Monday, November 30, 2009

2010 All-Prospect Team

Please see The Baseball Chronicle's "2010 TOP 200 Prospects" List and Rankings posted prior to these past three articles. Top 200 Prospects can be accessed via archives on the right side of the page-- the Top 200 Prospects are featured in the first three posts of November 2009.

The following teams are comprised of the most well-rounded, athletic and major-league-ready prospects currently in the minors. The first team is a list of the most talented and polished MiLB players available, while the "Futures" roster is a list of younger prospects with the highest ceilings and strongest chances of reaching them.


CF- Desmond Jennings
C- Buster Posey
RF- Jason Heyward
3B- Pedro Alvarez
DH- Jesus Montero
LF-Michael Taylor
1B- Justin Smoak
SS-Reid Brignac
2B-Starlin Castro

The Rays' Desmond Jennings would lead off with his plus-plus baserunning and speed, and would offer good range in center. Buster Posey would be a nice 2 hitter with his ability to make contact and advanced two-strike approach. Posey has enough speed to go first-to-third rather easily and will be one of the few MLB catchers to not clog the basepaths. Ultimate prospect, the A-T-L's Jason Heyward, has the best mix of tools on the roster. Heyward features the power to hit cleanup, the bat to hit at the top of the order and the speed to distract pitchers while on the base-paths. The Pirates' Pedro Alvarez would employ his monster bat and bat clean-up, while playing a decent third base. Montero would be in the five hole to utilize his light-tower power and advanced bat. Taylor would be a great 6 hitter with his ability to make contact and possibly steal 10-20 bases annually. Smoak would hit 7th, using a polished bat and an advanced glove in the field to contribute. Rays infielder, Reid Brignac would start at shortstop as he has developed in to being the best all-around shortstop in the minors. Brignac isn't spectacular, but his combination of a nice glove and the ability to hit a tick below .300 with 12-18 home runs annually, is better than the alternative offers from a weak crop of young middle-infielders. Cubs' shortstop, Starlin Castro, would round out the order at second base- an area that would utilize his range and would soften the blow of his strong-but-wild throws. His speed and ability to make contact could hit 2 at the top of the order.

C- Carlos Santana
OF-Fernando Martinez
OF- Domonic Brown
Util-Todd Frazier
INF-Alcides Escobar

Carlos Santana has the ability to be a very good MLB starting catcher with the stick, and has the arm to keep base-runners honest. Fernando Martinez has showed flashes of his supposed brilliance--primarily in a short 2009 stint in AAA, and could fill in at all three outfield positions and offer advanced power. Domonic Brown needs to develop more power to be a true top-prospect, but has the size and tools to be Brian Jordan. Todd Frazier is position-less, but has the tools and versatility to play everywhere on the diamond besides pitcher and catcher. Alcides Escobar is the most defensively advanced shortstop in the minors, and has enough speed to make up for his powerless and patience-lacking game at the plate.

RHP- Stephen Strasburg
RHP- Neftali Feliz
RHP- Wade Davis
LHP- Brian Matusz
RHP- Aaron Crow

Nationals' pitcher Stephen Strasburg has the fastball and power-slider to be the best pitcher in the game. Neftali Feliz dazzled fans in Arlington last summer with his 100mph fastball and has the ability to be an ace very soon. Wade Davis is the most polished pitcher on this last (besides Strasburg) and has the fastball and curve to be a tick behind Josh Beckett. Brian Matusz has an unspectacular fastball but has the changeup, curve and control to be the AL's version of Cole Hamels. Aaron Crow is the second oldest player in the rotation but with the least amount of experience playing professionally. Still, Crow has proven a lot against metal bats in college and has the fastball/slider combo to be the middle portion of a 1-2-3 punch with Greinke and Meche.

CL- Aroldis Chapman
SU-Drew Storen
SU- Phillippe Aumont
MR- Dan Runzler
MR- Chris Withrow
LHP- Christian Friedrich
LHP- John Gaub

Slotting Chapman in at Closer is a bold move considering his serious lack of experience playing professionally in the US, but Chapman's 94-98 mph fastball and good breaking stuff (from the left side) make him seriously close to Billy Wagner in ability. Drew Storen doesn't quite have the heat to be a top-tier closer, but does have an intelligent approach and a very good slider. Aumont is a bit of a mystery, but since being converted to relief, seems to have retained the ceiling he had as a younger starter. Dodgers' Chris Withrow has a fastball that can sniff 100mph but lacks the control to be a 6 inning starter in the MLB. Dan Runzler is one of the most developed relievers in the minors and could offer the Giants an alternative to Brian Wilson in 2010. Christian Friedrich will be a starter in the majors, but his fantastic curveball will give him the ability to dominate lefties at every level. John Gaub, a former 641st overall pick and shoulder surgery survivor, has been nothing short of spectacular throughout his 3 year career in the minors. A young lefty in the Cubs system, Gaub has struck out 184 in 128 career innings and has developed a nasty slider to pair with his 90-94 mph fastball.

Manager- "Super" Joe McEwing

"Super Joe" spent much of his career filling the utility role for a variety of teams including the Mets and Cardinals. His blue-collar work ethic and high-energy approach to playing the game make him both a favorite of his players and of a number of scouts at Baseball America. After assuming a new job as hitting coach with the Charlotte Knights in 2008, Super Joe took over as manager for the Winston-Salem Dash in 2009 and ended up being named the Top Managerial Prospect in the South Atlantic League by Baseball America by season's end. His grit and dedication to practice didn't push his career OPS over .660, but it did make him the anti-Allen Iverson in a number of ways--and for young players that actually need practice, that will mean a lot.

Futures Team


LF- Ryan Westmoreland
2B- Dustin Ackley
CF-Donovan Tate
RF- Michael Stanton
DH- Chris Carter
1B- Mike Moustakas
C- Derek Norris
3B-Matt Dominguez
SS- Jose Iglesias

Red Sox outfielder Ryan Westmoreland has the tools to be Grady Sizemore as long as he can avoid the array injuries that kept him at DH in 2009. The no. 2 overall pick in the 2009 MLB Draft, Dustin Ackley, has one of the most advanced bats in the minors but with such a slight frame may never develop the power to hit more than 15-20 home runs in the MLB. Ackley is being converted to a second baseman by the Mariners, and his plus speed, range and athleticism should keep him there. The Padres' Donovan Tate has one of the highest ceilings in the minors. Tate has the speed to steal 40 bases annually in the MLB (maybe 50-60) and the bat to hit 40 homeruns (with necessary work on his bat control). The young outfielder also has the range and arm to win multiple Gold Gloves. Marlins RF Michael Stanton has the most impressive homerun power currently in the minors, and if he can cut down on the strikeouts and improve his patience, he could easily surpass his Jermaine Dye comparisons. Oakland's Chris "Vernon" Carter has the raw power to be an impressive power threat on a team in dire need of one. Carters arm is plus, but his other defensive tools are poor. The Royals' Mike Moustakas has the glove to stay at third, but could be an advanced first baseman in the MLB. Moustakas has disappointed thus far, (some speculating his underachieving is due to durability issues and a pull-happy batting approach) but most scouts still firmly believe that he has a very good chance at developing in to a star ballplayer. The Nationals' Derek Norris has shown patience beyond his years, and after a breakout 2009, Norris has convinced many at Baseball America that he could be the long term answer to Jesus Flores' shoulder woes. The Marlins Matt Dominguez is regularly compared to a young Mike Lowell, featuring one of the best gloves at 3B in the minors and the power to hit 30 homers in the MLB. Red Sox shortstop Jose Iglesias is often compared to Orlando Cabrera and has the glove to be a top defensive infielder in the AL.

C/3B- Will Myers
Util- Brett Lawrie
MI- Tim Beckham
OF- Aaron Hicks
CI/OF- James Darnell

Catcher and third baseman Will Myers can throw a low 90's fastball and is already ranked as the no.1 prospect in the Pioneer League by Baseball America for 2010. Brett Lawrie has the forearms and hands to hit near .300 and mash 20-30 homeruns in the MLB if he continue to develop in the minors throughout the next few years. Lawrie is lauded for his advanced approach at the plate and athleticism, but still has yet to secure and develop a defensive position that he could hold in the MLB. Shortstop Tim Beckham has the tools of a no.1 pick (hence the Rays' drafting him no.1 last year), but has shown little thus far. Aaron Hicks can throw a 98 mph fastball and has the tools and future of an MLB gold glover. His bat hasn't showed as much promise, but still projects to be MLB-caliber. James Darnell was one of the poorest fielding third baseman in the minors in 2009, but his power, bat, patience and athleticism have made him a top prospect.

LHP- Martin Perez
LHP- Madison Bumgarner
RHP- Jarrod Parker
RHP- Julio Teheran
LHP- Casey Crosby

With his 94 mph fastball and developing circle-change, the Rangers' Martin Perez has drawn some Johan Santana comparisons lately. Madison Bumgarner has the control and polish of an MLB Ace already, but needs to develop the secondary stuff and find the velocity that he has recently lost on his fastball if he wants to fulfill the Giants' hopes of his future as a true MLB ace. The Diamondbacks' Jarrod Parker is set to recover from Tommy John surgery for all of 2010, but still has the ability and ceiling of a top-tier starter. The young (and scrawny) Julio Teheran has a hard fastball and a nice changeup, and has developed into an intriguing and often dominating pitcher. Lefty Casey Crosby has come back from TJ surgery with a mid 90s fastball and is poised to become a dominant pitcher in the MLB.

CL- Tanner Scheppers
SU- Kyle Drabek
SU-Jake Arrieta
MR- Jason Knapp
MR- Alex White
LHP-Jake McGee

If Tanner Scheppers can avoid the shoulder woes that have cost him millions of dollars thus far into his career, he could wield his power fastball and impressive breaking stuff to become a back-of-the-bullpen force, or a dominant starter. Kyle Drabek has one of the best breaking balls in the minors, and has a low-to-mid nineties fastball. Orioles Jake Arrieta has a good, hard, fastball but his lack of another plus pitch could land him in the bullpen. Indians' Jason Knapp has a power mid-to-high nineties fastball and an intimidating frame, but conditioning issues might send him to the bullpen within the next few years. If Knapp can't gain control of his body, he could still develop in to a closer or set-up man. Alex White is an impressive young pitcher and has the secondary stuff to be middle of the rotation starter on a contender in the MLB. Lefty Jake McGee returned from TJ surgery by the end of the 2009 season, and showed that his 93-95 mph fastball and plus to plus-plus secondary stuff still has enough on it to make him a closer or a good starter in the MLB.

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