Next Up: My National League Review, then onward to the American League which I would love to have done before Spring Training.
NL West Top Prospects Team Rankings
I would just like to say that these Team Rankings are based on my top 15 prospect lists only, not the state of the organizations entire farm system. The numbers next to each team’s names is the amount of points they scored in my ranking system. The highest possible score is 150. It should also be noted that you cannot take the below “scores” and compare them to that of a NL Central or NL East team, this is because the scores are relative only to the other teams in its division. My next post will be a review of the top prospect lists of the entire National League, and there I will have a ranking of all NL teams.
5. Arizona Diamondbacks 44
Only Jarrod Parker made the top 25 list [below], although Daniel Schlereth would be one of the next three guys on, and he [Schlereth], along with Gerardo Parra made the second all-prospect team. This is, probably, the worst compilation of a team’s top 15 prospects I have ranked thus far. Only the top three prospects (Parker, Schlereth, and Parra) project to be productive major leaguers. It was only a few years ago when the Diamondback’s farm was one of the best in baseball but, since then, guys like Justin Upton, Chris Young, and Max Scherzer have graduated to the majors, and others like Brett Anderson, Carlos Gonzalez, and Greg Smith have been traded away, also they received no promising prospects when they traded Jose Valverde to the Astros – and Astros fans everywhere, including here on this blog, thank you – Juan Gutierrez is not a “promising prospect”. Luckily the Diamondbacks have a good young team right now, and do not need many more pieces, in fact, Schlereth, and Parker may be enough. That will give the organization a little time to improve the farm.
4. Las Angeles Dodgers 78
A tough ranking, I know. The Dodgers have three stellar pitching prospects in Scott Elbert, Ethan Martin, and James McDonald – not to mention Clayton Kershaw who just graduated to the majors in the later part of last season. They also have Chris Withrow, and Josh Lindblom, who both have the potential to become very good pitching prospects prospects. The Dodgers also have a couple of solid hitting prospects, as well, in Ivan DeJesus and Andrew Lambo. However, the Dodgers lack the kind of depth the Rockies, and Padres have.
3. Colorado Rockies 97
I love Dexter Fowler, who happens to be the best position prospect in the division. The emergence of Jhoulys Chacin gives the Rockies a second top five prospect (in the division). After those two, however, the talent level drops off a bit. Wilin Rosario and Mike McKenry are very intriguing catcher prospect, and Christian Friedrich is a future middle of the rotation pitcher. What sets the Rockies apart from the Dodgers is their abundance of high mid-level prospects. Such as: Eric Young Jr., Darin Holcomb, Hector Gomez, Chris Nelson, and Charles Blackmon. All of whom will never become big league stars but, most of them should be productive major leaguers at some point I their careers. I cannot, however, say the same about the Dodgers’ mid-level prospects, guys like Austin Gallagher, Josh Bell, and Cole St. Clair.
2. San Diego Padres 98
The Padres just edge out the Rockies for this spot. This is a little surprising, seeing as how I ranked the Padres best prospect, Mat Latos, the worst of any prospect ranked as his team’s best. However, the Padres have several other top tier prospects to add to the high upside Latos. Guys like Kellen Kulbacki, Kyle Blanks, Will Inman, and Cedric Hunter bolster that group. The Padres have the second most prospects in the NL West’s top 25 with seven prospects. The Padres also have an impressive group of mid-level prospects in players like Mitch Canham, Nick Schmidt, Jaff Decker, James Darnell, and Drew Cumberland.
1. San Francisco Giants 133
Without a doubt the Giants top the division. The Giants have eight of their prospects making the top 25 list, and seven of them made the First NL West all-prospect team. The Giants have a ton of top tier prospects, as I ranked five of them in the top ten in the division. The Giants also have good balance, with a couple of high quality pitchers in Bumgarner and Alderson, and a number of productive hitters in Nate Shierholtz, Nick Noonan, Buster Posey, and Conor Gillaspie.
If you are interested in seeing a more in depth look for any of these teams, just check my archives, or go to my blogs homepage, and scroll down.
NL West Top 25 Prospects
25. Conor Gillaspie 3B/2B SF
I really like Gillaspie as either a third or second basemen with a high batting average, and at least solid defense.
24. Allan Dykstra 1B SD
You have to like Dyksta’s bat with 20-30 homerun potential, and above average plate discipline. He also is not going to hurt a team defensively.
23. Henry Sosa RHSP SF
Sosa has great stuff – with his 97 mph fastball and above average curveball – but the lack of command, and unimpressive numbers at his age and level concern me.
22. Andrew Lambo 1B/OF LAD
I will admit, I may have him a little too low but, I do not totally buy into him as an outfielder yet. I also think his chance of being a bust is still high, and he has to shore up that 3:1 K to BB ratio. He is young, and has a lot of upside though, very high ceiling.
21. Cedric Hunter OF SD
Maybe Hunter’s tools are a little too close to average to be higher than Lambo but, I think his bust potential is much lower, and I like his 1:1 K to BB ratio at the age of 20.
20. Matt Antonelli 2B SD
I still like him. High walk rates – 1:1 K to BB ratio – above average defensively, 20-30 SBs a year, some power potential – could hit 20 homeruns, probably will hit somewhere in the 10-15 range. Very disappointing 2008, look for him to bounce back in spring training to become the Padres everyday second basemen in 2009.
19. James McDonald RHSP LAD
Will Inman or James McDonald? McDonald throws a low 90s fastball, and a 12-6 curveball which he uses as an out pitch. He is major league ready, and will become a solid number four starter next season.
18. Kyle Blanks 1B SD
Blanks hit 20 homeruns in 2008, and he still has more power in his tank. I may have him rated to low, like I did for Lambo – what is it with me not liking big power 1B/LF guys? He is a decent athlete for his massive size but, still below average defensively.
17. Will Inman RHSP SD
I really like Inman, and like his 2008 stats better, I may have even over rated him because of them. Inman’s stuff is not very impressive throwing a 90 mph fastball, and low 70s/high 60s curveball, his stuff his pretty deceptive, though, and fools hitters – which is all that matters. I think his makeup, and pitchibility are enough to make him a number three starter.
16. Christian Friedrich LHSP COL
I love this guy. He throws three major league average pitches in his fastball, cutter, and plus curveball, and also had a great debut to pro ball.
15. Wilin Rosario C COL
Great defensive catcher with a strong arm – throwing out 46% of would be base stealers. Rosario also has some offensive upside with plus power potential, and hit well overall in the Rookie League last season. He has the potential to be an elite catcher.
14. Ivan DeJesus SS/2B LAD
DeJesus is an above average offensive minded middle infielder. He has great hitting ability, with good plate patience, lacking power; he also has enough speed to steal 20 bases most seasons.
13. Ethan Martin RHSP LAD
2008 first round pick, Martin throws three above average pitches in his fastball, power curve, and splitter. He is very athletic for a pitcher, and garnered scout’s attention as both a pitcher, and third basemen. He has future number two written on him.
12. Kellen Kulbacki OF SD
Kulbacki hit .300/.400/.500+ last season, and shows no signs of slowing down. Sure, he is nothing spectacular defensively, and will probably play left his entire career; his bat has been playing very well. Next season in double A will be a good measure of what he could be in the majors.
11. Nick Noonan 2B SF
Great defender at second – his weak arm prevents will prevent him from playing short. Noonan profiles as a top of the order hitter, he has above average contact ability, and capable of stealing more than 30 bases a year, however, he really has to work on his plate patience.
10. Nate Schierholtz OF SF
Schierholtz is an average corner outfielder offensively, and above average defensively, with a canon of an arm.
9. Mat Latos RHSP SD
Latos depends on his plus mid 90s fastball but, is now starting to mix in his “knuckle” curve which grades as above average, or possibly plus, in the future. Statistically he was right on track in his half season last summer. Latos could be a top 5 guy – on this list – next season if he puts up good numbers over a full season in 2009.
8. Scott Elbert LHP LAD
Elbert just edges Latos because he is major league ready, and has a better track record; however, Latos has the higher ceiling, especially if Elbert ends up in the bullpen for good. Scott still has top of the rotation stuff, with his plus fastball and slider combo but, due to injuries the Dodgers have him in the bullpen – for now.
7. Angel Villalona 1B SF
Villalona is very young and very undisciplined – recording a K:BB ratio of 6.5:1 in 2008. However, he does have plus plus power potential, and has already started to show some of it but, his power numbers will rise, if he improves his discipline.
6. Tim Alderson RHSP SF
Alderson has great command, and pairs it with a couple of plus pitches in his low-mid 90s fastball, and power curve.
5. Buster Posey C SF
Posey is a plus defender, and has a lot of upside offensively. He will hit for a high average, and average power could develop eventually. He is a good athlete behind the plate. I had him as the number one pick in my mock draft back in June but, instead fell to number five.
4. Jhoulys Chacin RHSP COL
I really like Chacin, he led the minors in wins in 2008. He throws a mid 90s sinking fastball, and plus changeup. He is a number two starter.
3. Jarrod Parker RHSP ARI
Parker is the first of two pitchers on this list to possess a plus plus fastball. He throws his in the mid-high 90s, and has great command of it. He also throws a slider, curveball, and changeup, the first of which could be a plus pitch as well.
2. Dexter Fowler OF COL
I really debated making Fowler the top guy in the NL West but, ultimately decided on Bumgarner instead. Fowler is a 5-tooler who plays exceptional defense, and will be a well above average centerfielder offensively, as well.
1. Madison Bumgarner LHSP SF
Bumgarner, like Parker, throws a plus plus fastball in the mid-high 90s – and he could add a couple ticks of velocity still. It [his fastball] also has a ton of late tailing action. Bumgarner has also messed around with a couple different breaking pitches (curveball, and slider) but, as of yet none of them really stand out. Bumgarner has ace potential if he can establish his secondary stuff.
First Team All NL West Prospects
C Buster Posey SF
1B Angel Villalona SF
2B Nick Noonan SF
SS Ivan DeJesus LAD
3B Conor Gillaspie SF
CF Dexter Fowler COL
RF Nate Schierholtz SF
LF Kellen Kulbacki SD
SP1 Madison Bumgarner SF
SP2 Jarrod Parker ARI
SP3 Jhoulys Chacin COL
SP4 Tim Alderson SF
SP5 Mat Latos SD
RP Scott Elbert LAD
HM Allan Dykstra 1B SD
No hard decisions here. The outfield even works perfectly for a RF, CF, LF. The pitching staff is full of aces. Even with Elbert in the bullpen.
Second Team All NL West Prospects
C Wilin Rosario COL
1B Kyle Blanks SD
2B Matt Antonelli SD
SS Hector Gomez COL
3B Darin Holcomb COL
CF Cedric Hunter SD
RF Gerardo Parra ARI
LF Andrew Lambo LAD
SP1 Ethan Martin LAD
SP2 Will Inman SD
SP3 James McDonald
SP4 Henry Sosa SF
SP5 Josh Lindblom LAD
RP Daniel Schlereth ARI
HM Mike McKenry C COL
There is a significant drop off at all positions except LF, 1B, and possibly 2B, and C. The pitching staff likely only has one top of the rotation guy in Ethan Martin, the rest either have lower ceilings (McDonald, Inman, Lindblom) or have big bust potential (Sosa). Holcomb and Gomez make the list due to a lack of depth on the left side of the infield.