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Top 50 PRE-SEASON Hitting Prospects in Review

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Here is the Top 50 PRE-SEASON Hitting Prospects list from the 2009 book. Remember, this was the PRE-SEASON list. I always do a post-mortem on the list every year to see how things panned out.

Top 50 Hitting Prospects for 2009

1) Matt Wieters, C, Baltimore Orioles
     Hit .288/.340/.412 in 96 games for the Orioles. He was hot late in the season and I still expect him to be an excellent player. The power will come.

 2) Travis Snider, OF, Toronto Blue Jays
   Hit .241/.328/.419 for the Blue Jays in 77 games, hit .337/.431/.663 at Triple-A Las Vegas. Just needs a little more time.

 3) Lars Anderson, 1B, Boston Red Sox
   Hit .233/.328/.345 in 119 games for Double-A Portland. A disastrous season. See player comment for more details.

 4) Colby Rasmus, OF, St. Louis Cardinals
   Hit .251/.307/.407 in 147 games for the Cardinals. Erratic, but I think he'll improve.

5) Cameron Maybin, OF, Florida Marlins
    Hit .250/.318/.409 in 54 games for the Marlins, .319/.399/.463 in 82 games for Triple-A New Orleans. Like Snider, he just needs more time.

 6) Dexter Fowler, OF, Colorado Rockies
   Hit .266/.363/.406 with 27 steals in 138 games for the Rockies. Should develop more power eventually.

 7) Pedro Alvarez, 3B, Pittsburgh Pirates
    Hit .288/.378/.535 combined between Class A Lynchburg and Double-A Altoona. Coming along nicely.

 8) Jason Heyward, OF, Atlanta Braves
    Hit .323/.408/.555 combined between Class A Myrtle Beach, Double-A Mississippi, and Triple-A Gwinnett.  Looks great to me.

 9) Buster Posey, C, San Francisco Giants
     Hit .325/.416/.531 combined between Class A San Jose and Triple-A Fresno. Looks great to me.

 10) Justin Smoak, 1B, Texas Rangers
    Hit .328/.449/.481 in 50 games for Double-A Frisco, .244/.363/.360 in 54 games for Triple-A Oklahoma, hampered by a quad injury. I think he'll be fine.

 11) Elvis Andrus, SS, Texas Rangers
     Hit .267/.329/.373 with 33 steals for the Texas Rangers, impressing everyone on defense. Should have a very long and productive career.

 12) Mike Moustakas, 3B, Kansas City Royals
    Hit .250/.297/.421 in 129 games for Class A Wilmington. Hampered by difficult home park and shaky plate discipline.

13) Logan Morrison, 1B, Florida Marlins
     Hit .277/.408/.439 combined between Class A Jupiter and Double-A Jacksonville. Had some health problems, but took a big step forward with strike zone judgment.

 14) Brett Wallace, 3B, St. Louis Cardinals
     Traded to Oakland. Hit .293/.367/.455 combined between Double-A Springfield, Triple-A Memphis, and Triple-A Sacramento. Coming along.

 15) Andrew McCutchen, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates
      Hit .286/.365/.471 with 22 steals for the Pittsburgh Pirates, a very successful rookie campaign.

 16) Matt Gamel, 3B, Milwaukee Brewers
      Hit .242/.338/.422 in 61 games for the Brewers, .278/.367/.473 in 75 games for Triple-A Nashville. I think he'll hit, but defensive position remains in doubt.

 17) Carlos Santana, C, Cleveland Indians     Hit .290/.413/.530 with 23 homers, 90 walks for Double-A Akron. Looks great to me.

 18) Freddie Freeman, 1B, Atlanta Braves
     Hit .302/.394/.447 in 70 games for Myrtle Beach, .248/.308/.342 in 41 games for Mississippi. Very young for Double-A at age 19. Give him more time.

 19) Eric Hosmer, 1B, Kansas City Royals
    Hit .241/.334/.361 in 106 games combined between Class A Burlington and Class A Wilmington. Reportedly had vision problems all season.

 20) Wilmer Flores, SS, New York Mets
    Hit .264/.305/.332 in 125 games for Class A Savannah. Made contact but was overmatched most of the time, however he was just 17 years old, extremely young for the level.

 21) Jordan Schafer, OF, Atlanta Braves
     Hit just .204/.313/.287 in 50 games for the Atlanta Braves, got hurt. If healthy he has a decent chance to rebound.

 22) Gordon Beckham, SS, Chicago White Sox
    Hit .270/.347/.460 in 103 games for the Chicago White Sox, very credible performance one year out of college. He's gonna be a good one.

 23) Fernando Martinez, OF, New York Mets
     Hit .176/.242/.275 in 29 games for the New York Mets, .290/.337/.540 in 45 games for Triple-A Buffalo. Power seems to be developing and he's still extremely young, but injuries are a problem.

 24) Carlos Triunfel, SS, Seattle Mariners
     Missed almost the whole season with a broken leg.

 25) Jesus Montero, C, New York Yankees
     Hit .337/.389/.562 combined between Class A Tampa and Double-A Trenton. Excellent bat. Defense remains a problem.

 26) Ben Revere, OF, Minnesota Twins
    Hit .311/.372/.369 with 45 steals for Class A Fort Myers. Lots of speed, hits for average, no power.

 27) Tim Beckham, SS, Tampa Bay Rays
    Hit .275/.328/.389 for Class A Bowling Green. Rather disappointing season, now faces positional questions as well.

 28) Aaron Hicks, OF, Minnesota Twins
     Hit .251/.353/.382 with 10 steals in 67 games for Beloit in the Midwest League. So-so performance, though scouts still love the tools.

 29) Matt LaPorta, 1B-OF, Cleveland Indians
     Hit .254/.308/.442 in 52 games for the Cleveland Indians, .299/.388/.530 in 93 games for Triple-A Columbus. Just needs playing time.

 30) Yonder Alonso, 1B, Cincinnati Reds
    Hit .292/.374/.464 in 84 games combined between Class A Sarasota and Double-A Carolina. Power and walks are here, but needs to improve against southpaws.

 31) Matt Dominguez, 3B, Florida Marlins
     Hit .262/.333/.420 in 103 games for Jupiter, .186/.292/.320 in 31 games for Jacksonville. Bat isn't great at this stage, has a fine glove and is still young.

 32) Kyle Blanks, 1B, San Diego Padres
    Hit .250/.355/.514 in 54 games for the San Diego Padres, .283/.393/.485 in 66 games for Triple-A Portland. I like what he did in the majors and he should improve from this base.

 33) Mike Stanton, OF, Florida Marlins
    Hit .294/.390/.578 in 50 games for Jupiter, .231/.311/.455 in 79 games for Jacksonville. Strikeout rate remains extremely high, but power and youth stand out.

 34) Josh Vitters, 3B, Chicago Cubs
    Hit .316/.351/.535 in 70 games for Class A Peoria, .238/.260/.344 in 50 games for Class A Daytona. Quick bat with developing power, but very low walk rate is a handicap.

 35) Jose Tabata, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates
    Hit combined .293/.357/.406 in 93 games between Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis. Still just 21 years old, strong on-base skills but power isn't developing yet.

 36) Kyle Skipworth, C, Florida Marlins
    Hit .208/.263/.348 in 70 games for Greensboro. Had some injury problems, but it was a really bad year no matter how you cut it.

 37) Michael Burgess, OF, Washington Nationals
    Hit .235/.325/.410 in 131 games for Class A Potomac. High strikeout rate is an issue, but has power and is still young.

38) Austin Jackson, OF, New York Yankees
      Hit .300/.354/.405 with 24 steals for Triple-A Scranton. Lack of power is an issue, but he uses his other tools well and I continue to like him better than the numbers say I should.

 39) Taylor Teagarden, C, Texas Rangers
    Hit .217/.270/.374 in 60 games for the Texas Ranges, used mostly as a reserve catcher. He's capable of better if they let him play.

 40) Angel Villalona, 1B, San Francisco Giants
     Hit .267/.306/.397 for Class A San Jose. As if that's not bad enough, he (allegedly) killed a guy in September and is now under arrest for murder in the Dominican Republic. I'd say that's a bad year.

 41) Wilson Ramos, C, Minnesota Twins
    Limited to 54 games by injury for Double-A New Britain, hit .317/.341/.454 when he got to play. A very solid prospect.

 42) Max Ramirez, C, Texas Rangers
    Hit .234/.323/.336 in 76 games for Triple-A Oklahoma, but was hampered most of the season by injuries. Given his previous track record it is too early to give up. Let's see what happens when he's healthy.

 43) Todd Frazier, INF, Cincinnati Reds
    Hit .292/.351/.481 combined between Double-A Carolina and Triple-A Louisville. Played mostly outfield this year, enhancing his versatility.

 44) Greg Halman, OF, Seattle Mariners
    Hit .210/.278/.420 with 25 homers, 29 walks, 183 strikeouts in 506 at-bats for Double-A West Tennessee. Enormous talent but extremely raw.

 45) David Cooper, 1B, Toronto Blue Jays
    Hit .258/.340/.389 in 128 games for Double-A New Hampshire. Controls the zone ok but power was disappointing and couldn't sustain high batting average from the lower levels.

 46) Josh Reddick, OF, Boston Red Sox
    Hit .277/.352/.520 in 63 games for Double-A Portland, but just .127/.190/.183 in 18 games for Triple-A Pawtucket and .169/.210/.339 in 27 games for the Boston Red Sox. Good tools but still learning how to hit.

 47) Beau Mills, 1B, Cleveland Indians
    Hit .267/.308/.417 in 134 games for Double-A Akron, 14 homers. Another first baseman with less-than-expected performance.

 48) Julio Borbon, OF, Texas Rangers
      Hit .307/.367/.386 with 25 steals in 96 games for Oklahoma. .312/.376/.414 with 19 steals in 46 games for the Texas Rangers. Made huge progress refining his tools into skills. Don't expect power.

 49) Aaron Cunningham, OF, Oakland Athletics
     Hit .302/.372/.479 in 83 games for Triple-A Sacramento, .151/.211/.245 in 23 games for Oakland. Needs another chance.

 50) Jaff Decker, OF, San Diego Padres
     Hit .299/.442/.514 in 104 games for Class A Fort Wayne. Exceptional bat with power and superb strike zone judgment.

        Several success stories, but I'm always more concerned about the busts than the successes. Highest-profile failure right now is Lars Anderson, who stunk up the Eastern League something awful. Several other first basemen weren't as good as expected, though some guys had injury excuses. As always, such lists can't really be judged just a year later; it takes four or five years until you know how a list really pans out.