Saturday, September 11, 2010

Position Players of the Future 2010

Brett Wallace looks like a nice boy.
Last year, when we posted our first Position Players of the Future post, we did it in late August.  So, we missed out on some September callups, notably: Buster Posey, Tyler Flowers, Eric Young, Tyler Colvin, Tommy Manzella, Chris Johnson, and Ian Desmond.

This year, we've seen the debuts of at least twenty genuinely exciting prospects.  Before getting to the list, we'll acknowledge this year's honorable mention to: Jon Jay, Will Rhymes, Danny Espinosa, Ruben Tejada, Scott Sizemore, Brian Bogusevic, Jason Donald, Ryan Kalish, and Lorenzo Cain.

Austin Jackson's HR:K
ratio is 3 to 149
25.) Chris Carter, Athletics
24.) Mitch Moreland, Rangers
23.) Brennan Boesch, Tigers
22.) Danny Valencia, Twins
21.) Josh Bell, Orioles
20.) Brett Wallace, Astros
19.) Jason Castro, Astros
18.) Jose Tabata, Pirates
17.) Austin Jackson, Tigers
16.) Justin Smoak, Rangers
15.) Freddie Freeman, Braves
14.) Wilson Ramos, Twins
13.) Dayan Viciedo, White Sox
12.) J.P. Arencibia, Blue Jays
11.) Mike Stanton, Marlins
10.) Lars Anderson, Red Sox
Is Chris Berman still on TV regularly?  Does he do baseball highlights?  I'd like to see him try to call this guy Lars And-theRealGirl-derson.  We are bullish on Anderson because he's a big, strong kid, with a good power-hitter's frame, smooth swing, and as said back in June: "impeccable batting eye".

9.) Yonder Alonso, Reds
It's pretty great that we find eight position players more exciting than Alonso, whom we were wondering about a good two months before his debut.  The Havana born 23-year old is soaking in ambiance of a pennant race.  If he can play left field, the Reds will be even more dangerous.  Adding his influence to a lineup with Joey Votto, a maturing Brandon Phillips, an improving Jay Bruce, and the ageless Rolen should score plenty of runs for a young rotation fronted by Leake, Chapman, Volquez, Cueto, Bailey or Harang, et al.

8.) Domonic Brown, Phillies
It's taking a little while for Dom Brown's bat to find the Major League ball, but he's already showing off three of the five basic tools.  He will eventually slide comfortably into Jayson Werth's current role on the team.

7.) Desmond Jennings, Rays
Jennings has yet to get exposed to regular playing time, but as is true in most sports, there's no substitute for speed.  Crawford is definitely leaving Tampa this offseason, and Desmond Jennings will play.  Nothing short of a Brandon Wood performance will give Desmond a chance to showoff his ability to get on base and go.  As an illustration: in 1,830 plate appearances across five minor league seasons, he had a .384 OBP and 171 stolen bases, against getting thrown out just 33 times.

6.) Ike Davis, Mets
We didn't anticipate Ike Davis's debut until about two days before it happened, but we've been awfully impressed by his performance.  He has a 111 OPS+, which isn't outstanding for a first baseman, but it is very good for a first-year player.  We also appreciate his experience at Arizona State and think that school has an extra special knack at churning out professional hitters.

5.) Starlin Castro, Cubs
Starlin Castro is the youngest player in the Major Leagues, in fact, the only Major Leaguer born in the '90s.  He was born in the Dominican Republic and signed by the Cubs as a 16-year old.  He's hitting an impressive, but empty .317.  As they say, you don't walk off the island, and Castro is no different.  In 436 plate appearances, he only has 24 walks.  Having this kind of success as a 20-year old foreshadows an outstanding future, when comparing to the best shortstop in the game.  When Hanley Ramirez was 20-years old, across three levels of minor league baseball, rookie ball, high-A, and double-AA ball, Hanley had 428 plate appearances, batting .314, with only 6 HR's and 29 walks.  He flashed some speed, with 25 steals in 35 attempts.  Castro doesn't look like a runner, but that could be due to inexperience.  He only has 8 SB's this season in the Majors, but last year in A and Double A, he swiped 28 bags.  It should be fun to see how good this kid can be.

4.) Carlos Santana, Indians
Knee injuries be damned!  This kid hovers over the plate like a beast waiting to unleash his wrath on American League pitching.  Had Santana not blown out his knee during a collision at home plate this summer, he'd probably be #2 on this list.  This has been an outstanding season for hitting debuts.  We're discussing at least twenty legitimate future stars here.

3.) Pedro Alvarez, Pirates
As soon as Sean Johnston declared his intentions to attend Vanderbilt in the 1994, I knew the school was a serious player in college baseball.  Sean went on to sign with the Mets, who drafted him out of high school.  In the past 15 years, we've seen Vandy churn out some serviceable Major Leaguers: Jeremy Sowers and Jensen Lewis.  They've had a few superstar players in recent years: David Price, Pedro Alvarez, and Mike Minor.

2.) Logan Morrison, Marlins
LoMo has not disappointed during his time with the Marlins.  Much like Yonder Alonso, he is a first base prospect currently blocked by an effective Major Leaguer.  Morrison has been given an opportunity, and he snagged the starting left field position right away.  He's even batting in the top if the lineup most nights, hitting 2nd or 3rd.  In the 40 games he's played since his debut, LoMo's triple slash line is an outstanding .314/.425/.487.  He's only hit one homerun but has sixteen doubles.  In time, some of those shots will start to find the seats.  It doesn't hurt that he's red hot, having reached base in thirty straight games heading into Saturday's contest.

1.) Jason Heyward, Braves
Heyward is also devastatingly young; he just turned 21 last month.  He has started for the Braves since Opening Day, and the only complaints Braves fans can have is that he gets hampered by minor injuries here and there a bit too frequently, and he doesn't hit like Pujols, yet.  Scouts have raves about Heyward's size, strength, and mostly his balance at the plate.  We've read in Buster Olney's column people call him Pujols as an Outfielder.

Putting hyperbole aside in a moment, Heyward is an impressive player when he strikes out looking.  He looks dangerous at the plate, is dangerous at the plate, and despite the phenom attention, has a level head on his shoulders.  (If you don't know the story of how Jason Heyward decided to wear #22 and everything else that goes along with it, read it.  You just might have a new favorite player.)

Back to the dangerous at the plate part.  His minor league stats page listed him at 6'5" 240 lbs, as a 20-year old.  For comparison's sake, Albert Pujos is listed at 6' 3" 230 lbs and Ron Artest is listed as a more comparable 6'6" 244.  These comparisons scream to me "That means he's a big kid!" in the same voice and manner as Brown and Williamson's attorney, in Michael Mann's The Insider, when he tersely directed Russell Crowe's character: "That means you don't talk!"

It feels like the wheels to this post are completely falling off, so let's finish it with what is quite possibly my favorite line in the movie.  The opposing attorney in the film's scene is the fine American actor, Bruce McGill.  McGill has hard a remarkable career.  He played the infamous Daniel Simpson Day in Animal House, the plot changing Sheriff Farley in My Cousin Vinny, George Tenet in W, and of course the unforgettable Jack Dalton on 19 episodes of MacGyver, not to mention another 130+ titles including Ali and Legally Blond 2.  Let's take it back to the deposition scene in The Insider.

Big Tobacco's attorney says: "Dr. Wigand, I am instructing you not to answer that question in accordance to the terms of the contractual obligations undertaken by you not to disclose any information about your work at the Brown and Williamson tobacco company, and in accordance with the force and effect of the temporary restraining order that has been entered against you by the court in the state of Kentucky. That means you don't talk! Mr. Motley we have rights here."

Mr Motley (Bruce McGill) says: "Oh yeah boy, you got rights... and lefts. Ups and downs and middles. So what? You don't get to instruct anything around here! This is not North Carolina, not South Carolina, nor Kentucky! This is the sovereign state of Mississippi's proceedings. Wipe that smirk off your face! Dr. Wigand's deposition will be part of this record! And I'm gonna take my witness' testimony whether the hell you like it or not!"

You just can't beat "This is the sovereign state of Mississippi and "Wipe that smirk off your face!"

Thanks for reading this far.  I'm really sorry about this.  Do you see what happens?  Do you see what happens?  Do you see what happens when you run a blog without an editor?


  1. Really? Ike Davis and no Buster Posey?


  2. Hey Nick, thanks for the ALL CAPS OUTSTANDING, and thanks for reading. FYI, we're talking just debuts, not R.O.Y., and Buster Posey debuted in 2009. -Bobby

  3. Okay, my mistake. Carry, on.

    P.S., as much as I think Santana will be better than Posey offensively with his ability to walk, how close do you think Posey briddges the gap between them with his defensive and throwing ability?

    I'd say Posey and Santana defensively is night and day, or am I way off?