02 January, 2003
Who's on first? Teixeira? Matsui?
Contreras? Some interesting decisions for those who have the option
of having all three available for the picking.
Callis, Baseball America, clearly
Contreras NYA as the best of the rookie crop :
" ... Contreras isn't a typical
"prospect," because he's 31 and has proven himself at the highest
levels of international baseball against professional hitters. But by the BA
definition, he's a prospect because he hasn't exceeded Major League Baseball's
rookie playing-time limits (130 at-bats or 50 innings). When we release our Top
100 Prospects list in March, he'll get my vote to be No. 1 overall."
Jason Boyd in BA's Prospect Handbook on Contreras
" ... Contreras regularly throws 94-96 mph
with his fastball and tops out at 98. An impressive physical specimen with a
rock-solid frame, he's able to maintain his velocity deep into games. His power
arsenal is rounded out by two more plus pitches, a slider and a splitter ... The
only test for Contreras is to prove he can rise to the occasion in major league
venues with the burden of a heavy contract in New York. He hasn't suffered any
known injuries, but the Yankees admit he has shouldered a heavy workload in
Cuba. While many Cubans are surrounded by questions about their age, no one has
challenged Contreras' birthdate. He has all the makings of a No. 1 starter and
will be expected to pitch to that standard in New York."
Callis on Jason Arnold TOR (not
ranked in TOR or OAK due to the trade) :
" ... Arnold will be No. 5 on our Jays Top
30 in the Prospect Handbook, trailing Dustin McGowan, Jayson Werth, Kevin Cash
and Francisco Rosario."
For those of us without A-Rod, Nomar or Tejada in the
middle, there is help on the way. An outstanding crop of shortstops is on
the horizon, although expectations have to be tempered with the reality that
several are likely to switch positions.
Kevin Winter, SportsTicker, has Jose
Reyes NYN as the best of the crop :
" ... Primarily a leadoff-type hitter, Reyes
has not put up power numbers to date but should develop more pop as his body
matures. In 65 games at Double-A, Reyes batted .308 in 198 at-bats against
left-handers, his first full season as a switch hitter. Defensively, the native
of the Dominican Republic had his error total increased to 29 this year, but he
has good range and tremendous arm strength."
Brandon Phillips CLE captured the
runnerup slot :
" ... A shortstop throughout his minor
league career, the 21-year-old is being groomed to play second base ... Between
Double-A and Triple-A this past season, the right-handed-hitting Phillips batted
a combined .302 with 31 doubles, 18 homers and 67 RBI. His defense has become
suspect over the past three seasons, evidenced by an average of 31.6 errors per
year, and his passion for making the routine play look flashy is part of the
DET's Omar Infante rated #3 :
" ... A defensive standout, Infante has been
one of the youngest players in each league he's appeared during his four-year
career ... his .281 career mark projects for a decent average in the
majors because he makes consistent contact. The downside is that Infante rarely
walks and has little power. Since being signed in 1999, he has drawn just 103
walks with eight career home runs and 52 doubles. He is a fluid fielder with
good range and excellent actions, but has committed 53 errors over his last two
minor league seasons."
A couple of highly-hyped young ATL stars -- Wilson
Betemit & Kelly Johnson -- were down the chart and Hanley
Ramirez BOS failed to make the Top 10.
04 January, 2003
young lefty takes top spot in Kevin Goldstein's LA preview at The
Prospect Report. Fascinating how far the
Dodger system has come since the dark days :
... The amount of under-21 talent in this system is absolutely
staggering. Just not enough room for some of the very good young players
in the organization."
Figueroa, 6-5, 220 is still a teenager, but with impressive
credentials, enough to captured Goldstein's #1 ranking :
... his professional debut was nothing short of stunning. He tossed five
no-hit innings in his fourth pro start, and limited Pioneer League
batters to a .147 batting average. A late season promotion to the
full-season Sally League didn't faze him in the least, as opposing
batters fared no better (.148 average against). He struck out 12 in 5.2
shutout innings in his final start, and finished the year with a
whopping 105 strikeouts in 76 innings. Figueroa has exciting potential
as a power-lefty ... .Figueroa's 2002 debut was one of the best in all
of baseball, and also one of the most surprising."
baseman James Loney ranked #2 :
... absolutely tore through the Pioneer League, batting .400 in
July and earning a late season look at High-A Vero Beach, a very strong
challenge for a hitter just two months removed from high school. He
continued to produce, with a trio of three-hit games before being hit by
a pitch and breaking his wrist. Loney has a picture-perfect swing and
consistently drives the ball into both gaps while showing excellent
power potential. He makes consistent contact and has a good
understanding of the strike zone ... Loney's debut has him on the
fast track, and his wrist is expected to be fully healed before spring
training. He'll most likely be one of the youngest position players in
the Florida State League in 2003."
at #7, shortstop Joel Guzman :
... signed for a Dominican record $2.25 million bonus in 2001,
with scouts already comparing him to a young Alex Rodriguez. His pro
debut was inconsistent, but a success overall considering he is still
the age of most high school seniors. On a pure tools level, Guzman is
beyond reproach. He projects to hit for average and power, shows an
excellent understanding of the strike zone, and features good range and
a plus arm. Because of his size, he may be better suited for third base,
but he has both the arm and the bat to play there."
ANA's playoff star Francisco Rodriguez is
Boyd's (Baseball America) pick as the best of the Angels'
prospects. But, he comes with a warning :
... Though his across-the-body delivery creates deception and leverage, his
mechanics and frame could be considered red flags.
Considering Rodriguez' history of arm problems, the Angels would be wise to
preserve his arm."
Casey Kotchman, first baseman was
the runnerup, with onrushing SP Bobby Jenks at #3 :
... With an overpowering fastball that has hit 102 mph, Jenks is on the verge of
harnessing his explosive stuff. He works in the mid- to upper 90s and added a
two-seamer in the AFL. His power curveball is among the best breaking pitches in
the minors, and he gained the confidence to throw it
for strikes in Arizona. His arm action is clean and effortless ... .needs
consistency on and off the field ... .Scouts compare his dominant repertoire and
frame to a young Curt Schilling. If he doesn't develop command, his stuff might
allow him to become a closer."
Catcher Jeff Mathis, at #4 wins
rave reviews :
... strong hands and plus bat speed allow him
to drive the ball with power into the gaps, and eventually will produce home
runs. He’s a premium athlete with an aggressive nature and above-average tools
behind the plate. He
already shows advanced receiving skills, a plus arm and a quick release. One
scout said Mathis’ makeup is off the charts ... offers
a unique combination of tools for a catcher and has the potential to be a
two-way asset. He should move up the ladder rapidly alongside Kotchman ... when
you project Mauer, we're talking about a potential superstar, a unique catcher
with plus tools all over the place. Mathis really isn't far behind."
In a deep farm system,
19-year-old righthander Johan Santana
was #5 :
... After leading the Rookie-level Arizona League in strikeouts in 2001, he
finished third in the Midwest League last year. Licey manager and Red Sox
advance scout Dave Jauss called Santana the best
young prospect in the Dominican League ... The ball screams out of Santana's
hand, coming in as high as 98 mph. He pitches in the mid-90s and flirts with the
upper 90s. He made progress with his plus slider last season and has the makings
of an above-average changeup ... Similar to a young Ramon Martinez,
Santana has frontline stuff and a projectable picher's frame. He'll head Class A
Rancho Cucamonga's rotation at the start of 2003."
Josh Boyd responding to a report
suggesting Jenks was a prime candidate for an arm injury :
... I'll tell you why I don't think there's a "good chance" he will
blow it out. First, he has a clean delivery and throws into the upper-90s with
very little effort. Whether the AFL hitters are just tired and bored, which is
quite a generalization to make over an entire league, the key for Jenks was
command. He was throwing his breaking ball for strikes, and he was building
confidence. People need to be realistic with Jenks; he is going to take some
time to develop, but the power stuff is there to be special. The Angels are
doing a good job helping him get straightened out, and his agents--the Scott
Boras Corp.--will do everything they can to keep him on the straight and
Such strength on the hill.
Goldstein, The Prospect Report, reviews the SF farm and finds a plethora
of top quality SP candidates headed by righthander Jesse Foppert :
... the Giants' 2nd round draft pick in 2001 ... and he won the Northwest
League ERA crown in his pro debut. The Giants surprised many by having Foppert
skip A-Ball and start the season with AA Shreveport. Kept on a strict pitch
count early, he whiffed 30 in 16.2 inning in his first four appearances. He
limited opposing hitters to a .199 average and lasted just 11 starts in
Shreveport before being promoted to AAA Fresno. He struck out 27 over 17 innings
in his first three PCL starts, and finished the year by leading all minor league
starters with 11.74 K/9. Foppert possesses the perfect pitchers body and
flawless mechanics. He throws his fastball consistently in the 93-95 mph range,
and has dialed it up as high as 97. He takes some
juice off the heater for a cut fastball that flies out of the zone, and his
nasty slider gives him a third plus pitch. His changeup is inconsistent but
shows promise ... Foppert's rise has been staggering, as he found himself
knocking on the door of the major leagues by the end of his first full season.
Despite the amazing progress, he's not quite a finished product, and needs to
improve his stamina and command."
Another RHP Jerome Williams was
right behind :
... one of the youngest players in his league for the last three seasons,
and he performed admirably as a 20-year old in the Pacific Coast League. A
constant victim of horrible run support, Williams went 2-4 in his final seven
starts despite posting a 1.93 ERA. Williams works his fastball in the low 90s,
and while his breaking pitches are perhaps average, his changeup
is among the best in the minors. He can be bafflingly inconsistent, however,
leading some to question his intensity on a start-to-start basis ... .Williams
added to his late season run with a fine outing in the Arizona Fall League,
putting up a 2.05 ERA in 22 innings, with 25 strikeouts. The Giants have pushed
Williams throughout his career, and they'd like to see him find some stability
and build on his late season success."
Kurt Ainsworth, yet another
ranked #3 :
... started the year in the big leagues as a spot-starter/long reliever.
He pitched well, but was sent back to AAA to get more consistent work. He tossed
quality starts in six of his first seven outings for
Fresno, and finished fourth in the PCL ERA race despite missing a month in
mid-season with a strained back muscle. Ainsworth has a big league repertoire,
with the ability to throw five quality pitches for strikes ... has an excellent
feel for pitching, but the Giants would like to see him throw with more
confidence ... The most mature of Fresno's big three, Ainsworth has the best
shot at breaking camp with the major league team."
06 January, 2003
Sickels, ESPN, in his MIN preview gives special attention to Johan
Santana (not to be confused with ANA prospect Johan Santana, or the
former DET prospect Julio Santana) :
... If you're looking for a sleeper pick for your fantasy team, or just
enjoy watching a potential future star, keep a close eye on this guy
over the next year or two ... Going into 2002, Santana had a reputation
as a live-armed pitcher who needed to sharpen his command and prove he
could stay healthy. Santana did all that and more in '02. His raw
numbers are impressive enough: 8-6 record, 2.99 ERA, 137/49 K/BB ratio
in 108.1 innings. Look at that last sentence again; Santana struck out
137 guys in 108.1 innings. Santana's strikeout rate of 11.38 per nine
innings was, among pitchers with 100 or more innings, the best in the
American League. In fact, in all of baseball, only five pitchers with
100 or more innings fanned more than 10 men per nine innings pitched,
and only one of them, Randy Johnson, posted better numbers than
07 January, 2003
Reed (Prospect Report) rates the best of the righty starters and Cuban import Jose
Contreras is right at the top :
... according to all scouting reports, is a bonafide ace. He uses five pitches
effectively along with good command to dominate hitters. Scouts tell tales of
watching Contreras light up radar guns with mid-90's
fastballs as he finishes off a complete game. At 6'4" and 225 lbs,
Contreras has the body to withstand a fullseason of pitching every fifth day. He
is reportedly 31-years old, and if he can make good on the hype he will be quite
a bargain for the Yankees."
(Mathew Pouliot, RotoWorld didn't rank Contreras
" ... A 31-year-old Contreras is also probably a top-10 prospect, but if he’s
really 35 or so? If that’s the case, then he wouldn’t crack the top
SF's Jesse Foppert and Jerome
Williams captured the 2-3 spots with Rafael Soriano SEA as
... converted from a weak hitting outfielder to a fireballing pitcher in 1999.
Not a bad career decision. Soriano features a mid-90's fastball and slider that
drops like a hammer. If he fails as a starter his
pitches fit the profile of an effective closer. Soriano was lights-out in AA-San
Antonio - 10 K's/9 IP, 2.9 BB's/9 IP - and he'll compete for innings in Seattle
this spring. If he doesn't stick with the Mariners he'll head to AAA-Tacoma.
With his limited experience, it's possible that Soriano will emerge as a #1/#2
starter in the future."
Adam Wainwright ATL finished #5 :
... has posted great strikeout rates throughout his career. In pitchers' haven
High A-Myrtle Beach, Wainwright put up a 3.31 ERA to go along with more
strikeouts than innings pitched. Standing 6' 6", Wainwright's pitching
coaches and Braves instructors have been trying to get him
to use his body more to add velocity to his low-90's fastball. He has a plus
curveball which he uses to punch out batters after he's buried them in the
count. He'll head to AA-Greenville in 2003 and should finish the season in
AAA-Richmond. He has the potential to be a good #1/#2 starter."
08 January, 2003
With the publishing of Mathew
Pouliot's RotoWorld Top 100
there's at least three lists available to study and compare. In the top
20, at least, there's a fair degree of similarity. (Pouliot did not list Matsui
or Contreras, but says if he had Matsui would likely have been #2 and
Contreras a top 10. He also left Rafael Soriano off the list
noting he would have been #18 if eligible.)
Mark Teixeira was Pouliot's top
pick to give the TEX 3B the #1 ranking across the board.
... baseball’s top prospect and a future MVP candidate at third base. Of
course, that’s assuming he stays at third. Teixeira plays the position fairly
well, but Hank Blalock is a little better and that could result in Teixeira
playing first base or DHing for the Rangers. Teixeira is a better prospect than
Blalock was a year ago. It’s only a bit of an exaggeration to say that he’s
Mike Schmidt to Blalock’s George Brett. Although Teixeira is expected to open
the season in the minors, there’s a good chance that he won’t be there for
... 50. Jose Lopez - SS Mariners ... 18-year-old players who
hit .324 in full-season ball tend to attract notice. That Lopez is also a
slick-fielding shortstop makes him a pretty special prospect. Lopez is at least
two and probably three years away from the majors, but he projects as quality
regular. His progress is going to give the Mariners a lot to think about when
Kazuo Matsui becomes available after the season. The Mariners seem like a
logical fit for the Japanese shortstop, but blocking Lopez wouldn’t be a very
... 52. Chin-Hui Tsao - RHP Rockies ... made a very
impressive comeback from ligament replacement surgery in 2002 ... looked
like one of the game’s top pitching prospects after posting a 2.73 ERA and
striking out 187 batters in 145 innings for Single-A Asheville in 2000. He’s
not all the way back yet, but he has more upside than anyone in the Colorado
... 59. Chad Tracy - 3B Diamondbacks ... a line-drive hitter
who rarely strikes out. He should be an average regular in the majors, one
capable of batting .300 and hitting 15-20 homers per season. Tracy will spend
2003 in Triple-A and figures to contend for a starting job in 2004."
... 64. Boof Bonser - RHP Giants ... Giants jumped
Bonser from Single-A Hagerstown to Double-A Shreveport at the start of last
season, but sent him to San Jose after he got off to a rough start. Things ended
up working out pretty well, as Bonser held California League hitters to a .195
average. Obviously, control is a problem, but Bonser throws in the mid-90s and
has a quality curve and changeup. He could emerge as a No. 2 starter if he tames
his wild streak."
... 70. Jeremy Bonderman - RHP Tigers ... has tons of
potential, but his control is rather shaky and he’s a pretty big injury risk.
Still, he has the 93-mph fastball, slider and changeup to develop into another
Weaver-type ace for Detroit."
... 84. David Wright - 3B Mets ... has .280-25 homer offensive
ability and is a quality glove at the hot corner. In a best-case scenario, he
will turn into Robin Ventura, though a Travis Fryman comparison may be more
09 January, 2003
Jim Keller, SportsTicker, picks a TEX pair
as the best of the 3B prospects (SportsTicker applied liberal standards allowing
Hank Blalock & Sean Burroughs, rated 2-3, to
Mark Teixeira took the top spot :
... seems a lock to hit .300 with 35 homers annually in the major leagues. In
addition to his awesome numbers, he walked 46 times and fanned 60 -- an
excellent ratio for a slugger. Equally productive from both sides of the plate,
the switch-hitter continued his hitting in the Arizona Fall League, batting .333
with seven homers and 23 RBI in 27 games. Though the Rangers feel Teixeira can
play the hot corner, he made 21 errors in 85 games. Expect him to move over to
first base in near future as Rafael Palmeiro spends more time at DH."
ATL's Andy Marte ranked # 4:
... the 18-year-old hit .281 with 32 doubles, 21 homers and 105 RBI as the Class
A South Atlantic League's fourth youngest player last summer. The numbers at his
age combined with a firm grasp of the strike zone puts Marte in elite prospect
company, but he still has three levels to master before hitting the major
leagues. The native of the Dominican Republic is a 4-tool talent, lacking only
above average speed."
10 January, 2003
Worth the chance I'd think. Bobby Jenks
... has the fastball of the gods—102 mph peak velocity—and an almost
equally impressive curveball, but he has maturity and command issues. If he
grows up and throws more strikes, Jenks could develop into a
Clemens/Schilling-caliber pitcher. Jenks was impressive in the Arizona Fall
League for the second straight year, so watch him carefully this season
... With emotional maturity, Jenks could become the best pitching prospect
in baseball. He likely will start 2003 in Double-A. (David Srinivasan/TSN)
Kevin Goldstein, The Prospect Report, has Scott
Hairston as the best of the ARZ prospects :
... . Offensively, Hairston is a force to be reckoned with. He hits for high
average with power to all fields, shows excellent patience, and is a good
baserunner. Defensively, he's a bit of a mess. While he has the athleticism to
play in the infield, he shows average range at best and is sloppy around the
bag. Scouts have complained about a lackadaisical defensive effort from
Hairston, and he may be ticketed for left field. He certainly has the bat to
Lefty Mike Gosling ranked #2 :
... made his professional debut in 2002 with AA El Paso in the Texas League, one
of the friendliest hitter's parks in the minors. He spun a three-hit shutout in
his fifth start, and led the Texas League in wins (14), while finishing 2nd in
batting average allowed (.238), and third in ERA (3.13). Gosling throws in the
low 90s with excellent movement, and both his curve and slider are among the
best in the system ... .highly advanced and will begin the season with AAA
Tucson. He should make his major league debut by the end of the year."
Shortstop Sergio Santos finished at #3 :
... pro debut at Missoula started with a 1-for-16 slump, but he adjusted quickly
and finished in the league's top five in home runs and slugging percentage ...
Scouts were concerned about his power before being drafted, but 30 of his 55
hits went for extra bases and he showed a knack for using all fields. He
understands the strikezone well. He has above-average speed, but does not
possess the pure athleticism needed to play at shortstop. He made 28 errors in
just 54 games, and will be moved to either second or third base in the future.
His makeup is absolutely off the charts."
Michael Levesque, Baseball America, likes
newcomer Clint Everts as the top prospect in Montreal. The
righthander was the 5th overall pick in the June draft :
... has the potential to be a front-of-the-rotation starter. He's an outstanding
athlete with a slender frame that projects to fill out as he matures. He has a
loose, quick, smooth arm action, using a high three-quarters arm slot and a
balanced delivery to produce three above-average pitches ... curve gets top
marks on the 20-80 scouting scale, with one National League scouting director
saying, "If that's not an 80 curveball, I'll never see one." ...
should make his pro debut at Montreal's new low Class A Savannah affiliate.
Though high school pitchers are a risky demographic, Everts could zoom through
Lefty starter Mike Hinckley was the
... already touches 94 mph and sits in the low 90s, and some scouts project him
to add more consistent velocity as he fills out his lean frame ... just
needs to add strength and innings. He showed improvement in all areas of his
game last year, doing a better job of pitching inside and improving the overall
quality of his stuff ... Expos envision Hinckley developing into a frontline
starter. He'll make his full-season debut at Savannah in 2003."
11 January, 2003
At Baseball America, Mike Berardino goes with Miguel
Cabrera as the best of the Marlins' prospects :
... has soft hands and a plus arm that’s accurate and ranks as the best among
the system’s infielders. Cabrera’s line-drive swing has produced more
doubles than homers so far ... projects to hit for both average and power,
with annual totals of 35-40 homers not out of the question down the road
... Having outgrown shortstop, Cabrera could get too big for third base if
he continues to add bulk and wind up at first base, which would give the
organization a perplexing logjam."
Two first baseman were next on the FLO
chart. Jason Stokes was #2 :
... hits to all fields and shows a good understanding of the strike zone
and pitchers’ tactics ... has worked hard on his defense, and while he
will never be nimble, won’t hurt a club at first base ... After fighting
through injuries the last two years, Stokes’ durability is in question
... probably start 2003 in high Class A. Adrian Gonzalez’ superior
defense makes it likely Stokes will play left field when both are big league
regulars, perhaps in 2005 ... As for Stokes, yes, I've been told he is one of
four untouchables in the system. The others are Cabrera, Willis and Hermida.
They'll talk about everybody else if the price is right."
12 January, 2003
Collette, RotoJunkie, has his take on a few of the NL East prospects
(unfortunately, the RJ reports are reviews of the 2002 top prospects rather than
a Top 10 of the 2003 young guns). Nonetheless, a few of the noted :
Nelson ATL " ... had a phenomenal 2002 season leading the
minor leagues with a 1.72 ERA. He was also 11-5 with a 1.05 WHIP and 105
strikeouts in 136 IP. He has two solid pitches and is working on the changeup.
Personally, I rank him just behind Wainright in the organization, and those two
should be heading up the AA staff in Greenville this season."
Heilman NYN " ... has been everything the Mets hoped he would
be when they drafted him in the first round of the 2001 draft. He shows great
control and relies mainly on his fastball and slider while developing his
changeup and splitter. Once he gets to the majors, he should have a successful
career, and that career should start at some point this season."
Buchholz PHI " ... has had an interesting minor league career.
At 18 years old, he started his 2001 season going 1-10. Most young guys would
have fallen apart, but Buchholz stayed with it and ended up going 9-14 with a
3.36 ERA. In 2002, he went a combined 10-8 with a 3.82 ERA and 1.25 WHIP. The
higher ERA was mainly due to his four forgettable starts in AA ball. He
possesses a low 90's fastball, strong curve and evolving change. Just like
Myers, innings have to be a concern with this kid. He turned 20 in October and
the young man has already amassed 403 professional innings; 177 last season at
18 and 181.2 as a 19 year old this season."
A very impressive off-season for Kevin Goldstein, The Prospect
With his posting of the ATL prospect preview, Kevin has completed reports on all
30 teams (BA is just a little over half-way through). A five-star performance!
Righthander Adam Wainwright tops
his ATL chart :
... Tall and lanky, Wainwright's projectable, low-90s fastball baffles hitters
because of its tremendous downward plane and incredible movement. Both his
curveball and changeup have made great strides, and he has fantastic control for
a young pitcher of his size. Wainwright's skinny frame has perhaps contributed
to a lack of stamina. He has run out of gas the past two seasons, going 0-3,
6.67 in his final five starts of 2002 ... needs to prove he can stay effective
over an entire season to meet his projection as a potential ace."
The surprise on the TPR ranking is the slide of Wilson
Betemit down to the #6 slot :
... despite overwhelming physical skills, he has never been a consistent run
producer at any level above rookie-ball, save a 47 game stint in the Southern
League in 2001. A move to third base has been projected for years, but he has
been exclusively a shortstop in the minors, and to his credit, he has played
very well there ... He'll return to AAA Richmond, but should make his major
league debut during the season."
Outfielder Jeff Francoeur was #5 :
... a classic five-tool outfielder, hitting for average and power while showing
excellent speed on the basepaths. An outstanding defensive player with excellent
range and a plus arm, he will most likely move to right field as he fills out.
Francoeur is still a bit rough around the edges. He abandoned a football
scholarship to Clemson to play for the Braves, and he has never before
concentrated solely on baseball. The Braves absolutely rave about his attitude
and work ethic ... Francoeur's outstanding debut was a surprise only in
the short time it took for him to achieve success as a pro."
14 January, 2003
The OAK farm is featured in the latest entry in ESPN's " Hot Stove
Heaters" and John Sickels finds a lot to like, including 2002
draftee, catcher Jeremy Brown :
... Most teams thought University of Alabama catcher Jeremy Brown was an
overdraft, since he has a "bad body" and looks sloppy in uniform. But
Oakland loves his bat, and he hit stunningly well in the Cal League, hitting
.310 with 10 homers and 44 walks in just 187 at-bats! He is also a very good
Starter Rich Harden is among the
"Will Help Soon" guys :
... Won't start the season in the majors, but should be up at some point. Fires
consistent 94-95 mph fastballs, with a wicked changeup. Also has a gradually
improving slider. Fanned 102 in just 85 innings in Double-A. One of the best
prospects that people haven't heard much about."
Lefty John Rheinecker gets a
mention in the "Will Help Someday" section :
... 3.38 ERA and 100/24 K/BB ratio at Double-A Midland. Works at 88-90 with a
hard slider and a very good curve, obviously throws strikes. Right behind Rich
Harden on the "next chance in the rotation" list."
Earlier, in the chat room, Sickels offered some views on the Cubs' lefties, Andy
Sisco and Luke Haggerty :
... Both were at short-season Boise last year, and both pitched well. Both are
very tall lefties who throw in the low-to-mid 90s. Both have promising breaking
balls. Both could be really good, but will have to show what they can do in
full-season ball in '03. Sisco probably has a slightly higher ceiling, while
Hagerty (a college pitcher) has a bit more polish at this point. ETA 2005 I
Reyes NYN " ... he' s a good prospect, no question. He's ready
defensively. His bat is the question...it looks like he'll hit for average, hit
some doubles....certainly he'll be a better hitter than Ordonez was, although my
pet goldfish is a better hitter than Rey. Whether Reyes is just an adequate
hitter or something more remains to be seen. He's young enough to have plenty of
projection/development left, and could end up similar to Edgar Renteria. But the
Mets don't have a good track record with young hitters, so the organizational
context is not a positive."
On the SF trio of
moundsmen, Jesse Foppert,
Kurt Ainsworth, and Jerome Williams :
... I see all three as major league starters, with the usual health caveat of
course. Ainsworth has the most polish. Foppert has the best raw stuff. Williams
is the smoothest and most projectable. For '03, Ainsworth has the best chance to
help, but Foppert isn't far behind. Williams is a lot of fun to watch...very
loose and fluid on the mound, with a great curve and some surprising pop on his
fastball. Of the three, I expect one will get traded, one will get hurt, and one
will end up in the Giants rotation for the next five years. Which is which I
Castillo PIT " ... I don't think Castillo has received enough
attention. He hit .300 with 16 homers and 27 steals in the Carolina League last
year. His patience is still marginal, but it has improved. Double-A will tell us
a lot. If he handles that well, he will take his place as one of the best SS
prospects in the game."
Martinez CLE " ... If they let him play every day, he'll be a
ROY candidate. In fact, I'm very optimistic about the Indians over the next
couple of years. They don't have enough pitching to challenge this year, but
their offense should be better than expected, and the Twins should watch out in
'04. Martinez looks like a .300, 20 homer guy to me."
15 January, 2003
Bill Ballew, Baseball
America, taps Jose Reyes as the best of the Mets' prospects with the
runnerup, Scott Kazmir, no slouch :
" ... has two plus-plus pitches: An electric
fastball that sits in the 93-95 mph range and hits 97, plus a hard slider that
he throws at different speeds. He shows an excellent feel for his changeup.
Kazmir is a superb athlete with an easy delivery, superior arm quickness and
strong leg drive ... His small frame is the only concern raised by scouts, but
he has been durable and injury-free so far ... .The Mets say they are determined
not to push Kazmir too fast, though that may be easier said than done. He’s
ticketed for low Class A Capital City in 2003."
Unsung, third baseman David Wright ranked #4 :
" ... smooth and easy swing produces
outstanding bat speed and hard line drives to all fields. His speed is just
barely above-average, but he’s an excellent baserunner. Wright has a strong
and accurate arm at third base ... Natural maturity and more experience should
boost Wright’s home run totals ... at least two full years from the major leagues, but
he has all the ingredients to be the long-term answer at third base for the Mets
... No one works harder in the minors than Wright. Whether or not he's another
Rolen remains to be seen, but I think Wright has a huge upside."
In catcher John Huber, #5, NY may have the guy to
move Piazza to first :
" ... Mets focused on Huber’s
defense last year, so everything he accomplished at the plate was a credit to
him. Strong and intense, he has the bat speed and power to hit 25-30 homers a
year. Huber understands the strike zone. He shows quick feet and excellent
mobility behind the plate ... He has average arm strength and accuracy and
needs to improve his release ... has all the tools that you want to see from a
solid catcher, and could be an all-star once he learns to how call a game and
work with pitchers a little better. His bat, meanwhile, is definitely good
enough to produce at higher levels, regardless of his position."
16 January, 2003
Geoff Young, at
Ducksnorts.com, would be an interesting read even if he didn't write
about Padres' prospects. But, I find his insights into the SD young guns
especially valuable. At the top of his 2003 list, a 2002 draftee -- Khalil
... There really isn't anything not to like about him. Yeah, his plate
discipline was a bit shaky in his first exposure to pro ball and he's not going
to be a stellar defensive shortstop, but that's nitpicking. Although he's not
particularly big, Greene is strong and generates good power to the gaps with his
compact swing. He projects as a middle-of-the-order offensive threat in the vein
of Rich Aurilia (the guy who hits .280 with 20+ homers a year, not the 2001
freak version). In the field, what Greene lacks in quickness and arm strength,
he makes up for in instincts and quick release. He'll never be mistaken for
Ozzie Smith, or even Ozzie Guillen, but he should be an average defensive
shortstop or perhaps slightly better."
Lefty Mark Phillips claimed the runnerup
... Phillips continues to tantalize and frustrate with his combination of
overpowering stuff and inconsistent command. Arms like his are seldom found on
left-handers; he throws easy low- to mid-90s gas and has a solid breaking ball.
But at times he simply cannot find the strike zone with any of his pitches. If
he can learn to be more efficient with his pitches and avoid the lapses in
control that have plagued him thus far, Phillips has the chance to be a
front-end power lefty in the mold of Mark Langston or Al Leiter. But for now,
he's still a work in progress with very high upside."
John Sickels, ESPN, sees a flicker of light at the end of the tunnel for
the Royals' farm system. The club's #1 pick in 2002, Zach Greinke,
has impressed :
... Unlike many high school pitchers from Florida, he wasn't abused as a
youngster, since he didn't take up full-time pitching until his senior year.
Unlike many new converts to the mound, Greinke seems to know what he is doing,
firing a 90-93 mph fastball for strikes, while showing a very good slider, a
very good curve, and a very good changeup. He held his own in the Puerto Rican
Winter League against much older competition. He looks great so far."
John Sickels zooming along with his team-by-team rookie previews,
has a look at the FLO system and highlights a couple of SPs obtained in trades
from MON :
... Justin Wayne ... The former
Stanford star throws four pitches for strikes, is bright, and understands his
craft. Statistically, the main weakness is a low strikeout rate, which isn't a
good sign, but the Marlins seem committed to him, and he held his own in five
starts last year."
... Don Levinski ... Went 12-6, 3.02, with 125/55 K/BB in 119 innings in
the Class A Midwest League. Works in the low 90s, with a solid curve and
And, there's another SP, this one stolen from the
... Dontrelle Willis ... One of the best southpaw prospects in the game,
acquired from the Cubs. Went 12-2 last year with sub 2.00 ERA. Deceptive
movement and excellent control are a nasty combination."
17 January, 2003
SportsTicker, in a Kevin Winter report,
has wrapped up its position-by-position previews with a look at the Top 10
outfielders, headed by TB's Rocco Baldelli :
... Baldelli exploded in 2002, batting .331 with 19 homers, 71 RBI, 28 doubles
and 26 stolen bases ... a line-drive hitter with excellent bat
speed, enabling him to hit for power as well. The biggest concern about Baldelli
is his lack of plate discipline. In 96 at-bats at the Class AAA level, the
righthanded hitting Baldelli did not draw a single walk."
Joe Borchard CHA and Michael Cuddyer
MIN ranked 2-3 with Michael Restovich MIN the surprise #4 pick :
... Built like a linebacker, Restovich has the ability to launch home runs into
a different stratosphere. In 138 games with Class AAA Edmonton during 2002, the
24-year-old finished fourth in the Pacific Coast League with 29 homers ... has
good bat speed and but his career-high 151 strikeouts in 518 at-bats, the fourth
straight season with 100-plus strikeouts, could be cause for concern."
Srinivasan, The Sporting News, on Joe Borchard CHA :
... batted .272-20-59 in 438 at-bats at Triple-A last season but is capable
of much more. He is a tremendous athlete who played quarterback at Stanford, and
he has the potential to belt 35 to 40 homers ... likely will lose the center field battle to Aaron
Rowand in spring training, but he has the potential to get 200 at-bats. Borchard
might consistently hit .250 to .270 with 20-plus homers, even if he shows no
On Khalil Greene, SD :
... was ridiculously good at Clemson in 2002,
batting .470-27-91 with 17 steals (in 18 attempts) and a superb 22-46
strikeout-walk ratio. The Padres made Greene the thirth overall pick in the
draft, and he batted .309-9-38 in 220 at-bats between two Single-A clubs. He has
his share of skeptics because he isn’t a premier athlete, but there is little
doubt he can hit ... .has John Olerud
potential offensively and should get a legitimate chance to play short or second
for the Padres in late 2003."
18 January, 2003
John Sickels, ESPN, found a lot to like on the ANA farm in his latest
prospect preview. The young guns include ANA's own Johan Santana :
... Not related to the Twins pitcher of the same name, but he is a strong
prospect in his own right. Throws 94-96 mph, and both his slider and changeup
are good. 146/48 K/BB in 147 innings for Cedar Rapids looks sharp to me."
Catcher Jeff Mathis also wins the
Sickels Seal of Approval :
... One of the best catching prospects in baseball, though most people aren't
aware of this yet. Sound defensively, and hit .287 with 41 doubles, 10 homers in
the Class A Midwest League."
Among the relatively unknown ANA prospects is
third baseman Dallas McPherson :
... Swings a strong lefty stick, hit .277 with 15 homers, 78 walks, 30 steals
for Class A Cedar Rapids. Needs to polish his defense and prove he can hit at
higher levels, though it seems likely he will."
Some touch choices for Bill Ballew, Baseball America, in selecting the
top young guns for the Braves. Dan Meyer, Trey Hodges,
Jung Bong, John Ennis,
and Horacio Ramirez were among the pitching prospects who
DIDN'T make the Top 10. In the end, Ballew tapped righthander
Adam Wainwright to top the ATL prospect chart. The
21-year-old is viewed as the kind of guy you'd want to anchor your rotation :
... Few pitchers are more projectable than Wainwright. His tall body and
loose arm action should allow him to add velocity as he continues to mature and
develop ... . His fastball, rated the best in the Carolina League by managers,
has outstanding movement and frequently fools hitters. Wainwright is nearly as
successful with his hard curveball ... also throws strikes with his solid
changeup ... needs to get stronger and
improve his stamina ... has faded in the past two seasons. He went 8-3,
2.24 during the first four months of the 2002 season before going 1-3, 6.32 in
his final seven starts ... .has the ingredients to be a top-of-the-rotation
starter, but the Braves don't want to rush him. His ETA in Atlanta is
Outfielder Jeff Francoeur, the 23rd
overall pick in the 2002 draft, ranked # 6 :
... made a seamless transition from high school to pro ball. He was the
Appalachian League's No. 1 prospect ... impresses scouts as much with his
character as he does with his tools. And he's loaded with tools, starting with
6.43-second speed in the 60-yard dash and solid baserunning instincts. He has a
plus arm and the ability and instincts to play all three outfield positions. He
drives the ball to all fields and makes rapid adjustments. His swing is smooth
... Francoeur is a natural leader with a tremendous drive to reach the big
leagues. Several Braves officials said he could top this list at the end of
19 January, 2003
Jim Callis, Baseball America, in looking at the college ranks, sees some
prime talent for the June draft.
... can a college second baseman be the first overall pick in the draft?
Southern’s Rickie Weeks is projected to do just that after leading NCAA
Division I in batting, slugging (.996), triples (for the second straight year)
and tying for the lead in RBIs last year ... Weeks has the raw tools for
shortstop, but his lack of soft hands and inexperience have led to a pair of
less-than-rousing experiments at the position his first two years in college ...
made significant strides when pressed into second-base duty last summer for Team
USA. One scout compares Weeks defensively to big leaguers Ray Durham and Eric
Young—less than pretty, but adequate. If Weeks can develop into even an
average defender, he’ll be a true five-tool player ... "He’s a
good enough athlete. If he doesn’t get it, you can put him in center field and
he’ll be good enough there to still be considered a five-tool guy."
The Mets teenage phenom gets the call as the top lefty prospect in baseball in Chris
Reed's latest preview in the Prospect Report. Reed sees Scott
Kazmir as the class of a tough field :
... Only 6' 0", Kazmir can't help but be compared to another southpaw from
Texas who consistently unleashes mid/high-90's heat - Billy Wagner. Wagner was a
starter thoughout the minors before he was moved to the pen in Houston amid
concerns about his small stature. He's obviously enjoyed great success in his
closer role. Kazmir has the stuff to post similar numbers and hopefully he will
be given the chance to start that Wagner never received ... Kazmir is a few
years away, but he has Cy Young potential."
Cliff Lee, one of the prizes for
CLE in its Colon trade, grabbed the runnerup slot :
... Lee had what many consider a breakout season in 2002. In 2001, the
hard-throwing lefty more than held his own in the Florida State League - 2.79
ERA, 10.6 SO/9 IP, 3.8 BB/9 IP ... in 2002 ... duplicated his success because he
lowered his walk rate to 2.4 BB/9 IP. Before too long he was dealt to the
Indians in the Bartolo Colon deal and made stops at AA-Akron and AAA-Buffalo
before ending the year in Cleveland. His peripherals at Triple-A were marginal
and he could use more time in Buffalo to hone his command. He has the potential
to be a #2/#3 starter."
20 January, 2003
Following his piece on the most overrated of the prospects, David Cameron,
Strike Three, puts the spotlight on some of the relative unknowns who
deserve a little more ink. At the top of the pack is HOU catcher Hector
... may have as much potential as any minor-league catcher not named Joe
Mauer. He's extremely raw at the moment, but a switch-hitting catcher with above
average power and a serious package of defensive skills should not be ignored.
After a hot start, Gimenez's production fell off, but he still managed to
produce 28 extra base hits. He's extremely aggressive at the plate and needs to
cut the strikeouts, but that can come with experience. He's going to spend 2003
as a 20-year-old and likely shedding the anonymity he's carried so far. If
you're looking to invest in one player whose stock could shoot up dramatically
next year, Gimenez is your guy."
LA righty Joel Hanrahan tossed a
couple of no-hitters but even those failed to get his name tossed into the hype
... His 4.20 ERA in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League doesn't open
a lot of eyes, even though his supporting numbers were very good. He doesn't
have top-shelf stuff like fellow Dodger prospect Jonathan Figueroa, and he was
lit up in a brief trial at AA. Despite that, I think he's got a chance to become
a very solid number-two or -three starter in the major leagues. His command
needs polish, but he's got several major-league pitches and has the makings of a
Even DET has a prospect or two :
... Considering the state of affairs in Detroit, it is surprising that Cody
Ross hasn't received much attention as someone who could help rather
soon. Ross isn't much of an athlete and will get written off by some as too slow
or too rigid, but the man can hit. 50 of his 112 hits this year went for extra
bases, and he wasn't just a slugger, posting a .280 batting average and drawing
44 walks. Ross also stole 16 bases in 18 attempts, though he's not particularly
fast. He's got good instincts and plays the game hard, and he'll likely outwork
every limitation that has been placed on him. He may not be a superstar, but
Detroit needs more players like Cody Ross."
21 January, 2003
Mark Teixeira again the top dog in the latest Top 100 as Kevin Goldstein, The
Prospect Report, looks at the best of the prospects.
1. Mark Teixeira,
2. Scott Kazmir,
3. Jesse Foppert,
4. Joe Mauer,
5. Francisco Rodriguez,
6. Rocco Baldelli,
7. Vic Martinez,
8. Casey Kotchman,
9. Brandon Phillips,
10. Gavin Floyd
phenom, shortstop Jose Reyes, was
High praise for Khalil Greene from John Sickels in the latest Minor
League Report on ESPN :
... Greene, a shortstop from Clemson, was the best overall player in
college baseball last year. He's got a fine bat, hit over .300 in his pro debut,
and is winning over those who doubted his abilities on defense. He also has
excellent makeup and instincts, and could see the majors sometime late this
year. He is already the best prospect in the system."
25 January, 2003
Meanwhile, Ken Warren adds an interesting twist in his Top 100 prospect list -- Kazuo
Matsui, the switch-hitting shortstop from Japan grabs the #3 slot (just
behind Mark Teixeira and Hideki Matsui).
Kazuo Matsui is expected to be a hot item, ready
for the picking for the 2004 season (he signed a one-year contract in December
with the Seibu Lions).
... Matsui appeared in all 140 regular-season games and hit .332 and 36 homers
-- both career highs -- with 87 RBIs and 33 stolen bases. He became only the
eighth player in Japanese baseball to post a .300 average, 30 homers and 30
stolen bases in the same year.Matsui led the Pacific League with 119 runs
scored, 193 hits, 46 doubles and six triples. Matsui is regarded as a potential
candidate to move to the major leagues on a free agent deal after next season.
"I'm going to think things over after the next season and then find an
answer," he said. "It's tough when you look at the process of the
players who have gone through it." (Japan
Times, Dec 30, 2002)
26 January, 2003
Mark Teixeira goes 7 for 7 as the Strike Three Top 100 hits the
'net. David Cameron, who earlier went through the prospects
position-by-position, tabbed the TEX phenom for the top spot on the chart.
That's not a surprise, but the runnerup is -- Joe Borchard CHA.
Joltin' Joe ranked from #6 to #24 on the other Top 100s. Brandon Phillips
CLE grabbed the #3 slot, ahead of Michael Cuddyer MIN and Jesse
Foppert SF. Jose Reyes NYN was 6th, Jerome Williams
SF 7th. Marlon Byrd PHI, and a pair of first sackers -- Justin
Morneau MIN and Casey Kotchman ANA -- rounded out the Top
Mets' phenom Scott Kazmir was 24th.
John Sickels, ESPN.com, found a
plethora of pitching in previewing the SF farm system.
... San Francisco boasts possibly the best collection of near-major-league-ready
arm talent in the game ... In Kurt Ainsworth, Jesse Foppert,
and Jerome Williams, the Giants feature three outstanding pitching
prospects. All three are ready or almost ready for the majors ... Coming
up behind them are the lively and highly promising arms of Boof Bonser,
Ryan Hannaman, and Francisco Liriano. Any of these
guys would be considered the top pitching prospect in many organizations."
... Ainsworth .... Throws hard, has a good variety
of breaking pitches, and throws strikes. Major league ready in '02, and should
be in the rotation in '03. Should be a better pitcher than Ryan Jensen."
... Foppert ... nasty breaking ball, and improving his
... Williams ... the mound ... .Loose,
a favorite of scouts, and his numbers are starting to back that up."
... Bonser ... Double-A at the start of the
season, but regained his bearings after moving back down to Class A."
27 January, 2003
From BrewerFan.net, an early look a one of the likely top picks in the
June 2003 draft, outfielder Lastings Milledge
... Milledge has found his name atop top prospect lists now for years ...
Amazing athlete, the type of player that only come around every few years. On
potential alone Milledge has drawn comparisons to Ken Griffey Jr. & even
Willie Mays. A more realistic comparison may be to Braves' CF Andruw Jones,
another player whose pure tools are off the charts ... has the most
impressive bat speed of any player available for the 2003 draft. His power
potential is rather impressive, as are his pure hitting instincts ... has had
several off of the field incidents which causes many people to question his
character & integrity. The only other thing scouts like to nitpick at is the
fact that he 6' tall at best, and isn't likely to grow anymore. While that isn't
that big of a problem, with a fully matured body sometimes it's hard to project
him to get any better than he already is. Regardless, he is arguably the most
athletically gifted player in the country."
from The Sporting News :
" ... Bobby
Hill ... has talent, speed and a great
feel for the game. After struggling in an early-season call-up, Hill cut down on
his swing in the minor leagues and finished strong. He might need time to get
his feet wet this year, but once he does, he should be an ideal leadoff man
(he's a switch hitter) who gets on base and runs." (Bruce Miles/TSN)
" ... Ken Harvey ... A big, strong guy,
Harvey still is learning to pull the ball. He had 20 homers and 75 RBIs for
Triple-A Omaha in 2002. A history of foot problems is a concern, but he was the
Arizona Fall League MVP, hitting .479 with seven homers and 34 RBIs for
Scottsdale." (Dick Kaegel/TSN)
28 January, 2003
Pouliot, RotoWorld, moves on to rate the first sackers and designated
hitters. Slim pickings for rooks in 2003.
ARZ, rated 17th overall,
appear to be the best rookie bet :
" ... doesn’t have Hee Seop Choi’s
upside, but he looks like the better bet in fantasy leagues. Overbay will hit
for average and could drive in 100 runs if he gets enough playing time. Just as
importantly, he appears to have the full backing of his organization."
This might be the year for Nick Johnson
NYA (23rd overall) :
" ... a candidate for a breakthrough
season as a sophomore, but since he’ll be batting ninth in the Yankee lineup,
don’t get too excited about his fantasy potential. Even if Johnson gets on
base 40 percent of the time, he won’t put up big numbers in any one category.
He’s just a solid pick, nothing more."
Right behind, HeeSeop Choi CHN :
" ... ready for the majors, but he
could be in for a bumpy ride as a rookie. It’s no secret that manager Dusty
Baker likes veterans, and Eric Karros may not be finished as an adequate player.
Choi might get platooned even if he does what is expected of him. While there is
some chance that Choi could have a 30-homer, 100-RBI season as a rookie, I
suggest bidding cautiously. This could end up as a Morgan Ensberg-type
29 January, 2003
Winter, SportsTicker, has the Blue Jays' system up for inspection in his
latest prospect preview. Starter Dustin McGowan gets the nod as the
best "lower-level" youngster :
... has the best fastball in the organization and has assumed the role as the
organization's top pitching prospect. Armed with a heavy heater that rides
anywhere between 92 and 97 mph, McGowan led the lower level Class A South
Atlantic League with 163 strikeouts in 148 1/3 innings ... has become more
consistent with the command of his fastball ... has a power curve with an 11-7
break. He continues to work on his changeup and went 11-10 with a 4.19 ERA in
2002, his first full season of professional ball."
MLB.com, on Coco Crisp CLE :
" ... He got called up to the Majors in
early August, and he flashed the kind of talent that opened eyes as much as his
name did. He is a player the Indians have on their to-watch-closely list this
spring. "Coco Crisp will probably be at Triple-A," general manager
Mark Shapiro says. "He is a young player that we feel had the potential to
be a middle-of-the diamond performer, but who hasn't even played much at the
Triple-A level." ... He's been using the offseason to ready
himself for Spring Training. He's been on a strength and conditioning program,
mixing in some distance running. He's also been rehabbing a foot that he injured
in winter ball ... His battle plan, he says, is to outwork his
competitors. If they are spending three hours on the field, he'll top them with
four hours of hard work. If they spend 30 minutes in the batting cage, he'll
spend 35, 40 or 50 minutes there."
Ptak has begun a position-by-position preview of the Indians' system on his CLE
Indians site. Catchers are the first up. Of course, Victor
Martinez, the likely AAA starter, is highlighted :
... he's in Triple-A strictly to work on his throwing skills as he only threw
out 25% of opposing stealers last year in Akron and he struggled even worse at
the major league level, throwing out just 15% (2 of 13) of would-be base
stealers ... Martinez was originally signed as a shortstop so you would have to
think his arm strength is sound and I've heard reports that he needs work on his
footwork (getting into throwing position) and release mechanics that would back
up that line of thinking. He's been voted the top defensive catcher in his
league each of the last two seasons in a poll of league managers by Baseball
America so the running game is the only concern."
30 January, 2003
Cubbies' system is up for review in the latest edition of ESPN's Hot Stove
Heaters. In a look at the farm, John Sickels sees much to like
... The Cubs feature one of the more impressive aggregations of minor league
talent in the game. Mark Prior made his impact last year, but other
rookies like Carlos Zambrano, Bobby Hill, and Juan
Cruz were also auditioned. Results were mixed with this group, but all
will be major contributors in 2003, and there are more youngsters on the way.
The Cubs have both depth and breadth."
Expected to play a significant role this season
is first baseman Hee Seop Choi :
... Platoon arrangement with Eric Karros would be a perfect way to break him in.
Concerns about his ability to hit inside pitching look overblown to me. Love his
power and patience. Hit 26 homers, .287, 95 walks at Triple-A Iowa."
On the horizon for 2004 and beyond are three
solid SPs :
... Angel Guzman ... Ground ball pitcher with 92 mph sinker. Also
has a curve and a changeup. Best pitching prospect in the system according to
some, but will need to improve his command as he moves up."
... Andy Sisco ... 6-9 lefty. Throws 90-94 mph, posted 2.43
ERA in short-season ball, with 101 strikeouts in just 78 innings. Could make a
big impression in '03."
... Todd Wellemeyer ... Overlooked, but scouts like his 92-94 mph
fastball and a good changeup. Posted 4.70 ERA after being promoted to Double-A
for eight starts, and will need a year to refine his command."
from The Sporting News :
... Rafael Soriano ... Soriano’s innings were severely limited last
season by shoulder trouble that forced an extended trip to the DL. Despite this,
he had a decent run in Seattle’s rotation, and he was overpowering at Double-A
... with a 2.31 ERA in 46.2 innings. He allowed 32 hits (six homers) and
posted a 52-15 strikeout-walk ratio. Soriano can touch 98 mph, and he has two
potentially devastating out pitches: a changeup and slider ... One of the best
pitching prospects in baseball, Soriano must stay healthy and refine himself a
bit." (David Srinivasan/TSN)
31 January, 2003
from The Sporting News :
" ... Gavin Floyd went 11-10 with a 2.77
ERA at low Single-A Lakewood. In 166 innings, he allowed 119 hits, including 13
homers, and had a 140-64 K/BB ratio. Floyd has a mid-90s fastball, a superb hard
curveball, and a good changeup. He has beautiful mechanics, and his control
should improve as he gains experience. On top of that, Floyd is mature,
intelligent and a hard worker ... Arguably the
best pitching prospect in the low minors, Floyd is 12-24 months from the majors."
" ... Sean Burnett went 13-4 with a 1.80 ERA
at high Single-A Lynchburg. He allowed 118 hits and only four homers in 155
innings and showed superb control, walking only 33. Burnett has an 88-92 mph
fastball, a super changeup and a fine curveball. There is one flaw, however:
Burnett whiffed only 96, an extremely lackluster 5.6 strikeouts per nine
innings. If his K rate remains this low, he might hit a wall at Double-A
... Burnett is one of the best young pitchers in the
minors, but his low strikeout rate keeps him from being a top-tier prospect. (David
Rookies 2003 Page Two