The Congo Hammer's midseason AL top 25

Keep in mind that my rankings tend to have a fantasy slant to them... which means I am skeptical of pitchers and don't take defense into account.  That being said I am not a huge fan of speedsters, and prefer sluggers who know how to take a walk. 

I also take ETA into account more than most prospect lists, and thus prefer fast movers to long-term projects.  I'm also not including recent graduates (Jennings, Trout, Kipnis etc.)  I am including Turner though.

I'm also just giving my opinion, not trying to conform with the other lists, or just to be different.  With that said, here goes nothing.

1.  Matt Moore - Filthy stuff, clean bill of health...only question is will he break the 2012 opening day rotation (I doubt it)

2.  Jesus Montero - Questions about position, ETA remain... but so does his mammoth potential upside with Bat

3.  Brett Lawrie - I'm taking PCL inflation into account, but should still be excellent.

4.  Manny Machado - Big upside with the bat, I think he has what it takes to stick at SS for the early part of his career.  Still want to see him dominate higher levels, but think it will happen with time.

5.  Jacob Turner - I think he is likely to have success early in his career and just get better with time.

6.  Jurickson Profar - Far from majors, but power at such a young age is a great indicator for future success.  I still see Machado as a better pure hitter, but Profar will better real-life player.  I see it as a Jeter/Nomar thing.

7. Wil Myers - I think he will be a good major league hitter with good average and a long, productive career.  I don't see him being a true superstar though, but perhaps a few all-star games.  My opinion on him hasn't really changed despite his double-A struggles, injuries have played a role and his swing is still beautiful.

8.  Martin Perez - Close to contributing at major league level, still has room to grow but could be a true ace.  I do think while he has great upside, he may still struggle initially, and not be as consistent as most aces.

9.  Michael Choice - One of my personal favorites, he has really been destroying high-A, hitting .293 with 27 HR.  The Ks (108 in 379 AB) are indeed a red flag, but he has drawn some walks and the potential to be a great slugger if he can manage it.

10.  Leonys Martin - I admittedly don't know much about him, but it sounds like he could be the total package and not need a lot of time to break the major leagues.  I'm optimistic he has 10-15 HR power, at least.

11.  Manny Banuelos - I want to like him because he pitches for the Yankees, but he might not get many chances and I think he needs to cut down his walks to succeed.

12.  Mike Montgomery - He's sucked this year and dealt with injuries, but he's close to the majors and I think once he gets there he'll flourish.  Injuries will probably be an issue throughout his career though.  If he can get healthy though, I do think he can be an ace.

13. Taijuan Walker - I believe in his upside, he still has to prove himself at higher levels, but I think he has ace potential if he can continue to improve, and I'm optimistic of those odds.

14.  Drew Pomeranz - he seems like a fast riser, I don't think he'll be as dominant as Walker could be, but I think he will get there first and be impressive.

15.  Ryan Lavarnway - Do I think he'll ever be a passable MLB catcher?  Probably not, though there's some hope.  Do I think he's being massively underrated, because he can slug the ever-loving crap out of the ball?  Absolutely.  The bat will find a way.  Will it be with the Red Sox?  ...We'll see.

16.  Johnny Giavotella - He won't be a star, but I've always liked players that seem to constantly overcome expectations, and think he can be a solid regular all-around, with double-digit power and a handful of SB with good OBP.

17.  Hak-Ju Lee - I suppose I don't have reason to suspect he'll never hit for much power, but I'm going with my gut.  He'll make it to  the majors and steal bases, but his statistical profile reminds me too much of Erick Aybar to rank him too high.

18.  Miguel Sano - I like the bat, I really do, but he's in rookie ball!  That combined with him being raw and the Twins being molasses-slow when bringing up hitting prospects, and I think it could be more than 5 years before he sees a major league at-bat.  When he does though, watch out.  He's ranked here mostly just due to ETA.

19.  Anthony Gose - I really think he has the ability to be a real sparkplug in a lineup.  Has red flags, but the speed alone makes him an exciting player.

20.  Travis D'Arnaud - I've always been skeptical of the bat, I still am.  He's also blocked by Arencibia, who has been decent enough to stick at C, so I think he could get stuck in Triple-A a la Tyler Flowers.  Still, he's a good defensive catcher with a bat.

21.  Jean Segura - has had a forgettable year, but he's very young and can still be an excellent player in time.

22.  Gary Sanchez - I still believe in the bat.  It may not be Jesus Montero good, but it will be good, and I think he can stick defensively.  It's just going to take a lot of patience...catchers are slow to develop.

23.  Dellin Betances - I think he's been good, but he doesn't have as much projection left as Banuelos, at least speaking age-wise.  He's huge though, and could be a strong mid-rotation guy for a contender, if he ever gets the chance.  I think Banuelos will stick in the rotation before Betances does.

24.  Aaron Hicks - He's far from the majors, hasn't impressed much, power is indeed sketchy.  But I think he's a good bet to be a major leaguer someday despite all that.  Better in real-life than fantasy, and far-away ETA.

25.  Robbie Erlin - I absolutely love the K/BB rate, I'm not sure how his stuff compares to other elite prospects though.  At worst, he could be a Kevin Slowey...I meant that as a good thing!


Just missed - Alex Liddi, Jake Odorizzi, Will Middlebrooks, Bryce Brentz, Jonathan Schoop

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