The last of the top ten prospect lists as we toured the world identifying young players in the minor leagues hoping for the opportunity to play in the major leagues.
1. Gerritt Cole RHP (Pittsburgh Pirates) - Cole was the first player drafted in 2011. He will join Jameson Taillon and Luis Heredia in what is anticipated to be one of the strongest rotations in baseball by 2015. His fastball stays in the mid-90s and was voted the best fastball in the Florida State League. He also has a slider and change that just needs minor refinement before becoming major league ready. He shot through AA and finished at AAA last year. He began the 2013 season in AAA weaving together a 2.45 ERA in six starts. The only concern so far is his less than stellar 17/21 walk to whiff ratio in 29 innings. Those are not the numbers you expect from a dominating pitcher. Expect a September callup to the 2013 season.
2. Shelby Miller RHP (St. Louis Cardinals) - Shelby is a big pitcher with a dominating fastball that glides across the plate in the mid-90s. He also has a nice curveball and a still work in progress change. Those pitches led to a disappointing 4.74 ERA in 27 AAA starts with an opposition average of .260. Those are not the numbers you expect from a pitcher with ace stuff. He was still given a September promotion despite his struggles and did much better against major leaguers with a 1.32 ERA in six appearances. He won the fifth starter job out of spring training, going 4-2 with a 1.96 ERA early in the 2013 season.
3. Jameson Taillon RHP (Pittsburgh Pirates) - He was the second player drafted in the 2010 draft after Bryce Harper. Bryce is playing in the major leagues while Taillon is getting AA hitters out. He was voted the best pitching prospect out of the Florida State League, beating out teammate Gerrit Cole. His fastball sits in the mid-90s but his curveball is perhaps his best pitch. The Pirates are waiting for him to refine his change before giving him an opportunity to pitch in the major leagues. In six starts his ERA is 3.03. He played for Canada in the 2013 WBC because his parents are from Canada, but he was born in Lakeland, Florida. Myworld still listed him as the second top prospect out of Canada.
4. Tyler Skaggs LHP (Arizona Diamondbacks) - Tyler was a first round pick of the Angels in 2009. They traded him to the Diamondbacks in the Dan Haren trade. As a lefty his fastball hits the radar in the low 90s, which is plenty fast, but his curveball is his big strikeout pitch. He also has a change. Tyler made his major league debut last year, getting six starts but putting together an unimpressive 5.83 ERA. Last year he also had a 2.91 ERA in nine AAA starts. This year has been a bit more of a struggle, a 6.89 ERA after six starts. He had a good opening outing pitching six innings of shutout ball. After that his ERA has been closer to nine.
5. Billy Hamilton OF (Cincinnati Reds) - Nobody in the history of baseball has stolen more than the 155 bases Billy stole last year. He was a second round 2009 pick and a shortstop until this year. The Reds already have a pretty good player in Zach Cosart to play short and many felt Billy lacked the major league arm to play the position. They have moved him to centerfield this year where they have an immediate need. Last year those 155 stolen bases were assisted by his .410 OBA. This year he only has 17 stolen bases, fashioning a batting average of .196 with an OBA of .265. This is more reminiscent of his numbers in 2011 than 2012.
6. Zack Wheeler RHP (New York Mets) - Zack was a first round pick of the Giants in 2009. The Giants needed a bat for the pennant race and traded Wheeler for Carlos Beltran. It was a short term fix to get them to a second straight World Series but it failed. Now Wheeler is a potential ace for the Mets and Beltran took his free agent bat to the Cardinals. Like all the other pitchers on this list Zack throws a mid-90s fastball with a slider and a change. He hopes to join Matt Harvey in the major league rotation sometime in 2013. He is 2-1 with a 4.00 ERA in AAA, giving up a little too many hits in the hitter friendly Pacific Coast League.
7. Travis d’Arnaud C (New York Mets) - Travis got off to an excellent start last year hitting .333 with 16 homeruns in his first 67 games. His season ended earlyas a result of torn ligaments in his left knee. The Blue Jays traded him to the Mets for CyYoung winner R.A. Dickey. It is the second Cy Young winner he has been traded for. The Phillies traded d’Arnaud to the Blue Jays for Roy Halladay in 2009. He has good defensive tools that fall a tad short of his big bat. The key will be how his knee injury impacts his movement behind the plate. This year he fractured his left foot and will spend some time walking in a boot. He only played in 12 games at AAA before the injury, hitting .250 with one homerun. He needs to play to get the reps behind the plate.
8. Christian Yelich OF (Miami Marlins) - Christian was a first round pick in 2010. He has a .322 career minor league average in his three seasons. Last year he hit .330 with 12 homeruns. He has the swing of a batting champion and also plays a solid centerfield. His speed has allowed him to steal 53 bases at a 83 percent success rate. Christian experienced foot problems which forced him to start the 2013 season on the DL. He is playing now, hitting .281 in 13 games at AA.
9. Archie Bradley RHP (Arizona Diamondbacks) - Archie was the seventh player selected in the 2011 draft. He has a fastball in the mid 90s but his 84 walks in 136 innings shows what little command he has of it. He did limit the opposition to a .181 average. He has an above average curveball and a developing change. Archie showed improved control this year with a 10/43 walk to whiff ratio in just 28 innings pitched, resulting in an ERA of 1.26. This resulted in a promotion to AA where he only gave up one run in his first six innings of work.
10. Anthony Rendon 3B (Washington Nationals) - Anthony was considered the top draft choice in 2011. Injuries during the college year dropped him to the Nationals. Last year an ankle injury slowed the start of his 2012 season. When he did get healthy he rose to AA where he struggled with a .162 average. Over four levels he accumulated 133 at bats. He had a good spring this year and an injury to Ryan Zimmerman allowed him to make his major league debut, where he hit .240. Once Zimmerman got healthy Rendon was returned to Harrisburg in AA where he is hitting a much better .271. While third base is his natural position the Nationals will either have to move Zimmerman to first once Rendon is ready, or find another position for Rendon to play.2d44