WTNYSeptember 08, 2003
Top 3- Blue Jays, Angels, Brewers
By Bryan Smith

The minor league season has been completed, and I wanted to devote a week entirely to the minors. I'll be all over the Arizona Fall League and do rankings a lot of times, but this week will be the first version. Today I'll be writing about the top 3 organizations. Enjoy...

Blue Jays

The Blue Jays farm system had a good season, adding and improving a lot of young arms. As they add more into this system, the Major League team should start to compete a lot more. Here's a look at a couple of players in the system who had huge seasons:

Alexis Rios- .352/.402/.521 in 514 AA at-bats
Guillermo Quiroz- .282/.372/.518 in 369 AA at-bats
David Bush- 7-3 2.81 64/77 75/9 in 14 high-A AND 7-3 2.78 73/81 73/19 in 14 AA

Those three make up the top in this system. Rios is a legitimate centerfielder, who set the Eastern League record for hits in a year. He has a great arm, which I saw in the Futures Game. He is developing power, and profiles as an Ichiro-esque player in the Majors.

Guillermo Quiroz was once the fourth catcher in the system, and is now the 4th catching prospect in all of baseball. He had a great year at AA, despite discovering he had a collapsed lung at the end of the season He has a good arm behind the plate, and a good eye at the plate. He'll be catching full-time in Toronto in 2005, and should be a very good offensive catcher very soon.

David Bush wasn't on the Blue Jays radar before the season, but now can make an argument for being the top prospect. Even after being pushed to AA he did well, and has immense potential. He'll be up at some point next season, and you will want to videotape his debut.

Other players: Russ Adams 2B/SS, Aaron Hill SS, Gabe Gross OF, John-Ford Griffin OF/1B, Tyrell Godwin OF, Vince Perkins SP, Brandon League SP, Dustin McGowan SP, Jason Arnold SP, Francisco Rosario SP. That depth is what will make them one of the top three systems in baseball.


Five. The reason the Angels have such a good farm system is because they have five number one prospects. They are:

Jeff Mathis C- .323/.384/.500 in 378A+ AB AND .284/.364/.463 in 95 AA
Dallas McPherson 3B- .308/.404/.606 in 292 A+ AND .314/.426/.569 in 102 AA
Casey Kotchman 1B- .350/.441/.524 in 206 A+

Ervin Santana- 10-2 2.53 98/124.2 130/36 in A+ AND 1-1 3.94 23/29.2 23/12 in AA
Bobby Jenks- 7-2 2.17 56/83 103/51 in AA

Mathis is the second best catcher in the minor leagues, and Kotchman is the second best first basemen. Dallas McPherson has flown through prospect lists, and should be the top 3B in a lot of prospect rankins. Ervin Santana, formerly Johan Santana, has made a name for himself in the top ten of pitching rankins. Its hard to include Bobby Jenks anywhere, but his stuff is as good as anyone's.

The team is very deep, and doesn't have many prospects past those five. But all five are number one-type players, and should all be ready in 2005. With good management, the Angels should be ready to go for another run in a couple of seasons.


Four MVPs.

Lou Palmisano- .391/.458/.592 in 174 Pioneer League AB
Prince Fielder- .313/.409/.526 in 502 Midwest League AB
Corey Hart- .302/.340/.467 in 493 Southern League AB
Rickie Weeks- Golden Spikes Award for Collegiate MVP

Palmisano, a catcher, was the team's third pick, and has been huge. He's still at a young level, but those numbers are mind-boggling. He'll advance to the Midwest League next season. Prince Fielder was a former top draft pick, and showcased future 50-HR power this season. He was second in all of the minors in RBI, being closely edged out by Josh Barfield. He is the best first base prospect in the world, and an amazing player. Corey Hart has done well since moving to third base, and looks good for the future.

Rickie Weeks has passed Barfield in most second base rankings, and ranking Fielder and Weeks will be very difficult. He dominated at Southern University, and while he's a little raw at second, he has a sensational bat. He'll likely be pushed to AA next year, with hopes of having him be the 2005 Opening Day second basemen. I've heard rumors that they'll consider him next year, but that's pushing it.

The team has many other great players, and are looking at this future lineup:

C- Lou Palmisano
1B- Prince Fielder
2B- Rickie Weeks
SS- J.J. Hardy
3B- Corey Hart
LF- Brad Nelson
CF- Dave Krynzel
RF- Tony Gwynn Jr.

1. Ben Sheets
2. Manny Parra
3. Mike Jones
4. Ben Hendrickson
5. Luis Martinez

CL- Ben Diggins

That's a good team, and one that will be competing for CHAMPIONSHIPS by 2008. It's very early to start saying that, but I like all those players. That doesn't even include Richie Sexson, Scott Podsednik, Geoff Jenkins, and a few others who have futures in Milwaukee. With proper management, this team could win the World Series in the next ten years.

That's it for today, more organization breakdowns tomorrow...