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September 24, 2010

Future Shock

Top 11 Review: AL Central

by Kevin Goldstein

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Chicago White Sox
No. 1 Prospect: Daniel Hudson, RHP (55th overall)
What Was Said: “...a good third starter at best.”
Analysis: Obviously, Hudson has been much better than that since his trade to Arizona, but I'm not convinced it will last. The league will obviously catch up to him a bit, but he's still likely going to exceed that projection.
Two Through Eleven: The team's two other four-star prospects had nightmare years, as 2009 first-round pick Jared Mitchell missed the entire year due to injury, while catcher Tyler Flowers regressed heavily. In the end, third baseman Brent Morel was too low at sixth, and control issues caught up to power reliever Clevelan Santeliz (seventh) at Triple-A. All in all, it was a bad year down on the farm for the White Sox.
Sleeper: Catcher Miguel Gonzalez collapsed at Low-A with a .218/.260/.276 line, but his defense was still outstanding, as he gunned down half of opposing base stealers.

Cleveland Indians
No. 1 Prospect: Carlos Santana, C (eighth overall)
What Was Said: “...bat is so special that if he was a first-base prospect, he'd still be elite.”
Analysis: Santana was one of the more exciting rookies in the game, batting .260/.401/.467 before a knee injury cost him the remainder of the season.
Two Through Eleven: Third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall (second) and righty Alex White (third) held serve at the upper levels, neither exploding nor collapsing. Four-star power pitchers Nick Hagadone (fourth) and Jason Knapp (fifth) were slow to come back from injuries, although Knapp was nearly unhittable late in the season. I thought putting Jason Kipnis at eighth was aggressive, and I turned out to be low on him.
Sleeper: After slugging .488 last year in Low-A, Dominican outfielder Abner Abreu hit just four home runs for High-A Kinston as part of an ugly .252/.289/.362 campaign.

Detroit Tigers
No. 1 Prospect: Jacob Turner, RHP (25th overall)
What Was Said: “...certainly has an ace-level ceiling”
Analysis: While treated lightly with just 115 1/3 innings, in other ways Turner was pushed, spending the majority of the year in the High-A Florida State League as a teenager. The secondary stuff needs work, but the velocity and command are special.
Two Through Eleven: Lefty Casey Crosby (second) has a nightmare year revolving around mysterious elbow pain that just never went away. I thought second baseman Scott Sizemore would seize the big league second base job, but he struggled and got sent down. This wasn't a good list talent-wise, and won't be this time around either, although lefty Andy Oliver (fifth), catcher Alex Avila (sixth), reliever Cody Satterwhite (seventh), and outfielder Casper Wells (11th) all saw big league time.
Sleeper: I said righty Robbie Weinhardt “could help the Detroit bullpen as early as mid-year," and while I got the timetable right, "helped" is not the word I'd use to characterize his performance.

Kansas City Royals
No. 1 Prospect: Mike Montgomery, LHP (36th overall)
What Was Said: "...oozes projection," "...questions about his stamina"
Analysis: Montgomery began to fill that projection with one of the better first halves of any pitcher around, but his second half was filled with arm soreness and he threw only 93 innings on the year, so the stamina questions still linger.
Two Through Eleven: Putting Aaron Crow as the second-best prospect seems like a bad joke at this point, as Mike Moustakas (third) and Wil Myers (fourth) both exploded, as did first baseman Eric Hosmer (eighth) after a miserable full-season debut. Power lefties Chris Dwyer (ninth) and John Lamb (10th) will both move way up, and for what might be the best system in baseball, they had their fair share of disappointments, including Crow and righty Tim Melville (fifth)
Sleeper: Jordan Parraz's .266/.350/.410 line at Triple-A as a 25-year-old did him no favors, but he still could end up as a nifty fourth outfielder.

Minnesota Twins
No. 1 Prospect: Aaron Hicks, OF (26th overall)
What Was Said: “...Hicks has the potential to be a five-tool monster.”
Analysis: The potential is still there, but he made depressingly little progress in getting there during his second shot and Midwest League pitching. He was basically the same player he was last year, only with more walks, and that wasn't necessarily a good thing.
Two Through Eleven: Highly-touted Dominican Miguel Sano (second) was as good as advertised during his stateside debut, while Ben Revere (third) met expectations at Double-A. Now with the Nationals, Wilson Ramos at fourth seems a bit high, especially with righty Kyle Gibson at five. Angel Morales (sixth) was a personal favorite, but not after this year, while clearly third baseman Danny Valencia was too low at ninth, even if his big-league debut is fluky (and it is).
Sleeper: Seven-foot-one Dutch righty Loek Van Mil was a mess after returning from elbow surgery, and is now in the Angels system.

Kevin Goldstein is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Kevin's other articles. You can contact Kevin by clicking here

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