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01-16-2002, 10:23 PM

Here's their breakdown on Oakland top prospects (http://www.topprospectalert.com/top10/2002part5.shtm)

Oakland Athletics

1) Estaban German, 2B, 23yo (OBA: 2.9, LWP: -0.3, SPD: 0.8, EYE: 2.0)

The A’s thought enough of Estaban to deal last year’s "secondbasemen of the future", Jose Ortiz to the Rockies in the Jermaine Dye deal. It took a breakout season in 2001 for anyone to recognize that German not only had speed, but had the requisite contact and phenomenal plate discipline to develop into a truly outstanding leadoff hitter. Defensively he is probably only adequate, but as a 2Bmen that’s probably good enough. His other drawback is limited power, but he hits enough gaps that he may eventually produce double-digit HR totals as he matures. He will have every shot in Spring Training 2002 to nail down the 2B job, but the A’s will wait if he needs another half season in AAA before he’s ready. In either case he has an upside of a .275-.280 AVG, 10HRs, and 40 or more SBs. When you factor in a .400+ OBA you have the makings of one of the games better tablesetters.

2) Ryan Ludwick, OF, 23yo (OBA: 0.1, LWP: 1.2, SPD: 0.0, EYE: -0.1)

The A’s 2nd round pick in 1999, Ludwick’s power projections are about as good as anyone in the minor’s. Contact wise he is only fair, his plate discipline still leaves a lot to be desired and he possesses only average speed. Defensively he combines CF range with an incredible arm that won him accolades as the Texas League’s "Best Defensive OF" in 2001. 2002 should find in AAA with a September callup likely. He will have a shot at full-time RF job by 2003. His current projections look for him to eventually hit .250-.260 AVG with 30-40 HRs, but it will take him a while to get there given his lack of plate discipline. If however he is able to improve his strikezone management skills, he could be truly special.

3) Mario Ramos, LHS, 24yo (MOB: 0.5, K/IP: 1.1, K/BB: 0.3)

The A’s 6th round pick in 1999, put together a breakout season in 2001 that left everyone redefining his "upside". Ramos only has a high-80’s fastball, but uses it to set up a very good curve, which is his strikeout pitch. Additionally he has an adequate major league change. His greatest strength however is a truly advanced understanding of how to pitch as he does a great job of changing both speed and location, that has allowed him to strikeout better than 8 batters /9IP throughout his career. His only downside is a lack of a dominant fastball, but that didn’t prevent him from having success at both AA and AAA last season and shouldn’t be a problem at the next level. Expect Ramos to have a shot at a rotation spot in Spring Training and certainly by midseason 2002. In many organizations he’d be looked at as a possible #3, but in Oakland he’s probably no more than a #4.

4) Adam Morrissey, 2B, 21yo (OBA: 1.5, LWP: 1.2, SPD: 1.3, EYE: 1.7)

The A’s stole Morrissey from the Cubs this past winter. While he will never be a "tools" favorite, the native Australian does everything well, including playing just about every position. He makes very good contact, has an exceptional batting eye, has above average power and good speed. His only drawback is a lack of a true position at the major league level that may force him into a utility type of role. Morrissey will begin 2002 at AA where I expect him to play "lights out" at Midland. By mid-2003 he should be challenging for big league playing time. His upside will really be dependent on an opportunity to play everyday. If he gets it, it would not at all surprise me to see him hit .285 AVG, 25 dbls, 10 trpls, 20HRs, 10SBs, with a .390+OBA.

5) Bubba Crosby, SS, 22yo (n/a)

The A’s 1st round pick in last June’s draft was perhaps the finest defensive player taken in the first two rounds. But in a brief debut in the FSL, Crosby showed he could hit a little as well batting .395 w a 1.044 OPS in 11 games. Crosby makes good contact and has average or above power for a SS. Additionally his plate discipline is at least average. Crosby’s only real negative is limited speed for a middle IF. Look for Oakland to return him to Hi-A to begin the 2002 season with a target of AA by midyear. He will be fast tracked and could see Oakland as early as late 2003. The real question will be where he plays as Tejada isn’t a bad alternative at SS and German is above him on this list.

6) Chris Trittle, OF, 20yo (n/a)

It’s a long way from the AZL to the big leagues, but the A’s 19th round pick in 2000 sure got a running start in 2001 as he led the AZL in Home Runs, Stolen Bases and SLG. Trittle makes good contact, has above average power, and runs extremely well for a big man (6’3 215lbs). He’s extremely athletic and not only has good range but an above average arm. Like most 19yo’s, Trittle’s plate discipline needs improvement, especially against the breaking ball. 2002 will find him in Hi-A where he’ll be one of the league’s youngest position players. While some have said that he could be a 30/30 guy down the road, after Luis Montanez’s followup season to his stellar AZL debut I’ll need to see how he performs next year before making that call. In any case he’ll be a good one to watch.

7) Jason Hart, 1B, 24yo (OBA: 0.0, LWP: 0.3, SPD: -0.9, EYE: 0.4)

Perhaps no position player had as great a slide as the A’s 1998 5th rounder. He entered the 2001 season as one of the minor’s top power prospects, yet posted only slightly above average power numbers at AAA. Unfortunately for the A’s, with Jason Giambi’s departure he was the prospect that they could least afford this to happen to. Up until last season Hart had made decent contact with very good power. But plate discipline has always been his weakness and it proved his undoing last year. Because of that the A’s will give him another chance to work on it in AAA to start 2002. Look for him to rebound and join Oakland sometime this season, but his future doesn’t look nearly as bright as it did just a year ago.

8) Oscar Salazar, SS, 24yo (OBA: -0.4, LWP: 0.5, SPD: 0.2, EYE: 0.0)

Placing Salazar here is an indication of the lack of depth in the Oakland system as his most optimistic upside is a utility infielder. That said he has put together a couple of intriguing seasons that lead one to believe that he could produce decent power numbers while not hurting you in any of the other areas. His speed is average or better and he’s capable of hitting .280. Defensively he can play adequately at 3B, SS, or 2B. He still is way too aggressive at the plate and that I don’t expect to change. Look for him to start 2002 at AAA, but join Oakland sometime this season in a reserve role. Given the reports of him being very good "in the clubhouse" he could have a productive career as a situational role player on a good team.

9) Matt Allegra, OF, 20yo (OBA: -0.5, LWP: 1.0, SPD: 0.7, EYE: -0.4)

The A’s 16th round pick in 1999 was a draft and follow that signed in time to make his debut in the AZL in 2000. He began 2001 at Hi-A where he was clearly overmatched as one of the circuits youngest players. The A’s demoted him to the NWL where his statistics on the surface look rather unimpressive. At this stage Allegra is a lanky 6’3 whose best attribute is well above average speed, but playing in the NWL toughest hitter park he also cranked out 11 HRs and 16 dbls in 273 ABs and that’s impressive. As he fills out he could easily post 20-25HRs to go along with double-digit stolen bases. Defensively he has range enough to play CF, but his arm may limit him to LF. The huge negative at this point is tremendous wholes in his swing that had him striking out more than once every 3 AB, but the A’s are confident that they will correct that. If they are successful, look out because the rest of his game is scary. Look for a return trip to Hi-A in 2002 and plenty of work on that swing.

10) Freddie Bynum, SS, 22yo (OBA: -0.1, LWP: -0.8, SPD: 1.4, EYE: 0.0)

The A’s second round pick in 2000 is still pretty much all about speed at this stage of his career. His ability to reach base is average at best, and he’ll never hit for much power. His plate discipline is about average. Defensively he has good range, an arm strong enough to play 3B, but still misses the routine play. Bynum will move to AA in 2002 and won’t see Oakland before late 2003 at best. He has 35-40 SB potential and a glove that is probably good enough to make him a decent utility player at the major league level, but in an organization that is as solid as the A’s are at 2B, SS, & 3B, don’t expect much more.

01-16-2002, 10:31 PM
According to this site, Oakland gave up their #2, #3, and #7.

01-16-2002, 10:33 PM
And the Rangers gave up their #2 (http://www.topprospectalert.com/top10/2002part1.shtm)

Texas Rangers

1) Hank Blalock, 3B/OF, 21yo (2.1, 1.4, 0.2, 2.3)
The rest of baseball has finally caught on to one of my favorite prospects. Blalock can flat out hit. He hits for average, hits for power and has a great batting eye that should ensure success as he moves up the ladder. He is an above average fielder (actually voted best defensive 3B in FSL), but due to the Rangers depth at 3B & 1B, OF may be his eventual destination. He will be given every opportunity to win the 3B job this spring, and certainly should be a fixture in the Rangers lineup by mid-season. He will be an All-Star.

2) Carlos Pena, 1B, 23yo (1.8, 2.2, 0.2, 0.7)
Pena got off to a slow start this year, but still posted tremendous OBA & LWP numbers. While he has a decent batting eye, he tends to fall into periods where he pulls off the ball and will strike out (as he did early this season). He has decent speed for a 1B and is more than adequate as a fielder. All of this should lead to Rafael Palmeiro moving to DH this season and Pena with every opportunity to compete for the AL rookie of the year.

3) Mark Teixiera, 3B/1B, 22yo (n/a)
Like Prior of the Cubs, this ranking is strictly on reputation, as an injury led to him missing most of the college season. At one time he was thought to be the cream of this year’s draft and certainly has all of the tools. There are some that feel that he is ready for the majors this season. Look for him to start at AA and potentially compete for a Corner IF spot by the end of the year. With Pena & Palmeiro probably already locking up 1B & DH, either Blalock or Teixiera will likely end up in the OF for at least a couple of seasons.

4) Joaquin Benoit, RHS/R, 23yo (-0.2, 1.4, -0.6)
Don’t let his struggles in his brief major league debut fool you. When healthy…Benoit can bring a fastball that reaches the upper 90’s, a good hard slider, and a decent change up. However, huge questions surround his ability to stay healthy and be a rotation mainstay as his nearly 160 IP was by far the most work he has had in a six-year minor league career. So bullpen may be his eventual destination. In most systems you would expect someone like Benoit to spend another season at AAA, but with the Rangers need for quality pitchers, it would not be surprising to see him break camp with the big league club.

5) Colby Lewis, RHS, 22yo (0.1, 1.2, 0.2)
To many, this 1999 1st Round pick is the best of the Ranger pitcher prospects. If he would stop hitting so many opposition bats I might agree. He struggles at time with his control and would be better served to focus on his three best pitches (mid 90’s fastball, a hard slider and change) but he continues to mess around with other breaking balls. Lewis probably doesn’t have Benoit’s ceiling but could be an adequate #4/#5 starter as soon as next year.

6) Jason Romano, OF/2B, 23yo (1.8, -0.5, 0.1, 1.1)
Romano is the type of “gritty” player I like and one who probably doesn’t get enough credit. While he gets on-base well, he has little power and below average speed for a MI. That’s why the Rangers have been working him in the OF. Mike Young probably has the inside track at 2B, and that’s unfortunate because Romano has a higher-upside and could be an above average MI. In the OF he will probably never be more than a 4th OF type.

7) Jovanny Cedeno, RHS, 22yo (n/a)
Cedeno is one of those “tools” players that scouts love, and I question. A shoulder injury shelved Cedeno for most of the season last year, meaning he will probably start off 2002 back at Hi-A. If he is recovered, and if he does well early, the Rangers would not hesitate to move him to AA. But at age 22, if he can’t reach AA for at least one-half of the season, I begin to drop him down a few notches. He needs to stay healthy.

8) Kevin Mench, OF, 24yo (-0.2, 1.9, -0.5, -0.2)
Few minor league players suffered as frustrating a season as Mench did last year. The real surprise was the fall off in BB/K (from 1.0 in 2000 to 0.4 last year at Tulsa), although he did continue to post impressive power numbers. Mench finds himself in a tough spot. At 24, he should be with the big league club and he will need to aggressively work towards that next season, unfortunately though, the key to his success will be in regaining the patience in the strike zone that he showed in 2000.

9) Luis Rodriguez, RHS/R, 20yo (0.0, 1.2, -0.1)
After dominating at Savannah, Rodriguez had difficulty finding the plate at Charlotte (20 walks in 19 IP). But don’t worry, he was one of the youngest players in the league. He should receive a return engagement at Hi-A where he will get an opportunity to develop a third pitch to go along with a mid-90’s fastball and hard slider. If he is successful, he has an upside that could make him a mid-rotation starter for the big league club by the start of 2003. If he can’t it will be the bullpen for him.

10) Scott Heard, C, 20yo (0.2, 0.2, -1.1, 0.0)
From a fantasy perspective, great defensive catchers don’t hold tremendous value. Heard is one of the better defensive catching prospects in the game, but has a ceiling of an adequate offensive player at best. At 20, he still has plenty of time to develop some offense, but at this point in time…take a wait and see approach.

Other Top 300:
11) Justin Duchscherer, RHS; 12) Jason Botts, 1B; 13) Laynce Nix, OF; 14) Corey Wright, OF; 15) Andy Pratt, LHS; 16) Ryan Dittfurth, RHS; 17) Travis Haffner, 1B; 18) Doug Silva, RHP.

Other Prospects:
Chris Magruder, Justin Echols, Jason Bourgeois, Omar Beltre, Jose Morban, Victor Ramirez, Domingo Valdez, Nick Regilio, Danny Solano, Tom Graham, C.J. Wilson, Greg Runser, Travis Hughes, Chris Russ, Cody Nowlin, Rich Gilbert, David Mead.

01-17-2002, 12:18 AM
personally, i'm a fan of echols..he's a winner