Prospects 40 to 31

Myworld was hoping to finish this before heading to Florida, but we will have to finish it in Florida, or doing some massive typing.

40. Anthony Rizzo 1B (Cubs) United States (5.46) - Rizzo got a higher prospect ranking than Alonso, but the Padres decided to make Rizzo the expendable one.  Alonso has proven he can hit in the major leagues while Rizzo has not.  Rizzo had an incredible year in AAA, hitting .331 with 26 homeruns and 101 RBIs in just 93 games.  He probably would have led the minor leagues in homeruns if not promoted to the Padres.  There his numbers were not as impressive (.141, 1, 9) even after hitting a double, triple and homerun in his first three major league games.  He is the better defensive player than Alonso at first base.  The only thing he hasn’t done yet is prove that he can hit major league pitching.  He will get another opportunity by the Cubs to dominate AAA pitching while Bryan LaHair gets an opportunity to prove that he is not that fictitious AAAA player.

39. Billy Hamilton SS (Reds) United States (5.54) - There is a saying that the one thing you can’t teach in baseball is speed.  Billy has a lot of that.  He stole 103 bases in just 123 attempts in Low A.  He started out the season struggling to stay above the Mendoza line, but still getting on enough to steal bases.  He finished the season hitting .278.  The big number is his .340 OBA.  If he is going to be a prolific base stealer he just needs to get on base.  He may not have the arm to play short on a regular basis and a move to second base could be in the cards, but the Reds will give him every opportunity.  Zack Cozart could make that decision easy for the Reds if he takes over the shortstop position.

38. Matt Harvey RHP (Mets) United States (5.63) - The Mets have been gushing about Harvey’s character all spring.  He was their first round draft pick in 2010.  Last year was his debut professional season and he averaged an impressive 10.3 whiffs per nine innings.  An 8-2 record and 2.37 ERA with a .238 opposition average got him a promotion to AA where he was a little more hittable (5-3, 4.53, .254 average).  It wouldn’t hurt the Mets to give him another shot at AA to start the season.  He has a mid-90s fastball that can reach the high 90s when Matt reaches back.  His slider is his second best offering with his curveball and change works in progress.

37. Jean Segura SS (Angels) Dominican Republic (5.66) - Jean started as a second baseman and then moved to shortstop.  Normally, the switch is the other way around.  He has plenty of arm to play short, but Eric Aybar could create his move back to second.  His season was curtailed by injuries last year, limiting him to just 52 games.  He has the speed to steal 30 plus bases and in 2010 he hit for a triple double (24 doubles, 12 triples and 10 homeruns), showing that there is some pop in his bat.  It would be best if he starts the season in High A and then work his way up to AA.  With a little success he could get a September call up.

36. Zach Wheeler RHP (Mets) United States (5.96) - The Mets traded Carlos Beltran to the Giants for Zach.  The Giants do have a habit of developing good pitchers with Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain two examples.  Zach had a nice 2011 season, striking out over 10 batters per nine innings.  His command seemed to improve when he was traded to the Mets, though being around the plate so much may have increased the opposition average from .224 to .252.  He throws a low to mid-90s fastball and at 6′4″ he can be intimidating to right handed hitters.  In addition to his fastball he throws a good curveball, a passable change and a nascent cutter/slider.

35. Hak-Ju Lee SS (Cubs) Korea (5.97) - The Cubs were able to sign Lee as an 18 year old, not drawing the same ire as the Orioles for signing a player still in high school.  Lee didn’t get off to the best start to his United States career, missing the first season because of Tommy John surgery.  He has come back from that with three seasons of batting near .300.  The average would be over .300 but he struggled at AA, hitting just .190 in over 100 at bats.  He runs like a gazelle, but that did not translate into efficient stolen base ratios (33 for 49).  He has gold glove ability at short stop with a strong arm.  There was some expectation of power developing when he first signed, but there is now an acceptance that the power may not come.  The Rays do not have anyone for shortstop, but Lee has to go back to AA and show some success before being given the position by the Rays.

34. Christian Yelich OF (Marlins) United States (6) - He gets a lot of hype after being drafted in the first round in 2010.  Last year was his first full season and he hit .312 to keep his two year minor league career average to .317.  He doesn’t have burner speed to play centerfield, but a weak arm will limit him to left if he can’t make the grade in center.  If he doesn’t hit for power left may not be a good fit.  He has the risk of becoming a fourth outfielder type player.  As long as he continues to hit that won’t be an issue.  He mashed 15 homeruns last year and slugged .484.  He also was successful on 32 of 37 stolen base attempts, giving him the potential to be at least a 20/20 player.

33. Wily Peralta RHP (Brewers) Dominican Republic (6.03) - Wily was supposed to make his rotation debut sometime last year, but a poor spring and a healthy Brewer pitching staff kept that from happening.  He is a thick pitcher, at 6′2″, 240 pounds, using all that weight to heave fastballs in the low 90s.  He still needs to develop consistency with his secondary pitchers (slider, change).  This will be his seventh year pitching in the Brewers minor league system.  At 23 years of age this year he is ready to pitch in the majors.  injuries coudl make that wish happen.

32. Brett Jackson OF (Cubs) United States (6.16) - Watching him play for the United States team in the Baseball World Cup makes me want to define him as a fourth outfielder.  We don’t think he has the range for centerfield or the power for right.  The United States team seemed to prefer Jordan Danks for centerfield.  He did hit 20 homeruns last year between AA and AAA, but his strikeout numbers were high (138) and his batting average numbers were a bit low (.274).  His 21 stolen bases made him a 20/20 player.  If he can continue that in the major leagues, with quality defense in right he will be a quality player just short of an All Star.

31. Gary Brown OF (Giants) United States (6.27) - There is no doubt where Gary will be playing when he reaches the major leagues.  Center field.  He was voted the best defensive outfielder, fastest baserunner and most exciting player in the California League.  He was a one man wrecking crew on offense, hitting .336 with 34 doubles, 13 triples, 14 homeruns and 53 stolen bases in 72 attempts.  For a player that has below average power his .519 slugging percentage was very impressive.  Gary will start the season in AA and if he has the same season as he did last year the Giants will not hesitate to bring him up to fortify their centerfield position.

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