Tampa Bay Rays: Top 10 Prospects
1. Desmond Jennings / OF / Between Jennings and Hellickson, we’re looking at 1A and 1B. Jennings gets the slight nod due to his bigger upside. He still has untapped superstar skills, most notably his power potential.
2. Jeremy Hellickson / SP / Hellickson enjoyed a healthy and prosperous season. He took his game, highlighted by his outstanding control, all the way to the majors, where he will stay.
3. Jake McGee / SP/RP / It’s tough to tell whether Tampa is still looking at him as a starter or if it’s bullpen from here on out. One thing is clear, McGee’s arm is all the way back, including his mid-90s heat.
4. Matthew Moore / SP/RP / Moore’s control came together during the second half of the season, making him an obvious top breakout candidate for 2011.
5. Nick Barnese / SP / For obvious reasons, Barnese continues to ride his fastball. The development of his secondary offerings could make or break him in 2011 as he matches up against Double-A competition.
6. Justin O’Connor / C/3B/SS/2B / Where O’Connor ends up defensively is anyone’s guess. What isn’t up for debate is the plethora of tools he possesses as the second-best high school hitter in the 2010 draft.
7. Alex Colome / SP/RP / Colome put his mid-90s fastball and solid curveball to good use in his full season debut. His command needs a lot of work, but it’s hard to argue with his talent.
8. Josh Sale / OF / Fresh out of high school, Sale is rather refined for his age and has nice tools across the board as a corner outfielder, the most prominent of which is his power.
9. Alex Torres / SP / Torres’ walk rate continues to hold him back, but the fact that he succeeds with runners on base, finds a way to strike guys out despite average stuff, and maintains a nice groundball percentage is more than enough.
10. Kyle Lobstein / SP / You could make a case for a number of guys rounding out Tampa’s top-10. I strongly considered Tim Beckham, Jake Thompson, and Enny Romero. But I kept coming back to Lobstein. Despite his average three-pitch mix, I think his curveball has potential, and his workmanlike demeanor will take him far.
Tampa Bay Rays: Top 10 Players Under Age 26 (as of 4/1/11)
1. Evan Longoria / 3B
2. David Price / SP
3. Desmond Jennings / OF
4. Jeremy Hellickson / SP
5. Wade Davis / SP
6. Jake McGee / SP/RP
7. Matthew Moore / SP/RP
8. Reid Brignac / SS/2B
9. Nick Barnese / SP
10. Justin O’Connor / C/3B/SS/2B
Baltimore Orioles: Top 10 Prospects
1. Manny Machado / 3B/SS / Baltimore made a solid pick in the 2010 draft with Machado. He has some tools that will translate right away and the potential for everything else. He reminds me of Mike Moustakas.
2. Zach Britton / SP / Britton is a classic groundball pitcher who gets the job done wherever he goes. He will never be an ace, but he’s one step away from forcing groundballs in the middle of Baltimore’s rotation.
3. Matt Hobgood / SP / Hobgood at #3 gives you an idea of how far Baltimore’s farm system fell this year. He had a lousy debut season. His curveball came highly touted, but looked like a complete work in progress this year. There’s no reason to give up on him yet, though.
4. Xavier Avery / OF / Avery is the kind of player who draws your attention. He looks and sometimes plays the part of athletic difference maker. However, his plate approach and strikeout rate will doom his future if he doesn’t improve.
5. Ryan Adams / 2B / With his power jumping a notch this year, Adams looks the part of a future major league asset at second base. I would like to see him refine his plate approach, but he is deserving of attention.
6. Joe Mahoney / 1B / Mahoney was a relative unknown coming into the season. His raw power finally surfaced against the most advanced pitching he has seen so far. He is more athletic than he looks, and his contact rate is developing.
7. Mychal Givens / SS/3B/2B / A thumb injury held up Givens’ season, yet he played at four different levels, from the Gulf Coast League all the way to the Carolina League. He has impressive tools and a world of work in front of him.
8. Ryan Berry / SP/RP / Berry has an average three-pitch mix. His command is strong for his age, but his endurance as a starter is the No. 1 question he faces right now. Limited upside as a starter or reliever hurts his stock.
9. Brandon Erbe / RP/SP / A disastrous season statistically turned into a disastrous season on the injury front. Erbe recently underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum, but the word is that the tear wasn’t as bad as originally thought. He has a good chance at recovery. Couple his odds of recovery with his plus velocity pre-injury and the weakened state of Baltimore’s farm system, and you’re looking at No. 9.
10. LJ Hoes / 2B / It was difficult finding someone worthy of No. 10. I refuse to buy into Brandon Waring, and Brandon Snyder has officially fallen off of my radar screen. I thought about dipping into Baltimore’s 2010 draft class, but continually find myself shying away from the class’ outlook. I decided on Hoes because of his age, continually impressive batting average, and walk rate. On the downside, there isn’t much projection in him.
Baltimore Orioles: Top 10 Players Under Age 26 (as of 4/1/11)
1. Matt Wieters / C
2. Brian Matusz / SP
3. Adam Jones / OF
4. Manny Machado / 3B/SS
5. Chris Tillman / SP
6. Zach Britton / SP
7. Jake Arrieta / SP
8. Josh Bell / 3B
9. Matt Hobgood / SP
10. Xavier Avery / OF