Top 10 Minor League Prospects
1) Mike Trout, OF, LAA
I move Trout up my list to number one. Last season Trout went straight from AA to the majors all before his twentieth birthday. He did not perform quite as well as expected, but this should not be an issue moving into 2012. It is likely that Trout may start this season in AAA given the depth in the outfield in LA. Wells, Bourjos, Hunter, Abreu and Morales may all factor into the starting list. Trout looks to be the heir to Hunter's position, but may have to wait a bit for this to fully play out. Trout shows great upsides with his patience at the plate, speed on the bases and his other natural abilities. Scouting reports project that Trout will eventually be a .300+ hitter with enough power to add 15-20 home runs, not to mention stolen bases. If you play in a league with outfield designations for your roster, Trout might be the best buy. Once Trout makes the move up this season he will stay in the majors.
2) Bryce Harper, OF, WAS
I think all of the hype surrounding Harper is a bit much. It appears he will be the most over-drafted prospect this season. That is not to say he does not belong in the top three on this list or on your target list. I have chosen to list him at number two because his status of late has fallen on most rankings. Harper has plenty of power and looks to have the opportunity to make the 25-man roster for Davey Johnson. What concerns me with Harper is the fact that he has only one minor league season under his belt and is just 19 years old. That said, Harper killed it in the minors and in the Arizona Fall League, batting .300+. The ability for hitting home runs is there and scouts forecast 20+ HRs in 2013 and 25+ in 2014. Harper also is patient in the batter's box and can steal bases. His BB:K (base on balls-to-strikeout) ratio was 59:87 and he stole 26 bases in the minors. It appears that Davey Johnson will push hard with his club to get Harper on the roster for the start of the season this year, but Harper could also end up in Syracuse AAA. Either way, Harper will end up in the majors at some point this season.
3) Matt Moore, SP - LHP, TB
Left handed pitching pospect Matt Moore has the ability to easily work at 90+ mph and has been recorded as high as 96 mph. Moore also possesses an incredible curve that keeps batters wondering and has a fading change that he continues to develop, but already baffles hitters in the minors. Tampa Bay has depth at pitching and might opt to be patient with Moore, but if he continues to impress, he should be in the majors shortly. There are currently seven starting pitchers looking to fill five starting spots on the rotation. It might be hard to initially find room for Moore, so my best guess is he will might start in AAA for 2012. Scouts project that Moore will throw around ten strikeouts per nine innings in 2012-2013 and just over ten strikeouts per nine innings in 2014. Moore is probably going to be the highest drafted prospect pitcher and will see his time in the majors this season.
4) Jesus Montero, C, SEA
Michael Pineda was traded to New York to get Montero. That says a lot. Montero is regarded as the top international prospect of his 2006 class. Montero has spent much time in the minors for New York working on his game-calling and receiving abilities. He has been regarded as a wonderful catcher, but also has the talent to be considered an option at first-base or corner outfield. New York liked Montero's size, 6'4" 230 pounds and he has power. Upon his move to Seattle, Montero should immediately jump into the mix and be considered the most talented offensive catcher on the roster given his hitting power. Scouting reports put Montero's power at the top of the scale and say he might even be one of the best hitters on the roster. Montero should leave Seattle's camp with a spot on the roster and not return to the minors in 2012.
5) Jurickson Profar, SS, TEX
Profar was signed as an international free agent in 2009 as a two-way player, right-handed pitcher and shortstop. Texas has been working with Profar and basically have ignored his 94 mph fastball in order to make him into a star shortstop. According to reports, this strategy has been working well. With Profar not focused on pitching, he has had time to further develop his hitting. At only 18 years old, his eye in the batter's box is extraordinary. In 430 at-bats in the South Atlantic League, Profar had a 65:63 (base-on-balls to strikeout) ratio. He also showed his ability to get on base, steal bases, demonstrate power and field. Scouts like Profar's on-base percentage and in many circles, Profar has surpassed Machado as the top shortstop prospect. Profar may experience a position shift to second base in Texas given the presence of Elvis Andrus, but any which way, Profar will have his day and make a difference in the majors.
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