Monday, December 21, 2009

BaseballAmerica Top 10 Prospects

Can be seen here. Rankings are free but the scouting reports are insider-only. Here's the top 10 with a snippet from each:

1. Desmond Jennings, of - "Jennings has a lethal combination of speed and power that, combined with an aggressive approach and impressive overall knowledge, makes him a true game-changer. He simply needs to continue to refine his skills against top-flight competition."

2. Jeremy Hellickson, rhp - "He works ahead in the count with impeccable command of his low-90s fastball, which touches 94 mph and has nice sink. His changeup has become a plus pitch as he has added late fade over the past two years."

3. Wade Davis, rhp - "He has the upside of a No. 2 starter, and the Rays also could be tempted to make him a closer down the road as they try to figure out how to get all of their talented young pitchers on the big league staff."

4. Matt Moore, lhp - "Moore's 90-92 mph fastball touches 94 and has impressive movement. His hard, late-breaking curveball generates awkward swings and misses. He does a great job of keeping his pitches, including a changeup with screwball-like action, down in the strike zone."

5. Reid Brignac, ss - "Brignac is an aggressive hitter who needs to show more plate discipline. He starts trying to pull the ball during slumps, which usually acerbates the problem."

6. Tim Beckham, ss - "Despite hitting only five homers in 2009, Beckham has the raw strength and hitting ability to be one of the better power hitters in the system. Several scouts believe Beckham's athleticism has started to decline because his lower half is getting bigger, which could necessitate a move to third base or an outfield corner."

7. Alexander Colome, lhp - "His fastball has been clocked as high as 97 mph and sits at 94-95. He also throws a hard curveball with 11-to-5 break and late bite."

8. Jake McGee, lhp - "McGee struggled with his control prior to the injury, and control is often the last thing to come back following Tommy John surgery. The consistency of his release point has fluctuated throughout his career. From a command standpoint, he needs to pound the bottom half of strike zone better."

9. Alex Torres, lhp - "Torres rarely throws the ball straight or employs the same arm angle on consecutive pitches, keeping hitters on edge. His 89-91 mph fastball has plus movement and he does a good job of using both sides of the plate."

10. Nick Barnese, rhp - "Barnese is a bulldog who will challenge any hitter at any time. He uses whip-like arm action to deliver fastballs that sit at 91-92 mph and touch 94. When he stays on top of his hard slurve, it's a two-plane pitch with a sharp break."

There's nothing new on McGee's stuff returning from Tommy John, which is disappointing. As it stands, I don't think he's a top-10 prospect. Other than that, the list is pretty straightforward. In fact, 9 of the same 10 players from our combined top 30 lists were on this one. The only difference was we didn't have McGee; Kyle Lobstein made ours.

Here's their list of Best Tools in the system, which is free to anyone:
Best Hitter for Average Desmond Jennings
Best Power Hitter Matt Sweeney
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Desmond Jennings
Fastest Baserunner Fernando Perez
Best Athlete Desmond Jennings
Best Fastball Jeremy Hellickson (Kevin: Over Davis, Moore, and Barnese? I don't know about that.)
Best Curveball Matt Moore
Best Slider Alex Torres
Best Changeup Jeremy Hellickson
Best Control Jeremy Hellickson
Best Defensive Catcher Nevin Ashley
Best Defensive Infielder Reid Brignac
Best Infield Arm Tim Beckham
Best Defensive Outfielder Desmond Jennings
Best Outfield Arm Todd Glaesmann


  1. Best Infield Arm Tim Beckham

    If this means he can throw it hard - maybe
    throwing accurately - not even close

  2. I bought the BA book last year and it said Moore's FB was around 92-95.Did he lose velocity, was there not enough info on him at the time, is he purposely throwing it slower to help control the ball, or was BA just plain wrong. And why does everyone consider Hellickson above Davis now after one season?

  3. I'm pretty sure Moore intentionally dialed it back some so he could actually command it. In Princeton in 2008 he could basically just rear back and fire and Appy hitters couldn't catch up to it even right down the middle. So I think he's sacrificed some velocity for effectiveness. It'll be interesting to see if he can creep back into that 92-95 range with better command as he moves up.

    Hellickson's AA and AAA stats are just better than Davis's. And I don't think everyone considers Hellickson better(heck, Andy, Doug, and I all had Davis ahead) but it's really a split decision.

  4. I really don't like that Bill Ballew is the Rays' guy for these. I mean, I understand mistakes happen and all, especially in the chat where you're almost rapid-firing stuff, but:

    1) He referred to Ty Morrison as a 2009 draftee

    2) "Nevin Ashley played very well throughout the 2009 season, while Mike McCormick and Omar Narvaez are other receivers in the organization with some promise."

    Nevin Ashley played well for exactly a month and a half: his time in Arizona. His regular season was almost identical to last year's, and that's not good. And Mike McCormick has promise? Aside from hitting .216 and .170 the past two seasons, sure.

    3) "(Sweeney) adds some much-needed power to the organization. He is a solid return for Kazmir, especially when Cruz is added to the mix as well."

    He's probably mixing up Joseph Cruz and Alex Torres. Again, mistakes happen, it's just annoying.

    4) Some of his answers were bizarre. He speculated that Jeff Malm might get the bump to Bowling Green. Now, that could happen, but the Rays have only done bumped a HS draftee to full-season ball in the season after he was drafted with one hitter: Tim Beckham, and he played nearly a full season at Princeton in his debut year. Malm played less than 10 games in the GCL.

    He said Albert Suarez was "close but no cigar" on the top 10. Albert Suarez? I liked him coming into the year, but he wasn't a hot name and he blew out his elbow and won't pitch again until late 2010. Between Jake, Andy, Doug, and I he made one top 30, and that was at #27.

  5. You beat me to it. I was going to post the snipits as a quiz, find the mistakes type thing, but thought it might be offensive/snotty to BA. You handled it much better than I. And while I realise mistakes happen when you are culling through dozens of quetions and posting quick answers, some of the mistakes really undermined my view of his opinions.

    Morrison and the Cruz vs Torres were the most blatent, but you found the rest. And per BA's rules, wouldn't Fernando Perez not count due to service time (MLB DL this year + past time)? Stacy Long and I had an exchange about this on his blog and he agreed with me, FWIW.

    On Perez, I'm referring to this question of Kevin's:

    Kevin (New Brunswick, NJ): Who were some of the guys who were barely off the list?

    Bill Ballew: Close but no cigar on the top 10 were Kyle Lobstein, Joe Cruz, Shawn O'Malley, Ty Morrison, Albert Suarez and Fernando Perez, to name a few.

    And I agree on Suarez, after TJS at SS-A ball, not Top 30 right now.

    I probably wouldn't have ended up posting it, but I'm glad you did Kevin. Really makes me question his knowledge of the Rays system.

  6. If I get time tomorrow I'll post our personal top 30s plus Stacy Long's (with Satow replacing Perez per his comments) and BA's Top 10 in one chart. Something we can add to when BA's Top 30 (should be interesting in light of the chat) BP and Sickels' rankings come out. If anyone else wants their's added, post them (Ricky, Jim, FreeZorilla?).

    We may not get paid for our opinions, but at least we know the 2009 draftees and who the Rays got for Kazmir...

  7. I agree with what Kevin and Doug have said about this list so far. Among other things, I think he's well off on a few of his best tools rankings. Hellickson simply does not have the best fastball in the system. Not sure where that came from, and I see Kevin mentioned in the post. Colome, Wilking Rodriguez, Moore, Davis, maybe even McGee have better heaters, no question. I'd probably say Hellickson or Davis have the best curve in the system now, though once Moore gets more consistent with that pitch, watch out.

  8. Ballew has been the Rays guy pretty much forever, and he's always had times where facts were wrong or selections that were out of the loony bin. We have last year's BaseballAmerica Top 30 listed on our sidebar, and Chris Luck was #22 and Mayo Acosta was #25.

  9. By the way, what happened to our latest comments widget?

  10. I hate to not follow the posted topic, but I don't know where else I can ask this...Is there a website- like this one- that features Mets minor leaguers? I love RAYS PROSPECTS and am wondering if you also have contacts with their organization. Thank you.

  11. I thought you deleted it. Turns out the widget had an issue with some browsers. Should work now, will only show new comments, can't go back and get old ones. I set it for the eight most recent, let me know if you want more or less.

  12. For the Mets try

    For other teams look on our side bar under Recommended Links for Minor Leagues. Doesn't have one for every team, but some.

  13. Had to completely redo the recent comments widget. It will show last 10 and first 50 characters of the comment. I can modify either the number of comments or characters, let me know if you want more or less. Unfortunately it no longer tells you which article the comment was posted under, but at least it works.

  14. I like this one, it looks good. You can always hover over the link to see the URL to see which article it's on. Thanks.

  15. Re Beckham's arm Diamond Tom, to be fair to BA they discuss it both as a Strength and Weakness.

    Strength: "Defensively, he has fluid actions, soft hands and a strong arm."

    Weaknesses: "He made 43 errors last season, many because of inaccurate throws caused in part by lackadaisical footwork."

    So I don't think they are overlooking your concerns about his arm, just saying it's strong but needs work in order for him to stay at SS.

  16. Re: Beckham, Is it me or is is it contradictory to say in one paragraph that "He has an outstanding work ethic" and in the next paragraph that he is hampered by "lackadaisical footwork"?