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Minor League Ball: Top 120 Prospects for 2012

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Pitcher Matt Moore of the Tampa Bay Rays pitches against the Texas Rangers during Game Four of the American League Division Series at Tropicana Field on October 4, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
Pitcher Matt Moore of the Tampa Bay Rays pitches against the Texas Rangers during Game Four of the American League Division Series at Tropicana Field on October 4, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
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Minor League Ball: Top 120 Prospects 2012

Here is a list of Top 120 Prospects for 2012.

In the past, I have avoided combining lists for hitters and pitchers, preferring to separate them since they are different species. I still think that is the right thing to do philosophically, but nobody seems to agree with me on that, and demand for combined prospect lists is very high. So, here's a combined list.

As with all such lists, the trick is finding a balance between short-term expectation, closeness to the majors, and long-term potential. A list that looks at nothing but long-term upside will look much different than a list focused on players poised to make a quick impact. This list is a hybrid of the two types and some of the rankings will reflect that.

I tend to lean towards guys close to the majors. For example, Lance Lynn is ready to perform well in the majors right now. Taylor Guerrieri isn't. Guerrieri does have a higher upside than Lynn, but he is also much, much further away from the Show and has a considerably higher risk of failure. Next year I would expect Guerrieri to rank much higher, with Lynn graduating off the list.

It is a case-by-case thing. Just keep in mind that if your favorite high-upside player doesn't rank as high as you think he should, that doesn't mean that I don't like him or that I think he sucks or that I'm trying to disrespect him. In many cases it just means we need more information or that his career is just starting out.

Most of this list lines up just fine with the grades and ratings in the 2012 Baseball Prospect Book.. There are a few places in the 50-70 range, however, where the hitter/pitcher comparison breaks down, with players right on the borderline between B and B+. Mike Olt, for example, is a strong Grade B prospect in the book, but a few of the pitchers listed after him on this list are B+ guys in the book.

I am well aware of this inconsistency. It reflects what I write in the book every year, that a letter grade is merely a shorthand notation, and that grades for pitchers do not always directly correspond with grades for hitters.

My analysis and opinions are not static, and are constantly being revised and reviewed. I intend to revise all the letter grades around Opening Day, and this Top 120 is part of that process. Keep in mind that the book contains reports and more detailed opinions on every guy on this list (along with 1085 other players).

Anyway, with all that said, I hope you enjoy the list. I will be around on-and-off today to answer questions.

1) Bryce Harper, OF, Washington Nationals
2) Matt Moore, LHP, Tampa Bay Rays
3) Mike Trout, OF, Los Angeles Angels
4) Yu Darvish, RHP, Texas Rangers
5) Jurickson Profar, SS, Texas Rangers

6) Shelby Miller, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals
7) Trevor Bauer, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks
8) Manny Machado, SS, Baltimore Orioles
9) Jesus Montero, C, Seattle Mariners
10) Julio Teheran, RHP, Atlanta Braves

11) Gerrit Cole, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates
12) Devin Mesoraco, C, Cincinnati Reds
13) Nolan Arenado, 3B, Colorado Rockies
14) Wil Myers, OF, Kansas City Royals
15) Taijuan Walker, RHP, Seattle Mariners

16) Jameson Taillon, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates
17) Yoenis Cespedes, OF, Oakland Athletics
18) Jacob Turner, RHP, Detroit Tigers
19) Dylan Bundy, RHP, Baltimore Orioles
20) Anthony Rendon, 3B, Washington Nationals

21) Drew Pomeranz, LHP, Colorado Rockies
22) Jarrod Parker, RHP, Oakland Athletics
23) Tyler Skaggs, LHP, Arizona Diamondbacks
24) Archie Bradley, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks
25) Danny Hultzen, LHP, Seattle Mariners

26) Travis D'Arnaud, C, Toronto Blue Jays
27) Brett Jackson, OF, Chicago Cubs
28) Yonder Alonso, 1B, San Diego Padres
29) James Paxton, LHP, Seattle Mariners
30) Xander Bogaerts, SS, Boston Red Sox

31) Miguel Sano, 3B, Minnesota Twins
32) Arodys Vizcaino, RHP, Atlanta Braves
33) Carlos Martinez, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals
34) Christian Yelich, OF, Miami Marlins
35) Matt Harvey, RHP, New York Mets

36) Zack Wheeler, RHP, New York Mets
37) Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Chicago Cubs
38) Bubba Starling, OF, Kansas City Royals
39) Cheslor Cuthbert, 3B, Kansas City Royals
40) Trevor May, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies

41) Randall Delgado, RHP, Atlanta Braves
42) Yasmani Grandal, C, San Diego Padres
43) Gary Brown, OF, San Francisco Giants
44) Addison Reed, RHP, Chicago White Sox
45) Manny Banuelos, LHP, New York Yankees

46) Francisco Lindor, SS, Cleveland Indians
47) Jonathan Singleton, 1B, Houston Astros
48) Jake Marisnick, OF, Toronto Blue Jays
49) Josh Bell, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates
50) Jedd Gyorko, 3B, San Diego Padres

51) Anthony Gose, OF, Toronto Blue Jays
52) A.J. Cole, RHP, Oakland Athletics
53) Michael Choice, OF, Oakland Athletics
54) Rymer Liriano, OF, San Diego Padres
55) George Springer, OF, Houston Astros

56) Kolten Wong, 2B, St. Louis Cardinals
57) Billy Hamilton, SS, Cincinnati Reds
58) Hak-Ju Lee, SS, Tampa Bay Rays
59) Nick Castellanos, 3B, Detroit Tigers
60) Jake Odorizzi, RHP, Kansas City Royals

61) Gary Sanchez, C, New York Yankees
62) Oscar Taveras, OF, St. Louis Cardinals
63) Nick Franklin, SS, Seattle Mariners
64) Starling Marte, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates
65) Mike Olt, 3B, Texas Rangers

66) Jean Segura, INF, Los Angeles Angels
67) Noah Syndergaard, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays
68) Justin Nicolino, LHP, Toronto Blue Jays
69) Tyrell Jenkins, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals
70) Daniel Norris, LHP, Toronto Blue Jays

71) Jesse Biddle, LHP, Philadelphia Phillies
72) Nestor Molina, RHP, Chicago White Sox
73) Drew Hutchison, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays
74) Matt Barnes, RHP, Boston Red Sox
75) Zach Lee, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers

76) Andrelton Simmons, SS, Atlanta Braves
77) Jonathan Schoop, SS, Baltimore Orioles
78) Will Middlebrooks, 3B, Boston Red Sox
79) Robbie Erlin, LHP, San Diego Padres
80) Deck McGuire, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays

81) Joe Wieland, RHP, San Diego Padres
82) Keyvius Sampson, RHP, San Diego Padres
83) Martin Perez, LHP, Texas Rangers
84) Brad Peacock, RHP, Oakland Athletics
85) Sonny Gray, RHP, Oakland Athletics

86) Chad Bettis, RHP, Colorado Rockies
87) Nate Eovaldi, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
88) Derek Norris, C, Oakland Athletics
89) Brandon Jacobs, OF, Boston Red Sox
90) Eddie Rosario, 2B-OF, Minnesota Twins

91) Oswaldo Arcia, OF, Minnesota Twins
92) Mason Williams, OF, New York Yankees
93) Brandon Nimmo, OF, New York Mets
94) Mikie Mahtook, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
95) Jeurys Familia, RHP, New York Mets

96) Garrett Richards, RHP, Los Angeles Angels
97) Ryan Lavarnway, C, Boston Red Sox
98) Lance Lynn, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals
99) Trevor Story, SS, Colorado Rockies
100) Wily Peralta, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers

101) Mike Montgomery, LHP, Kansas City Royals
102) Alexander Torres, LHP, Tampa Bay Rays
103) Dellin Betances, RHP, New York Yankees
104) Tyler Thornburg, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers
105) Tim Wheeler, OF, Colorado Rockies

106) Allen Webster, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
107) Taylor Guerrieri, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays
108) Jarred Cosart, RHP, Houston Astros
109) Javier Baez, 3B, Chicago Cubs
110) Matt Adams, 1B, St. Louis Cardinals

111) Cory Spangenberg, 2B, San Diego Padres
112) Casey Kelly, RHP, San Diego Padres
113) Jed Bradley, LHP, Milwaukee Brewers
114) Garin Cecchini, 3B, Boston Red Sox
115) Zack Cox, 3B, St. Louis Cardinals

116) Leonys Martin, OF, Texas Rangers
117) Joe Panik, INF, San Francisco Giants
118) Robbie Grossman, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates
119) Taylor Jungmann, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers
120) Daniel Corcino, RHP, Cincinnati Reds

ALSO CONSIDERED: Tyler Anderson, LHP, Rockies; Joe Benson, OF, Twins; Dante Bichette, Jr, 3B, Yankees; Cody Buckel, RHP, Rangers: Jose Campos, RHP, Yankees: Andrew Chafin, LHP, Dbacks; Alex Colome, RHP, Rays: Casey Crosby, LHP, Tigers; Jose Fernandez, RHP, Marlins; Sean Gilmartin, LHP, Braves; Brian Goodwin, OF, Nationals; Garrett Gould, RHP, Dodgers; Johnny Hellweg, RHP, Angels; Liam Hendriks, RHP, Twins; Alex Meyer, RHP, Nationals; Rougned Odor, SS, Rangers: Andrew Oliver, LHP, Tigers; Marcell, Ozuna, OF, Marlins; Neil Ramirez, RHP, Rangers: Trevor Rosenthal, RHP, Cardinals; Robbie Ross, LHP, Rangers: Eduardo Sanchez, RHP; Cardinals: Drew Smyly, LHP, Tigers; Robert Stephenson, RHP, Reds.