Around the MinorsSeptember 16, 2008
Rating the Prospects: The AL West
By Marc Hulet

Prospect rating season is upon us with the Minor League Baseball regular season now over. With your help, I am going to narrow down some of the better prospects in each team's system with the final goal of identifying the Top 15 prospects in each organization's stable. Feel free to recommend players I have overlooked or simply missed. There are two divisions remaining: the AL West (which I'll look at today), the NL East, which I'll wrap up tomorrow.

After that, the following 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.

AL West

Texas Rangers
The Pitchers: Eric Hurley (Triple-A, right-hander), Warner Madrigal (Majors, right-hander), Zach Phillips (High-A, left-hander), Neftali Feliz (Double-A, right-hander), Michael Main (A-ball, right-hander), Neil Ramirez (Short season, right-hander), Fabio Castillo (A-ball, right-hander), Tommy Hunter (Triple-A, right-hander), Wilmer Font (Rookie, right-hander), Kasey Kiker (High-A, left-hander), Blake Beavan (A-ball, right-hander), Omar Poveda (High-A, right-hander), Robbie Ross (Rookie, left-hander), Derek Holland (Double-A, left-hander), Beau Jones (Double-A, left-hander), Michael Schlact (Double-A, right-hander), Evan Reed (High-A, right-hander), Jared Hyatt (Double-A, right-hander), Kennil Gomez (A-ball, right-hander), Tim Murphy (A-ball, left-hander), Wilfredo Boscan (Short season, right-hander), Joseph Wieland (Rookie, right-hander)

The Hitters: Elvis Andrus (Double-A, shortstop), Taylor Teagarden (Majors, catcher), Julio Borbon (Double-A, outfielder), Engle Beltre (A-ball, outfielder), German Duran (Majors, infielder), John Mayberry (Triple-A, outfielder), Carlos Santana (A-ball, outfielder), Johnny Whittleman (Double-A, third baseman), Max Ramirez (Triple-A, catcher), Joaquin Arias (Majors, infielder), Jose Vallejo (Double-A, infielder), Justin Smoak (2008 first round pick, first baseman), Manuel Pina (Double-A, catcher), Chad Tracy, (Double-A, first baseman), Ian Gac (High-A, first baseman), Marcus Lemon (High-A, outfielder), Renny Osuna (High-A, infielder), Clark Murphy (Rookie, first baseman)

Comments: OK, which prospects did I forget? Texas certainly has one of the better systems in baseball. There is plenty of pitching depth, which is good considering it has been the organization's Achilles' heel in recent years. Interestingly, Texas has achieved an excellent system through a variety of methods including trades (with Boston, Atlanta), the draft (Beavan, Borbon), and the international market (Boscan, Vallejo).

Seattle Mariners
The Pitchers: Juan Ramirez (A-ball, right-hander), Edward Paredes (Double-A, left-hander), Justin Thomas (Double-A, left-hander), Robert Rohrbaugh (Triple-A, left-hander), Nick Hill (High-A, left-hander), Eric O'Flaherty (Triple-A, left-hander), Gaby Hernandez (Double-A, right-hander), Phillippe Aumont (A-ball, right-hander), Michael Pineda (A-ball, right-hander), Nathan Adcock (A-ball, right-hander)

The Hitters: Carlos Triunfel (High-A, shortstop), Michael Saunders (Triple-A, outfielder), Matt Tuiasosopo (Triple-A, infielder), Carlos Peguero (High-A, outfielder), Adam Moore (Double-A, catcher), Greg Halman (Double-A, outfielder), Matt Mangini (Double-A, third baseman), Rob Johnson (Majors, catcher), Yung Chi Chen (Triple-A, infielder), Jharmidy De Jesus (Rookie, shortstop), Danny Carroll (A-ball, outfielder), Mario Martinez (Rookie, third baseman), Denny Almonte (A-ball, outfielder), Alex Liddi (A-ball, third baseman), Dennis Raben (Short season, outfielder), Oswaldo Navarro (Triple-A, infielder), James McOwen (High-A, outfielder), Luis Valbuena (Triple-A, infielder), Michael Wilson (Double-A, outfielder), Edilio Colina (A-ball, second baseman), Tyson Gillies (Short season, outfielder)

Comments: OK, which prospects did I forget? The Major League club is in disarray and the minor league system is a little bit better off - but not much. The pitching depth is thin and it can be hard to get a good read on the hitting prospects because they have been rushed so much. Regardless, there are some intriguing toolsy players in the system, including Carlos Triunfel and Greg Halman.

Oakland Athletics
The Pitchers: Jamie Richmond (A-ball, right-hander), Josh Outman (Majors, left-hander), Trevor Cahill (Double-A, right-hander), James Simmons (Double-A, right-hander), Henry Rodriguez (Triple-A, right-hander), Gio Gonzalez (Majors, left-hander), Andrew Bailey (Double-A, right-hander), Jeremy Blevins (Majors, left-hander), Vince Mazzaro (Triple-A, left-hander), Sam Demel (High-A, right-hander), Andrew Carignan (Double-A, right-hander), Travis Banwart (High-A, right-hander), Craig Italiano (High-A, right-hander), Fautino de los Santos (Injured, right-hander), Brett Anderson (Triple-A, left-hander), Tyson Ross (A-ball, right-hander), Brett Hunter, Jared Lansford (Triple-A, right-hander), Michel Inoa (None, right-hander)

The Hitters: Matt Spencer (High-A, outfielder), Adrian Cardenas (Double-A, second baseman), Corey Brown (High-A, outfielder), Jermaine Mitchell (High-A, outfielder), Landon Powell (Triple-A, catcher), Javier Herrera (Double-A, outfielder), Sean Doolittle (Double-A, first baseman), Gregorio Petit (Triple-A, shortstop), Justin Sellers (Double-A, shortstop), Matt Sulentic (High-A, outfielder), Jeff Baisley (Majors, third baseman), Josh Horton (High-A, infielder), Cliff Pennington (Majors, infielder), Anthony Recker (Double-A, catcher), Chris Carter (High-A, first baseman), Aaron Cunningham (Majors, outfielder), Eric Patterson (Majors, outfielder), Josh Donaldson (High-A, catcher), Jemile Weeks (2008 first round pick, second baseman), Rashun Dixon (Rookie, outfielder), Wes Bankston (Triple-A, first baseman)

Comments: OK, which prospects did I forget? Oakland has another strong system in the AL West, thanks in part to a number of trades that netted key prospects. The Dan Haren trade could turn out to be extremely beneficial for the Athletics organization as all six players received in return have looked good, with many exceeding expectations. The organization has done a better job in recent years with drafting pitchers than it has with hitters. After having almost non-existent success on the international front in recent seasons, Oakland made a huge splash by signing top 16-year-old Latin talent Michel Inoa for more than $4 million and has recommitted itself to the market.

Los Angeles Angels
The Pitchers: Nick Adenhart (Triple-A, right-hander), Jordan Walden (High-A, right-hander), Sean O'Sullivan (High-A, right-hander), Nick Green (Triple-A, right-hander), Travis Reckling (A-ball, left-hander), Mason Tobin (A-ball, right-hander), Jon Bachanov (Rookie, right-hander), Tyler Chatwood (Rookie, right-hander), Manuarys Correa (Rookie, right-hander), Rich Thompson (Triple-A, right-hander), Kevin Jepsen (Majors, right-hander), Trevor Bell (High-A, right-hander), Bobby Cassevah (High-A, right-hander), Alexander Torres (High-A, left-hander), Robert Fish (A-ball, left-hander), Anthony Ortega (Triple-A, right-hander), William Smith (Short season, left-hander)

The Hitters: Matt Brown (Majors, third baseman), Freddy Sandoval (Majors, infielder), Hank Conger (High-A, catcher), Pete Bourjos (High-A, outfielder), Hainley Statia (Double-A, infielder), Ryan Mount (High-A, infielder), Matt Sweeney (Injured, first baseman), Andrew Romine (A-ball, infielder), Mark Trumbo (Double-A, first baseman), Terrell Alliman (Rookie, outfielder), Bobby Wilson (Triple-A, catcher), Alexia Amarista (Rookie, infielder), P.J. Phillips (High-A, infielder), Hector Estrella (A-ball, infielder), Luis Jimenez (Short season, third baseman)

Comments: OK, which prospects did I forget? A former minor league powerhouse, Los Angeles has seen its system slowly erode due to a combination of graduating players, injuries and trades. The system has helped the organization make a number of key trades, with the Mark Teixeira acquisition being the most recent example. Even though the system looks the worse for wear right now, the club always manages to turn sleeper prospects and toolsy players into effective Major League players.

Up Next: The NL East


For TX, pitchers need to include Latin signees Martin Perez and Carlos Pimentel. Perez more than held his own as a 17-yr. old starter. A fringy guy might be Joe Ortiz, who pitched in A ball as a 17-yr. old reliever. And I'm not quite ready to stick a fork in Thomas Diamond yet.

Hitters should add Leonel de los Santos and Tomas Telis at catcher; Mitch Moreland had a very solid year, 1B/OF with both plate discipline and power.

Mariners -

Pitchers: Suda, Chang, Kelley (Although, none except Kelley are good enough to crack anyone's top 15 list)

Hitters: Int'l guys like Noriega, Nunez, Rivero

Forget Nick Hill. The Department of Defense reversed their policy and, as a West Point graduate, he will have to return to active duty for at least 2 years starting this month.