Friday afternoon brought baseball fans all kinds of Cliff Lee rumors, and he eventually landed in Texas for Justin Smoak and 3 other prospects. Friday also brought us Baseball America's Mid-season Top 25 prospects list. I am going to take a look at some of the Top 25, and Brian will do the same.
Lets take a look at a few of them:
1. Domonic Brown-PHI-labeled the best hitting prospect in the minors by ESPN's Keith Law in his Thursday chat. I wrote about Brown recently here. He could be up with the Phillies later this month should the club have luck in dealing one of the outfielders.
3. Desmond Jennings-TB-Jennings will be the Rays starting left fielder or center fielder in 2011, assuming Carlo Crawford leaves for free agency. Jennings should eventually be a solid leadoff hitter, with plenty of SBs, and some pop. He got off to a slow start this year, but is currently hitting .293-.370-.413 with 1 HR, 22 RBIs, and 21 SBs. In 2009, Jennings went 11-62-52, so he could become the Carl Crawford clone in short order.
5. Jesus Montero-NYY-Montero was in the middle of the Cliff Lee trade rumors on Friday, and for good reason. His 2010 season notwithstanding, Montero was labeled as one of the top hitting prospects in baseball coming into this season. Scouts say he has an 80 bat, but not much more, and as a result, he doesn't have a position yet. This year he is hitting .253-.329-.408 with 6 HRs and 35 RBIs, after hitting .337-.389-.562 with 17 HRs and 70 RBIs in 2009. He should be in the big leagues in 2011.
7. Dustin Ackley-SEA-Ackley was the Mariners first round pick in the 2009 draft. He was drafted as a player with a solid eye at the plate, with some pop, a great BA/OBP hitter, and a good glove. During spring training the Mariners tried Ackley at second base, and he is playing there in the minors now. He doesn't have enough pop to play first base, but can play the outfield. He is currently hitting .255-.383-.376 with 2 HRs, 28 RBIs and 8 SBs at AA West Tennessee. Some prospect experts felt starting him at AA was an aggressive move by the Mariners, and it remains to be seen if his slow start this year was due to the change in position (to 2B) or the level. Ackley should see the majors in 2012.
9. Aaron Hicks-MIN-Hicks has plenty of tools, but has yet to show them all at Low-A Beloit. Hicks was drafted in the first round of the 2008 draft by the Twins. In 200+ at bats in rookie league in 2008, he went 4-27-12-.319-.409-.491. In just under 300 ABs at Low A Beloit last year, he went 4-29-10-.251-.353-.382. This year has been slightly better, as he is hitting .264-.375-.408 with 5 HRs, 35 RBIs and 12 SBs. Hicks won't see the majors till 2012 at the earliest, and more likely 2013.
I will profile a few more of the top 25 prospects over the next few days.