Three more posts to get to number one, but it won’t be difficult for those fans of prospects to figure out the top three. Depending on how the road trip goes, posting may be difficult tomorrow.
30. Jarrod Parker RHP (Athletics) United States (6.34) - This will be his fifth year appearing on the myworld Top 100 list. His highest ranking was last year when he finished 21. He rocketed to prospect status almost immediately after high school, reaching AA at age 20. Tommy John surgery ended his 2009 season early and did not allow him to pitch in 2010. Last year was his first year back, reaching AA again and matching what he did as a 20 year old. He doesn’t throw as hard as he did prior to the surgery, but he still hits the mid-90s consistently with his fastball. He also has a swing and miss slider and a change. He should make the A’s starting rotation, so hopefully this will be his last appearance on this top 100 list.
29. Arodys Vizcaino RHP (Braves) Dominican Republic (6.41) - At the Series del Caribe they spelled his name Arodis. The Braves have so many young starting pitchers that the Braves used Arodys out of the bullpen last year. Durability concerns because of arm soreness and a 6′0″ frame put him in the bullpen. He did start 17 games last year in the minors, so starting is not out of the question. His 114 innings pitched last year was the most in his career. He throws a mid-90s fastball and a sharp breaking curveball that are two plus pitches. His change has improved so he has the repertoire to start.
28. Archie Bradley RHP (Diamondbacks) United States (6.51) - Archie was a first round pick in 2011 out of Oklahoma. He beat Dylan Bundy’s high school team in the Oklahoma state championship, though Dylan had pitched in the quarter final game. He was selected three picks after Dylan but his $5 million bonus was $1 million more than Dylan, but Dylan signed a major league contract. Archie throws a fastball that travels 92-98 and has a plus curveball. Since he didn’t really need a changeup in high school that is still in the developmental stage. He got in two games after he signed late last year, striking out four of the seven hitters he faced, giving up just one hit.
27. Taijuan Walker RHP (Mariners) United States (7.01) - Taijuan was a first round supplemental pick in 2010. At 6′4″ his fastball gets to the plate in the mid-90s and can reach the high 90s. His curveball is already above average and his change is improving. In 18 starts in the Midwest League he averaged 10.5 whiffs per nine innings. He was voted the top prospect in the Midwst League. The Mariners have a trio of prospects with the potential to join Feliz Hernandez for the number one spot in the rotation, Danny Hultzen and James Paxton being the other two. Taijuan is the younger of the three reaching 20 this year. With his success at Low A he should see High A and with success there a promotion to AA before the season is out. His major leage debut should be sometime at the end of 2013.
26. Bubba Starling OF (Royals) United States (7.14) - One of the most athletic players in the draft coming out of high school, most felt that his committment was to football, where Nebraska wanted him to be their quarterback. That still didn’t prevent the Royals from drafting the local boy in the first round of the 2011 draft. They have to hope for similar success after another quarterback a number of years ago who was drafted by his local team, Joe Mauer. Because Bubba didn’t play baseball year round he is still a bit raw, but eventually his bat should show excellent power. He also has plus speed to cover a lot of ground in center field. His quarterback arm should easily fit in right should they decide to move him there. He did have an issue with a citation for underage drinking, but that is something most of us have done when we were young. Some of us just never got caught.
25. Carlos Martinez RHP (Cardinals) Dominican Republic (7.14) - His fastball was voted the best in both the Midwest League and Florida State League. The Red Sox had initially signed him, but that was under the name Carlos Matias. He got a little more money ($1.5 million) signing his contract as Carlos Martinez. His fastball hits the triple digits and even as a starter consistenly hits the high 90s. We’ll see how long that lasts before Tommy John surgery is needed. He has a good sinker, an inconsistent curve that has plenty of potential and a developing change. He had some command issues when promoted to the Florida State League, walking 30 in 46 innings, but still striking out 48. Batters also hit him at a .269 pace there as opposed to the .196 average he limited the Midwest League hitters to in Low A. He should repeat High A to improve his command, but it shouldn’t take much to see him in AA before mid-season.
24. Martin Perez LHP (Rangers) Venezuela (7.43) - His hype has never matched his production. Martin is always rated high on the prospect lists, but his 4.22 career ERA shows that his on field success has been lacking. After struggling in AA in 2009 and 2010 (5.57/5.96) he finally achieved some success there in 2011 (3.16) but when promoted to AAA he reverted back to his old ineffective form (6.43). In 10 starts the opposition batted .343 against him and he struck out only 6.8 batters per nine innings. His fastball sits in the low 90s, with his changeup being his best pitch. He also has a nice breaking curveball, but he struggles getting that pitch over the plate. The Rangers have a number of pitchers that they can use in the starting rotation, so his debut to the major leagues may come out of the bullpen, especially if he continues to struggle with his command.
23. Danny Hultzen LHP (Mariners) United States (7.44) - Danny was the second overall pick in the 2011 draft out of the University of Virginia. He is the third of the three Mariner pitchers that have tremendous potential (James Paxton listed at 61). He signed a bit late so never played in the minors in 2011. He did impress in the Arizona Fall League, fashioning an impressive 1.40 ERA for six starts in a hitter’s league. For a lefthander, his fastball has plenty of zip, hitting the mid-90s quite consistently. He also has two other plus pitches in the slider and change. It will be hard to see him make the major league team out of spring training after no minor league experience, but his domination in the AFL certainly was impressive. Expect a AA start that will turn into a AAA promotion with any kind of success. A job in the major league rotation will await him at the end of the year.
22. Anthony Rendon 3B/2B (Nationals) United States (7.5) - Coming into the 2011 season he was projected as the first pick in the draft. A shoulder injury forced him to DH most of the year, which dropped him to the Nationals as the sixth pick in the draft. His college position is third base, but with the recent contract extension to Ryan Zimmerman he will be worked a little bit at second and short. He signed too late to play any in 2011, but most believe that he was the best hitter selected in the draft. While he has a good arm I don’t see where he will have the range to play short. The Nationals also had the same idea about Ryan Zimmerman moving to short when Vinny Castilla occupied third. After playing a few games there, they abandoned the thought. Rendon has decent speed to move to an outfield position, but that could become very crowded with corner outfielders after the promotion of Bryce Harper.
21. Manny Banuelos LHP (Yankees) Mexico (7.59) - There is always a player that comes out of spring training that impresses myworld. We can still see Joe Torre gushing after the debut of Clayton Kershaw and the long bombs of Mike Stanton. Rafael Furcal impressed with his cannon arm and impressive sock for a little guy. Manny impressed more with his poise and smooth delivery than with his tools. He also had no problems throwing strikes. His fastball hits the low 90s, but he locates it well and disguises it with a plus change. His strikeout to innings pitched ratio dropped last year below nine per nine innings after staying above 10 the previous two years. With the acquistion of Michael Pineda and Hiroki Kuroda the Yankees can be patient with Manny and allow him to achieve some success in AAA before promoting him to the big club. He will be the depth that Brian Cashman has always wanted for his minor leagues, rather than be forced to trade young prospects who were not quite ready for the major leagues for expensive veterans who ballooned his salary structure.