The Prospect Maven Returns
Have you wondered what Bryan Smith is up to these days? Well, my former partner has been busy selecting his Top 20 prospects in the Pioneer League. Bryan's picks can be accessed at BaseballAmerica.com. Subscribers can also read the man behind WTNY's scouting reports on all 20 players and participate in a chat with him at 3 p.m. ET.
Here is a sneak preview of Bryan's top 5:
1. Bryan Morris, rhp, Ogden (Dodgers)
Morris was the 26th pick overall in the June draft. Here is what I had to say about him three months ago in Live Blogging the 2006 MLB Draft:
26. Los Angeles Dodgers: Bryan Morris, RHP (Motlow State CC, Tenn.)
As it turns out, Morris' stats (4-5, 5.13 ERA, 1.74 WHIP) weren't all that impressive this year. However, he struck out 79 batters in 59.2 IP (11.92 K/9) and only allowed three home runs (0.45 HR/9). He has good size and plus stuff. Like a lot of rookie pitchers, it appears as if he needs to work on his command more than anything else.
John Manuel named his top 20 Arizona League prospects and Alan Matthews did the same for the Gulf Coast League earlier in the week. The Dodgers and Angels are faring quite well to date. Bryan listed Bryan Morris as the #1 prospect in the Pioneer League on the heels of Angels catcher Hank Conger (Arizona) and Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw (Gulf Coast) getting the nod in their respective leagues.
With respect to the latter, the following comments are excerpted from our draft coverage in June:
7. Los Angeles Dodgers: Clayton Kershaw, LHP (H.S./Dallas)
Kershaw was as good as advertised in his professional debut. The 18-year-old dominated the short-season GCL this summer, fashioning a record of 2-0 with an ERA of 1.95 and a WHIP of 0.89. He whiffed 54 batters in 37 innings (13.14 K/9) and walked only five hitters (for a K/BB ratio of 10.8). Furthermore, the southpaw did not give up a single home run among the 28 hits allowed.
For more on any of these (or other) prospects, be sure to check out Minor League Baseball's improved stats pages (which now include splits and recent game logs).
Oh, and don't forget to stop by and say "hi" to Bryan this afternoon.