Players Not Quite in the Top 101
Last week we issued a revised Top 100 list ... it came to 101 due to an error on my part, but that's fine. Today let's look at some interesting players who didn't quite make the cut, but who are still worth looking at. They are listed alphabetically.
Nick Adenhart, RHP, Los Angeles Angels
Adenhart shows up highly ranked on other prospect lists, due to his 90+ sinker. But he's struggled with his command over the last two years, and while he gets grounders, he hasn't dominated enough to make our list.
Bryan Anderson, C, St. Louis Cardinals
Anderson has proven he can hit for average and control the strike zone well, and continues to evolve defensively. But his lack of power (.379 SLG last year in Triple-A) could prevent him from living up to expectations fully, and he just misses the top 100 as a result.
J.P. Arencibia, C, Toronto Blue Jays
Arencibia hit 27 homers last year and has excellent power, and his defense has improved, earning him a slot on many other lists. We remain concerned about his awful BB/K ratio inhibiting his production against better competition, though his ceiling is obviously high.
Dellin Betances, RHP, New York Yankees
Betances has a high ceiling and would rank on a Top 100 devoted purely to projection and long-term value. In the short run he needs to show he can handle Double-A, and stay healthy long enough to develop his mid-90s fastball and strong curve.
Mitch Boggs, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals
Boggs struggled in a major league trial last year, but will get more chances to show he can throw strikes with his low-90s sinker. He may be better-suited for relief work than starting. If you are looking for 2009 value, monitor his spring performance and recent shoulder problems closely.
Andrew Brackman, RHP, New York Yankees
Brackman's 6-11 stature and the Yankees propaganda machine gets him on a lot of lists, and there's no doubt his ceiling is very high. He also needs to show he can stay healthy and throw enough strikes to be useful, both open questions at this point.
Allen Craig, 3B, St. Louis Cardinals
Craig does nothing but hit: .304/.373/.494 last year in Double-A, .300/.363/.498 in his career. His defense at third base is nothing special, and he faces stiff competition in St. Louis, reducing his fantasy value, but if he can manage to find some playing time he is definitely worth paying attention to.
Dan Duffy, LHP, Kansas City Royals
Duffy posted a 2.20 ERA with a sharp 102/25 K/BB in just 82 innings in the Midwest League last year. He has a good fastball/curveball/changeup combination and remaining projectability, but needs to show he can stay healthy ... he's had bouts of shoulder problems.
Brandon Erbe, RHP, Baltimore Orioles
Erbe's 2008 season represented a nice rebound from his poor 2007, but he still needs to show he can throw strikes at higher levels. He is one player I moved on-and-off the Top 100 several times, and is right on the edge. If you are more interested in projection and potential than in short-term value, take a close look at him.
Cedric Hunter, OF, San Diego Padres
Hunter's line drive skills are quite apparent, with a low strikeout rate and flashes of pop. He hasn't used his speed effectively yet, and there is some risk he could become a "tweener" type. He will reach Double-A this year and good performance there would move him up the lists quickly.
Will Inman, RHP, San Diego Padres
Inman's funky delivery, slider, curveball, changeup, and average fastball have resulted in consistently strong strikeout rates, but his control wobbles at times and scouts don't seem to like him much. I think he could be an effective inning-eater type if he keeps his walks under control.
Zach McAllister, RHP, New York Yankees
McAllister's 2008 breakthrough resulted in a 1.83 ERA with a 63/13 K/BB in 89 innings in the Florida State League, and a good case can be made for him in the 85-100 range in the top 100. He has excellent command of solid stuff, and if he transitions well to Double-A he'll rank higher going forward.
Josh Outman, LHP, Oakland Athletics
Outman has a terrific name, and he has decent stuff too, 88-93 MPH fastball and a good slider and changeup. He is more likely to dominate if used in relief. I think he's a sleeper for 2009, and is another guy I moved on-and-off the prospect list several times.
Austin Romine, C, New York Yankees
Romine hit .300/.344/.437 in the Sally League last year. He needs defensive polish, but his athleticism and overall aptitude should carry that forward with more experience. In a long-term context, he has enough value to rank near the back end of a Top 100 and would see a substantial increase in rating if he has a strong '09.
Wilin Rosario, C, Colorado Rockies
Rosario hit .316/.371/.532 last year in the Pioneer League and ranks highly among scouts due to his defensive ability. We need to see his bat at higher levels, but if you are looking for long-term projection, he definitely qualifies as a player to watch or, if your circumstances are right, invest in.
Michael Saunders, OF, Seattle Mariners
Saunders generated good reports last year and scouts like his tools a great deal, but his performance in Double-A and Triple-A was erratic: .290/.375/.484 in Double-A, but just .242/.308/.400 in Triple-A with a higher strikeout rate. If he can keep the zone under control he could take a big step forward this year.
James Simmons, RHP, Oakland Athletics
Simmons is a control artist who posted a 3.51 ERA with a 120/32 K/BB in the Double-A Texas League last year, showing sharp control, but also giving up 150 hits in 136 innings. He has to be fine to survive, but usually is, featuring an excellent changeup.
Jesse Todd, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals
Todd, like Simmons, is a strike-thrower who succeeded in Double-A last year and projects as an inning-eating type, in the number four starter class, though there has also been talk of him getting a shot in the bullpen eventually.
For full reports on Schafer and over 1,000 others, pre-order the 2009 Baseball Prospect Book, available only at Johnsickels.net. Now Shipping!
Article first appeared 2/26/09