Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Pittsburgh Pirates 2012 Pre-Season Top 15 Prospects

Here is my Top 15 Prospect list for the Pittsburgh Pirates. The stats are from the 2011 season unless otherwise noted.

1. Gerrit Cole, RHP - 6-8, 3.31 ERA, 114.1 IP, 103 H, 24 BB, 119 K (College)

The 2011 #1 pick has 3 plus pitches and he maintains his high 90's velocity deep into games. The only question is his command as it is just average right not, but that still doesn't drop him off the top spot. Could be in the Pirates Opening Day rotation in 2013.

2. Jameson Taillon, RHP - 2-3, 3.98 ERA, 92.2 IP, 89 H, 22 BB, 97 K (A)

Taillon still put up very good numbers despite being limited to mostly working on his fastball command in West Virginia. Expect him to take off as he incorporates his devastating secondary pitches more in-game.

3. Starling Marte, OF - 536 AB, .332/.370/.500, 12 HR, 50 RBI, 22 BB, 100 K, 24 SB 12 CS (AA)

Marte dominated this spring but still got sent down to AAA. He is showing power now to complement his plus hitting, plus speed, and plus-plus arm as he has the potential to be the complete package in the outfield. The only question for him is if he can improve that BB/K ratio, but he should still be very productive even if it stays where it is.

4. Josh Bell, OF - 96 AB, .552/.687/1.073, 14 HR, 55 RBI, 48 BB, 5 K, 19 SB 3 CS (HS)

Bell was the talk of the 2011 draft, signing for $5 million as 2nd round pick after saying he was definitely heading to Texas. He has plus hitting ability and plus-plus power potential from both sides of the plate. There are high expectations on his shoulders, but he has the talent to easily fulfill them.

5. Luis Heredia, RHP - 1-2, 4.75 ERA, 30.1 IP, 28 H, 19 BB, 23 K (RK)

Heredia has ace potential right up there with Cole and Taillon, but he is a long way away from fulfilling that ceiling. He already throws in the mid 90's and he has four potential above-average to plus pitches with a smooth delivery for a 6'7" 17-year old.

6. Robbie Grossman, OF - 490 AB, .294/.418/.451, 13 HR, 56 RBI, 104 BB, 111 K, 24 SB 10 CS (A+)

Grossman had a breakout year repeating High A+ ball, becoming the first minor league player since Nick Swisher to have 100 runs and 100 walks in a year. He then went to the AFL and continued to dominate. Grossman is recovering from a hamate injury, but he is expected to move to AA where his bat will really be tested.

7. Stetson Allie, RHP - 0-2, 6.58 ERA, 26 IP, 20 H, 29 BB, 28 K (SS)

If any other player put up these numbers they wouldn't even be considered a prospect, but Allie gets a pass because he has elite stuff on the mound. Reports so far this Spring are that his command is greatly improving, so I will give him the benefit of the doubt for now, but I think ultimately his road to the Majors is as a closer.

8. Kyle McPherson, RHP - 12-6, 2.96 ERA, 161 IP, 137 H, 27 BB, 142 K (A+/AA)

A late bloomer, McPherson had a phenomenal 2011 culminating in being named the Pirates Minor League Pitcher of the Year. He throws 3 solid pitches with excellent command and is very close to Major League ready.

9. Tony Sanchez, C - 402 AB, .241/.340/.318, 5 HR, 44 RBI, 47 BB, 76 K, 5 SB 5 CS (AA)

Sanchez struggled mightily last season after an injury-plagued 2010. Reports are he is hitting the ball with more authority this spring and he is still an above-average defensive catcher, but he needs to have a good year to get back into the top prospect picture.

10. Jeff Locke, LHP - 8-10, 3.70 ERA, 153.1 IP, 143 H, 55 BB, 139 K (AA/AAA)

Locke really came on late in the year dominating the International League in 5 starts before getting roughed up a bit in his debut in Pittsburgh. He looks like he could be a solid #4 starter with good command of four pitches and should see time in the Majors at some point in 2012.

11. Nick Kingham, RHP - 6-2, 2.15 ERA, 71 IP, 63 H, 15 BB, 47 K (SS)

Kingham, like most young Pirate pitchers, focused mainly on fastball command in his first professional season and had a very nice season. He showed the potential for a plus curveball, so Kingham is a player to watch this year as he incorporates more pitches in his arsenal. 

12. Zack Von Rosenberg, RHP - 5-9, 5.73 ERA, 125.2 IP, 143 H, 23 BB, 114 K (A)

Von Rosenberg got lit up by HR's during the first half of the year, but showed improvements late in the year and had a very good BB/K ratio. He is still very young and I think last year's first half struggles may have just been a slight bump on his developmental path. A player to watch for 2012.

13. Colton Cain, LHP - 6-8, 3.64 ERA, 106.1 IP, 92 H, 31 BB, 81 K (A)

Cain had some mild success in West Virginia last year, he throws a low 90's fastball with an improving curveball. One of those guys who could jump up 7 spots or drop off this list entirely depending on how he develops this season.

14. Bryan Morris, RHP - 3-4, 3.35 ERA, 78 IP, 72 H, 33 BB, 64 K (AA)

Morris had some success with a move to the bullpen and I think this is his future role with the organization. With a mid 90's sinker and power slider, Morris could pitch in Pittsburgh sooner rather than later.

15. Alen Hanson, SS/2B - 198 AB, .263/.352/.429, 2 HR, 35 RBI, 21 BB, 34 K, 24 SB 6 CS (RK)

Hanson is extremely young and raw at the plate, but he has plus speed, gap power, and solid actions at SS. A player I really want to see produce in full season ball.


Jarek Cunningham, 2B - 310 AB, .258/.320/.516, 15 HR, 51 RBI, 17 BB, 82 K, 5 SB 2 CS (A+)

Cunningham shows excellent power from the 2B position and he has enough athletic ability to play the position at the Major League level. The real question with him is can he make improvements on his poor strike-zone discipline and make enough contact to use that power.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

San Diego Padres 2012 Pre-Season Top 15 Prospects

Here is my Top 15 Prospect list for the San Diego Padres. The stats are from the 2011 season unless otherwise noted.


1. Yasmani Grandal, C - 374 AB, .305/.401/.500, 14 HR, 68 RBI, 59 BB, 97 K, 0 SB 1 CS (A+/AA/AAA)

This system is so deep at the top that its hard to pinpoint a #1 player, but I've been a fan of Grandal for a while now and I also tend to favor up the middle players. He has the potential to be an All-Star caliber backstop and I think his defense will at least be league-average.

2. Rymer Liriano, OF - 510 AB, .298/.365/.465, 12 HR, 68 RBI, 53 BB, 108 K, 66 SB 21 CS (A/A+)

Liriano probably has the most upside of all of the Padres prospects and is showing polish and improvement at the plate already at the age of 20. An exciting player to watch and there will be a lot of eyes on him this season.

3. Robbie Erlin, LHP - 9-4, 2.99 ERA, 147.1 IP, 124 H, 16 BB, 154 K (A+/AA)

Erlin's BB/K ratio is stupid good as he uses his incredible command of 3 above-average pitches to get hitters out. A pitcher who could become a superstar playing home games at Petco Park.

4. Yonder Alonso, 1B - 358 AB, .296/.374/.486, 12 HR, 56 RBI, 46 BB, 60 K, 6 SB 5 CS (AAA)

Alonso was phenomenal when he got called up to Cincinnati last year, and I see him hitting upwards of 40 doubles this year at Petco. He has great strike-zone discipline for a power hitter and now he doesn't have to worry about Joey Votto's shadow anymore.

5. Keyvius Sampson, RHP - 12-3, 2.90 ERA, 118 IP, 81 H, 49 BB, 143 K (A)

Sampson had a dominant 2011 and all he needs is a little better command of his 3 above-average top plus pitches. Only 21 years old, if he continues to pitch well in the California League it will be hard to keep him off the top spot on this list.

6. Jedd Gyorko, 3B - 576 AB, .333/.400/.552, 25 HR, 115 RBI, 64 BB, 114 K, 12 SB 3 CS (A+/AA)

All Gyorko does is mash the cover off the ball and they hope that he can sustain the home run power he showed last year. His defense should be adequate at 3rd and his bat should play there.

7. Casey Kelly, RHP - 11-6, 3.98 ERA, 142.1 IP, 153 H, 46 BB, 105 K (AA)

The main piece in the Gonzalez trade, Kelly underperformed for a second straight season. He is still just 22 years old, but this is a very important year for the righty.

8. Cory Spangenberg, 2B - 275 AB, .316/.419/.418, 3 HR, 44 RBI, 45 BB, 57 RBI, 25 SB 8 CS (SS/A)

Was perhaps a slight overdraft at #10 overall last year, but the speedy Spangenberg has great discipline at the plate and has plus hitting ability. Could lead the league in triples playing in Petco Park.

9. Joe Wieland, RHP - 13-4, 1.97 ERA, 155.2 IP, 136 H, 21 BB, 150 K (A+/AA)

As if Robbie Erlin wasn't enough the Padres got Wieland in the lopsided Mike Adams trade as well. He's a similarly polished pitcher like Erlin, both of whom should thrive in the friendly confines of Petco.

10. James Darnell, 3B - 422 AB, .310/.406/.547, 23 HR, 79 RBI, 68 BB, 78 K, 2 SB 1 CS (AA/AAA)

Darnell probably deserves a better spot than I am giving him right here, but I couldn't bring himself to put him higher in large part because he is considerably older than most of the players ahead of him. You could make an argument to put him #1 as the guy can rake and has a sound approach at the plate, now he just needs to do it in the Majors.

11. Joe Ross, RHP - 6-4, 0.79 ERA, 70.2 IP, 42 H, 17 BB, 101 K (HS)

The brother of A's pitcher Tyson Ross, Joe has an electric arm that consistently pumps mid 90's fastballs into the zone and he has a very good change-up for a prep arm. 

12. Jaff Decker, OF - 496 AB, .236/.373/.417, 19 HR, 92 RBI, 103 BB, 145 K, 15 SB 5 CS (AA)

The stocky Decker has deceiving athletic ability and has great patience at the plate. I see him as a potential breakout candidate in 2012 if he can improve his contact ability.

13. Brad Boxberger, RHP - 2-4, 2.03 ERA, 11 SV, 62 IP, 32 H, 28 BB, 93 K (AA/AAA)

Boxberger had a fantastic season in 2011, his first full season as a reliever. His control could use a little refining, but he is basically Major League ready.

14. Austin Hedges, C - .360 AVG, 31 H, 11 2B, 2 3B, 4 HR, 16 RBI (HS)

An outstanding defensive catcher drafted out of high school in 2011, Hedges' future will depend on whether his ability with the bat can catch up to his talent behind the plate.

15. Reymond Fuentes, OF - 510 AB, .275/.342/.369, 5 HR, 45 RBI, 44 BB, 117 K, 41 SB 14 CS (A+)

Fuentes is very athletic out there in centerfield and he has Gold-Glove potential in the outfield. He isn't showing much power but if he can cut down on the strikeouts he could be an effect leadoff hitter.


Jace Peterson, SS - 276 AB, .243/.360/.333, 2 HR, 27 RBI, 50 BB, 53 K, 39 SB 10 CS (SS)

A 1st-round Supplemental pick in 2011 Peterson played football at McNeese St, so he is a little behind developmentally, but he shows great patience at the plate, excellent speed, and some power potential in his bat.

Vince Belnome, 2B - 267 AB, .333/.432/.603, 17 HR, 62 RBI, 47 BB, 59 K, 0 SB 5 CS (AA)

The Padres system is so deep so that they get 2 sleepers, as it is getting extremely hard to ignore Belnome's production at 2B. He just needs to prove that he can stay in shape and handle the position while continuing his hot hitting. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Chicago Cubs 2012 Pre-Season Top 15 Prospects

Here is my Top 15 Prospect list for the Chicago Cubs. The stats are from the 2011 season unless otherwise noted.

1. Brett Jackson, OF - 431 AB, .274/.379/.490, 20 HR, 58 RBI, 73 BB, 138 K, 21 SB 7 CS (AA/AAA)

Strikeouts are a slight problem, but he also draws a lot of walks and shows the ability to be a 25/25 Gold-Glove-caliber centerfielder. He is gonna return to AAA Iowa, but expect him to get a shot to stick in Chicago sometime in 2012. 

2. Javier Baez, SS/3B - 18 AB, .278/.278/.389, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0 BB, 4 K, 2 SB 0 CS (RK/SS)

I think Baez will definitely have to move to 3rd or a corner outfield spot, but he has incredible bat speed and should hit for a plus average and plus power. I can actually see him moving very quickly through the lower minors for a 19-year old.

3. Matt Szczur, OF - 447 AB, .293/.335/.423, 10 HR, 46 RBI, 26 BB, 48 K, 24 SB 5 CS (A+/AA)

Im a big believer in Szczur's ability to reach his potential, which is a 5-tool Gold Glove centerfielder. All he needs to do is improve his plate-discipline and continue to progress at the plate and he should be Major League ready by mid-2013.

4. Anthony Rizzo, 1B - 356 AB, .331/.404/.652, 26 HR, 101 RBI, 43 BB, 89 K, 7 SB 6 CS (AAA)

Rizzo had a huge year in the hitter-friendly PCL, but really struggled in San Diego. He was recently sent down by the Cubs, but expect him to be back up soon if he tears up Iowa like he did Tucson.

5. Junior Lake, SS - 445 AB, .279/.316/.434, 12 HR, 51 RBI, 19 BB, 109 K, 38 SB 6 CS (A+AA)

Lake had a surprising 2011 and continued it in the Arizona Fall League, showcasing his power/speed ability and strong arm. However he rarely takes a walk, swings and misses a lot, and is very unreliable on defense. He could be #1 on this list after 2012 and he also could easily be outside of the Top 20.

6. Dillon Maples, RHP - 8-2, 0.95 ERA, 59 IP, 15 H, 28 BB, 117 K (HS)

An electric power/curve guy who runs his fastball up to the mid-90's, Maples still has projection in his frame and could add MPH's with a more refined delivery.

7. Welington Castillo, C - 227 AB, .286/.351/.524, 15 HR, 35 RBI, 20 BB, 57 K, 0 SB 0 CS (AAA)

Castillo is one of those guys who seems like he's right on the cusp of putting it all together. If he can put together a complete season at Iowa, we could see him starting on Opening Day in 2013.

8. Jeimer Candelario, 3B - 249 AB, .337/.443/.478, 5 HR, 53 RBI, 50 BB, 42 K, 4 SB 4 CS (DSL)

The Cubs have been raving about this young switch-hitter who has elite potential with the bat. DSL statistics are very unreliable but it is encouraging to see his BB/K ratio and hopefully he can play good enough defense to stick at 3B.

9. Dan Vogelbach, 1B - 92 AB, .467/.571/1.239, 19 HR, 54 RBI, 27 BB, 8 K, 5 SB 1 CS (HS)

Vogelbach is known for his huge size (6'1" 240 lbs.) and huge power and his overall hitting ability and athletic ability are very underrated and I don't think his size will hinder him as a hitter or a 1st Baseman.

10. Trey McNutt, RHP - 5-6, 4.55 ERA, 95 IP, 120 H, 39 BB, 65 K (AA)

This isn't where the Cubs thought McNutt would be after a breakout 2010 season and we will give him an injury mulligan but he still has a lot to prove in 2012.

11. Dae-Eun Rhee, RHP - 8-7, 4.02 ERA, 127.2 IP, 131 H, 43 BB, 117 K (A+)

Rhee is gaining his stuff back after returning from Tommy John Surgery and may have even added a few MPH's on his fastball. He has the best change-up in the Cubs system and I think he could have a big year in AA.

12. Marco Hernandez, SS - 210 AB, .333/.375/.486, 2 HR, 42 RBI, 16 BB, 29 K, 9 SB 7 CS (RK)

He shows a good approach at the plate and a plus hitting ability. Hernandez looks like he should stay at the SS position and if he can add a little power to his game can really shoot up this list.

13. Benjamin Wells, RHP - 4-4, 4.66 ERA, 77.1 IP, 83 H, 19 BB, 53 K (SS)

A personal favorite from the 2010 Draft, the 19-year old has really impressed with his plus sinker and he has the upside of a durable #3 starter.

14. Josh Vitters, 3B - 449 AB, .283/.322/.448, 14 HR, 81 RBI, 22 BB, 54 K, 4 SB 10 CS (AA)

I just don't ever see Vitters developing any more than 15 HR power and I personally see him as a bench player at best. With that said he is still only 22 and he does control the strike-zone well so he still belongs on this list.

15. Rafael Dolis, RHP - 8-5, 3.22 ERA, 17 SV, 72.2 IP, 61 H, 35 BB, 48 K (AA)

Throws a power upper 90's sinker and he could be very valuable out of the pen for Chicago. It appears that he will make the team out of Spring Training and team up with Kerry Wood as the setup men.


Neftali Rosario, C - 102 AB, .294/.351/.490, 3 HR, 17 RBI, 6 BB, 28 K, 1 SB 0 CS (RK)

A 6th round pick last year out of Puerto Rico, the 18-year old more than held his own in the Arizona Rookie League. He shows decent power to go along with good actions and a plus arm behind the plate.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Around The Horn: March 24, 2012

- Minor League Ball posted their daily Prospect Notes, highlighting the Cubs demotion of top prospect Anthony Rizzo.

- Baseball America provides a roundup of Friday's College Baseball action, including Florida's series tying win over South Carolina.

- Baseball Instinct does an in-depth scouting report on Angels 1st-round pick C.J. Cron.

- MLB Draft Guide has a scouting report on UCLA commit Daniel Robertson, a Louisville Slugger Pre-Season All-American.

- MLB Draft Countdown lists their Top 25 College Prospects for the 2012 MLB Draft, with Florida catcher Mike Zunino leading the pack.

Kansas City Royals 2012 Pre-Season Top 15 Prospects

Here is my Top 15 Prospect list for the Kansas City Royals. The stats are from the 2011 season unless otherwise noted.


1. Bubba Starling, OF - 62 AB, .339/.474/.532, 3 HR, 12 RBI, 16 BB, 12 K, 3 SB 1 CS (18U Team USA)

The athletic ability of Starling is too much for me to put Myers ahead of him. If he develops correctly Starling could become a more consistent Matt Kemp-like player with all 5 tools, a rare talent. 

2. Wil Myers, OF - 354 AB, .254/.353/.393, 8 HR, 49 RBI, 52 BB, 87 K, 9 SB 2 CS (AA)

Im not as high on Myers as other people are, but he still has a big time bat with plus power and he is a breakout candidate for 2012 who could reach the Majors in September.

3. Jake Odorizzi, RHP - 10-7, 3.73 ERA, 147 IP, 134 H, 44 BB, 157 K (A+/AA)

Odorizzi has an advanced feel for pitching and a very easy, sound delivery that allows him to add and subtract from his fastball and command his pitches well. He will return to AA looking to duplicate the success he had in the Carolina League.

4. Cheslor Cuthbert, 3B - 300 AB, .267/.345/.397, 8 HR, 51 RBI, 36 BB, 65 K, 2 SB 0 CS (A)

Cuthbert has a smooth swing that gives him 25 HR potential along with an ability to hit for average. He slumped late in the year and he could move up this list with a good year, but he could also drop rapidly if he doesn't put up good numbers at the plate because he is average at best on defense.

5. Mike Montgomery, LHP - 5-11, 5.32 ERA, 150.2 IP, 157 H, 69 BB, 129 K (AAA)

Montgomery has the ability to have 3 plus pitches, but his control has eluded him way too often for him to maximize his potential. He has the ceiling of an ace if he can locate his pitches.

6. Kelvin Herrera, RHP - 7-1, 1.60 ERA, 14 SV, 67. 2 IP, 42 H, 15 BB, 70 K (A+/AA/AAA)

Herrera throws three above-average or better pitches out of the bullpen and don't be surprised if Kansas City eventually gives him a shot at closing with Joakim Soria out for the year.

7. John Lamb, LHP - 1-2, 3.09 ERA, 35 IP, 33 H, 13 BB, 22 K (AA)

Lamb was coming off a breakout year in 2010 when his season was ended after just 8 starts needing Tommy John Surgery. He has solid #3 starter potential if he can bounce back and return to form.

8. Christian Colon, SS - 491 AB, .257/.325/.342, 8 HR, 61 RBI, 46 BB, 51 K, 17 SB 7 CS (AA)

Colon had a down year at the plate, but he controlled the strike-zone well and his BABIP was uncharacteristically low so I still believe he can turn into a solid everyday Major Leaguer up the middle.

9. Elier Hernandez, OF - 2011 International Signee

Hernandez earned a $3.1 million bonus as a 16-year old out of the Dominican Republic and he has 5 potential plus tools. He may have to move to a corner outfield spot, but his ceiling is right up there with Bubba Starling.

10. Chris Dwyer, LHP - 8-10, 5.60 ERA, 141.1 IP, 124 H, 78 BB, 126 K (AA)

With the best curveball in the system Dwyer still has the potential of a very good #3 starter, but with his poor command and subpar change-up he might be best suited for the bullpen.

11. Jorge Bonifacio, OF - 236 AB, .284/.333/.492, 7 HR, 30 RBI, 16 BB, 58 K, 5 SB 6 CS (RK)

Bonifacio showed strong power potential and a strong arm in the outfield, but he is very raw and he has a long way to go before he maximizes his impressive tools. He is the younger brother of Marlins centerfielder Emilio Bonifacio.

12. Brett Eibner, OF - 272 AB, .213/.340/.408, 12 HR, 31 RBI, 48 BB, 90 K, 2 SB 3 CS (A)

Eibner missed the first half of the season with a thumb injury and when he came back he struggled mightily to make contact. He has plus power and a plus arm along with the range to play anywhere in the outfield, but his future is tied to whether he can make consistent contact or not.

13. Jason Adam, RHP - 6-9, 4.23 ERA, 104.1 IP, 94 H, 25 BB, 76 K (A)

Adam commands his low 90's fastball well and does a good job of working down in the zone, although his secondary pitches are behind at this point. He is very projectable however and he could have a breakout year if he can improve his stuff.

14. Bryan Brickhouse, RHP - 6-1, 3.23 ERA, 48 IP, 37 H, 22 BB, 90 K (HS)

Brickhouse is built like his name and he has a big fastball and a sharp curveball. The 2011 3rd-round pick's mechanics need a lot of work so don't expect him to dominate in the minors right away.

15. Kyle Smith, RHP - 9-1, 0.40 ERA, 69 IP, 46 H, 14 BB, 116 K (HS)

Another 2011 draftee out of high school, Smith isn't the biggest guy but he has a live fastball and a curveball that projects as plus in the future.


Tim Melville, RHP - 11-10, 4.32 ERA, 135.1 IP, 152 H, 53 BB, 108 K (A+)

Melville was one of the top prep pitching prospects when he was drafted in 2008, but he hasn't quite been able to put it all together so far in his pro career. He still has #2-3 starter ability and an increased focus on locating his pitches could put him back in the prospect picture. If he struggles again a move to the bullpen could really help his progress.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Baltimore Orioles 2012 Pre-Season Top 15 Prospects

Here is my Top 15 Prospect list for the Baltimore Orioles. The stats are from the 2011 season unless otherwise noted.

1. Manny Machado, SS - 382 AB, .257/.335/.421, 11 HR, 50 RBI, 45 BB, 73 K, 11 SB 6 CS (A/A+)

It's a toss-up between Machado and Bundy, but I'll take the shortstop every time and especially one who has already proven himself over a professional season. I expect Machado to have a true breakout season now if he stays healthy and isn't pushed too hard by the Orioles.

2. Dylan Bundy, RHP - 11-0, 0.20 ERA, 71 IP, 20 H, 5 BB, 158 K (HS)

The Gatorade National Player of the Year, Bundy was easily the best high school pitcher in the draft and has all the makings of an ace. A physical specimen, he runs his fastball into the high 90's, touching 100 MPH, and features a cutter, curveball, and change-up that all profile to be potential plus pitches.

3. Jonathan Schoop, 2B/3B - 511 AB, .290/.349/.432, 13 HR, 72 RBI, 42 BB, 76 K, 12 SB 7 CS (A/A+)

Schoop doesn't get nearly the attention Machado does despite very similar numbers at the same levels last year. If he can hold his own with the glove, Baltimore could be looking at a perennial All-Star double-play combo in the future.

4. Jason Esposito, 3B - 268 AB, .340/.403/.530, 9 HR, 59 RBI, 17 BB, 45 K, 15 SB 10 CS (College)

A 2nd round pick out of Vanderbilt, Esposito can play Gold Glove defense at 3B and has an interesting power-speed combo that could produce perennial 20-20 seasons at his peak.

5. Dan Klein, RHP - 3-1, 1.11 ERA, 32.1 IP, 23 H, 6 BB, 37 K (A+/AA)

A rare four-pitch reliever, Klein has dominated when he's healthy and could contend for a spot in the back-end of Baltimore's bullpen right out of spring training.

6. Bobby Bundy, RHP - 12-8, 3.51 ERA, 136 IP, 127 H, 42 BB, 113 K (A+/AA)

A workhorse like his star younger brother, Bobby doesn't quite have the electric stuff that Dylan does, but he projects as a #3 or 4 starter in the Majors and could start 2013 in Baltimore whether in the rotation or the bullpen.

7. Parker Bridwell, RHP - 2-8, 5.26 ERA, 75.1 IP, 79 H, 35 BB, 70 K (SS/A)

The Orioles are excited about Bridwell's ceiling as he has a plus fastball/curve combo that has some thinking of AJ Burnett. If he can improve his control and stretch out over a season, Bridwell could move up this list quickly.

8. Nick Delmonico, 3B - 136 AB, .485 AVG, 18 HR, 75 RBI, 30 SB (HS)

While Delmonico doesn't have much projection left in his game, he is very polished for a kid right out of high school and he should hit for decent power while playing solid defense at the hot corner.

9. L.J. Hoes, OF/2B - 502 AB, .285/.354/.390, 9 HR, 71 RBI, 53 BB, 81 K, 20 SB 9 CS (A+/AA)

After a switch to the outfield and a promotion to Bowie, Hoes started to show his plus hitting ability and surprised people with a little pop as well. It's time to see if he can put it all together for a full season.

10. Glynn Davis, OF - 282 AB, .284/.351/.362, 2 HR, 16 RBI, 29 BB, 57 K, 24 SB 10 CS (RK/SS/A+)

Davis is a 20-year old undrafted free agent from the Baltimore area who is extremely raw, but shows plus-plus speed, discipline at the plate, and some power projection in his 6'3" 170 lb frame.

11. Clayton Schrader, RHP - 2-2, 1.57 ERA, 46 IP, 19 H, 32 BB, 73 K (A/A+)

Schrader has a nasty fastball/slider combo that he used to strike out 14.28 batters per 9 innings, but he needs to work on his control as he also walked more than 6 batters per 9.

12. Ryan Adams, 2B - 377 AB, .284/.341/.454, 10 HR, 37 RBI, 30 BB, 103 K, 5 SB 2 CS (AAA)

Adams should see a considerable amount of time in the Majors this year and he has the power and defensive ability to stick in Baltimore for a while.

13. Gabriel Lino, C - 78 AB, .282/.371/.462, 2 HR, 11 RBI, 8 BB, 13 K, 1 SB 0 CS (RK)

Lino is known as an outstanding defensive catcher, but the 18-year old really impressed with his hitting ability albeit in a small sample size in the GCL. Definitely a player to watch for 2012.

14. Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP - 1-1, 2.22 ERA, 48.2 IP, 34 H, 18 BB, 50 K (RK/SS)

Rodriguez has excellent pitchability and is very polished for an 18-year old. He has an impressive low-90's fastball as well and is another player to watch along with potential teammate Lino. 

15. Oliver Drake, RHP - 11-8, 3.32 ERA, 162.2 IP, 156 H, 43 BB, 129 K (A+/AA/AAA)

Drake is another innings-eater type pitcher as he gets a lot out of his fastball/slider mix. We could see him at some point this season pitching out of the Baltimore bullpen.


Trent Mummey, OF - 113 AB, .292/.373/.478, 3 HR, 22 RBI, 16 BB, 19 K, 19 SB 3 CS (A/A+)

The toolsy Mummey lost most of 2011 to an injury, but if he can bounce back and continue to hit and run the bases well he could easily see himself in the 5-10 range on this list. Profiles as a valuable 4th outfielder-type, but if he adds a little power could challenge for a starting spot.

Seattle Mariners 2012 Pre-Season Top 15 Prospects

Here is my Top 15 Prospect list for the Seattle Mariners. The stats are from the 2011 season unless otherwise noted.

1. Jesus Montero, C/DH - 420 AB, .288/.348/.467, 18 HR, 67 RBI, 36 BB, 98 K, 0 SB 0 CS (AAA)

No matter how poor his defense is at whatever position he ends up at, Montero is an elite hitter to the point where the Mariners gave up one of the best young pitchers in the game to get him. I expect him to continue right where he left off after his impressive debut with the Yankees in September.

2. Danny Hultzen, LHP - 12-3, 1.37 ERA, 118 IP, 76 H, 23 BB, 165 K (College)

A much safer bet to be a quality ML starter puts Hultzen ahead of the next two guys and don't be surprised if he dominates early in his minor league career and contributes in Seattle by September.

3. Taijuan Walker, RHP - 6-5, 2.89 ERA, 96.2 IP, 69 H, 39 BB, 113 K (A)

Considered the best athlete in the system, the 19-year old Walker has enormous potential and could be a Top 10 prospect overall if he pitches like he did last year when he leads the High Desert rotation in the extremely hitter-friendly California League in 2012.

4. James Paxton, LHP - 6-3, 2.37 ERA, 95 IP, 73 H, 43 BB, 131 K (A/AA)

Paxton has electric stuff from the left side and he can be a frontline starter sooner rather than later if he can repeat his delivery consistently and improve his command.

5. Nick Franklin, SS - 352 AB, .281/.352/.418, 7 HR, 26 RBI, 37 BB, 80 K, 18 SB 4 CS (A+/AA)

Franklin made up for a slow start to 2011 by excelling after a surprise promotion to AA Jackson. With above-average power for a SS and good instincts for a 21-year old he could be starting in Seattle by 2013. 

6. Vinnie Catricala, 3B/1B/OF - 521 AB, .349/.421/.601, 25 HR, 106 RBI, 57 BB, 92 K, 17 SB 4 CS (A+/AA)

You will be hard-pressed to find a better #6 prospect on any team list as Catricala raked over two levels last year to earn 2011 Seattle Mariners Minor League Player of the Year. The only question right now is where he will play defensively but his bat will work at any position.

7. Alex Liddi, 3B - 559 AB, .259/.332/.488, 30 HR, 104 RBI, 61 BB, 170 K, 5 SB 1 CS (AAA)

Only has one plus tool in his power, but I think it will be enough to overcome his strikeout issues and his weak defense and he can at least become a serviceable DH/platoon player.
8. Chance Ruffin, RHP - 77 AB, 3-3, 2.03 ERA, 19 SV, 48.2 IP, 37 H, 22 BB, 60 K (AA/AAA)

He's got a wide repertoire of pitches for a reliever which gives him a lot of flexibility, but he struggled with his control in the Majors due to an inability to repeat his unorthodox delivery. If he can perhaps settle down his delivery while maintaining his stuff he has the potential to be a closer in this league.

9. Francisco Martinez, 3B - 477 AB, .289/.321/.426, 10 HR, 69 RBI, 23 BB, 104 K, 10 SB 10 CS (AA)

I am not a big believer in Martinez as I believe the Tigers really hindered his development by rushing him through the minors. He's only 21 so there's plenty of time for improvement, but his poor strike-zone judgement leads me to believe he won't get the most out of his tools.

10. Phillips Castillo, OF - 170 AB, .300/.366/.482, 1 HR, 27 RBI, 15 BB, 61 K, 8 SB 5 CS (RK)

Castillo has a long way to go, but the 18-year old had an impressive debut in the Arizona Rookie League and has perhaps the highest upside of any hitter in the system.

11. Martin Peguero, SS - 165 AB, .279/.309/.382, 1 HR, 25 RBI, 6 BB, 22 K, 17 SB 5 CS (A+/AA)

One of the top international prospects when Seattle signed him to a big bonus in 2010, Peguero has a huge ceiling but he is extremely raw and may need to move away from SS.

12. Brad Miller, SS - 53 AB, .415/.458/.528, 0 HR, 7 RBI, 4 BB, 9 K, 1 SB 0 CS (A)

An unorthodox style at the plate, Miller leaves it all on the field and while he may not have the tools to stick at SS, he could turn into a valuable utility player.

13. Guillermo Pimentel, OF - 245 AB, .265/.308/.441, 11 HR, 46 RBI, 15 BB, 73 K, 4 SB 1 CS (RK)

Huge power potential with the 19-year old Pimentel, but it comes with very poor strike-zone discipline and no other plus tools.

14. Carter Capps, RHP - 1-1, 6.00 ERA, 18 IP, 19 H, 10 BB, 21 K (A)

A power pitcher out of Division II Mt. Olive College, Capps can hit the high-90's with his fastball out of the pen which is where he should end up.

15. Tyler Marlette, C - 45 AB, .156/.156/.200, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 0 BB, 13 K, 0 SB 0 CS (RK)

An outstanding defensive catcher drafted in 2011 out of HS, Marlette's bat will need to catch up to his glove if he wants to reach the Majors.


Cameron Hobson, LHP - 4-2, 2.89 ERA, 43.2 IP, 41 H, 8 BB, 51 K (AA)

A polished lefty out of Dayton, Hobson throws four effective pitches for strikes, with his curveball his best pitch when it's at its best. Has the ceiling of an innings eating 3-4 starter.