Last month I covered the top 10 rookies that will make it to the majors in 2007 (Part I and Part II). Today I have ranked the top 25 prospects in all of baseball along with a little information about each of them. As always, let me know via comments or emails if you agree or disagree with any of my rankings.
1.) Alex Gordon, 3B, Kansas City Royals
Gordon is not only the future (and present) of the Royals, but also for baseball. He is the ultimate prospect with a beautiful left handed swing that can hit for both average and power. Hit .325/.427/.588 with 29 HR, 101 RBI, and 22 stolen bases in 130 games for AA Wichita. He may not be on the opening day roster, but regardless, will join the major league roster at some point this sesaon and will be the face of the Royals for years to come (click here for my “Prospect Spotlight” on him).
2.) Delmon Young, RF, Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Young will spend his first full year in the majors in 2007. He missed a lot of 2006 in AAA Durham (only played in 86 games) due to his suspension for throwing a bat at an umpire, but still put up .316/.341/.474 numbers and .317/.336/.476 in 30 games with the Devil Rays. Young has both the ability to hit for power and average with pretty good defense. The only thing that will stop this youngster from being a star is his bad temper and lack of patience.
3.) Homer Bailey, RHP, Cincinnati Reds
Bailey has all the pieces to be a number one starter for years to come. In AA Chattanooga he went 7-1 with a 1.59 ERA in 13 starts. He will likely start out 2007 in AAA, but look for him to probably be called up possibly as soon as this summer. While the Reds are excited to have him in their rotation, they don’t want to rush him.
4.) Philip Hughes, RHP, New York Yankees
Hughes is a future ace and has excellent control of his pitches. He will be a welcomed addition to the older Yankees rotation once he is called upon. In AA last season he went 10-3 with a 2.25 ERA and a 10.71 K/9 ratio. He won’t be part of the major league roster at the start of 2007, but if he tears up AAA like he did AA and if the Yankees rotation has some injury problems (and don’t get Clemens), don’t be surprised to see him sooner rather than later.
5.) Chris Young, CF, Arizona Diamondbacks
Young is one of the key pieces to the future of the Diamondbacks. Look for him to start in centerfield and most likely hit leadoff on the opening day roster. Young has power and speed and future all-star in the NL. Last season in AAA Tucson, Young hit .276/.363/.532 with 21 HR and 17 stolen bases.
6.) Brandon Wood, SS, Los Angeles Angels
Wood has excellent power but also tends to strikeout a lot. In AA last season he hit .276/.355/.552 with 25 HR but 149 strikeouts. There’s talk of him moving to third base where he will still be great, but if he were to stay at shortstop he will no doubt be a star.
7.) Matt Garza, RHP, Minnesota Twins
Garza started 2006 in A and exploded through every level until joining the Twins last summer. Garza has great stuff and just needs to learn his pitch selection. Garza should be in the rotation in 2007 and will likely learn from any bumps and bruises from last season and turn into a solid pitcher.
8.) Cameron Maybin, CF, Detroit Tigers
Maybin is pretty high on my list because of all his tools. In A ball last season he hit .304/.387/.457 with 27 stolen bases. With more experience in 2007, he should be near the top of this list by next winter. Look for a big impact on the Tigers in 2009.
9.) Billy Butler, LF, Kansas City Royals
Butler is a perfect example of a designated hitter: horrible defensive skills but a huge bat. Another piece to the Royals big youth movement with power and average. In AA hit .331/.388/.499 with 15 HR and 96 RBI in 119 games. Butler will be good protection in the lineup for teammate Alex Gordon for years to come.
10.) Andrew McCutchen, CF, Pittsburgh Pirates
Great centerfielder who can hit for average with some pop. Made a great transition from A to AA in 2006. Put up .291/.356/.446 numbers with 14 HR and 22 stolen bases in 114 games of A ball. Don’t be surprised to see him at the top of everyone’s list of top prospects going into the 2008 season.
11.) Adam Lind, LF, Toronto Blue Jays
Lind is high on my list because he’s already proven himself in all levels of the minors and even a little in the big leagues last season. Lind already has displayed his hitting ability along with the potential for power. In AAA he hit .394/.496/.596 in 34 games and .367/.415/.600 in 18 games for the Jays.
12.) Mike Pelfrey, RHP, New York Mets
Pelfrey pitched at all four levels last season (going 9-4) and had some very impressive numbers. Pelfrey looks to compete for the Mets’ fifth spot in the rotation in 2007. They really need him to develop fast as the Mets rotation is in shambles.
13.) Adam Miller, RHP, Cleveland Indians
Miller has very solid control with an excellent fastball and slider. The addition of a third pitch will make him a great ace for the Indians down the road. In AA last year put up a 15-6 record with a 2.75 ERA.
14.) Ryan Braun, 3B, Milwaukee Brewers
Braun has a lot of power and showed it in AA last year posting .303/.367/.589 with 15 HR and 40 RBI in only 59 games. He is a liability in the field and may end up being moved to the outfield if the Brewers need despite having a hole at third with the often injured Corey Koskie. Braun would be a much better fit in the AL with the DH option.
15.) Evan Longoria, 3B, Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Longoria has so-so power but is great at getting on base. In A ball he posted .327/.402/.618 and .267/.266/.486 in AA ball. He should eventually move to AAA at some point in 2007 and will most likely be on the opening day roster for the D-Rays in 2008 or 2009.
16.) Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Colorado Rockies
Tulowitzki is a very good defensive shortstop with excellent range. At the plate he’s shown that he has the potential to be effective posting .291/.370/.473 with 13 HR in AA ball in 2006. He will start the year on the major league roster for Colorado.
17.) Yovani Gallardo, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers
Gallardo has very good control with a solid fastball and a hard 12 to 6 curveball in his repertoire. In AA last season he posted a 5-2 record with a 1.63 ERA and 9.89 K/9 ratio. The Brewers hope he can make an impact in the future as every other pitching prospect they have had seemingly fizzles out with injuries.
18.) Fernando Martinez, CF, Mets
Martinez has a very good glove in centerfield and has potential to be something special at the plate too. In low A ball last year he hit .333/.389/.505 in 45 games. There’s no rush to move him to the majors anytime soon with Carlos Beltran filling that spot. This should help ease some pressure so he can develop in the next few years in the minors.
19.) Jose Tabata, OF, New York Yankees
Tabata’s most coveted skills include his great pitch selection and excellent hand-eye coordination. He posted .298/.377/.420 in A ball last year and is a very bright spot in the Yankees future.
20.) Andy LaRoche, 3B, Los Angeles Dodgers
LaRoche looks to be a very good hitter with limited power. He showed he can handle the bat posting a .322/.400/.550 in AAA Las Vegas last season. While he may not be the most athletic third base prospect, he has shown that he will be very good at driving the ball for the Dodgers possibly as soon as this summer.
21.) Reid Brignac, SS, Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Brignac would be a lot higher on this list but his less than impressive defense at a defensive position hurts him. He has shown he is a very good hitter in high A ball last season with .326/.382/.557 and 21 HRS and 83 RBI in 100 games. If he can get better in the field he will shoot up the list going into 2008.
22.) Adam Jones, CF, Seattle Mariners
Jones should be an everyday player for the Mariners in 2008. He can be too aggressive at the plate but still hit .287/.345/.484 in AAA in 2006. Give him some more experience in AAA this year and he should be able to improve for the M’s.
23.) Tim Lincecum, RHP, San Francisco Giants
Lincecum could probably pitch out of the bullpen this year for the Giants but he is best if he gets more seasoning in the minors. In high A ball he went 2-0 with a 1.95 ERA and incredible 15.61 K/9 ratio. He has a mind blowing fastball/curve combo that is only more devastating due to his crazy delivery. Should be a very interesting player to watch this year.
24.) Jay Bruce, RF, Cincinnati Reds
Bruce would be a lot higher on this list if he were a more disciplined hitter. While he showed great power in A ball with .291/.355/.516 numbers and 16 HR/81 RBI, his scouting report shows his struggles against left handed pitching and off speed pitches. Bruce will also need to learn to go the other way more often as he is a dead pull hitter. If he can learn these things over the next few years he will be a monster, especially in a hitter friendly ballpark in Cincinnati.
25.) Justin Upton, CF, Arizona Diamondbacks
Upton is ranked a lot higher on many people’s list but for me he barely cracked the top 25. While he can do very well, he didn’t do much to impress in A ball last season with .263/.343/.413. He also won’t be as highly touted in center because of Chris Young most likely holding down that position for many years to come.