The best of the best from the Florida State League and Eastern League

Florida State League

Hitter of the Year
Kirk Nieuwenhuis / OF / New York Mets
Nieuwenhuis’ power/speed combination went unrivaled, mostly due to his league-leading 35 doubles. His strikeout numbers weren’t where one would like them to be, but his league-leading .467 slugging percentage and .824 OPS certainly outweigh that one blemish on his record.

Pitcher of the Year
Darin Downs / LHP / Tampa Bay Rays
Charlotte’s Downs may have been old for the Florida State League, but his stellar control and attacking style was certainly too much for his Advanced-A competition and may eventually find a niche in the major leagues.

Best Hitting Prospect
Caleb Gindl / OF / Milwaukee Brewers
Don’t be fooled by his 5-foot-9, 185-pound frame. Gindi is a grinder. There is a powerful bat behind the small body, along with plenty of hard work to back up his continually improving swing, plate discipline and consistency. But, while I love his bat, I’m not sure that the speed portion of his game will be anything more than average in the big leagues.

Best Pitching Prospect
D.J. Mitchell / RHP / New York Yankees
The Florida State League saw an alarming lack of pitching talent spend any significant amount of time in the league this season. Standouts such as Kyle Drabek and Jenrry Mejia came and went, leaving D.J. Mitchell to take this crown. His aggressive nature and fearlessness have won me over.

Eastern League

Hitter of the Year
Carlos Santana / C / Cleveland Indians
Akron rode Santana all the way to a first-place finish in the Eastern League. It’s rare to find a catcher who can do the things that Santana does offensively, but Cleveland is just as excited over the way that he managed Akron’s pitching staff. The Eastern League didn’t stand a chance.

Pitcher of the Year
Zach McAllister / RHP / New York Yankees
No other pitcher who spent the entire year in the Eastern League could touch McAllister’s 2.23 ERA and 1.08 WHIP. Trenton would have had a hard time even being competitive without its rock-solid ace.

Best Hitting Prospect
Carlos Santana / C / Cleveland Indians
Sorry to continue the Santana love, but the young man’s follow-up season to his breakout 2008 exceeded everyone’s expectations. Usually it is the adjustment to Double-A that trips up a young hitter, especially a catcher, but Santana continued his upward career progression, and he isn’t far away from the majors. An All-Star career could be in the works.

Best Pitching Prospect
Madison Bumgarner / LHP / San Francisco Giants
It’s hard to say something about Bumgarner that hasn’t been said already. Entering the Eastern League as a teenager, this young man went right after every single hitter he came across with his impeccable control and movement. With the way 2009 played out, Bumgarner may start 2010 on the Giants’ 25-man roster.

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  1. Steve @ MLBFP said...

    We are a huge fan of Mad-Bum over at MLBFP, as evidenced by our coverage of him after his call-up to the Giants back in September ( But when you’re talking about the best pitching prospects in the Eastern League, Kyle Drabek must be in the conversation. Our scouting report on the future Phillies ace was posted today:—-scouting-report.html

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