1. Stephen Strasburg: Perhaps the best college pitcher of all time, Strasburg brings unheard of hype and ability to a Washington organization desperate for a shot in the arm. He is the best pitching prospect in baseball and will challenge Atlanta’s Jason Heyward as my preseason No. 1 prospect in baseball.
2. Derek Norris: Despite his high strikeout rate, Norris has the bat of a future All-Star. The most unheralded aspect of his season was the 90 walks he drew in 437 at-bats. His defense is on track for the majors, but needs some work. If he repeats his performance in 2010, we may be looking at a top-10 prospect in all of baseball. But he does need to do it again if he is going to win me over.
3. Danny Espinosa: Despite some holes in his swing, Espinosa has a bit of everything you look for in a shortstop, including above-average power and the glove to match.
4. Christopher Marrero: Marrero has a nice bat, but nothing about it sticks out, especially as a first baseman. He is still young, and with further progression Washington could have a major league asset at first base.
5. Drew Storen: I was surprised to see Storen go as high as he did in the 2009 draft, but his first 37 minor league innings opened my eyes. There is even talk that Washington may turn him into a starter, which would raise his value immensely, but his change-up needs refinement if that is going to happen. There is a lot to like. More than I initially thought.
6. Ian Desmond: Desmond has some workable power and base-stealing ability, but neither skill be will anything more than average in the majors. His defense is his best strength, and his average bat will make sure he has a long, solid career as a major league shortstop.
7. Eury Perez: Perez has flashed his potential at every stop he has made. His bat seems very advanced for his age, his speed will be a weapon, and he has even shown some unexpected power.
8. Destin Hood: With his raw tools, Hood was one of my favorite players selected in the second round of the 2008 draft. Not much has materialized as of yet, which is concerning for me, but he is very young.
9. Michael Burgess: Burgess has plus power, but not much else to go with it. His strikeout rate is troublesome and may be his downfall. Future refinement could be in the works, so it’s not time to give up on him yet.
10. Marcos Frias: Scouting reports are tough to come by on Frias, but his numbers are hard to ignore, forcing my bullish outlook. Based off of the brief video and scouting reports I have on him, I am going to take a shot in the dark on a young man with a live arm.
1. Alcides Escobar: Escobar will have a long career in the major leagues based on his Gold Glove potential at shortstop alone. His bat continues to make progress every year, but his limited power will put a cap on his bat potential. He could become a .300 hitter, however, and his speed will be an asset. If defense carries any weight in today’s game, Milwaukee may even have an All-Star on its hands.
2. Brett Lawrie: While he hasn’t found a permanent position yet, Lawrie’s bat will play anywhere. He has plus bat speed and a consistent, powerful swing. He will turn 20 by the time the new season hits, but his bat is refined beyond his years. He could be a top-10 prospect in all of baseball by this time next year.
3. Caleb Gindl: I have a hard time finding people who agree with me on Gindl. The scouting reports and his body type are strikes against him, but he has some sneaky speed, thunder in his bat, and a great work ethic. His 2010 Double-A season could be his mainstream breakout.
4. Jonathan Lucroy: Lucroy is another under-the-radar Brewers prospect, but he brings a strong combination of skills to the ballpark. His defense is adequate behind the plate, leaving his bat—namely his superb plate discipline and average power—as his calling card. He could be a future above-average catcher.
5. Eric Arnett: The scouting reports aren’t off the charts, but Arnett has great sinking action in his repertoire and has a history of missing bats. His command needs some work, but he has a great shot to be a middle-of-the-rotation starter.
6. Zach Braddock: Braddock posted a quietly dominating 2009 out of the pen, and his slider is a plus offering. It will be interesting to see whether he is destined to work out of the back end of the bullpen or whether his durability concerns are behind him and the rotation in his future.
7. Angel Salome: Salome is an odd prospect in that if he can’t play catcher, his size and skill set will not lend themselves to any other position. Yet, he works hard at his defense, and if catcher remains in his future, and everything works out right, his bat, which is inconsistent right now, could be exceptional.
8. Mark Rogers: It remains to be seen whether Rogers’ injury history is truly behind him, but 2009 was a promising stepping stone. What keeps me coming back is his electric fastball that, despite the injuries, still sits comfortably in the mid-90s.
9. Wily Peralta: Peralta has a great fastball but little else to work with. His command and delivery are also works in progress, but his strong 2009 stats are a great jumping-off point.
10. Jake Odorizzi: Cody Scarpetta was a tough cut, but Odorizzi has a vast repertoire that I can’t turn down. Milwaukee has been cautious with him thus far, but I can’t wait to see his full-season debut.