Projecting a player’s major league statistics is a tricky proposition. I try my best to find a middle ground between pessimistic and the superstar aspirations that we pin to just about every prospect under the sun at one time or another. Below are the game’s top 16 outfield prospects, complete with average- and prime-year projections if sufficient time has been spent at Double-A or beyond.

Jason Heyward / Atlanta

__2010 thoughts:__

Matt Diaz and Melky Cabrera won’t hold back Heyward if he picks up where he left off in 2009. I’m targeting July for his mammoth debut.

__Average-year projection:__

.312 / .415 / 33 HR / 40 2B / 4 3B / 111 RBI / 100 R / 99 BB / 114 SO / 13 SB / 3 CS

__Prime-year projection:__

.328 / .439 / 41 HR / 43 2B / 5 3B / 125 RBI / 106 R / 110 BB / 101 SO / 17 SB / 4 CS

Desmond Jennings / Tampa Bay

__2010 thoughts:__

Tampa Bay’s shaky platoon in right field indicates that, with a strong start, Jennings is in line for a full-time MLB gig by June.

__Average-year projection:__

.289 / .369 / 14 HR / 39 2B / 9 3B / 69 RBI / 102 R / 74 BB / 98 SO / 35 SB / 8 CS

__Prime-year projection:__

.301 / .388 / 19 HR / 42 2B / 11 3B / 79 RBI / 114 R / 83 BB / 88 SO / 42 SB / 8 CS

Donavan Tate / San Diego

__2010 thoughts:__

Just because he’s a teenager doesn’t mean San Diego won’t push Tate. He can handle it. Count on him to spend most of the year in Single-A Fort Wayne, followed by a graduation to Advanced-A Lake Elsinore by August.

Mike Stanton / Florida

__2010 thoughts:__

Unlike most, I am not a huge believer in Stanton yet. Expect his assault up the minor league ladder to halt in 2010 in order for him to adjust to the radical shift in pitching talent that he will face at Double-A Jacksonville.

Michael Saunders / Seattle

__2010 thoughts:__

Seattle’s outfield is crowded, but, as a believer in Saunders, I expect him to give Seattle no choice but to find room for him by July.

__Average-year projection:__

.282 / .349 / 22 HR / 37 2B / 4 3B / 85 RBI / 84 R / 60 BB / 119 SO / 12 SB / 4 CS

__Prime-year projection:__

.295 / .372 / 27 HR / 38 2B / 5 3B / 94 RBI / 91 R / 67 BB / 111 SO / 16 SB / 5 CS

Jaff Decker / San Diego

__2010 thoughts:__

With his major league approach at the plate, expect Decker to move faster than expected. He could hit Double-A by July.

Ryan Westmoreland / Boston

__2010 thoughts:__

While many see a budding star in Westmoreland and want to see results as soon as possible, I believe Boston will play it slow and keep him in Single-A Greenville for the season.

Aaron Hicks / Minnesota

__2010 thoughts:__

Anticipate that Minnesota will be happy to leave Hicks in Advanced-A Fort Myers for the season; unless of course he tears the cover off the ball, but I’m expecting less progress than most.

Fernando Martinez / NY Mets

__2010 thoughts:__

Martinez faces an uphill battle in trying to force his way into New York’s lineup. At this point it will take an injury. I honestly have to expect Martinez to stay in Triple-A for a majority of the season.

__Average-year projection:__

.286 / .342 / 16 HR / 37 2B / 3 3B / 73 RBI / 80 R / 49 BB / 108 SO / 7 SB / 2 CS

__Prime-year projection:__

.301 / .363 / 23 HR / 40 2B / 5 3B / 83 RBI / 85 R / 59 BB / 97 SO / 10 SB / 3 CS

Michael Taylor / Oakland

__2010 thoughts:__

Oakland has a weak outfield, meaning that a quick start could catapult Taylor to the majors. Playing it conservatively, anticipate a full-time call-up in July.

__Average-year projection:__

.272 / .344 / 19 HR / 39 2B / 2 3B / 76 RBI / 74 R / 64 BB / 113 SO / 5 SB / 2 CS

__Prime-year projection:__

.284 / .365 / 25 HR / 41 2B / 3 3B / 85 RBI / 80 R / 72 BB / 106 SO / 7 SB / 3 CS

Domonic Brown / OF / Philadelphia

__2010 thoughts:__

Brown should split his season between Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Caleb Gindl / Milwaukee

__2010 thoughts:__

Gindl is making the big move to Double-A, and I expect him to spend all of 2010 there.

Andrew Lambo / Los Angeles Dodgers

__2010 thoughts:__

Lambo will have to prove that he can bounce back at Double-A Chattanooga before he gets his crack at Triple-A, but expect a promotion at some point.

__Average-year projection:__

.270 / .326 / 17 HR / 37 2B / 2 3B / 73 RBI / 72 R / 48 BB / 114 SO / 4 SB / 2 CS

__Prime-year projection:__

.283 / .351 / 24 HR / 39 2B / 3 3B / 81 RBI / 78 R / 59 BB / 106 SO / 5 SB / 2 CS

Ben Revere / Minnesota

__2010 thoughts:__

If he continues to show improvement, Revere could be moved faster than most realize, and Triple-A Rochester could be his eventual destination.

Mike Trout / Los Angeles Angels

__2010 thoughts:__

A full year of Single-A competition is a good starting point for Trout.

Johermyn Chavez / Seattle

__2010 Thoughts:__

Seattle should take it slow with Chavez and let his tools develop one level per year.

obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

What are your thoughts about Thomas Neal? Where would he have ranked, Top 20, 25, 30?

Rob Moore said...

I’d be interested in knowing how you’d view some of the top OF’s from 2009 in these terms – guys like Snider, Fowler, and McCutchen.

Gord said...

312/415 – 33 HRs from a guy who has taken like 3 swings in AAA?

We are calling him the best OFer in baseball already?? Seems unbelievably optimistic no??

Matt Pullman said...

Michael Saunders looks like he can be good, but he’s rated below Michael Taylor on every single prospect list and yet you have Taylor putting up comparable stats to ANDREW LAMBO while Saunders could be a perennial all-star?

The Heyward expectations are lofty, especially considering his “average” (mean, median or mode here?) season will be 33 homeruns with a .415 OBP, but I actually like them.

The one I think you really got wrong is Fernando Martinez. He’s going to be 22 this year and his power is through the roof, not quite Heyward/Stanton/Chris Carter but he has 30+ pop and I think he’s going to do it. I think Fernando Martinez will be a star.