’t have the greatest D they usually possess the best bat.

 
Comment by Peter
2008-07-17 20:14:19

So glad that I put Kershaw at 19, then. I like my credibility.

 
Comment by Jogas
2008-07-17 22:54:09

Great list, appreciate the time.

 
Comment by Matt
2008-07-18 00:28:19

I appreciate the list. I know it takes a lot of work and time. Is this list based on ceiling or mlb quality? For instance Chase Headley above Jason Heyward…And no Julio Teheran?? Is he somewhat similar to Michael Inoa?

 
Comment by Ju1ced
2008-07-18 01:44:17

Matt, Peter posted the following on a forum:

Well, you have to balance it. I can’t just rank them by the highest ceiling, but I also can’t rank them just by how safe they are… for example, Inoa might have the highest ceiling of any pitcher on the list, but I certainly can’t rank him ahead of much safer guys like Cahill and Anderson. It’s all a judgment call.

 
Comment by Matt
2008-07-18 12:36:31

Alright Thanks, I appreciate it…and good work!

 
Comment by Peter
2008-07-18 18:28:17

Thanks Kyle.

People really shouldn’t read a whole lot into two-spot differences. The difference between 10 and 12 would be larger than at the bottom of the list, it still isn’t a big deal. Anyways, you mention Headley like he’s a low-ceiling guy, which I’d strongly disagree with. With his power and patience, he has huge offensive upside.

I don’t think Teheran is similar to Inoa because, frankly, nobody is similar to Inoa. Teheran is your usual high-profile international signing, with a lot of things to like but a lot of things to work on as well. I’m generally not in the business of ranking 16-year-old pitchers, and Teheran isn’t an exception. Inoa is.

The times when I rank very young players highly is when they don’t really play like very young players. For example, Travis Snider coming out of high school was extremely mature and polished. Similarly, while Inoa has the usual upside of high-dollar 16-year-olds, he’s more advanced than the guys who’ve been drafted out of high school this year. His secondary stuff is excellent, his mechanics are perfect, and his command is very polished. He’s something else.

 
Comment by Matt
2008-07-18 23:54:34

I’m not mentioning Headley as a low ceiling prospect. At least that is not the way it was meant to be. In my opinion, though, Heyward has a lot higher ceiling that Headley. Not that he isn’t high, I just didn’t expect to see Yonder Alonso ahead of him. Nor did I expect to see Heyward above Kershaw.

No love for Freddie Freeman or Engel Beltre?

 
Comment by Peter
2008-07-19 11:49:01

Headley and Heyward is a good example of the balance I mentioned above. I’d agree that Heyward has a higher ceiling, but there’s no way that I’d agree it’s a lot higher. Headley’s a guy who could be putting up a .900 OPS, there’s no way I could say that anybody has a ceiling “a lot” higher. The fact that Headley is in the majors and Heyward is in A-ball more than makes of for the slight difference in ceiling, and I’m quite comfortable putting Headley slightly ahead of Heyward in the rankings.

Freddie is a guy who could’ve been on, and if he keeps it up he’ll definitely be in contention for the pre-season list. However, despite what it may look like, I’m generally pretty hesitant towards ranking non-premium 1B prospects highly. For me to put a 1B in A-ball on the list, he has to be a very good hitter in all facets, and right now he just isn’t drawing walks at a very good rate. Good prospect, though.

Beltre, no. I ranked him #74 on the pre-season list and started regretting it. He’s a guy who is all ceiling with no polish. I couldn’t live with myself if I put a guy who has 70 K and 8 BB in Low A-ball on the list.

 
Comment by Matt
2008-07-19 13:21:33

Thanks for the responses…It’s hard to find another place to get them answered…

 
2008-07-23 14:44:17

[…] an item that should especially interest those of you who are now just waiting for next year: a mid-season update of baseball’s top 100 prospects. And if that’s not enough, here’s a look at the Triple A […]

 
Comment by Joe Subscribed to comments via email
2008-07-28 02:11:55

Is this list a joke? Where is fernando martinez?

 
Comment by Peter
2008-07-28 14:36:05

I think he’s in Binghamton right now, continuing to show no hitting ability whatsoever.

Comment by eric
2008-07-29 22:59:22

Martinez is 19 years old hitting .292 in AA. No hitting ability whatsoever? Idiotic statement. He’s a developing prospect. Check out Grady Sizemore’s stats at 19. He probably wouldn’t of made your list either. Nick Evans is far from the Mets best prospect. When teams talk trade with the Mets they ask for Fernando Martinez and Jonathan Niese, not Nick Evans.

 
 
Comment by Peter
2008-07-30 14:39:19

Wow, he’s hitting .292. I’m convinced. How about how often he makes contact, how often he walks, how often he hits for power or is projected to, his ability to stay healthy, the ability to play a decent defensive CF (and thus the ability to stay in CF)…

Batting average: Good
Things that matter: Not so much

And FWIW, when Grady Sizemore was Martinez’s age, he was putting up a near .400 OBP in the Carolina League.

 
Comment by eric
2008-07-30 19:42:57

Yeah’ he’s injury prone, but so was Jose Reyes and he turned out pretty well. My point about Grady Sizemore was the best prospects don’t always put up the best numbers. Other than OBP Sizemore’s stats at age 19 in advanced A were no better than F Mart’s in AA. Hell, look at Hanley Ramirez’s stats his last year in AA at age 21. .271 AVG, .335 OBP, .385 SLG, 6 HR’s in 465 AB’s. Where’s the power? Yet, he was still considered a huge prospect and rightly so. I’ve only seen F Mart play a few times, but everything I’ve read and heard about him has been positive. He’s the first guy teams ask for when the Mets talk trade. He has a quick bat and power should come as he develops. He’s pretty high up on every prospect list I’ve seen the last few years. Baseball America had him at 20 before the season. If you want to argue he’s not an “elite” prospect based on his stats this year, that’s fine, but he belongs on any top 100 list. To put Nick Evans ahead of him and to say he shows “no hitting ability whatsoever” is ridiculous. .220 is no hitting ability. He’s a highly regarded prospect whether his stats tell you that or not.

 
Comment by robert martinez
2008-08-07 17:26:17

but I think if Jairo martinez prospect of dominica republic has the potential to produce double SIFR
if given the opportunity to be in a league where he gets the longest games and turns at bat needed in a season ..

Jairo Martinez is a player of the tools 5
complete a player with a good average for Vander opposite …
español » inglés Traducir

 
Comment by Matt
2008-09-23 19:28:22

simple question.

Why isnt joey devine on this list since weathers is? he hasnt allowed an earned run since may 20th. his overall numbers are amazing for a young rp.

he’s 6-1 with a 0.60 era 0.78 whip 49 strikeouts in 45 innings. this isnt even minors records and he qualified for a prospect even before the list was made.

 
Comment by Peter
2008-09-25 12:08:04

He wasn’t even all that close to being eligible. One of the requirements for eligibility is less than 45 days on a major league roster. Before the all-star break this year he pitched in 43 major league games, so unless he’s played in a whole lot of double-headers I think it’s safe to say he had served his 45 days.

 
Comment by Peter Gammons
2008-12-28 21:18:07

Are you kidding me?

Is there a reason why there are no Pittsburgh Pirates on this list?

Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez are both consensus top 100, probably top 20-50 prospects. Jose Tabata and Neil Walker could both be on here as well.

 
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