1. Carlos Santana: One of the Top 10 prospects in all of baseball, Santana brings solid defense to the catcher position and the type of power bat and middle-of-the-order mentality that could make Cleveland fans quickly forget about Victor Martinez.
2. Hector Rondon: Rondon’s electric four-pitch arsenal is the envy of minor league baseball, but his tendency to lose focus and leave pitches up and over the plate will need to be remedied if he is going to succeed against major league hitting. His questionable endurance could be to blame in late innings. He is very good, but not a perfect prospect.
3. Lonnie Chisenhall: Sporting the swing and approach of a true professional hitter, Chisenhall impressed in 2009. He has a developing blend of power, patience, and contact skills that make me think he has a good chance to be an above average major league third baseman. An All-Star, though, may be stretching it.
4. Jason Knapp: Knapp has the ceiling of an ace, and the work ethic and smarts to get to that point. His high-90s fastball is his meal ticket, but the rest of his game lags behind. Watch for his secondary stuff to take a step forward in 2010.
5. Alex White: White is expected to make an immediate farm system impact in 2010. His tremendous repertoire will keep hitters off-balance from the get go, but Cleveland will surely be keeping an eye on his mechanics and control.
6. Michael Brantley: The plate patience, contact skills, and speed equal up to an underrated lead-off prospect. It may take some time for Brantley to produce like a lead-off hitter at the major league level, though, as I think he is destined for an up and down early career. Stay patient.
7. Alexander Perez: As a 20-year-old, Perez made a seamless transition from the Low-A Sally League to the High-A Carolina League. The key to his future success will be how his repertoire and talented right arm react to the added muscle that Cleveland will insist he put on. This is a key off-season, as Double-A competition awaits.
8. Nick Weglarz: Weglarz has his fair share of fans, and I know why they are attracted to him. He is a well-built power hitter with demonstrated plate patience to back it up. But his bat still has plenty of holes in it, and they will be exposed even further as he continues to face better competition. He often looks uneasy when facing top-notch pitching, which is not a good sign headed forward. He still has upside, but I’m more skeptical than most.
9. T.J. House: House is a likable lefty with developing secondary stuff. But, despite his youth, I don’t think he has a whole lot of upside. I do like his odds to become a solid mid-rotation starter, though.
10. Carlos Rivero: It’s easy to dismiss Rivero at this point, as it seems like he has been on Cleveland’s prospect radar screen forever. Yet, he is just 21-years-old and has a clean swing that still has power projection left in it. Cleveland hasn’t given up, and neither should you.
1. Aaron Hicks: 2009 brought about a disappointing full season debut from Hicks. But he has a full tool shed to work with and there is every reason to think that he will bounce back in 2010. Perhaps even to the point that he is considered one of the game’s best outfield prospects by this time next year.
2. Ben Revere: Hicks gets most of the outfield attention due to his enormous power potential, but Minnesota’s plan for Revere is just as prominent. Revere has every tool necessary to become an elite lead-off man. His patience at the plate is still lacking, but he is a hard-worker who realizes the importance of doing whatever is necessary to get on base.
3. Kyle Gibson: Gibson has a tremendous amount of polish, but the injury concern is very real and is the reason why he fell to Minnesota in the 2009 draft. He doesn’t have ace-like upside, but if he can put the injury concerns to bed he has a great shot at being a #2 starter.
4. Miguel Sano: Another hyped, raw bat has been plucked from the Dominican Republic. Sano’s signing bonus was reportedly in record setting territory, which is notable considering it is the small market Twins that shelled out the bucks. They must see something special. When it comes to a 16-year-old project with a seven-figure signing bonus, as always, I am cautiously optimistic.
5. Adrian Salcedo: Scouting reports are tough to find on Salcedo, but anyone who puts up a nearly 20:1 strikeout to walk ratio over any extended period of time deserves attention. Add in the fact that he is just 18-years-old with an athletic, wiry frame and you have a promising prospect that any team would love to have.
6. Wilson Ramos: Unlike some catchers, who are all offense, Ramos also brings promising defense to the table. But I don’t think his bat has as much upside as others do. His swing has obvious holes, his patience hasn’t developed, and his power potential seems limited.
7. Angel Morales: Morales is an impressive athlete with enviable power potential. His discipline, plate coverage, and swing mechanics are still raw and inconsistent. Unless his overall bat takes the nest step, he will get exposed badly as he faces tougher competition.
8. Joe Benson: Sporting a bit of that power / speed combination that we all look for, Benson is a likable prospect, but he isn’t a star in the making. Yet, with increased plate coverage and a more consistent swing will come better contact skills to go with his impressive patience. He could be a future fixture in the Twins’ outfield.
9. David Bromberg: His control and movement are not where they need to be right now, but Bromberg has big league quality stuff. Everyone is waiting to see if his weaknesses will get ironed out or taken advantage of as he makes the move to Double-A. His ceiling is as a #3 starter.
10. B.J. Hermsen: Hermsen has the look of a bulldog, but his game in the early going has been all about the control of his low-90s fastball. His upside isn’t ace-like, but I can’t help but be impressed by his pinpoint control at this point. We will certainly know more next year when he faces A-ball competition.