Killa's 2009 Top 100 Prospects:
Intro: This is my personal list. I use scouting reports from BP/BA/Sickels/PP etc, as well as stat analysis. I play fantasy and sim baseball, so upside and offense are valued more than defense and safety. Feel free to comment, but I won't get into too much about a guy being ranked a few spots too high or low. I know about all of the other lists and where guys are ranked, but this is my list and represents my personal opinions, even though I try to remain fairly objective. I hope you guys enjoy it and find it helpful.
1-Matt Weiters-C-22-Baltimore-AA- The way things look, Weiters is on the path to rival Mike Piazza as one of the greatest fantasy catchers ever, not to mention his above-average defense. Potential .320-35-110 seasons exist, and he is one of the keystones (with Jones/Markakis/Tillman/Matusz/Arrieta) in what could be an up-and-coming Baltimore team with the work Andy MacPhail has done.
2-David Price-LHP-23-Tampa-MLB- Price has the potential to be a true ace, combined with a relatively good likelihood of achieving it. He dominated college, he dominated the minors, and he dominated the majors. Thinking 15-18W, 3.15ERA, 210K, 1.13WHIP in peak years.
3-Pedro Alvarez-3B-22-Pittsburgh-NCAA- This is higher than you will see Alvarez on most lists. I see a 162 game Aramis Ramirez (84-30-107-2-.284) as a relatively good likelihood, with the potential to be as good as Miguel Cabrera (career 98-32-120-3-.309). If he moves to 1B, his ranking slips a bit here, but the bat will play anywhere.
4-Colby Rasmus-CF-22-St. Louis-AAA- Despite the injuries, I still believe Rasmus can be an elite MLB player, given his well-rounded skills. While the jury is out if he’ll hit for average, a 280/100/25/100/25 projection is not out of the question.
5-Madison Bumgarner-LHP-19-San Francisco-A- I’m not usually so impressed by guys in A ball with still-developing secondary stuff. 7.81 K:BB does that to me though, along with a 0.93 WHIP, .217 BAA, and a 1.71 FIP. As much as I laughed at the Giants about their 2008 team, they keep churning along great arms, and while Madison is still 2-3 years away, he could join Lincecum, Cain, and Alderson to pose a fearsome foursome.
6-Travis Snider-LF-21-Toronto-MLB- Constantly compared to a fire hydrant, Snider continues to hit the ball, and hit it well. The strikeout rate (31.5% career) is the only scare for me. For fantasy purposes, I’m kindof torn about whether he’s a .270/30/90 guy or a 295/35/110 guy. Consider the latter the ceiling, and the former a fair likelihood- draft and be happy.
7-Jason Heyward-OF-Atlanta-A+- Heyward has the tools to make you drool. Add that to the probability of starting in High A at 19 and the impressive 2008 full-season debut, and the potential is there for a superstar.
8-Mike Moustakas-3B-Kansas City-A+- 20YO headed for A+ in 2009, could hit AA ball and see a cup of coffee in 2010. Whenever somebody is described as having Light-Tower Power, I pay attention. He’s young, powerful, and has the profile to emerge as an elite hitter. The defense isn’t bad at 3B; position speculation usually comes into play when projecting the future Royals- who currently have former phenom Alex Gordon at the hot corner.
9-Dexter Fowler-OF-Colorado-MLB- Fowler oozes tools and could be a stud player, not to mention he will play at Coors. While his power is still developing, he has plenty of room to fill out his 6’4” 175lb frame. He is a potential 30-30 guy, who could see significant playing time for the Rockies this year.
10-Cameron Maybin-OF-Florida-MLB- Maybin has loads of tools and should have a full-time job with the Marlins at the age of 22 in 2009. He still strikes out a lot, and his .279 Avg in AA was helped by a .378 BABIP, but he should be a good all-around contributor- with 20/20 seasons and the potential for more.
11-Tommy Hanson-RHP-Atlanta-AA-Hanson’s 2008 season was sensational from start to finish, including an incredible AFL performance. He could stand to get a little more seasoning in the minors, but could be pressed into action in the majors depending on the Braves’ needs. He has the potential to be a true #1 SP, and his stuff and results thus far lead me to think he can reach it.
12-Trevor Cahill-RHP-Oakland-AA- What’s not to like about Cahill? Good GB rates, K/9, only 76 Hits Allowed in 124IP, and a chance to be a part of an exciting future rotation in Oakland, a pitcher’s park. His BB/9 spiked to 4.62 in AA though (although his WHIP was still a good 1.16), so I’d like to see him spend another year in the minors to work on that.
13- Lars Anderson-1B-Boston-AA- Lars is probably higher here than you’ll see in most places, but I absolutely love his bat. Some scouts have said that he could hit major league pitching now, but expect him to play 2009 in AA/AAA for another year of seasoning. After that it will be hard for the Sox to keep his power and average out of the lineup. By the way, at 6’5” 195, and 21 years of age next season, there is room for more power as he fills out.
14- Brett Anderson-LHP-Oakland-AA- Anderson has done nothing but perform well in the minors at every stop. The lefty doesn’t have overwhelming stuff, but he’s only 21 entering 2009: a season that will likely serve as the precursor to joining the Oakland staff at some point in 2009. He’s posted better than 9K/IP at every stop, and a good WHIP in 3 of 4 stops: add to that a high BABIP allowed (his best is only .327) and I see a good bet to be a #2 SP.
15-Justin Smoak-1B-Texas-Low A- Another powerful 1B, Smoak could move quickly and be in Arlington as soon as 2010. His bat could rival that of Pedro Alvarez, but for now the separation in the rankings is due to position.
16-Neftali Feliz-RHP-Texas-AA- Could stand to improve his control a bit, but has a chance to be a dynamic SP with big K numbers.
17-Matt LaPorta-1B/OF-Cleveland-AA-Slumped badly after midseason trade in 2008, but I’m still a believer that his bat can be game-changing. Could see time in Cleveland this season.
18-Tim Alderson-RHP-San Francisco-High A- More refined than Bumgarner, Alderson should move quickly for a HS arm. I see him as more of a #2-3 SP, but with a good likelihood of reaching that level.
19-Fernando Martinez-OF-New York (N)-AA- Still just 20, Fernando gets some flak for his lack of big numbers. The tools are still there though, and he could be a major league regular at 21. He’s ranked here based on potential, and has a chance to be a game-changing player.
20-Derek Holland-LHP-Texas-AA- Holland came out of nowhere last year to dominate 3 levels. Posted 0.81 and 0.77 WHIPs in A+ and AA respectively.
21-Rick Porcello-RHP-Detroit-High A- Performed well at A+ at just 19, but would like to see a few more Ks to move him any higher.
22-Andrew McCutchen-OF-Pittsburgh-AAA- I’m wondering if he’ll have enough power to be an elite fantasy player, but he might not need more than 15 homers if he steals 40+.
23-Chris Tillman-RHP-Baltimore-AA- Has excellent upside and could K 200/yr, but would like to see him get the walks under 4 per 9.
24-Brian Matusz-SP-Baltimore-NCAA- A well-refined college product, Matusz (pronounced Mattis, not Ma-tooz) should move quickly and become a good #2 SP.
25-Tim Beckham-SS-Tampa-Low A- Beckham is a 5 tool player at SS, a rarity. He’s here based on his potential to become an offensive force at a weak position.
26-Logan Morrison-1B-Florida-High A-Morrison’s homers dipped in a pitcher-friendly environment, but I envision him as a .320 guy who hits 25-30 bombs a year.
27-Eric Hosmer-1B-Kansas City-HS-Will probably make his full season debut at Low A, one of few guys with true 40 homer potential.
28-Jhoulys Chacin-RHP-Colorado-High A- Had breakout season with 5.17 K:BB in 66 A+ IP. Deserves this ranking; but, fairly or not, I would not draft him this high because of Coors.
29-Jesus Montero-C-New York (A)-Low A-Big time bat, still just 19, but probably won’t stick at catcher.
30-Mike Stanton-OF-Florida-Low A- Tons of strikeouts, but 39 homers and a .318 ISOp for a guy who was just 18 years old. I will be watching how he adjusts to higher levels of pitching, but for now his 2008 power showing has him here.
31-Jarrod Parker-RHP-Arizona-Low A- Performed very well (3.12 FIP, 3.55 K:BB) and will be just 20 this year. Could see AA in the second half of 2009.
32-Elvis Andrus-SS-Texas-AA- Still just 20, stole 54 bases last season. While compared to Renteria, don’t forget Renteria started as a speedster, who stole 30 or more 4 times and has a career .290 average. Just don’t expect double digit homers for the next few years. Has an outside shot at the starting SS job for the Rangers in 2009.
33- Jeremy Hellickson-RHP-Tampa-AA- While scouts don’t like him as an ace, he’s performed quite well in the minors, with an expected hiccup upon promotion to AA. Silly 16.60 K:BB in High A.
34- Brett Wallace-3B-St Louis-AA- Defense is questionable, bat isn’t. Capped magnificent 2008 by tearing up AFL. If he can stick at 3B, could be Troy Glaus’ replacement in 2010.
35-James McDonald-RHP-Los Angeles (N)-MLB- McDonald should be in the Dodgers rotation this year. Despite not having “plus stuff”, has a nice track record. Is 24, but lost some time due to an experiment in the OF. Should provide all around good numbers, and has struck out more than a batter per inning every season.
36- Buster Posey-C-San Francisco-Low A- Posey looks like a good all around catcher, and will probably make a few all-star teams. He’s been compared to Mauer, but he’ll need to show more power than Mauer to be an elite option.
37-Wilmer Flores-SS-New York (N)-Low A- Tools galore, still just 17, and did well in rookie league (.375 wOBA). Another season like that, and he could vault into the Top 10-15.
38-Carlos Santana-C-Cleveland-AA- What’s not to like? He hits for average and power, with more walks than strikeouts at a thin position. If his 2008 season was for real, we could have a stud catcher on our hands.
39-Angel Villalona-1B/3B-San Francisco-High A- Still just 18, Villalona needs major work on plate discipline. Ranked here based on potential, but could be much higher with a strong 2009.
40- Michael Bowden-RHP-Boston-MLB- Got a cup of coffee in 2008, and toughest thing is to project where he will fit in with the Sox. Probably going back to AAA to start the season. Doesn’t project as an ace, but has been very consistent and limits walks. Probable #3 SP.
41-Mat Gamel-3B-Milwaukee-MLB- Lefty bat looks ready for majors, and can hit for power and average.
42-Wade Davis-RHP-Tampa-AAA- Might not be a strong asset in WHIP (1.30 and 1.36 in two years at AA) and K rate slipped. I like Bowden’s numbers better, but Davis’ stuff is usually rated higher. Maybe #2 SP upside, but I see him settling in as a 3 or 4.
43-Yonder Alonso-1B-Cincinnati-High A- Advanced hitter should provide excellent average and good pop. Only question is what do the Reds do with Alonso v. Votto in 2010?
44-Brett Cecil-LHP-Toronto-AAA- I considered ranking him even higher, but he slots here due to some endurance concerns. Has great stuff and posted an excellent AA campaign, albeit with tight pitch counts. He’ll be featured in my 2009 Movers series.
45-MaxRamirez-C-Texas-MLB- That bat looks great, but Maximiliano looks destined to be a DH, with Davis, Smoak, Salty, and Teagarden clogging up C and 1B.
46-Jordan Zimmerman-RHP-Washington-AA- The Nats could have 2 pretty good Zimmermans in 2010. Jordan doesn’t profile as an ace, but has a heavy FB and a plus curve. Still needs to refine his changeup.
47-Adrian Cardenas-IF-Oakland-AA- Has oodles of talent, but minor league numbers haven’t been eye-popping thus far. Has good plate discipline and speed, with the chance for more power as he continues to develop. If there was one guy who could pull a Hanley and be much better than his minors numbers, my hunch is Cardenas could be that guy. Note: I’m not comparing him to Hanley!
48-Jordan Schafer-CF-Atlanta-AA- I don’t see Schafer as a future stud, but he could be an all-star 20/20 type of guy. If I factored defense more heavily, he would be higher on this list, and I’ve probably subconsciously punished him by a few slots for his suspension.
49-Jake Arrieta-RHP-Baltimore-High A- Blazing fastball is better than Tillman’s or Matusz’, and has good upside, just needs better secondary stuff to move higher.
50-Carlos Triunfel-SS-Seattle-High A- Will still be just 19 in 2009, and the bat has a chance to be special. Chances are good that he is moved off of SS.
51-Freddie Freeman-1B-Atlanta-Low A- If he just continues what he’s doing, could get the call to Atlanta in 2010 for a late-season look. He combines a 6’5” frame, above average power, and smooth stroke with good defense at first.
52-Desmond Jennings-OF-Tampa-High A- If only he could stay healthy! Could be an elite power/speed package, and also has excellent plate discipline. A true 5 tool guy, he’s ranked this high more for his potential. Will be featured in my 2009 Movers Series.
53- Matt Dominguez-3B-Florida-Low A- Before his senior HS season, scouts were looking at Dominguez over teammate Mike Moustakas. Widely lauded for his defense at the hot corner, Dominguez showed he can hit too, posting an .853 OPS in 2008. Has the upside to be an Eric Chavez type with a bit better average (Chavez is .269 career).
54-Jose Tabata-CF-Pittsburgh-AA- Tabata will open next year at the age of just 20, and while he still has some developing to do, his excellent speed and developing power could make him a star player.
55-Michael Saunders-OF-Seattle-AAA- Saunders will be only 22 next year, has great tools, and a decent performance in 2008 going for him. He slugged .859 in AA, and provides some steals as well. He could benefit from one more year in AA/AAA to cut down on the Ks, but will be with the Mariners by 2010 at the latest.
56- Ben Revere-CF-Minnesota-Low A- Compared to Kenny Lofton, Revere has blazing speed, excellent strike zone discipline, and the ability to hit for a high average. Some say he’ll develop more power, but he isn’t exactly a singles hitter now, he does have some gap power.
57-Greg Halman-CF-Seattle-AA- Some will say this is too high, but the guy is a 5 tool talent, who just happened to go 29/31 last year over 2 levels. The big K numbers are obviously a concern, but I’ll take a gamble with his upside over many of the guys ranked below.
58-Josh Vitters-3B-Chicago (N)-Low A-Vitters posted an .863 OPS in short season Boise last year. He still hasn’t made his full season debut, and struck out nearly 4 times as much as he walked. The scouting reports on the bat are still good, and I’ll be watching to see what happens in 2009.
59-Gordon Beckham-SS-Chicago (A)- Low A- Beckham has a chance to provide good offense from the SS position. The U of Georgia product could start 2009 in High A, and possibly reach AA by year’s end.
60-Philippe Aumont-RHP-Seattle-Low A- Aumont has a 6’7” frame, a great fastball and sinker, and a developing changeup to go with a successful 2008 season in Low A. He has more potential than some of the pitchers listed ahead of him, but is also farther away.
61-Tyler Flowers-C-Chicago (A)-High A- Flowers has a great bat, and drew 98 walks last season. The move to Chicago only improves his outlook, both in home park and players ahead of him.
62- Jordan Walden-RHP-Los Angelese (A)- High A- Walden has good stuff and good performances so far. A big year in A+/AA could vault him into the 25-30 range.
63-Alcides Escobar-SS-Milwaukee-MLB-The defensive whiz showed some offensive potential in 2008, posting a .797 OPS to go with 34 steals.
64- Austin Jackson-CF-New York (A)-AA- I’m not convinced Jackson will be a star, but he has the tools to be a solid contributor and possibly make an All-Star team or two.
65-Aaron Hicks-OF-Minnesota-Rk- Hicks is a 5 tools prospect who showed excellent discipline (28:32 BB:K) and posted a 900 OPS in his pro debut. At 6’2”, 170 lbs, he still has some filling out to do. He’ll probably start 2009 in Low A.
66- Reid Brignac-SS-Tampa-MLB- Well, Brignac isn’t a shiny new toy any more, and his offensive performance has dropped over the last couple of seasons. Reports are that he has made some defensive progress, and could be an average SS. I could still see him as a 260-type hitter, with the ability to hit 20 homers.
67- Taylor Teagarden-C-Texas-MLB- I’ll be honest, I’m just not a huge Teagarden fan, possibly for lack of a better reason than just a gut feeling. I think he belongs here regardless of personal bias though, and could be an offensive major league catcher.
68- Carlos Carrasco-RHP-Philadelphia-AAA- Carrasco is a bit of a polarizing prospect, as his results haven’t always matched his stuff. Still, he’s just 22 and could become a fixture in Philly by 2010.
69-Kyle Blanks-1B-San Diego-AA- Blanks is a big hulking hitter with good power and the ability to hit for average (.325 in 2008). While he’s blocked by Gonzalez and faces the ugly notion of hitting in Petco, his bat deservedly lands him here. Another season like last year and he’ll vault up the rankings.
70- Chris Perez-RHP-St Louis-MLB- It’s tough to rank relievers in general, but Perez needs only to cut down on his walks to have a chance to be a good major league closer. He’ll open 2009 with some kind of bullpen role with the Cards.
71- Michael Inoa-SP-Oakland-N/A- Again, tough to rank someone who hasn’t pitched yet, but the scouting reports and projectability have everyone drooling with anticipation.
72- Beau Mills-1B-Cleveland-High A- Mills seems to get overlooked a bit, but the former 1st rd pick can hit for power and average, and should spend 2009 in AA. If he replicates his 2008 success, he should jump into the top half of next year’s list.
73- Kila Ka’aihue-1B-Kansas City-MLB- Yes I am a Royals fan. Now that we got that out of the way, Kila (named after me of course) posted a ridiculous 1.086 OPS last year, which included a 104BB:66K and 37 homers. Those are video game numbers, and are deserving of a higher slot than this. Age and past performance are why he slots here.
74- Jeremy Jeffress-RHP-Milwaukee-AA- Jeffress has elite upside and will contribute plenty of Ks, but is raw and walked 4.98/9 last year. I would expect him to spend 2009 in AA and continue to refine his stuff.
75- Aaron Cunningham-OF-Oakland-MLB- Cunningham is still just 23 and should be in the running for a full-time big league job. He’s a well-rounded player who is not outstanding in a particular aspect of the game. Could become a 280-20-20 guy in time.
76- Chris Carter-1B-Oakland-High A- Carter has already been traded multiple times in his career, has an ugly BB:K ratio, and hit just .259 last year. Why is he here? 39 homers and a .562 slugging percentage. AA will be a big test in 2009.
77- Jeff Samardzija-RHP-Chicago (N)-MLB- While is future role is uncertain, Shark has excellent upside as either a starter or reliever. The Cubs were said to have made some tweaks to his delivery in 2008, and he improved over the 2nd half of the season. Expect him to start in AAA as the Cubs will continue to try him as an SP.
78- Daniel Cortes-RHP-Kansas City-AA- Cortes profiles as a #3SP who will provide decent Ks and a solid but unspectacular WHIP. He could stand to cut down on his walks (4.24/9) and should spend 2009 in the minors at either AA or AAA.
79- Martin Perez-LHP-Texas-SS- Compared to Johan Santana, Perez is still very raw and very far away, but projects to have filthy stuff.
80- Daryl Jones-OF-St Louis-AA- Performance finally caught up with Athleticism in 2008. You can read more in my Movers feature.
81- Chris Marrero-1B- Washington-High A- Marrero started slow, heated up, then broke his leg. I’m writing 2008 off for the most part, and expect him to start 2009 in AA. Don’t get too worried if he starts slow again, as I could see him having an adjustment period. He’s this high because he has game-changing power, and could be a 35-40 HR threat if things go right.
82- Michael Main-RHP-Texas-Low A- Another nice Texas arm, Main has a great fastball and has been on the prospect radar for a while. He still needs to develop his secondary stuff, but his curve could be a plus pitch.
83- JP Arencibia-C-Toronto-AA- Great production, horrid BB:K.
84- Gio Gonzalez-LHP-Oakland-MLB-Will the real Gio Gonzalez please stand up? Outside of a dominating 2007 AA stint with the ChiSox, Gonzalez has been mediocre. He has a nice home park and Oakland’s strong track record for developing pitchers as plusses.
85- Angel Salome-C-Milwaukee-MLB- Salome has an outstanding bat, but still has question marks on defense. Throw in a checkered past (suspended 50 games for PEDs), and I might have him a little lower than others. Note: Fair or not, the PEDs are a stigma in my mind and, all other things being equal, will drop a player a few notches in my eyes.
86- Michael Burgess-OF-Washington-High A- Has massive power upside, with current strikeout problems. Burgess will be just 20 next year and is still very raw.
87- Jacob McGee-LHP-Tampa-AA- McGee had TJ, and while it’s often a relatively good thing (and almost routine it seems), I want to see how he recovers before moving him back up.
88- Julio Borbon-OF-Texas-AA- Borbon has blazing speed and projects to hit for average with some pop (possibly 15-18 homers). He could bump Hamilton out of CF and be a Rangers regular by 2010.
89- Gorkys Hernandez-OF-Atlanta- High A- Gorkys has great speed but it is questionable whether he will develop much power. He should spend 2009 in AA.
90- Nick Weglarz-OF-Cleveland- High A- Weglarz has excellent plate discipline and average pop. He should start 2009 in AA, and could vault up the list if he can put up numbers similar to 2007 (279-23-82).
91- Mat Latos-RHP-San Diego-Low A- Big righty with nasty stuff just needs to stay healthy. Will be featured in Movers Series.
92- Danny Duffy- LHP-Kansas City-Low A- Detractors question his stuff, but he has had nothing but dominance (119 career IP, 165 Ks, 80 hits allowed) in his pro career. He doesn’t have true ace potential, but could develop into a low end #2 or solid #3 SP.
93- James Simmons- RHP-Oakland-AA- Simmons doesn’t have huge upside, but has had good results and projects to be a back of the rotation workhorse.
94- Jon Niese-LHP-New York (N)- MLB- Just 22 years old, Niese will battle for a major league job this year. He’s posted FIPs in the 3-3.50 range over his career, and could be a solid #3-4 SP.
95- Engel Beltre-OF-Texas-Low A- Beltre will be just 19 next year, and has all the tools we look for. He could become an elite OF if everything comes together. He should start 2009 in High A.
96- Juan Francisco-3B-Cincinnati-High A- Francisco has massive power, but poor plate discipline. If he can control the strikeouts even a little bit, he could be a legit 35-40 homer threat in Cincy.
97- Gerardo Parra-OF-Arizona-AA- I’ve always been high on him and still think he’ll develop 15 homer power. Should be good for steals and average.
98- Michael Taylor- OF- Philadelphia-High A- Intriguing Power/Speed combo had breakout 2008 (.969 combined OPS).
99- Andrew Lambo-OF-Los Angelese (N)- AA-He’s been compared to Loney, and hit .389 in a brief audition in AA. He’s not very fleet of foot, and could end up at 1B.
100- Tim Melville-RHP-Kansas City-HS- As always this late in a list, this was a tough decision. Melville was an elite HS arm and would have gone much higher in the draft had it not been for his mother openly making contract demands. He’s polished, and could move quickly for a HSer, with the upside of a #1-2 SP.
Next 15 (in no particular order):
Hank Conger - (Los Angeles-A)
Aaron Poreda - SP (Chicago-A)
Dellin Betances - SP (New York-A)
Matt Moore-SP (Tampa)
Brad Holt-SP (New York-N)
Jeff Niemann-SP (Tampa)
Julio Teheran-SP (Atlanta)
Sean Doolittle-1b (Oakland)
Todd Frazier- SS/3B (Cincinnati)
Nick Adenhart-SP (Los Angeles-A)
Will Inman-SP (San Diego)
Eric Hurley-SP (Texas)
Neftali Soto-3B (Cincinnati)
Chris Valaika-SS (Cincinnati)
Juan Duran-OF (Cincinnati)