Rating the Prospects: NL West
Prospect rating season is just about upon us with the Minor League Baseball season all but over and we are now into playoffs in most leagues. Over the next five 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 players listed below are in no particular order and these are just working/brainstorming lists.
The Hitters: Gerardo Parra (High-A, outfielder), Reynaldo Navarro (Short season, shortstop), Ed Easley (High-A, catcher), Pedro Ciriaco (High-A, shortstop), Mark Hallberg (High-A, infielder), Pete Clifford (High-A, outfielder), Evan Frey (High-A, outfielder), Collin Cowgill (A-ball, outfielder)
Comments: I had forgotten how bad the Arizona system has gotten since the organization traded away most of its promising players, albeit to acquire some pretty good players like Adam Dunn and Danny Haren. The pitching certainly looks stronger than the offence, although there are a lot of pitchers that appear to be future No. 4 or 5 starters. There don't seem to be any impact bats anywhere near the top of the system (I still can't believe how badly Arizona gave Carlos Quentin away, but I guess that makes up for stealing Chris Young).
The Hitters: Pedro Baez (A-ball, third baseman), Josh Bell (High-A, third baseman), Ivan DeJesus(Double-A, shortstop), Andrew Lambo (Double-A, outfielder), Lucas May (Double-A, catcher), Xavier Paul (Triple-A, outfielder), Kyle Russell (Rookie, outfielder), Austin Gallagher (High-A, third baseman), Jamie Pedroza (High-A, shortstop), Trayvon Robinson (High-A, outfielder),
Comments: The Dodgers continue to have a nice collection of raw, toolsy players, although the system is not as deep as it has been in recent years. The organization is not afraid to promote young, promising players, rather than having them sit around dominating inferior leagues all season (San Fran, can you hear me?). It seems that every time a LAD prospect falters, two more sleepers come to the forefront.
The Hitters: Dexter Fowler (Double-A, outfielder), Hector Gomez (High-A, shortstop), Chris Nelson (Double-A, shortstop), Michael McKenry (High-A, catcher), Jonathan Herrera (Triple-A, shortstop), Corey Wimberly (Double-A, second baseman), Eric Young Jr. (Double-A, second base), Daniel Carte (Double-A, outfielder), Daniel Mayora (High-A, shortstop),
Comments: The Rockies have a real glut of prospects at Double-A, both on the mound and in the field. There are some intriguing speedsters in the system but a lot of them appear to be headed to bench roles at the MLB level. Fowler, though, looks like a serious prospect and could be playing full-time in Colorado as soon as 2009. Keep an eye on Jhoulys Chacin and Aneury Rodriguez.
The Hitters: Buster Posey (Short season, catcher), Conor Gillaspie (Short season, third baseman), Brandon Crawford (Short season, shortstop), Roger Kieschnick (NA, outfielder), Angel Villalona (High-A, first baseman), Nick Noonan (A-ball, second base), Wendell Fairley (Rookie, outfielder), Brian Horwitz (Triple-A, outfielder), Nate Schierholtz (Triple-A, outfielder),
Comments: Knowing that they had stolen some amazing pitching prospects during the 2007 draft, the Giants concentrated on nabbing some interesting and advanced college hitters in 2008. The Giants' minor league system was horrible as recently as two years ago and has improved significantly in a short period of time. The depth is still lacking a bit, but there are some stars-in-the-making. I just wish the Giants promoted players a little more aggressively, rather than letting them dominate inferior competition for significant periods of time, which seemingly does nothing for a player's development.
The Hitters: Allan Dykstra (High-A, first baseman), Jaff Decker (Short season, outfielder), James Darnell (Short season, third baseman), Logan Forsythe (Rookie, infielder), Blake Tekotte (Short season, outfielder), Cole Figueroa (Short season, second baseman), Matt Antonelli (Triple-A, second base), Cedric Hunter (High-A, outfielder), Kyle Blanks (Double-A, first baseman), Yefri Carvajal (A-ball, outfielder), Kellen Kulbacki (High-A, outfielder), Will Venable, Drew Cumberland (A-ball, shortstop), Mitch Canham (High-A, catcher), Lance Zawadzki (Double-A, shortstop), Chad Huffman (Double-A, outfielder), Rayner Contreras (High-A, infielder), Eric Sogard (High-A, second baseman)
Comments: It's been a disappointing season for the San Diego Padres organization from top to bottom. A number of interesting prospects disappointed throughout the season and the club continues to be snake-bitten when it comes to first round draft picks. The organization's impact depth has been hurt by years of drafting "safe" college picks with lower ceilings. The pitching depth is especially sorry, while the hitting is starting to show signs of life.