Top 100 Fantasy Baseball Prospects – 5/1/09

My #1 goal as your fantasy minor league expert is to create the ultimate minor league resource for all of you keeper league players out there. What better way to do that than create a Top 100 Fantasy Baseball Prospects list? It’s not just your typical Top 100; I am solely concentrating on cold, hard stats. Defense does not factor in, although superior defensive ability could certainly push a player up the minor league ladder and into the majors faster.

I have only gone in depth on my Top 10, as of now. This project is a major undertaking, but I hope to have many more players fully broken down along with an updated ranking for next week. After that I will be updating the rankings and projections every month so you can stay on top of the most promising players in the minor leagues.

I also plan on starting a monthly Q&A section. Send any and all minor league questions to
. I will get to as many of them as I can.

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1. Matt Wieters / C / Baltimore / AAA / 5/21/86 / ETA: 2009
2009 Thoughts:
I’m not worried about his AAA numbers at this point. They will pick up. If you are in need of catcher help, save your waiver wire position for a June call up. Expect Wieters to immediately join the top tier of catchers.
Average Year Projection:
.296 / .393 / 28 HR / 30 2B / 3 3B / 102 RBI / 86 R / 89 BB / 93 SO / 3 SB / 2 CS
Prime Year Projection:
.338 / .445 / 40 HR / 35 2B / 4 3B / 122 RBI / 101 R / 103 BB / 78 SO / 4 SB / 2 CS
Notes:
4/30/09 - There’s not much more that needs to be said about Wieters. He’s a superstar. I fully expect the Orioles to use him in a DH role during his “off” days. The main comparisons I keep hearing are Joe Mauer and Mark Teixeira. I look at him more as Mike Piazza with plus defense and the advantage of being a switch hitter. People forget about how much of a complete hitter Piazza was. Wieters has the same makeup, and should have a longer career. Fifteen years from now baseball historians will be arguing over who the best catcher of all time is: Johnny Bench, Yoggi Berra, or Matt Wieters.

2. Tommy Hanson / SP / Atlanta / AAA / 8/28/86 / ETA: 2009
2009 Thoughts:
Look for him to supplant the rotation spot of either Jo-Jo Reyes or Kenshin Kawakami in June, if the Braves can hold out that long. He will be a very useful starter in fantasy leagues. Don’t bank on ace-like numbers this year, but it’s possible.
Average Year Projection:
207 IP / 3.44 ERA / 1.24 WHIP / 16 W / 9 L / 199 SO / 191 H / 66 BB
Prime Year Projection:
224 IP / 2.62 ERA / 1.17 WHIP / 20 W / 7 L / 241 SO / 198 H / 65 BB
Notes:
4/30/09 - I may be overly optimistic, but this kid just seems to have the “it” factor. He’s 6 feet, 6 inches, 220 pounds with three big league pitches, including a mid-90s fastball and a devastating curveball. The Braves strike again. He will run into some control issues early in his career (most do), but I am fully expecting an ace career out of Tommy Hanson.

3. Matt LaPorta / OF/1B / Cleveland / AAA / 1/8/85 / ETA: 2009
2009 Thoughts:
The man is mashing at AAA. Expect him to be a full-time player after a June call up. He will give your team a great boost, a la Jay Bruce in 2008 and Ryan Braun in 2007.
Average Year Projection:
.282 / .368 / 31 HR / 28 2B / 1 3B / 105 RBI / 86 R / 80 BB / 124 SO / 2 SB / 2 CS
Prime Year Projection:
.308 / .399 / 42 HR / 31 2B / 3 3B / 129 RBI / 103 R / 91 BB / 112 SO / 3 SB / 2 CS
Notes:
4/30/09 - He’s not only the best power hitter in minor league baseball, but he has good contact skills and a strong eye at the plate. A true middle of the order hitter. He will be a passable defender at either left field or first base. He’s durable and a good clubhouse guy. Analysts are sleeping on LaPorta. He’s 24 already, but I’m not concerned. His prime is near.

4. David Price / SP / Tampa Bay / AAA / 8/26/85 / ETA: 2009
2009 Thoughts:
They will keep him down at AAA for as long as they can, but I’m expecting a June or July call up. He may go to the bullpen, as the big league rotation looks strong. I’m not counting on a big fantasy season due to the unpredictable situation.
Average Year Projection:
198 IP / 3.67 ERA / 1.30 WHIP / 14 W / 9 L / 182 SO / 189 H / 69 BB
Prime Year Projection:
212 IP / 2.85 ERA / 1.19 WHIP / 18 W / 8 L / 223 SO / 194 H / 58 BB
Notes:
4/30/09 - I'm slightly concerned about Price’s stamina. Control issues could keep him from truly succeeding at the major league level for a couple of years, but by the time he’s 26 or 27 I’m expecting a No. 1 pitcher to emerge. Some are concerned about a sore elbow he had in 2008. I’m not; his mechanics are solid. He’s a strong competitor with ideal size and a nasty fastball/slider combo. Playing in the AL East will ultimately hurt his fantasy appeal.

5. Madison Bumgarner / SP / San Francisco / A+ / 8/1/89 / ETA: 2011
2009 Thoughts:
If he continues to dominate, which I believe he will, a ticket up to AA is all his. And I can’t wait.
Average Year Projection:
Too early to tell.
Prime Year Projection:
Too early to tell.
Notes:
4/30/09 - I’m not afraid to admit it; I have a man crush on Madison Bumgarner. I love his work ethic. His secondary pitches will get better. They will have to if he wants to continue this level of dominance at the AA level. He possesses an easy arm action and strong mechanics. His plus fastball has great movement. His command is off the charts for a kid his age. He not only has ace potential, he has “best pitcher in all of baseball” potential. But because he’s so young and hasn’t seen competition beyond A-ball, I have to rank him below Hanson and Price at this time.

6. Mat Gamel / 3B/OF / Milwaukee / AAA / 7/26/85 / ETA: 2009
2009 Thoughts:
The man is off to a torrid start. Last year was no fluke. It’s hard projecting a call-up date for Gamel due to his defensive inadequacies, but he will be called up at some point as long as Milwaukee stays in the race. When that happens, expect a platoon situation at 3B where Gamel receives the bulk of the starts against right handers.
Average Year Projection:
.288 / .349 / 24 HR / 43 2B / 7 3B / 98 RBI / 92 R / 59 BB / 113 SO / 6 SB / 3 CS
Prime Year Projection:
.311 / .385 / 30 HR / 47 2B / 9 3B / 110 RBI / 100 R / 66 BB / 102 SO / 9 SB / 4 CS
Notes:
4/30/09 - Gamel sports an impressive, pure swing. He has progressed and gotten better at every stop he has made on his way up the minor league chain. I just feel like this guy can’t miss; his bat is too good. I view him as a poor man’s Chipper Jones, although I have serious doubts about his ability to stick at third base. A corner outfield position is in his future. But his bat and ability to spray the ball all over the field have me impressed.

7. Travis Snider / OF / Toronto / MLB / 2/2/88
2009 Thoughts:
Although he is having some success at the major league level, don’t expect anything more than a No. 4 outfielder provides in your average fantasy setup.
Average Year Projection:
.270 / .354 / 25 HR / 34 2B / 3 3B / 95 RBI / 83 R / 74 BB / 138 SO / 4 SB / 3 CS
Prime Year Projection:
.289 / .375 / 32 HR / 37 2B / 4 3B / 116 RBI / 96 R / 82 BB / 126 SO / 5 SB / 3 CS
Notes:
4/30/09 - I like the minor success he is having in the majors this year. It gives me confidence in his ranking. It will take a few years to reach his potential. He whiffs a lot more than I like, but he is a true professional hitter. His defense will play in left field, and that is a sigh of relief for many fantasy owners. I don’t see as much pure power as some are predicting, but I like him and feel safe with his major league prospects.

8. Chris Tillman / SP / Baltimore / AAA / 4/15/88 / ETA: 2010
2009 Thoughts:
Expect him to stay at AAA all season, to great results. But I’ll be watching to see how AAA hitters adjust to his stuff.
Average Year Projection:
195 IP / 3.76 ERA / 1.34 WHIP / 14 W / 9 L / 175 SO / 194 H / 67 BB
Prime Year Projection:
208 IP / 3.03 ERA / 1.24 WHIP / 16 W / 9 L / 204 SO / 199 H / 59 BB
Notes:
4/30/09 - He's really showing his potential with his move to AAA this year, and I’m impressed. He has a strong repertoire, even though it may not be elite. He has the history of good results that I love. He’s a big, strong kid with good mechanics. His intangibles and confidence really make me believe.

9. Jesus Montero / C/1B / NY Yankees / A+ / 11/28/89 / ETA: 2011
2009 Thoughts:
Expect him to stay at A+ Tampa throughout 2009, where he will continue to display his raw power potential and work on his catching skills.
Average Year Projection:
Too early to tell.
Prime Year Projection:
Too early to tell.
Notes:
4/30/09 - His hitting prowess is starting to come into full bloom. The Yanks want to keep him behind the plate, which will take time. Hopefully his bat won’t stagnate while it waits for his glove to catch up. But it could turn out to be time well spent, obviously. A year or two from now he could be sitting where Matt LaPorta is right now as the best power hitter in the minor leagues. Ultimately, his best asset is his youth, which could be a gift or a curse.

10. Mike Moustakas / 3B / Kansas City / A+ / 9/11/88 / ETA: 2011
2009 Thoughts:
I fully anticipate a call up to AA at some point, after a few months of mashing in Wilmington. Will KC try to get him some work at SS? I doubt it. 3B seems to be his fit.
Average Year Projection:
Too early to tell.
Prime Year Projection:
Too early to tell.
Notes:
4/30/09 - The No. 1 skill that stands out to me, Moustakas has the quickest wrists in the minors. He makes good contact too, even though he has yet to see AA pitching. I’m watching and waiting for his eye and plate discipline to catch up to his physical bat skills, but he has lots of time to get things figured out. I wish the Royals would keep him at shortstop. I think he can play the position at a major league level. Fantasy owners share my sentiments.

11. Jarrod Parker / SP / Arizona / A+ / 11/24/88 / ETA: 2011
12. Lars Anderson / 1B / Boston / AA / 9/25/87 / ETA: 2010
13. Buster Posey / C / San Francisco / A+ / 3/27/87 / ETA: 2010
14. Justin Smoak / 1B / Texas / AA / 12/5/86 / ETA: 2010
15. Dexter Fowler / OF / Colorado / MLB / 3/22/86
16. Jason Heyward / OF / Atlanta / A+ / 8/9/89 / ETA: 2011
17. Rick Porcello / SP / Detroit / MLB / 12/27/88
18. Carlos Triunfel / SS / Seattle / AA / 2/27/90 / ETA: 2011
19. Jordan Zimmermann / SP / Washington / MLB / 5/23/86
20. Michael Stanton / OF / Florida / A+ / 11/8/89 / ETA: 2011
21. Angel Villalona / 1B / San Francisco / A+ / 8/13/90 / ETA: 2011
22. Logan Morrison / 1B / Florida / AA / 8/25/87 / ETA: 2010
23. Neftali Feliz / SP/RP / Texas / AAA / 5/2/88 / ETA: 2010
24. Kyle Blanks / 1B / San Diego / AAA / 9/11/86 / ETA: 2010
25. Gordon Beckham / SS / Chicago White Sox / AA / 9/16/86 / ETA: 2010
26. Colby Rasmus / OF / St. Louis / MLB / 8/11/86
27. Derek Holland / SP / Texas / MLB / 10/9/86
28. Pedro Alvarez / 3B / Pittsburgh / A+ / 2/6/87 / ETA: 2010
29. Brett Anderson / SP / Oakland / MLB / 2/1/88
30. Hector Rondon / SP / Cleveland / AA / 2/26/88 / ETA: 2011
31. Cameron Maybin / OF / Florida / MLB / 4/4/87
32. Andrew Lambo / OF / LA Dodgers / AA / 8/11/88 / ETA: 2011
33. Trevor Cahill / SP / Oakland / MLB / 3/1/88
34. Jeremy Hellickson / SP / Tampa Bay / AA / 4/8/87 / ETA: 2011
35. Jhoulys Chacin / SP / Colorado / AA / 1/7/88 / ETA: 2011
36. Tim Alderson / SP / San Francisco / A+ / 11/3/88 / ETA: 2011
37. Brian Matusz / SP / Baltimore / A+ / 2/11/87 / ETA: 2011
38. Brett Lawrie / 2B/3B/OF / Milwaukee / A / 1/18/90 / ETA: 2011
39. Carlos Santana / C / Cleveland / AA / 4/8/86 / ETA: 2011
40. Michael Bowden / SP / Boston / AAA / 9/9/86 / ETA: 2010
41. Austin Jackson / OF / NY Yankees / AAA / 2/1/87 / ETA: 2010
42. Brett Wallace / 3B / St. Louis / AA / 8/26/86 / ETA: 2010
43. Elvis Andrus / SS / Texas / MLB / 8/26/88
44. Jake Arrieta / SP / Baltimore / AA / 3/6/86 / ETA: 2011
45. Aaron Hicks / OF / Minnesota / EST / 10/2/89 / ETA: 2012
46. Daryl Jones / OF / St. Louis / AA / 6/25/87 / ETA: 2011
47. Aaron Cunningham / OF / Oakland / AAA / 4/24/86 / ETA: 2010
48. Tyler Flowers / C / Chicago White Sox / AA / 1/24/86 / ETA: 2011
49. Michael Saunders / OF / Seattle / AAA / 11/19/86 / ETA: 2010
50. Fernando Martinez / OF / NY Mets / AAA / 10/10/88 / ETA: 2010
51. Michael Inoa / SP / Oakland / EST / 9/24/91 / ETA: 2012
52. Eric Hosmer / 1B / Kansas City / A / 10/24/89 / ETA: 2012
53. Jordan Schafer / OF / Atlanta / MLB / 9/4/86
54. Brandon Erbe / SP / Baltimore / AA / 12/25/87 / ETA: 2011
55. Ethan Martin / SP / LA Dodgers / A / 6/6/89 / ETA: 2011
56. Martin Perez / SP / Texas / A / 4/4/91 / ETA: 2013
57. Andrew McCutchen / OF / Pittsburgh / AAA / 10/10/86 / ETA: 2010
58. Desmond Jennings / OF / Tampa Bay / AA / 10/30/86 / ETA: 2010
59. Freddie Freeman / 1B / Atlanta / A+ / 9/12/89 / ETA: 2011
60. Christian Friedrich / SP / Colorado / A / 7/8/87 / ETA: 2012
61. Jeremy Jeffress / SP / Milwaukee / AA / 9/21/87 / ETA: 2011
62. Gerardo Parra / OF / Arizona / AA / 5/6/87 / ETA: 2011
63. Wilfredo Boscan / SP / Texas / A / 10/26/89 / ETA: 2012
64. Jordan Walden / SP / LA Angels / AA / 11/16/87 / ETA: 2011
65. Alcides Escobar / SS / Milwaukee / AAA / 12/16/86 / ETA: 2010
66. Jairo Heredia / SP / NY Yankees / EST / 10/8/89 / ETA: 2011
67. Caleb Gindl / OF / Milwaukee / A+ / 8/31/88 / ETA: 2011
68. Wade Davis / SP / Tampa Bay / AAA / 9/7/85 / ETA: 2010
69. Wilmer Flores / SS / NY Mets / A / 8/6/91 / ETA: 2012
70. Daniel Bard / RP / Boston / AAA / 6/25/85 / ETA: 2010
71. Max Ramirez / C / Texas / AAA / 10/11/84 / ETA: 2010
72. Carlos Carrasco / SP / Philadelphia / AAA / 3/21/87 / ETA: 2010
73. Jose Tabata / OF / Pittsburgh / AA / 8/12/88 / ETA: 2011
74. Casey Kelly / SP / Boston / A / 10/4/89 / ETA: 2013
75. Nolan Reimold / OF / Baltimore / AAA / 10/12/83 / ETA: 2009
76. Ben Revere / OF / Minnesota / A+ / 5/3/88 / ETA: 2011
77. Jason Knapp / SP / Philadelphia / A / 8/31/90 / ETA: 2013
78. Zeke Spruill / SP / Atlanta / A / 9/11/89 / ETA: 2013
79. Michael Pineda / SP / Seattle / A+ / 1/18/89 / ETA: 2012
80. Matt Dominguez / 3B / Florida / A+ / 8/28/89 / ETA: 2011
81. James McDonald / SP / LA Dodgers / MLB / 10/19/84
82. Adrian Cardenas / 2B/SS / Oakland / AA / 10/10/87 / ETA: 2010
83. Lance Lynn / SP / St. Louis / A+ / 5/12/87 / ETA: 2012
84. Bud Norris / SP / Houston / AAA / 3/2/85 / ETA: 2010
85. Dayan Viciedo / OF / Chicago White Sox / AA / 3/10/89 / ETA: 2011
86. Jason Castro / C / Houston / A+ / 6/18/87 / ETA: 2011
87. Trevor Reckling / SP / LA Angels / AA / 5/22/89 / ETA: 2011
88. Yonder Alonso / 1B / Cincinnati / A+ / 4/8/87 / ETA: 2011
89. Aaron Poreda / SP / Chicago White Sox / AA / 10/1/86 / ETA: 2011
90. David Hernandez / SP / Baltimore / AAA / 5/13/85 / ETA: 2010
91. Brandon Crawford / SS / San Francisco / A+ / 1/21/87 / ETA: 2011
92. Kris Medlen / SP/RP / Atlanta / AAA / 10/7/85 / ETA: 2010
93. Phillippe Aumont / RP / Seattle / A+ / 1/7/89 / ETA: 2011
94. Dominic Brown / OF / Philadelphia / A+ / 9/3/87 / ETA: 2012
95. Gio Gonzalez / SP / Oakland / AAA / 9/19/85 / ETA: 2009
96. Josh Vitters / 3B / Chicago Cubs / A / 8/27/89 / ETA: 2012
97. Sean West / SP / Florida / AA / 6/15/86 / ETA: 2011
98. J.P. Arencibia / C / Toronto / AAA / 1/5/86 / ETA: 2011
99. Josh Lindblom / SP / LA Dodgers / AA / 6/15/87 / ETA: 2011
100. Tim Beckham / SS / Tampa Bay / A / 1/27/90 / ETA: 2012

Other players that I'm watching closely:
Gorkys Hernandez
Kyle Skipworth
Vance Worley
Dellin Betances
Todd Frazier
Jonathon Niese
Lou Marson
Trevor Harden
Cody Johnson
Daniel Duffy
John Jaso
D.J. Mitchell
Reese Havens
Wilson Ramos
Ross Seaton
Mike Carp
Dexter Carter
Brad Holt
Mauricio Robles
Matt Maloney
Brandon Snyder
Brett Cecil
Yohermyn Chavez
Chris Carter
Kevin Mulvey
Jason Donald
David Huff
Michael Taylor
Reid Brignac
Brett Lorin

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Comments

  1. Mike B said...

    Thanks for the article… I needed a reminded to snatch up Hanson, and doing it today was great payback to the guy in my league who scooped Beimel from under my Hanrahan-owning nose, since I know he wanted TH…

  2. JFC said...

    Hanson doesn’t seem to be more then a #3 pitcher in the majors> Seems ranked high here. Guys like Fowler ,Alonso,Lawrie,Alvarez and Carlos Santana seem very low.They are producing now and are quick movers. Tim Bechkam as well.Triunfel has to be moved down again at this point.

    Missing altogether Jaff Decker OF SD, Peter Bourjos OF LAA. Ryan Strieby 1B Det has to be on a watch list.

  3. Matt said...

    Carlos Santana is top 10, if not top 5. His average year would be .300/25/100, which at catcher is a top 2 round pick every year. His offensive potential is not Weiters, but is close.

    Gamel’s lines remind me of Garrett Atkins, who is not a top fantasy player, I don’t see how he’s so high, especially since he can’t play major league defense.

    Kyle Blanks can’t hit for power, he just doesn’t have a HR swing. Conor Jackson at best, he should be closer to 50.

    Desmond Jennings at 58? He has power, crazy speed, hits for average, takes walks, he is just 22 and dominating AA. He is Carl Crawford, but better.

    Brett Wallace is every bit as good of a hitter as Gamel, and has a better defensive profile at 3rd, yet is 40 spots lower.

    Also you are overreacting to a good start by Rondon. He doesn’t have crazy K’s potential and profiles as a 3 starter at beset.

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