Rating the Prospects: AL East
Prospect rating season is just about upon us with the Minor League Baseball season in its last full week (Where did the time go?). Over the next six weeks (one division a week), with your help, I am going to pick the Top 15 prospects in each organization's stable.
After that, the next six weeks will be devoted to ranking those prospects that people helped choose in the comments section of the articles. Things to consider when choosing the prospects are 1) tools, 2) statistics, 3) history, and 4) level of competition/age. The players also must still be rookie eligible, which means pitchers cannot have exceed 50 big league innings and hitters cannot have exceeded 130 at-bats at the MLB level.
Feel free to also comment on who you think is the best prospect in the division, as well as which team has the best minor league system.
The Baltimore Orioles
The Hitters: Matt Wieters (Double-A, catcher), Nolan Reimold (Double-A, outfielder), Mike Costanza (Triple-A, third baseman), Billy Rowell (High-A third baseman), Brandon Snyder (High-A, first baseman), Miguel Abreu (High-A, second baseman), Chris Vinyard (High-A, designated hitter), Ryan Adams (A-ball, second baseman), Matt Angle (A-ball, outfielder), Tyler Kolodny (Short season, third baseman)
Comments: OK, so who did I forget that should be in the Top 15? Is Wieters or Tillman worthy of the coveted No. 1 overall spot... or is there a dark horse candidate? The pitching certainly seems stronger in the system than the hitting, with the exception of Wieters. If you look at the pitching coming up the pipe in this system, it's not hard to envision Baltimore becoming pretty successful in a few years if Erbe, Tillman and Arrieta can stay healthy.
The Hitters: Travis Snider (Triple-A, outfielder), J.P. Arencibia (Double-A, catcher), Brian Jeroloman (Triple-A, catcher), David Cooper (2008 No. 1 pick, first baseman), Kevin Ahrens (A-ball, third baseman), Justin Jackson (A-ball, shortstop), John Tolisano (A-ball, second baseman), Eric Eiland (A-ball, outfielder), Brad Emaus (High-A, second baseman), Balbino Fuenmayor (Rookie, third baseman), Scott Campbell (Double-A, second baseman)
Comments: OK, so who did I forget that should be in the Top 15? The Blue Jays are absolutely loaded in left-handed pitching, which is always an extremely valuable commodity. At first blush, I would say the hitting is stronger overall than the pitching but a lot of the really interesting hitters are raw and toolsy (wait, is this Toronto?)
The Hitters: Reid Brignac (Triple-A, shortstop), Desmond Jennings (High-A, outfielder), Ryan Royster (High-A, outfielder), Tim Beckham (2008 First Overall Pick, shortstop), John Jaso (Triple-A, catcher), Rhyne Hughes (Double-A, first baseman)
Comments: OK, so who did I forget that should be in the Top 15? The Rays have definitely focused harder on drafting pitching in recent years than hitting, or perhaps the organization has just been lucky? A lot of its top-ranked pitchers were not even first round draft picks and they definitely found good value in pitchers such as Davis, Hellickson and Rollins.
The Hitters: George Kottaras (Triple-A, catcher), Chris Carter (Triple-A, OF-1B), Lars Anderson (Double-A, first baseman), Aaron Bates (Double-A, first baseman), Argenis Diaz (Double-A, shortstop), Josh Reddick (Double-A, outfielder), Jon Still (High-A, catcher), Chih-Hsien Chiang (High-A, second baseman), Yamaico Navarro (High-A, shortstop), Ryan Kalish (High-A, outfielder), Jason Place (High-A, outfielder), Will Middlebrooks (Short season, third baseman), Ryan Dent (Short season, shortstop), Michael Almanzar (A-ball, third baseman), Oscar Tejeda (A-ball, shortstop)
Comments: OK, so who did I forget that should be in the Top 15? Boston's draft spending spree has been well publicized as of late but I think it is a great thing. I like to see talented players get drafted and enter the pro ranks. I'll admit I think the draft system needs an overhaul - well, a salary cap of some sort for sure... But I don't blame Boston for throwing around the money; I'd do the same thing. The club also does really well in the foreign markets, doesn't it? There are at least six interesting foreign-signed players above... Boston is definitely covering all the bases.
The Hitters: Austin Jackson (Double-A, outfielder), Frank Cervelli (Double-A, catcher), Matt Cusick (High-A, second baseman), Damon Sublett (High-A, second baseman), Eduardo Nunez (High-A, shortstop), Luis Nunez (High-A, infielder), Jesus Montero (A-ball, 1B/C), Austin Romine (A-ball, catcher), Brad Suttle (A-ball, third baseman)
Comments: OK, so who did I forget that should be in the Top 15? With all the money New York has, the organization has kind of let the system fall into disrepair. There are some intriguing prospects, but none that really wow... although Jackson and Montero could be near wow. That said, New York has always had an uncanny ability to turn OK prospects into really good players, such as Robinson Cano. Overall, between the two powerhouses, Boston seems to have a better run minor league system and scouting department than New York.