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Top 50 Pitching Prospects for 2010, in Review

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Every year in my book, I review the Top 50 Pitching and Top 50 Hitting prospects from the previoous year, to see how the list came out and help me improve subsequent lists. Here is the report on the 2010 list. Please remember this was the PRE-SEASON list, published in my book this past February.

The 2011 Baseball Prospect Book is now available for pre-order. It will ship the last week of January 2011.

Top 50 Pitching Prospects for 2010

1) Stephen Strasburg, RHP, Nationals: 2.91 ERA in the majors, 92/17 K/BB in 68 innings, 56 hits. Outstanding before his elbow blew out.

2) Neftali Feliz, RHP, Rangers:
2.73 ERA, 71/18 K/BB in 69 innings, 40 saves in the majors. Only question now is long-term role.

3) Brian Matusz, LHP, Orioles: 10
-12, 4.30 ERA, 143/63 K/BB in 176 innings, 173 hits in the majors. Turned things around after a rough start, and should continue to improve.

4) Jeremy Hellickson, RHP, Rays: 2.72 ERA, 127/37 K/BB in 119 innings in Triple-A, 3.47 ERA with 33/8 K/BB in 36 innings in the majors. It is no fluke; he's excellent.

5) Wade Davis, RHP, Rays:
12-10, 4.07 with 113/62 K/BB in 168 innings in the majors, 165 hits. Solid pitcher, and should continue to improve.

6) Aroldis Chapman, LHP, Reds: 3.57 ERA, 125/52 K/BB in 96 innings, 77 hits in Triple-A. 2.03 ERA, 19/5 K/BB in 13 innings in the majors. He'll need a few command refinements if used as a starter, but that 105 MPH fastball could make him the Cuban Randy Johnson.

7) Martin Perez, LHP, Rangers:
5.96 ERA, 101/50 K/BB in 100 innings in Double-A, 117 hits. He was too young for this level at age 19.

8) Madison Bumgarner, LHP, Giants: 3.00 ERA, 86/26 K/BB in 111 major league innings, 119 hits. Should continue to improve barring injury.

9) Christian Friedrich, LHP, Rockies:
5.05 ERA, 78/35 K/BB in 87 innings, 100 hits in Double-A. Bothered by elbow problems, will have to see if that becomes a bigger issue and drops stock further.

10) Casey Crosby, LHP, Tigers:
Limited to just 12 innings of rehab work in rookie ball due to more elbow problems for this Tommy John survivor. Status unclear right now.

11) Tanner Scheppers, RHP, Rangers: 5.48 ERA with 71/30 K/BB in 69 innings in Triple-A, 82 hits allowed. I love the strikeouts, but he was really awful late in the season and I'm wondering about him right now.

12) Chris Withrow, RHP, Dodgers:
5.97 ERA with 120/69 K/BB in 130 innings in Double-A, 146 hits. Still very young and has good stuff, but command issues and poor late-season performance dropped his stock.

13) Jenry Mejia, RHP, Mets:
Handled stupidly by the Mets, 4.62 ERA with 22/20 K/BB in 39 pointless relief innings in the majors, 46 hits. Posted 1.28 ERA in 42 minor league innings at four levels. I still like him despite these WTF decisions by the team.

14) Matt Moore, LHP, Rays:
3.36 ERA with 208/61 K/BB in 145 innings in High-A Florida State League, 109 hits. Led minors in strikeouts, H/IP also excellent, posted 92/13 K/BB in last 59 innings.

15) Drew Storen, RHP, Nationals:
3.58 ERA with 52/22 K/BB in 55 major league innings, 48 hits. Should have a very good career going forward.

16) Mike Montgomery, LHP, Royals:
2.61 ERA with 88/31 K/BB in 93 innings on the season, including four starts in High-A, 13 in Double-A, and three rookie ball rehab starts. Remains a strong prospect, just needs to stay healthy.

17) Zach Stewart, RHP, Blue Jays:
3.63 ERA with 106/54 K/BB in 136 innings in Double-A, 131 hits. I thought he'd do better, but it was still a good season.

18) Kyle Drabek, RHP, Blue Jays:
2.94 ERA, 132/68 K/BB in 162 innings in Double-A, 126 hits. Looked good in three major league starts although he lost all three.

19) Jacob Turner, RHP, Tigers:
3.67 ERA, 51/9 K/BB in 54 innings Low-A Midwest League, 2.93 ERA with 51/14 K/BB in 61 innings in High-A Florida State League. Very fine season overall.

20) Tyler Matzek, LHP, Rockies: 2.92 ERA with 88/62 K/BB in 89 innings in Low-A Sally League, 62 hits. Both stuff quality and command were erratic; walks have to come down.

21) Jordan Lyles, RHP, Astros: 3
.12 ERA with 115/35 K/BB in 127 innings in Double-A, 5.40 ERA with 22/11 K/BB in 32 innings in Triple-A. Throws strikes, very efficient, young for the levels.

22) Casey Kelly, RHP, Red Sox:  5.31 ERA with 81/35 K/BB in 95 innings in Double-A, 118 hits. He throws strikes, but this was an unimpressive season otherwise, though he was young for level at 20.

23) Jhoulys Chacin,  RHP, Rockies:
3.28 ERA, 138/61 K/BB in 137 innings in the majors, 114 hits. Very successful rookie season that deserved more attention than it received.

24) Dan Hudson, RHP, White Sox: 3
.47 ERA, 108/31 K/BB in 93 Triple-A innings, 2.45 ERA with 82/27 K/BB in 95 major league innings, 68 hits. Inexplicably traded from Chicago to Arizona, a move that the White Sox are likely to regret in coming years.

25) Jake Arrieta, RHP, Orioles:
4.66 ERA with 52/48 K/BB in 100 major league innings, 106 hits. It may take a little time, but I expect him to improve.

26) Simon Castro, RHP, Padres:
3.28 ERA with 113/42 K/BB in 140 innings between Double-A and Triple-A, 123 hits. Will need more Triple-A time but still on course.

27) Wilmer Font, RHP, Rangers:
4.35 ERA with 85/45 K/BB in 79 innings between Low-A and High-A, 73 hits. Command is an issue, season ended early with elbow trouble.

28) Julio Teheran, RHP, Braves:
2.59 ERA, 159/40 K/BB in 143 innings between Low-A, High-A, and Double-A, 108 hits. Now one of the best pitching prospects in baseball.

29) Zach Britton, LHP, Orioles:
2.70 ERA, 124/51 K/BB in 153 innings in Double-A and Triple-A, 139 hits, 2.80 GO/AO. I like this one a lot.

30) Ethan Martin, RHP, Dodgers:
6.35 ERA with 105/81 K/BB in 113 innings in High-A California League, 120 hits. Command issues and regression in secondary pitches hurt him.

31) Alex White, RHP, Indians:
2.45 ERA with 117/46 K/BB in 151 innings between High-A Carolina League and Double-A, 1.91 GO/AO, 123 hits. Developing nicely.

32) Hector Rondon, RHP, Indians:
8.53 ERA with 33/10 K/BB in 32 innings in Triple-A, gave up 48 hits and 12 homers. Had Tommy John surgery.

33) Jon Niese, LHP, Mets:
4.20 ERA with 148/62 K/BB in 174 major league innings, 192 hits. He's not a star but I don't see any reason why he can't be a useful pitcher for a long time.

34) Alexander Colome, RHP, Rays: 3.89 ERA with 126/45 K/BB in 118 innings, 103 hits in 22 Low-A and one High-A start. Coming along well.

35) Arodys Vizcaino, RHP, Braves: 2.74 ERA with 79/12 K/BB in 85 innings, 79 hits between Low-A and High-A. Missed middle of season with elbow issues but surgery avoided.

36) Jay Jackson, RHP, Cubs: 4.63 ERA with 119/48 K/BB in 157 innings in Triple-A, 153 hits. Erratic season, very good at times, poor at others.

37) Andrew Cashner, RHP, Cubs:
2.05 ERA with 59/15 K/BB in 57 innings in Double-A and Triple-A, 4.80 ERA with 50/30 K/BB in 54 innings in the majors. Command was good in the minors, not so good in the majors, should improve eventually.

38) Mike Leake, RHP, Reds:
4.23 ERA with 91/49 K/BB in 138 major league innings, 158 hits. Very credible considering he had no minor league experience. Late-season arm woes will have to be watched.

39) Aaron Miller, LHP, Dodgers:
2.92 ERA with 99/48 K/BB in 102 innings in High-A Cal League, 76 hits. 7.04 ERA with 22/18 K/BB in 23 innings in Double-A, 28 hits. Will try again at Double-A in '11. Has the stuff if command is there.

40) Michael Bowden, RHP, Red Sox:
3.66 ERA with 77/37 K/BB in 106 Triple-A innings, 84 hits. Converted to bullpen, 4.70 ERA with 13/4 K/BB in 15 major league innings, 20 hits. Maybe I'm stubborn but I think he will surprise people soon, in a positive way.

41) Brandon Erbe, RHP, Orioles: 5.73 ERA with 50/22 K/BB in 71 innings in Triple-A, 86 hits. Ugly numbers, season ended early with shoulder problems. Status unclear.

42) Aaron Crow, RHP, Royals: 5.66 ERA with 90/59 K/BB in 119 innings in Double-A, 130 hits. Sent back to High-A, remained shaky with 5.93 ERA, 51 hits in 44 innings, but a 53/9 K/BB. Showed good stuff but feel for pitching was less than expected.

43) Wynn Pelzer, RHP, Padres: 4.25 ERA with 103/63 K/BB in 114 Double-A innings, 126 hits. Converted to relief and traded to Orioles. I still like his stuff.

44) Tim Melville, RHP, Royals:
4.97 ERA, 90/54 K/BB in 112 innings in High-A Carolina League, 101 hits. Not a good season, still interesting but passed by other pitchers in deep KC system.

45) Randall Delgado, RHP, Braves:
2.76 ERA, 120/32 K/BB in 117 innings in High-A Carolina League, 4.74 ERA with 42/20 K/BB in 44 innings in Double-A. Command slipped at higher level, but still a good year.

46) Zack Wheeler, RHP, Giants:
3.99 ERA, 70/38 K/BB in 59 innings, 47 hits in Low-A Sally League, 2.61 GO/AO. Kept on a tight leash, needs to improve command, but strikeout/grounder combination is very promising.

47) Shelby Miller, RHP, Cardinals:
3.62 ERA, 140/33 K/BB in 104 innings, 97 hits in Low-A Midwest League. Excellent component ratios with plus stuff, developing very well.

48) Chad James, LHP, Marlins:
5.12 ERA, 105/65 K/BB in 114 innings in Low-A Sally League, 116 hits. Command needs considerable work at this point.

49) Craig Kimbrel, RHP, Braves:
1.62 ERA with 83/35 K/BB in 56 innings in Triple-A, 23 saves. 0.44 ERA with 40/16 K/BB in 21 major league innings. He walks a lot of guys, but his K/IP and H/IP are outstanding.

50) Trevor Reckling, LHP, Angels:
8.53 ERA, 46/50 K/BB in 70 Triple-A innings, 99 hits. Sent back to Double-A, 4.56 ERA with 62/35 K/BB in 79 innings, 74 hits. His command just collapsed at the higher level.

Overall, I think both the hitter and pitcher lists for 2010 came out pretty well. I hope the '11 lists are as successful.