Toronto Blue Jays
1. Yohermyn Chavez: He’s not a prototypical No. 1 prospect, but Chavez has middle-of-the-order potential and a strong work ethic. But he is still raw, and his bat needs to improve across the board. Call me bullish, but he is near the top of the list of breakout candidates for 2010.
2. Chad Jenkins: The Blue Jays seem to have a standard type of arm that they go after, and Jenkins fits the mold as their 2009 first-round pick. He’s not a fire-baller, but he has a big frame, good endurance, a nice repertoire and natural downward movement on his offerings.
3. J.P. Arencibia: 2009 was a tough year at the plate for Arencibia. Despite his frustrating campaign, his home run numbers still shined through. He has the defense to stick behind the plate and the power to be an offensive weapon at the major league level.
4. Tyler Pastornicky: Defensively, Pastornicky has the glove, arm and footwork to stick at shortstop. And that’s half the battle. Offensively, his plus speed and workable on-base skills could mean top-of-the-order potential.
5. Zach Stewart: Stewart has a fastball that can hit 95 on the radar gun, and a good slider to back it up. But does he have the endurance and third pitch necessary to permanently make it as a starter? There is a chance, but I’m thinking no. Otherwise he has a bright future in the bullpen.
6. David Cooper: His 2009 season wasn’t a complete embarrassment, but, needless to say, Toronto was expecting more. He showed good contact skills and plate discipline, but his power and batting average were a huge disappointment. There is still time.
7. Henderson Alvarez: While he doesn’t have an ideal frame, the young Alvarez impressed plenty in 2009 with his controlled low-90s fastball and strike-throwing ability. His game needs improvement across the board, but he is one to watch.
8. Moises Sierra: Every bit of Sierra’s game took a leap forward in 2009 . . . everything except his home run power. His frame and swing have home run ability, though. It will come. He is a promising young corner outfield prospect with plenty more to prove.
9. Brad Emaus: Emaus has a bit of power, a bit of speed, good contact skills and some strong plate discipline to back it up. He does everything well but nothing great. He could be a solid big league second baseman.
10. Brad Mills: There isn’t any projection left in his arm, but Mills has great mechanics, a crafty approach and solid control. When he fully figures out big league hitters, he could be a good back-of-the-rotation type.
Kansas City Royals
1. Mike Moustakas: Despite his lateral movement in 2009, Moustakas has one of the more pure and powerful swings in all of minor league baseball, generated by his lightning-quick wrist speed. His stock hasn’t lost much luster in my eyes, but further development needs to come soon.
2. Eric Hosmer: Hosmer’s full-season debut was wholly disappointing. The most puzzling aspect of his season was witnessing his home run swing virtually fail to generate any power at all. His patience at the plate was the only skill that shined in 2009, but he is still way too young to downgrade significantly.
3. Daniel Duffy: Since Duffy was drafted in 2007, it’s hard to find a more consistent minor league pitcher. He has just about everything you look for in a top-of-the-rotation talent. The only thing he is missing is a consistent mid-90s fastball, although he occasionally hits that mark, and a true out pitch. But he is working on both of those faults.
4. Mike Montgomery: While a 92-94 mph fastball is solid, Montgomery’s frame leads me to believe that he could add a few more ticks on top of that. Combine his fastball with a curveball that is quickly turning into one of minor league baseball’s best, and you are left with a potential ace. I want to see more proof, though.
5. Tim Melville: While Montgomery has passed up Melville in terms of ace ability, the young Melville is right on schedule to join him soon. His fastball hasn’t taken off as I was hoping for, and his mechanics are worrisome at times, but his secondary stuff is coming along nicely.
6. Aaron Crow: Crow has the potential for greatness, giving Kansas City yet another potential ace pitcher, but I need to see some steadfast stats before I can really compare him to the likes of Duffy, Montgomery and Melville.
7. Wil Myers: Being able to nab Myers in the third round, and then have the ability to pay him, has left Kansas City with a raw but premium high school hitting talent. Whether or not he can play catcher going forward remains to be seen, but it’s his bat potential that will carry him. I’m being cautious with his stock right now, but I may be regretting that decision by this time next year.
8. Johnny Giavotella: If his defense can be ironed out, Giavotella has the bat to become an above-average major league second baseman. His contact skills and plate patience are his best assets.
9. John Lamb: This young lefty doesn’t have the ultimate upside of the starting pitchers ranked ahead of him, but he is an advanced young man with a plus change-up and a developing curveball. Lamb’s ability to fill the strike zone with varying speeds has made him stand out from the crowd.
10. Chris Dwyer: Dwyer’s fastball/curveball combination could turn into something special, but his command and mechanics are lacking. He is one to keep an eye on.