October 12, 2010
Top 11 Review: NL West
No. 1 Prospect: Jarrod Parker, RHP (52nd overall)
What Was Said: “...If he comes back 100 percent, he's an All-Star.”
Analysis: As expected, Parker missed the entire year rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, but by all accounts, his recovery has been a success, as he's pitching to live hitters in the instructional league and already touching the mid-90s with his fastball. A lost year is never good for one's development, but for Parker, everything post-surgery has gone as well, if not better, than expected.
Two Through Eleven: First baseman Brandon Allen (second) had an interesting season at Triple-A Reno, slugging 25 home runs and drawing 83 walks in just 107 games, but a .261 batting average in a hitter's paradise still leaves a lot of questions. Top 2009 pick Bobby Borchering (third) really didn't get going at Low-A South Bend until the end of the season, but at least he saved his prospect status. Shortstop Chris Owings (fourth) was the best player on the South Bend squad before foot issues cut his season short. Outfielder A.J. Pollock (fifth) missed the entire year following elbow surgery, while fellow flychaser Keon Broxton (sixth) had some of the best tools in the Midwest League and led the minors with 19 triples, but also hit just .228 with 172 strikeouts. A pair of slugging 2009 draftees, outfielder Marc Krauss (seventh) and third baseman, at least in name, Matt Davidson (eighth) both impressed with the bat in their first full seasons, but lefty Mike Belfiore disappointed (ninth) in his. Converted outfielder Leyson Septimo (11th) still has insane velocity for a southpaw, and still has no idea where it's going.
Sleeper: Thick righty Josh Collmenter continued to succeed at High- and Double-A but the lack of a true out pitch caught up to him in the Pacific Coast League.
No. 1 Prospect: Christian Friedrich, LHP (22nd overall)
What Was Said: “...Has two big-league swing-and-miss offerings.”
Analysis: That wasn't the case this year, as Friedrich's velocity dipped significantly due to elbow soreness and some mechanical difficulties. He had some very good midseason starts, but what was a bad season turned into a nightmare when he took a line drive off his pitching elbow, which all but ended his year.
Two Through Eleven: Top 2009 draftee Tyler Matzek (second), was inconsistent in terms of both velocity and command during his pro debut, but when he was on, he was among the best arms in the Sally League. Catcher Wilin Rosario (third) was in the midst of a breakout campaign at Double-A Tulsa, slugging 19 home runs in 270 at-bats before going down with an ACL injury that will cost him 2011 spring training at the least. Righty Jhoulys Chacin (fourth) was impressive in the big-league rotation and should be a mainstay there for years to come. Unable to stay healthy, shortstop Hector Gomez (fifth), played just 27 games in 2010, and has participated in just 111 over the last three years. Righty Esmil Rogers (sixth) was pressed into big-league duty, but he wasn't ready for it and struggled. Outfielder and 2009 first-round pick Tim Wheeler (seventh) did nothing to impress in the California League, but power lefty Rex Brothers (eighth), taken just two picks later, reached Double-A with his upper-90s fastball and could be on the verge of a major-league bullpen role. Casey Weathers (ninth), their 2007 first-round pick, struggled to throw strikes in his return from Tommy John surgery, while second baseman Eric Young Jr. (10th) and catcher Mike McKenry (11th) both saw some big-league time but ultimately stagnated.
Sleeper: Constantly injured, Australian righty Shane Lindsay was claimed off waivers by Cleveland, and while he struck out 54 in 40 1/3 innings in 2010, his merely sub-standard control completely abandoned him with 50 walks.
Los Angeles Dodgers
No. 1 Prospect: Dee Gordon, SS (27th overall)
What Was Said: “...Despite his performance, most see Gordon as a one-step-at-a-time player.”
Analysis: Except for the Dodgers, that is, who moved Gordon up two levels to Double-A. While Gordon answered the challenge well, and his peripheral numbers were equal to what he did in the Midwest League in 2009, questions about his lack of power and sloppy defense remain.
Two Through Eleven: Los Angeles' 2007 first-round pick, Chris Withrow (second), had a breakout year in 2009 and an equally bad year in 2010 as his mechanics fell apart while his velocity and control dipped. Ethan Martin (third), their 2008 first-rounder, had similar, if not more troubling problems in the California League. On a more positive note, 2009 supplemental first-rounder Aaron Miller (fourth) showed above-average velocity and command in the California League, before an ugly showing in Double-A proved that man can not live by fastball alone. Fellow southpaw Scott Elbert (fifth), left the organization in July for personal reasons, but returned toward the end of the year and may pitch in the Arizona Fall League in order to begin 2011 with a fresh start. Outfielder Trayvon Robinson (sixth), 2009's breakout offensive player, wasn't able to bring his California League power with him to Double-A, but he continued to refine his approach in preparation for a future leadoff role. Teenage righty Garrett Gould (seventh) was solid in the Pioneer League, but not as good as advertised. Infielder Ivan DeJesus Jr. (eighth) moved over to second base, but his bat didn't advance enough to become a starter, while Triple-A teammate Josh Lindblom (ninth) got hammered in both starting and relief roles. The best story in the system was Kenley Jansen (10th), as the converted catcher entered the year with less then 12 innings of professional experience on the mound, and finished it with four major-league saves and 41 strikeouts in 27 big-league innings. After hitting 26 home runs and striking out 180 times in 2009, outfielder Kyle Russell (11th) nearly matched those numbers perfectly in 2010 with 26 bombs and 177 whiffs.
Sleeper: Easily my best sleeper pick of the year, outfielder Jerry Sands reached Double-A while hitting .301/.395/.598 in the process with 35 home runs.
San Diego Padres
No. 1 Prospect: Donovan Tate, OF (29th overall)
What Was Said: “...No other position player in the system is even in the same zip code when it comes to pure ceiling.”
Analysis: While Tate struck out 41 times in his first 90 professional at-bats, his list of maladies since signing could fill an entire chapter of our annual. His tools remain top of the charts, but at 20, he's already behind the development curve. He still could be a beast, but the chances of him doing so are low.
Two Through Eleven: After breaking out in the Midwest League last year, righty Simon Castro (second) made it all the way to Triple-A and should make his big-league debut next year. Third baseman James Darnell (third) was also plagued by the injury bug, and never got going at Double-A. After getting off to a disturbingly slow start in the California League, outfielder Jaff Decker (fourth) was among the league's best hitters in the second half, batting .305/.439/.616 after the All-Star break. Righty Wynn Pelzer (fifth) scuffled with his control and secondary offerings at Double-A before going to Baltimore in the Miguel Tejada deal. Infielder Lance Zawadzki (sixth) spent a month in the big leagues as a utility player, and that's the most optimistic projection for him after a brutal year at the plate in the minors. Teenage righty Adys Portillo (seventh) showed some adjustments in 2010, and could be on the verge of good things in his full-season debut next year. Moved to second base, where his offensive profile fits better, Logan Forsythe (eighth) still walks a lot, but that's the only good thing to say about his 2010 campaign. Power lefty Aaron Poreda (ninth) walked 38 in 29 Triple-A innings, and if anything, he's gone backward. In other collapse news, right-hander Dexter Carter (10th) completely fell apart, ending up back in the Northwest League. Everett Williams (11th), San Diego's 2009 second-round pick, showed plenty of tools, but even more rawness in his full-season debut.
Sleeper: The Double-A curse continued to rear its ugly head in the form of outfielder Sawyer Carroll, who hit just .240/.324/.345 for Double-A San Antonio.
San Francisco Giants
No. 1 Prospect: Buster Posey (ninth overall)
What Was Said: “...could step into the big leagues right now and be an above-average offensive catcher.”
Analysis: After being held back in the minors to start the year under the ruse of working on his defense (it was service time management), Posey was much more than above average and should be an All-Star catcher for years to come.
Two Through Eleven: Left-hander Madison Bumgarner (second) got a little bit (hardly all) of his velocity back, but he also found a curveball, more consistency with his changeup, and when all of that combined with his above-average command and control, he was just fine in the end. Their 2009 first-round pick, Zach Wheeler (third), pitched less than 60 innings at Low-A while dealing with blister issues, but he also routinely got into the 95-97 mph range with his fastball. After going from Low-A to the big leagues last year, Dan Runzler (fourht) spent most of the year in the Giants bullpen but was derailed by knee problems. Shortstop Ehire Adrianza (fifth) still doesn't hit much, but man can he pick it. One of the biggest international signs from 2008, outfielder Rafael Rodriguez (sixth) showed some progress in the Arizona Summer League, but not as much as anticipated. Outfielders Thomas Neal (seventh) and Roger Kieschnick (eighth) look like products of the California League after struggling at Double-A. Catcher Tommy Joseph (ninth) showed impressive power in his pro debut, but his approach and defense still needs plenty of work. Outfielder Francisco Peguero, (10th) hit .329 for High-A San Jose with 16 triples, 10 home runs, and 40 stolen bases, but the glaring number was just 18 walks in 122 games. Giant (literally) third baseman Chris Dominguez (11th) still has 80 raw power and an 80 arm, but his .272/.326/.456 line for a 23-year-old in Low-A fails to impress.
Sleeper: Talented-but-inconsistent righty Henry Sosa pitched well in the Triple-A Fresno bullpen, but scuffled following a return to the rotation.
Kevin Goldstein is an author of Baseball Prospectus.
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