WTNYJanuary 23, 2007
The 2007 WTNY Prospect List
By Bryan Smith

There is no greater season for a prospect evaluator than the winter, as we finally bear down, combine all the evidence and take our stances. For the fourth winter in a row, I have compiled a list of the minor league's 75 best talents -- Major League Baseball's future stars. This winter, I was lucky enough to have SportsIllustrated.com invite me to post my list at their site. This was a fantastic opportunity at heightened exposure as well as the ability to have my wordiness edited by Jake Luft. Over the last week I have written five installments, and later today will unveil the sixth and final article. The pieces so far:

Honorable Mentions
Prospects 75-61
Prospects 60-46
Prospects 45-31
Prospects 30-16

With the allowance of Luft and SI.com, I have opted to simultaneously post the final edition of my list at Baseball Analysts. I have much nostalgia built into this site and its readers, so I wanted to post my prospect list in this forum again. Later today, once the article is posted at SI.com, I will post a re-production of my top 15 prospects in this space. Until then, below is my list as it reads 75-1.

Finally, Rich has allowed me to come back to Analysts this Friday as well, as I wanted to compile a mailbag of the questions I receive during the presentation of this list. So, if you have any burning prospect-related questions, leave them in the comments below or e-mail me and I will pick as many as I can to answer Friday. Thanks, as always, for reading.

Bryan Smith's Top 75 Prospects in 2007
For the purposes of this list, a prospect is a player who played predominantly in the minor leagues last season or was drafted in the 2006 June draft. A player loses eligibility for this list once he surpasses 50 innings pitched or 130 at-bats in the major leagues. Players are judged based on what scouting and statistical reports claim on their potential. Each prospect is presented below with his 2007 baseball age and 2006 statistics.

75. Jonathan Sanchez, 24, LHP, Giants
74. Jaime Garcia, 20, LH SP, St. Louis Cardinals
73. Travis Buck, 23, LF, Oakland Athletics
72. Jeff Clement, 23, C, Seattle Mariners
71. Glen Perkins, 24, LH SP, Minnesota Twins
70. Brandon Erbe, 19, RHP, Baltimore Orioles
69. Gio Gonzalez, 21, LH SP, Chicago White Sox
68. Dustin Pedroia, 23, 2b, Boston Red Sox
67. Daric Barton, 21, 1b, Oakland Athletics
66. Mike Bowden, 20, SP, Boston Red Sox
65. Ryan Sweeney, 22, OF, Chicago White Sox
64. Chris Iannetta, 24, C, Colorado Rockies
63. Kevin Slowey, 23, SP, Minnesota Twins
62. Phil Humber, 24, SP, New York Mets
61. Carlos Carrasco, 20, SP, Philadelphia Phillies
60. Neil Walker, 21, C, Pittsburgh Pirates
59. Kevin Kouzmanoff, 25, 3b, San Diego Padres
58. Sean West, 21, LH SP, Florida Marlins
57. Trevor Crowe, 23, OF, Cleveland Indians
56. Adam Lind, 23, LF, Toronto Blue Jays
55. Travis Snider, 19, OF, Toronto Blue Jays
54. Jacob McGee, 20, LH SP, Tampa Bay Devil Rays
53. Elvis Andrus, 18, SS, Atlanta Braves
52. Humberto Sanchez, 24, RHP, New York Yankees
51. Ian Stewart, 22, 3b, Colorado Rockies
50. Troy Patton, 21, LH SP, Houston Astros
49. Erick Aybar, 23, SS, Los Angeles Angels
48. Dexter Fowler, 21, CF, Colorado Rockies
47. Donald Veal, 22, LHP, Chicago Cubs
46. Chuck Lofgren, 21, LH SP, Cleveland Indians
45. Jeff Niemann, 24, RH SP, Tampa Bay Devil Rays
44. Franklin Morales, 21, LH SP, Colorado Rockies
43. Jacoby Ellsbury, 23, CF, Boston Red Sox
42. Clay Buchholz, 22, SP, Boston Red Sox
41. Hunter Pence, 24, OF, Houston Astros
40. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, 22, C, Atlanta Braves
39. Elijah Dukes, 23, OF, Tampa Bay Devil Rays
38. Bill Rowell, 18, 3b, Baltimore Orioles
37. James Loney, 23, 1b, Los Angeles Dodgers
36. Jason Hirsh, 25, RHP, Colorado Rockies
35. Luke Hochevar, 23, SP, Kansas City Royals
34. Felix Pie, 23, CF, Chicago Cubs
33. Eric Hurley, 21, SP, Texas Rangers
32. Joey Votto, 23, 1b, Cincinnati Reds
31. John Danks, 22, LHP, Chicago White Sox
30. Nick Adenhart, 20, SP, Los Angeles Angels
29. Ryan Braun, 23, 3b, Milwaukee Brewers
28. Colby Rasmus, 20, CF, St. Louis Cardinals
27. Mike Pelfrey, 23, SP, New York Mets
26. Matt Garza, 23, SP, Minnesota Twins
25. Adam Jones, 21, CF, Seattle Mariners
24. Yovani Gallardo, 22, SP, Milwaukee Brewers
23. Jose Tabata, 18, of, New York Yankees
22. Evan Longoria, 21, 3b/2b, Tampa Bay Devil Rays
21. Fernando Martinez, 18, of, New York Mets
20. Scott Elbert, 21, LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
19. Carlos Gonzalez, 21, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks
18. Andy LaRoche, 22, 3b, Los Angeles Dodgers
17. Reid Brignac, 21, SS, Tampa Bay Devil Rays
16. Clayton Kershaw, 19, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers
15. Jay Bruce, 20, RF, Cincinnati Reds
14. Andrew McCutchen, 20, CF, Pittsburgh Pirates
13. Tim Lincecum, 23, RHP, San Francisco Giants
12. Andrew Miller, 22, LHP, Detroit Tigers
11. Troy Tulowitzki, 22, SS, Colorado Rockies
10. Adam Miller, 22, SP, Cleveland Indians
9. Billy Butler, 21, LF, Kansas City Royals
8. Cameron Maybin, 20, CF, Detroit Tigers
7. Justin Upton, 19, CF, Arizona Diamondbacks
6. Chris Young, 23, CF, Arizona Diamondbacks
5. Brandon Wood, 22, SS, Los Angeles Angels
4. Philip Hughes, 21, SP, New York Yankees
3. Homer Bailey, 21, SP, Cincinnati Reds
2. Delmon Young, 21, RF, Tampa Bay Devil Rays
1. Alex Gordon, 23, 3b, Kansas City Royals

Remember to leave questions below, and check back later today for a detailed write-up of my top 15 prospects.


You mean 2007, right?

Would you say this is a strong prospect list compared to '06, '05, '04? It seems there's a lot of talent. I'm only asking because I feel the tops of those years--Felix, the '05 Young, Mauer, and maybe B.J. Upton at one point--were all "better" prospects than Gordon.

Am I wrong?

As a prospect is Gordon really comparable to, say, Teixeira?

To what extent do you take defense (both a player's individual ability based on scouting or available metrics, and the position they play on the defensive spectrum) into consideration when ranking position players?

How would you "tier" this list? Where are the drop-offs from "uber-prospect" to "really really good prospect" to "really good prospect" or whatever....

Adam Jones was 19 on your mid-season list...the drop from 19 to 25 isn't all that significant I realize, but did he do anything to drop his stock in the last months of the season? He appeared to take a big jump forward from June-on in Triple-A, but struggled in the majors. If he continues what he did from June-on in the minor leagues, do you see him as a potential top-10 guy next year (assuming no callup)?


There's a good piece on Jones at the incomparable USS Mariner that should answer your question. The short version: he'll either be a superstar or a scrub.


Thanks Jurgen for alerting me of the mis-type in the title ... stupid me. It should be changed now.

Questions have been great so far, keep 'em coming!

At least as seen by PECOTA.

Thanks, Bryan. I always look forward to the list. A couple of questions.

How good of an indicator do you feel this list is in relation to a team's overall farm system strength? In other words, how worried should an organization be if it has poor or minimal representation on the list?

How much do off-field and or personal issues(i.e. Elijah Dukes' recent/consistent transgressions) weigh in the rankings? Is there a red flag, so to speak, when it only is considered if applicable?

Thanks again.

Less questions, more madlibs:

Daisuke Matsuzka would be ranked #____.

I agonized the most over the ranking of ____.

I'm kind of surprised that Joba Chamberlain doesn't get an honorable mention but that's just the Yanks fan in me talking. Good stuff in general. Thanks for the effort.

Since Nick didn't ask a question, I'll reply directly to his comment here.

Nick, Chamberlain was pretty close, as the 2006 draft became far more prevalent towards the back end of my list. If you follow along my rankings, seven 2006 draftees were in the top 75, and I believe they might go in that order should the draft be today: Miller, Lincecum, Kershaw, Longoria, Hochevar, Rowell, Snider. Eighth and ninth, in my eyes, are Brad Lincoln and Jeremy Jeffress. They were both among the last players to get nixed from the top 75.

Lincoln and Jeffress are then two of seven more draftees in the honorable mention section. Dan Bard and Tony Butler are the only players I think that can be argued to be worse prospects than Joba, but I don't see it.

I think if the draft were held today, Joba would go about 20th overall, which means the Yankees already look to have stolen the Cornhusker. If Joba can get a little more tilt on his breaking balls, he could fly through the New York system.

Five more 2007 draftees that just missed: Kyle Drabek, Bryce Cox, Drew Stubbs, Tyler Colvin, Adam Ottavino.

I respectfully disagree with Homer Bailey ahead of Phil Hughes. To me, Bailey is an injury waiting to happen with that high effort delivery. Hughes' delivery is smooth and effortless. Hughes has a 6'5" 220 frame which seems ideal and very muscular. Bailey looks like a twig and doesn't intimidate any batter. They both clearly dominated AA but at the same level Hughes had a better K/9, BB/9, and H/9. Hughes is also a month and a half younger than Bailey and further along his minor league career. There's no doubt in my mind that Hughes is the #1 pitching prospect in baseball.

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