Sunday, August 23, 2009

Position Players of the Future

Well, that was fun... looking at the Top 25 pitchers who made their debut this season. Let's waste some time now, looking at the hitters. Please note, this is an exercise that should be fraught with flaws because we are doing no math, looking at very few numbers, and just picking guys that we think should be good. By the way, there were more than 25 inspiring pitchers who made their debut this year. As you will see in the following list, the hitters have been less impressive. I'd say that really only about three people on this list have accomplished much this season.

25.) Bobby Scales, 2b
The one, true non-prospect on this list is 31-year old Bobby Scales. He made an inspirational impact with the Cubs this May, and no-one will be able to take that experience away from him. Unfortunately, very few forces out there will give Scales another taste of the show.

24.) Trent Oeltjen, OF
Oeltjen is another late bloomer. The 26-year old flashed some power & speed soon after his debut, but his true talent is showing as he is in the truest sense of the word a replacement-level player.

23.) Ramiro Pena, SS
Here comes some name dropping... Pena is very close to the spotlight as the understudy of Captain Jetes. He has shown the ability to field his position with ease. Unfortunately, he hits a lot like Rey Ordonez. I'd say Pena's upside is that of Adam Everett, but a more realistic career arc for him to follow would probably be that of Pokey Reese, Desi Relaford or at best Alex Cora.

22.) Landon Powell, C
I don't know anything about Landon Powell. In fact, when I saw his name on the list of players to debut this year, I thought maybe this was Boog Powell. Alas, this is not Boog Powell, who actually debut'd in 1961, played 17 seasons, and retired with 1,776 hits, 339 HR's, and 134 OPS+. I should probably know more about Boog Powell and Landon Powell, as well. His numbers aren't actually impressive, but he plays catcher. Still, he's 27 years old, meaning that his days of actually getting better are few and far between.

What am I doing? Yesterday, I only wrote about the Top 10. Why didn't anyone interrupt me?

21.) Trevor Crowe, OF
20.) Xavier Paul, OF
19.) Jordan Schafer, OF
18.) Drew Stubbs, OF
17.) Gerardo Parra, OF
16.) Julio Borbon, OF
15.) Everth Cabrera, SS
14.) John Mayberry, OF
13.) Jason Jaramillo, C
12.) Tommy Everidge, 1b
11.) Michael Saunders, OF/3b

10.) Nolan Reimold, LF
Reimold has had typical rookie year ups & downs, but he's been able to do something right. I haven't looked up the numbers, but he's probably putting together quality at bats and driving in runs with timely hitting, or he's brainwashed his manager, coaches, and teammates with a really good first impression.

9.) Elvis Andrus, SS
Ramiro Pena is a world class all-glove, no-hit shortstop. Andrus, on the other hand, is an all-glove, no-hit shortstop prospect with youth, speed, and most importantly opportunity on his side. He's shown enough bat control to avoid outs just enough to be productive, while playing outstanding defense up the middle.

8.) Chris Coghlan, OF/3b
Coghlan hasn't used his 3b experience in the show, but his ability to get on base has made him the leadoff hitter of one of the most potent offenses in the league. He has fringe power and fringe speed, but a knack for taking walks, avoiding outs, and scoring runs. We think he has a chance to become one of those productive player, professional hitter type guys. I wonder what team he'll be on after the Marlins.

7.) Kyle Blanks, OF/1b
While Coghlan's skills are generally thought of as reliable, Blanks is a riskier prospect. I mean that in the most literal way. His body type (huge) has a higher risk of injury, but it also has a higher risk of reward. If a kid this big and strong can learn to become a professional hitter, he will hit homeruns out of any ballpark. That is paramount to a Padres prospect, like Blanks. It'd be interesting to see how good the Padres can be after they get a bunch of good players for Heath Bell and especially Adrian Gonzalez.

6.) Fernando Martinez, OF
Fernando Martinez looked completely overmatched during his stint with the Mets. Heck, his career OBP in the Minor Leagues isn't even impressive. In the Minors, he strikes out too much and doesn't steal bases well, at all. All that being said, he is only 20 years old. He's a young player for Double A, so his struggles in Triple A and the big leagues can be forgiven. F-Mart i6'1", 190 lbs, and in a few years I think he'll be at least as good as Adam Jones.

5.) Matt LaPorta, OF
Highly touted prospect, Matt LaPorta, became a household name in some households when the Indians traded C.C. Sabathia for a package built around LaPorta. Some of Matt's minor league numbers have been Herculean, like his .384 OBP and .557 SLG. His performance at the Major League level has left something to be desired, but this guy should develop into a pretty dependable middle of the order bat.

4.) Gordon Beckham, 3b
Beckham was a floppy haired B.M.O.C. at the University of Georgia last year. Kenny Williams selected him with the 8th overall pick in the draft fourteen months ago, and today he stands as a vital part of the White Sox. Beckham had a great spring, didn't make the Opening Day roster, but made the most of his time with the big club since his debut on June 4th.

3.) Colby Rasmus, OF
Rasmus had a disappointing 2008, or else he would have debut'd last year around the time Jay Bruce became everyone's favorite Natural. It seems like just yesterday that the Prospect Smackdown showcased Jay Bruce vs. Colby Rasmus. Over here at BAseball Reality Tour, we do not like Colby Rasmus. He's too good. He's on the Cardinals. He's not even that good, yet, and the Cardinals are in first place. We really hate the Cardinals. They are so freaking consistent. With Dave Duncan at Pitching Coach, they could sign Dave Dravecky this offseason, and he's win a at least a dozen games next year.

2.) Andrew McCutcheon, CF
Last year at this time, I had a Google reminder set for "Andrew McCutcheon". I wanted to get an email every single time a new article with the words "Andrew McCutcheon" appeared. I was trying to patiently await his arrival, and I didn't want to miss out when he got called up because I thought he was the next power/speed superstar. Anyway, reading so much about him oddly made my interest wane. Here is another example of missing out on someone pretty special. He does a very good job of filling out the box score with hits, runs, steals, etc. He's had some unexpected power outbursts, and he's been a very valuable member of the Pirates. Seeing him run live is breathtaking, as well. He's not Usain Bolt, but he has as good of wheels as anyone in the game right now.

1.) Matt Wieters, C
I don't know why I still have Wieters listed at #1 on any list. He has disappointed fantasy owners around the world. The Orioles are still happy because they aren't playing for wins this season, he's getting to learn lessons about defense, calling a game, handling this young staff, and learning the tendencies of opposing big league players. He still has the unmistakable tools of size, strength, balance, and coordination. I think I'm putting him here because I'm afraid of cringing when I look back in a few years and see that I had Matt Wieters ranked below Matt LaPorta. Seriously, though, looking at Wieters' numbers, he has been outperformed by #13 on this list, Jason Jaramillo.

Did we leave anyone important out of the list? Are there any injustices we must answer for?

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