Every year in the book, I do a review of my Top 50 Hitters and Top 50 Pitchers lists from the previous year, to point out both success stories and failures, and to help improve future lists. Here is the report looking back at 2010, which will appear in the 2011 Baseball Prospect Book. You can order the book now; it will ship in late January.
Top 50 Hitting Prospects for 2010
1) Jason Heyward, OF, Braves: Hit .277/.393/.456 for the Braves, with 18 homers, 11 steals, and 91 walks. Excellent rookie season, and the best is yet to come.
2) Jesus Montero, C, Yankees: Hit .289/.353/.517 with 21 homers in Triple-A at age 20. Still on track.
3) Buster Posey, C, Giants: Hit .305/.357/.505 with 18 homers for the Giants. Another excellent rookie.
4) Desmond Jennings, OF, Rays: Hit .278/.362/.393 with 37 steals in Triple-A. Love the speed, power hasn't developed, had nagging injuries.
5) Carlos Santana, C, Indians: Hit .316/.447/.597 in Triple-A, then .260/.401/.467 in the majors before getting hurt. Not a fluke, he just needs to stay healthy.
6) Pedro Alvarez, 3B, Pirates: Hit .277/.363/.533 in Triple-A, then .256/.326/.461 with 16 homers in the majors. Strikes out a lot, but power is genuine.
7) Mike Stanton, OF, Marlins: Hit .313/.442/.729 in Double-A, then .259/.326/.507 with 22 homers in the majors. Enormous power, great tools, approach is still rather raw.
8) Chris Carter, 1B-OF, Athletics: Hit .258/.365/.529 with 31 homers in Triple-A, then .186/.256/.329 in 24 major league games. Love the power, and I think he'll make adjustments.
9) Justin Smoak, 1B, Rangers: Traded to Mariners, hit .218/.307/.371 with 13 homers overall in 100 major league games. I still think he'll be a good player.
10) Dustin Ackley, 2B, Mariners: Hit .263/.389/.384 in Double-A then .274/.338/.439 in Triple-A. Controls zone well, power to the gaps, defense coming along. Not a great year but not terrible and scouts still like him a lot.
11) Domonic Brown, OF, Phillies: Hit .327/.391/.589 with 20 homers, 17 steals between Double-A and Triple-A, then .210/.257/.355 in 35 games in the majors. Outstanding tools and skills developing nicely.
12) Michael Taylor, OF, Athletics: Hit .272/.348/.392 with 16 steals in Triple-A. Controlled zone OK, but power disappeared. Hot late in the season.
13) Logan Morrison, 1B, Marlins: Hit .307/.427/.487 in Triple-A, .283/.390/.447 in the majors. More power will come.
14) Brett Lawrie, 2B, Brewers: Hit .285/.346/.451 with 30 steals, 16 triples in Double-A. Still working on defense, can be streaky, but very intriguing.
15) Fernando Martinez, OF, Mets: Hit .253/.317/.455 in Triple-A, 71 games. Injuries remain an issue, still just 22 years old entering 2011.
16) Alcides Escobar, SS, Brewers: Hit .235/.288/.326 in the majors. Bat obviously weak, though may improve some. Glove kept him in the lineup.
17) Grant Green, SS, Athletics: Hit .318/.363/.520 in High-A California League, 20 homers. Needs to improve plate discipline and defense.
18) Starlin Castro, SS, Cubs: Promoted to majors a year earlier than I expected, hit .300/.347/.408 at age 20, obviously very successful.
19) Dee Gordon, SS, Dodgers: Hit .277/.332/.355 with 53 steals in Double-A. Gap power, still refining his game, skipped a level and wasn't overwhelmed.
20) Ryan Westmoreland, OF, Red Sox: Missed season with brain surgery. Future uncertain.
21) Aaron Hicks, OF, Twins: Hit .279/.401/.428 with 88 walks, 21 steals in Low-A Midwest League.
Repeated the league, power hasn't developed, other skills remain intriguing.
22) Derek Norris, C, Nationals: Hit .235/.419/.419 in High-A Carolina League. Some injury issues, but drew 89 walks, and I still think he can remain at catcher.
23) Freddie Freeman, 1B, Braves: Hit .319/.378/.521 in Triple-A at age 20. If anything, he's still underrated.
24) Wilmer Flores, SS, Mets: Hit .278/.342/.433 in Low-A Sally League and .300/.324/.415 in High-A Florida State League. He's only 19 years old; this was a good season. Will need new position though.
25) Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B, Indians: Hit .278/.351/.450 in Double-A. Coming along.
26) Brett Wallace, 1B-3B, Blue Jays: Hit .301/.359/.509 in Triple-A, traded to Astros and hit .222/.296/.319 in 51 games. Some doubts are cropping up now but he needs more exposure before we give up on him.
27) Donavan Tate, OF, Padres: Hit .222/.336/.344 in rookie ball. Very disappointing, can't stay healthy, still has great tools but needs a lot of refinement.
28) Mike Trout, OF, Angels: Hit .362/.454/.526 in Low-A Midwest League, .306/.388/.434 in High-A Cal League, stole 56 bases overall, drew 73 walks. Outstanding debut.
29) Todd Frazier, INF-OF, Reds: Hit .258/.333/.448 with 17 homers, 14 steals in Triple-A. Slow start hurt his numbers, should still be a useful player.
30) Yonder Alonso, 1B, Reds: Hit .290/.362/.458 between Double-A and Triple-A, .207/.207/.276 in 29 major league at-bats. Excellent in second half of the season.
31) Jason Castro, C, Astros: Hit .265/.365/.355 in Triple-A, .205/.286/.287 in the majors. Obviously he's got to do better than this with the bat to start no matter how good his defense.
32) Hang Conger, C, Angels: Hit .300/.385/.463 in Triple-A, .172/.294/.276 in 13 major league games. Coming along.
33) Matt Dominguez, 3B, Marlins: Hit .252/.333/.411 in Double-A. Not great with the bat, still young enough to improve.
34) Josh Vitters, 3B, Cubs: Hit .291/.350/.445 in High-A, .223/.292/.383 in Double-A, had injury problems. He really needs some consolidation time at one level.
35) Ike Davis, 1B, Mets: Hit .264/.351/.440 with 19 homers for the Mets. A credible major league debut, with better seasons to follow.
36) Michael Saunders, OF, Mariners: Hit .211/.295/.367 in 289 at-bats for the Mariners He's capable of better.
37) Austin Jackson, OF, Tigers: Hit .293/.345/.400 with 27 steals, 170 strikeouts. I don't think the batting average is sustainable with that many Ks, but I think he will have a very good career overall, though he may slump in '11.
38) Josh Bell, 3B, Orioles: .278/.328/.481 in Triple-A, .214/.224/.302 in 159 major league at-bats. Will improve, but I see him as more of a solid player, not a star.
39) Ryan Kalish, OF, Red Sox: .294/.382/.502 with 25 steals between Double-A and Triple-A, .252/.305/.405 with 10 steals in the majors. Multi-skilled, multi-tooled player who is going to be very, very good.
40) Josh Reddick, OF, Red Sox: .266/.301/.466 in Triple-A, .194/.206/.323 in 62 major league at-bats. I like the power potential, but he's still raw with his approach.
41) Hak-Ju Lee, SS, Cubs: Hit .282/.354/.351 with 32 steals in Low-A Midwest League. Coming along.
42) Jose Tabata, OF, Pirates: Hit .299/.346/.400 in the majors, 19 steals. Power development still uncertain, but he showed he could handle the Show.
43) James Darnell, 3B, Padres: Hit .265/.348/.408 in Double-A, but with very sharp home/road split. I think he'll surprise people in '11.
44) Jared Mitchell, OF, White Sox: Missed season with leg injury. Will it impact his speed? That was his best tool before he got hurt.
45) Jaff Decker, OF, Padres: Hit .262/.374/.500 in the High-A California League. Still has strong power/patience combination.
46) Jiovanni Mier, SS, Astros: Hit .235/.323/.314 with 15 steals in Low-A Sally League. Disappointing season, but young enough to rebound.
47) Grant Desme, OF, Athletics: Quit baseball to become a monk.
48) Alex Avila, C, Tigers: Hit .228/.316/.340 in the majors. He was rushed, and I think he is capable of better.
49) Everett Williams, OF, Padres: Hit .244/.333/.372 in Low-A Midwest League. Struck out 131 times in 107 games; obviously has to correct that.
50) Michael Brantley, OF, Indians: Hit .319/.395/.425 in Triple-A, .246/.296/.327 in the majors with 10 steals in 72 games. He'll get it going in the majors eventually.
I am pretty happy with this list.