Adam Jones, SS, Seattle Mariners
A supplemental first-round pick in 2003 out of high school in San Diego, Jones was very mediocre in 2004, hitting .267/.314/.404 in the Midwest League, with shaky plate discipline. But he broke out in a big way in '05. He began the year with Inland Empire in the California League, hitting .295/.374/.494 in 68 games, knocking 20 doubles and eight homers. The Mariners promoted him to Double-A at midseason. At the time, I thought this was a big mistake. Given his struggles in '04, I thought it would make more sense for him to stay in the Cal League and build on his success. It looks like I was wrong: Jones didn't miss a beat after moving up, hitting .298/.365/.461 in 63 games for San Antonio in the Texas League. He maintained reasonable strike zone judgment at the higher level, and remained productive across the board. On the season, he combined for 30 doubles, eight triples, 15 homers, and 13 steals. He still has some work to do, polishing up his defense and tightening the strike zone further, but overall this has to be regarded as a very successful season and an easy transition to Double-A. He didn't turn 20 until August 1st. He looks like a premium prospect to me.
Addendum: In the diaries, a reader notes that Jones will likely be converted to center field. This may reduce his value a tad but may help his offensive development.
Adam Bostick, LHP, Florida Marlins
Bostick was a sixth-round pick in 2001, out of high school in Pennsylvania. He hasn't received much notice, but I've been tracking him for a couple of years now due to his high strikeout rates. Last year, he fanned 163 in just 114 innings for Greensboro in the Sally League. He split '05 between Jupiter in the Florida State League, and Carolina in the Double-A Southern League. At Jupiter, he went 4-5, 3.84 in 17 starts, with a 94/36 K/BB in 91 innings. At Carolina, he went 4-3, 4.67 in nine starts, with a 39/25 K/BB in 44 innings. His Double-A transition was adequate. He maintained a good strikeout rate, but his other ratios deteriorated, particularly his command. Bostick works with an 88-92 MPH fastball (occasionally touching 94), a good curveball, and a changeup. His stuff isn't terrific, but it is good overall, and when his command is on he can dominate a game. He still qualifies as a sleeper, but the walks need to come down.