Minor League Baseball Update - Top High A Prospects
This week the focus will be on the Top Ten Prospects from each of the three High A level leagues. As always, please contact us at the email address at the bottom of the page if you have questions or comments. Also, look for next week’s Top Ten Overall Prospects in Triple A and be sure to check out Friday’s Fantasy Column on the Top Sleeper’s and Rebounds in the outfield for the second half.
Trevor Cahill SP (Athletics, Stockton): Cahill has already been promoted and appeared at #6 on my Double A Top Ten last week. He dominated High A this year as a 20 year old and has been just as good in a couple starts at Midland. He projects as a potential number one starter and should continue to move quickly. Speculation has begun that the A’s may even call him up during the second half for pitching help.
Lars Anderson 1B (Red Sox, Lancaster): Anderson is Boston’s top offensive prospect. He has a chance to become the big-time power hitter they need to replace an aging Big Papi and Manny Ramirez. Anderson has a great eye, does not strike out often, and has a big frame that should fill out in time, adding power. He is a good bet to help the Sox sometime in 2010, barring an injury to somebody next year.
Josh Reddick OF (Red Sox, Lancaster): Reddick has been on fire all year and has already been moved up from Low A. He is a fine all-around prospect with exceptional power. Reddick looks to be the rare Boston prospect that could push quickly into their lineup based on his five-category ability. Reddick is at least two years away, which should allow him to take over when J.D. Drew is gone.
Peter Bourjos CF (Angels, Rancho Cucamonga): Bourjos has jumped onto the radar from almost nowhere. There is as much to like with Bourjos as any player in High A. He is tearing up the Cali League, both with the bat and on the bases. He reminds me a lot of Jacoby Ellsbury (from the right side). Look for Bourjos to fill the Angels need for a centerfielder sometime in 2010 or 2011.
Tim Alderson SP (Giants, San Jose): Alderson was one of the Giants two first round picks last year, and he has lived up to the hype. He has been very solid for San Jose at just 19 years old. He should continue to move quickly, as the Giants seem intent on pushing him the way they did Tim Lincecum. Alderson could debut next year, but probably will not until 2010. At 6’6” Alderson should fill out his frame some and prove to be an imposing figure on the hill. Pitching in a great pitchers park in San Francisco should only prove to help Alderson meet his potential.
Carlos Santana C (Dodgers, Inland Empire): Santana has probably been the best all-around prospect in the Cali League during the first half. If he can continue to hit he will give the Dodgers a pleasant problem since they already have Russell Martin. Santana should be pushed fairly quickly and force the Dodgers into a decision sometime in 2010.
Brett Anderson SP (Athletics, Stockton): Anderson was the pitching jewel that the A’s got back in the Dan Haren deal. Anderson has not been spectacular at High A, but he has been good enough to get promoted to Double A. Anderson is an excellent pitching prospect who should move very quickly. He may see the majors sometime next year, but he will surely be up by 2010.
Pablo Sandoval C (Giants, San Jose): Sandoval is another prospect that came from seemingly nowhere. He has been as good as just about any hitter in the Cali League this year. Sandoval has excelled since moving form third to catcher, and the Giants hope he can continue to develop. If he does they will have a tough choice now that they also have Buster Posey. Look for Sandoval to push for playing time in the next two years, if he can continue to develop.
Hector Gomez SS (Rockies, Modesto): Gomez has been hurt for much of the year, but he is still as good as any shortstop prospect in the minors. He is just 20 years old and should move quickly. The Rockies have Troy Tulowitzki at short, but Gomez could handle second giving the Rockies a potent middle-infield. Gomez probably will be ready by 2010.
Carlos Triunfel 2B (Mariners, High Desert): Triunfel has been solid but not spectacular. But, at just 18 he has been good enough. The Mariners are pushing him very hard by putting him all the way up at High A already. He has moved from short to second this year, which should help him develop long-term. Triunfel is a true five-tool talent who is a ways away, but could be a big-time player long-term.
Matt Wieters C (Orioles, Frederick): Wieters came into this season with the mantle of being a Top 3 pick. He has easily lived up to and perhaps even exceeded the O’s hopes. Wieters has been promoted to Double A Bowie in this his first full season in the minors. Wieters is the top catching prospect in baseball and one of the top position prospects as well.
Tommy Hanson SP (Braves, Myrtle Beach): Another pitcher who also appeared on my Double A Top Ten, Hanson has taken a big step forward this year. He is a little wild, but as his no-hitter two weeks ago in Double A will attest, he can pitch. Hanson was almost un-hittable at High A prior to his elevation to Double A. Hanson throws a lot of fly balls, but he should be able to pitch around them in Atlanta and turn into a solid number three starter.
Beau Mills 1B (Indians, Kinston): Mills is a big-time power prospect for a team that looks to be rebuilding. He has not hit for as high and average as the Tribe had hoped this year, but his walk and strikeout rate have been very good for a power guy. Mills should continue to get better and may push for the majors by 2010.
Gorkys Hernandez CF (Braves, Myrtle Beach): Hernandez has a chance to be a special player for the Braves. He was the other top prospect, along with Jair Jurrjens, that came over for Edgar Renteria. Hernandez is similar to Cameron Maybin (not quite that talent level), and at just 19 has plenty of room to grow. He is a long way from the majors, and the Braves are fine with letting him develop.
Nick Weglarz OF (Indians, Kinston): Weglarz has been solid this year in a lineup with Beau Mills this year. The Indians hope the two will develop into a solid power duo for the middle of their order. Weglarz is very similar to Mills in his power and on-base ability. He just needs the time to progress, and he should be an asset for the Indians for years to come. Weglarz is probably at least two years away.
Aaron Poreda SP (White Sox, Winston-Salem): Poreda is another top ten pitching prospect in baseball. He has been mediocre in his promotion to Double A, but he was excellent at High A. Poreda is a big kid who should fill out, and allow him to get a few more K’s which would help him, as he gets higher. He should not be anywhere near the majors until 2010 at the earliest.
Jamie Romak OF (Pirates, Lynchburg): Romak is not young for High A at 22, but he can hit. The Pirates have not really given him a fair look, but the hope is that the new regime will give him a long look. He has a good chance to put up solid numbers in the majors, and could have a shot in the majors sometime next year.
Chris Marrero 1B (Nationals, Potomac): Marrero is out for the year with a broken leg and ankle injury. He is the only legitimate power prospect the Nats have, and he remains their top offensive prospect. Marrero will suffer a bit of a setback due to the injury, but speed was never going to be a part of his game anyway. He should still develop into a solid regular with great upside. Marrero is at least two years away, probably more.
Jake Arrieta SP (Orioles, Frederick): Arrieta does not have the hype of some other pitching prospects in the Carolina League. He has had as good a year as any pitcher in the league. His strikeout numbers are as impressive as any pitcher in league, and he should develop into at least a solid reliever. Arrieta should be ready sometime during next year or 2010.
Brandon Erbe SP (Orioles, Frederick): Erbe has the hype, but Arrieta has put up superior numbers to this point. However, Erbe projects as the better long-term bet to remain a starter. He is a high strikeout pitcher with good control, who should become a at worst a 3 or 4 starter. Erbe could push his way into Baltimore by 2010.
Florida State League
David Price SP (Rays, Vero Beach): Price is another pitcher who has already been promoted this year. He has earned his #1 pick status so far. Price has been amazing posting a sub 2.00 ERA at both stops this season. He is probably the top-pitching prospect in baseball, and gives the FSL a hold on the top-pitching league in the minors. Price could see the major’s this year, next at the latest.
J.P. Arencibia C (Blue Jays, Dunedin): Arencibia is another young catcher with great long-term offensive potential. He tore up the FSL and was recently promoted to Double A. Arencibia does everything well, but needs to work on his batting eye. Despite that shortcoming the Blue Jays need a big-time catcher, and Arencibia is likely to be that player. He could be in the Blue Jays picture sometime next year.
Adrian Cardenas 2B (Phillies, Clearwater): Cardenas has made as many strides as anybody at High A this year. Chase Utley currently blocks him, but he could probably move to third. He has excellent offensive upside and would fill a need for the Phillies at 3B. Cardenas should be ready to help the Phils sometime during 2010.
Rick Porcello SP (Tigers, Lakeland): Porcello is one of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball. He is just 19 and has been as good as advertised this year. He needs to miss a few more bats in order to fulfill his lofty projections. That said, he should move very quickly and could give the Tigers another dominant long-term starter.
Deolis Guerra SP (Twins, Fort Myers): Guerra has not been as good as the other top pitching prospects in the FSL, but at just 19 he has been good enough. Like several of the other young pitching prospects he needs to miss more bats. Strikeouts and control should come as he ages, and if it does he has a chance to be special. The Twins will push him, but probably will not be ready before 2011 at the earliest.
Jeremy Jeffress SP (Brewers, Brevard County): Jeffress has the stuff to be dominant at the major league level. He has outstanding stuff and superior control. The Brewers tend to take a cautious approach with their young pitchers, but he should move pretty fast. Do not be shocked if he makes his major league debut in the 2010 season.
Jeremy Hellickson SP (Rays, Vero Beach): Hellickson is another pitcher who has recently been promoted to Double A. He has been less than stellar in two starts after being promoted. However, he was superb at High A and has as high a ceiling as any pitcher in the minors. Hellickson is just 21, and he should prove to be very valuable either as another young starter or as trade bait.
Tyler Robertson SP (Twins, Fort Myers): Robertson is another top-tier pitching prospect at High A. A burly left-hander Robertson has continued to excel at High A after jumping onto the scene last year. He has very good stuff and a mature approach that should continue to develop. Robertson reminds me of a left-hander version of Nick Blackburn (though he should always have more strikeouts). He will progress slowly and should not see the majors before 2011.
Ruben Tejada SS (Mets, St. Lucie): Tejada is similar to Carlos Triunfel. He has struggled, but that can be expected based on his age at this level. Tejada has a chance to be Jose Reyes with less speed. The Mets are being very aggressive with him, and will continue to push. I cannot see him being ready before 2011.
Joe Savery SP (Phillies, Clearwater): Savery has struggled this year a bit. His control has been just all right. His biggest problem has been allowing way too many hits. He remains one of the Phillies top two pitching prospects, and he should be able to return to form. Savery looks like he could be a 3 or 4 starter sometime after 2011.
High A is loaded with talent, but for fantasy owners most of it is pitching. I said last week that I prefer offense over pitching for fantasy purposes but there was no choice. The top prospects in two of the three leagues are clearly pitchers, and the best bets overall are for the most part pitching prospects. Either way, High A features an exceptional number of each team(s) Major League Top 10 Prospects.