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Baseball America's top 100


Eddie Altamonte
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http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prosp...res/263445.html

 

2007 Top 100 Prospects

By Baseball America Staff

February 28, 2007

 

 

 

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See also: Top 100 Prospects Breakdown By The Numbers

See also: Jim Callis Top 100 Prospects Chat

 

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We proudly present our annual list of the best young players in the game, the culmination of our offseason prospect rankings.

 

But this year we bring you the list with a twist. While we'd like to think that every player here will go on to big league success, even these players--the best of the best--could flop. Even the players at the very top of the list could fall victim to injuries, off-field trouble or poor performance.

 

The key is to spot these problems as early as possible. Years of prospect watching have led us to look for common flaws in players that can be red flags. These flaws can show in performance and be borne out by statistics--such as a high number of walks for a pitcher--or in a tools profile, such as position players who will "develop power."

 

As you read through the top 100 list you'll see some of these risk factors, highlighted in a current player on the list, just click on the button to see that player's risk factor. We'll also flash back to top 100 alumni who had similar risk factors, giving a best and worst case for the current player. (For those players, we also list their peak position in the top 100).

 

The top 100 list was hammered out by Editors in Chief Will Lingo and John Manuel, Executive Editor Jim Callis and National Writer Chris Kline. Callis wrote the capsules on each player.

 

1 DAISUKE MATSUZAKA, rhp, Red Sox

Who needs a gyroball? He has six pitches that grade out as plus or plus-plus at their best, and he'll be the best Japanese import ever. And no, we're not forgetting about Ichiro

Opening Day Age: 26. ETA: 2007

 

2 ALEX GORDON, 3b, Royals

College Player of the Year in 2005, Minor League Player of the Year in 2006 . . . Rookie of the Year in 2007

Opening Day Age: 23. ETA: 2007

 

3 DELMON YOUNG, of, Devil Rays

Took the Albert Belle comparisons too far when he tossed a bat at an umpire last year, but he can rake

Opening Day Age: 21. ETA: 2007

 

4 PHILIP HUGHES, rhp, Yankees

As good as Chien-Ming Wang has been, this homegrown ace will be even better

Opening Day Age: 20. ETA: 2007

 

5 HOMER BAILEY, rhp, Reds

The next great Texas fireballer in the tradition of Nolan Ryan and Roger Clemens

Opening Day Age: 20. ETA: 2007

 

6 CAMERON MAYBIN, of, Tigers

Tremendous athlete had even more polish at the plate than Detroit expected

Opening Day Age: 19. ETA: 2009

 

7 EVAN LONGORIA, 3b, Devil Rays

Backed up his reputation as the 2006 draft's best pure hitter by batting .315 with 18 homers in his pro debut

Opening Day Age: 21. ETA: 2007

 

8 BRANDON WOOD, ss, Angels

More than capable at shortstop, he may shift to third base to get his power bat into the Los Angeles lineup

Opening Day Age: 22. ETA: 2007

 

9 JUSTIN UPTON, of, Diamondbacks

No. 1 overall pick in 2006 didn't have a banner debut, but he still has Ken Griffey Jr. tools

Opening Day Age: 19. ETA: 2009

 

10 ANDREW MILLER, lhp, Tigers

The consensus top prospect in the 2006 draft was a steal at sixth overall and nearly made Detroit's World Series roster

Opening Day Age: 21. ETA: 2008

 

11 TIM LINCECUM, rhp, Giants

Size doesn't matter. His fastball-curveball combo prompts comparisons to Bob Feller and Sandy Koufax

Opening Day Age: 22. ETA: 2007

 

12 CHRIS YOUNG, of, Diamondbacks

White Sox fans still can't believe their club traded his 30-30 potential to get Javier Vazquez

Opening Day Age: 23. ETA: 2007

 

13 ANDREW McCUTCHEN, of, Pirates

Reached Double-A quicker than any other outfielder in a bumper 2005 high school crop

Opening Day Age: 20. ETA: 2008

 

14 JAY BRUCE, of, Reds

Beat out Maybin and Upton for top-prospect honors in the Midwest League last summer

Opening Day Age: 19. ETA: 2009

 

15 TROY TULOWITZKI, ss, Rockies

Reached the majors 14 months after signing, a franchise record for a position player

Opening Day Age: 22. ETA: 2007

 

16 YOVANI GALLARDO, rhp, Brewers

Led the minors in strikeouts (188 in 155 innings) and ranked third in ERA (1.86) during breakout 2006 season

Opening Day Age: 21. ETA: 2007

 

17 REID BRIGNAC, ss, Devil Rays

Tampa Bay doesn't have to fool around with B.J. Upton at shortstop any longer with Brignac on the way

Opening Day Age: 21. ETA: 2008

 

18 CARLOS GONZALEZ, of, Diamondbacks

As if Arizona didn't have enough multitooled outfielders already

Opening Day Age: 21. ETA: 2008

 

19 ANDY LaROCHE, 3b, Dodgers

Takes after brother (slugging Pirates first baseman Adam) more than father (former all-star reliever Dave)

Opening Day Age: 23. ETA: 2007

 

20 MIKE PELFREY, rhp, Mets

Made the majors three months into his pro career, and should be even better now with his new slider

Opening Day Age: 23. ETA: 2007

 

21 MATT GARZA, rhp, Twins

Unheralded 2005 first-rounder already has become a mainstay in Minnesota's rotation

Opening Day Age: 23. ETA: 2007

 

22 FERNANDO MARTINEZ, of, Mets

Followed up an impressive debut as a 17-year-old by holding his own in the Arizona Fall League

Opening Day Age: 18. ETA: 2009

 

23 ADAM MILLER, rhp, Indians

Regained knockout slider and plus fastball and refined his changeup after 2005 elbow injury

Opening Day Age: 22. ETA: 2007

 

24 CLAYTON KERSHAW, lhp, Dodgers

Joins fellow 2006 first-rounder Andrew Miller as the top two lefthander prospects in baseball

Opening Day Age: 19. ETA: 2009

 

25 BILLY BUTLER, of, Royals

His bat will have to carry him, but it can--he's a career .344/.417/.564 hitter in pro ball

Opening Day Age: 20. ETA: 2007

 

26 RYAN BRAUN, 3b, Brewers

With Corey Koskie ailing, Braun could be Milwaukee's Opening Day third baseman

Opening Day Age: 23. ETA: 2007

 

27 JOSE TABATA, of, Yankees

Friendly rivalry with Martinez began last season in low Class A and will pick up soon in New York.

Opening Day Age: 18. ETA: 2009

 

28 ADAM JONES, of, Mariners

Good call by Seattle to shelve his mid-90s fastball and make him an everyday player

Opening Day Age: 21. ETA: 2007

 

29 COLBY RASMUS, of, Cardinals

Broke Bo Jackson's Alabama state prep home run record and has continued to drive the ball as a pro

Opening Day Age: 20. ETA: 2009

 

30 FRANKLIN MORALES, lhp, Rockies

Few lefthanders can match his mid-90s fastball or power curveball . . .

Opening Day Age: 21. ETA: 2008

 

31 SCOTT ELBERT, lhp, Dodgers

. . . though this Missouri product, who has similar swing-and-miss stuff, is one who can

Opening Day Age: 21. ETA: 2008

 

32 LUKE HOCHEVAR, rhp, Royals

After a celebrated holdout, he improved his stock in indy ball and went first in the '06 draft

Opening Day Age: 23. ETA: 2008

 

33 JACOBY ELLSBURY, of, Red Sox

Boston downplays Johnny Damon comparisons, but the parallels are hard to ignore

Opening Day Age: 23. ETA: 2008

 

34 NICK ADENHART, rhp, Angels

He's making Los Angeles look very smart for signing him for $710,000 out of the 2004 draft even though he needed Tommy John surgery

Opening Day Age: 20. ETA: 2008

 

35 JEFF NIEMANN, rhp, Devil Rays

Put two years of health problems behind him and started pitching to his potential in the second half of 2006

Opening Day Age: 24. ETA: 2007

 

36 JARROD SALTALAMACCHIA, c, Braves

Wrist injury led to an off year in 2006, but he's still the game's best catching prospect

Opening Day Age: 21. ETA: 2008

 

37 JACOB McGEE, lhp, Devil Rays

Has a chance for three plus pitches, posts dominant numbers and still flies under the prospect radar as part of a loaded Devil Rays farm system

Opening Day Age: 20. ETA: 2009

 

38 HUNTER PENCE, of, Astros

Won't win any style points, but he hits for power and average and has improved his running and defense, and he should move into the Houston outfield this season

Opening Day Age: 23. ETA: 2007

 

39 ADAM LIND, of, Blue Jays

He just hits: .392 in his final season at South Alabama, .319 in the minors and .367 in a September callup

Opening Day Age: 23. ETA: 2007

 

40 CHRIS VOLSTAD, rhp, Marlins

Polished prep product pounds the bottom of strike zone, and he led all pitchers in the Top 100 Prospects list in groundball outs last season

Opening Day Age: 20. ETA: 2009

 

41 CARLOS CARRASCO, rhp, Phillies

Made huge strides last year, cutting his ERA in low Class A from 7.04 in 2005 to 2.26

Opening Day Age: 20. ETA: 2009

 

42 JASON HIRSH, rhp, Rockies

Acquired from the Astros in the Jason Jennings deal, he should be nearly as effective at a fraction of the cost

Opening Day Age: 25. ETA: 2007

 

43 JOEY VOTTO, 1b, Reds

Led the Southern League in AVG (.319), OBP (.408) and SLG (.547) after Cincinnati turned him loose at the plate

Opening Day Age: 23. ETA: 2007

 

44 JAMES LONEY, 1b, Dodgers

Bat finally came back to life in 2006; led minors in hitting (.380) and had a nine-RBI game in majors

Opening Day Age: 22. ETA: 2007

 

45 JOSH FIELDS, 3b, White Sox

This former college quarterback is working out much better for Chicago than Joe Borchard did

Opening Day Age: 24. ETA: 2007

 

46 IAN STEWART, 3b, Rockies

Worst year of his pro career still included .803 OPS as 21-year-old in Double-A

Opening Day Age: 21. ETA: 2008

 

47 BILL ROWELL, 3b, Orioles

Barry Bonds aficionado has premium power potential but may outgrow third base sooner than later

Opening Day Age: 18. ETA: 2009

 

48 DEXTER FOWLER, of, Rockies

Five-tool center fielder has added switch-hitting, strength and polish since signing

Opening Day Age: 21. ETA: 2009

 

49 FELIX PIE, of, Cubs

Chicago loves his tools and his history of winning--four championships in five pro seasons

Opening Day Age: 22. ETA: 2007

 

50 TRAVIS BUCK, of, Athletics

Has hit at least .302 at each of his four pro stops and .328 overall

Opening Day Age: 23. ETA: 2007

 

51 CLAY BUCHHOLZ, rhp, Red Sox

His fastball hit 97 mph at the end of last season, and at times it's his fourth-best pitch

Opening Day Age: 22. ETA: 2008

 

52 DONALD VEAL, lhp, Cubs

His delivery isn't quite as unconventional as former Chicago farmhand Dontrelle Willis', but his stuff is better

Opening Day Age: 22. ETA: 2008

 

53 TRAVIS SNIDER, of, Blue Jays

Some scouts called him the best hitter in the 2006 draft; won Appy League MVP award in his pro debut

Opening Day Age: 19. ETA: 2009

 

54 CHUCK LOFGREN, lhp, Indians

Several clubs liked minor league wins leader (17) better as a hitter out of high school

Opening Day Age: 21. ETA: 2008

 

55 RYAN SWEENEY, of, White Sox

Has been on the fast track since hitting .367 in big league camp as a 19-year-old

Opening Day Age: 22. ETA: 2007

 

56 JOHN DANKS, lhp, White Sox

Quality young pitching is hard to acquire, yet White Sox traded for Danks and Gio Gonzalez this offseason

Opening Day Age: 21. ETA: 2007

 

57 HUMBERTO SANCHEZ, rhp, Yankees

Key piece to Gary Sheffield trade could help New York as a starter or a reliever this year

Opening Day Age: 24. ETA: 2007

 

58 TROY PATTON, lhp, Astros

Combination of stuff and polish got him to Double-A at age 20

Opening Day Age: 21. ETA: 2008

 

59 JONATHAN SANCHEZ, lhp, Giants

The definition of missing bats: 74 whiffs, 27 hits allowed in 55 innings last year

Opening Day Age: 24. ETA: 2007

 

60 CARLOS GOMEZ, of, Mets

Career-high .773 OPS last year shows he's only scratching the surface of his potential

Opening Day Age: 21. ETA: 2008

 

61 ERICK AYBAR, ss, Angels

Could be a valuable piece of trade bait with Orlando Cabrera ahead of him and Brandon Wood behind him

Opening Day Age: 23. ETA: 2007

 

62 JEFF CLEMENT, c, Mariners

With Kenji Johjima in Seattle, Clement could move to first base when his power bat is ready for the majors

Opening Day Age: 23. ETA: 2008

 

63 MIGUEL MONTERO, c, Diamondbacks

Proved his 2005 breakout was no fluke, allowing Arizona to deal Johnny Estrada to get Doug Davis

Opening Day Age: 23. ETA: 2007

 

64 TREVOR CROWE, of, Indians

Prototype center fielder will have to find a new home with Grady Sizemore in Cleveland

Opening Day Age: 23. ETA: 2008

 

65 ELVIS ANDRUS, ss, Braves

Kept his head above water in low Class A at age 17, and he has offensive potential to go with plus defense and speed

Opening Day Age: 18. ETA: 2010

 

66 GLEN PERKINS, lhp, Twins

Pitched well enough in September to beat out Matt Garza for a spot on Minnesota's playoff roster

Opening Day Age: 24. ETA: 2007

 

67 DARIC BARTON1b, Athletics

Think the Cardinals might regret giving up Dan Haren and Barton in the Mark Mulder trade

Opening Day Age: 21. ETA: 2007

 

68 ERIC HURLEY, rhp, Rangers

More fun to watch than any member of the Rangers' more-heralded (and since-disbanded) D-V-D trio

Opening Day Age: 21. ETA: 2008

 

69 BRAD LINCOLN, rhp, Pirates

Has overpowering stuff, but spring forearm strain was the latest of a litany of injuries since signing

Opening Day Age: 21. ETA: 2008

 

70 JAIME GARCIA, lhp, Cardinals

Not a bad pro debut for a 22nd-round pick: reached high Class A at age 19 and pitched in the Futures Game

Opening Day Age: 20. ETA: 2008

 

71 KEVIN SLOWEY, rhp, Twins

Has the best command of any prospect in baseball, evidenced by 235-30 K-BB ratio in 221 innings

Opening Day Age: 22. ETA: 2007

 

72 GIO GONZALEZ, lhp, White Sox

The White Sox liked him so much they reacquired him this winter after including him in the Jim Thome deal a year earlier

Opening Day Age: 21. ETA: 2008

 

73 PHILIP HUMBER, rhp, Mets

Blew out his elbow 15 starts into his pro career in 2005, but bounced all the way back last year

Opening Day Age: 24. ETA: 2008

 

74 NEIL WALKER, 3b, Pirates

Bat may take off now that he has a healthy wrist and has moved out from behind the plate

Opening Day Age: 21. ETA: 2008

 

75 JOBA CHAMBERLAIN, rhp, Yankees

Highest-drafted Native American ever could be a steal with the 41st overall pick last June

Opening Day Age: 21. ETA: 2008

 

76 GREG REYNOLDS, rhp, Rockies

Quibble with his strikeout rate if you must, but he has stuff, size, command, makeup . . . and he wins

Opening Day Age: 21. ETA: 2008

 

77 BRETT SINKBEIL, rhp, Marlins

Added 35 pounds of muscle and turned himself into a first-rounder in three years at Missouri State

Opening Day Age: 22. ETA: 2008

 

78 BRANDON ERBE, rhp, Orioles

Baltimore stole hometown high schooler in 2005's third round; now he's throwing 92-97 mph

Opening Day Age: 19. ETA: 2009

 

79 ELIJAH DUKES, of, Devil Rays

His volatile temper still overshadows his wondrous tools

Opening Day Age: 22. ETA: 2007

 

80 JEFF SAMARDZIJA, rhp, Cubs

Most accomplished wide receiver in Notre Dame history has huge upside on the mound

Opening Day Age: 22. ETA: 2009

 

81 DANIEL BARD, rhp, Red Sox

His fastball eats up bats like few others, thanks to its velocity (up to 100 mph) and heavy life

Opening Day Age: 21. ETA: 2009

 

82 ALBERTO CALLASPO, 2b, Diamondbacks

The minors' best contact hitter will threaten Orlando Hudson's job if he continues to add power

Opening Day Age: 23. ETA: 2007

 

83 MICHAEL BOWDEN, rhp, Red Sox

His delivery may be unorthodox, but it works for him and his stuff is unquestionable

Opening Day Age: 20. ETA: 2009

 

84 UBALDO JIMENEZ, rhp, Rockies

Kept pace with Felix Hernandez until he came down with a stress fracture in his shoulder in 2004

Opening Day Age: 23. ETA: 2007

 

85 MATT ALBERS, rhp, Astros

Has matured significantly, physically and mentally, since signing as a 23rd-round draft-and-follow

Opening Day Age: 24. ETA: 2007

 

86 BRIAN BARTON, of, Indians

Has an aerospace engineering degree from Miami--and more pure baseball ability than Crowe

Opening Day Age: 24. ETA: 2008

 

87 BRANDON MORROW, rhp, Mariners

Can blow hitters away with his fastball, slider or splitter

Opening Day Age: 22. ETA: 2008

 

88 DREW STUBBS, of, Reds

Great tools across the board made him a potential No. 1 pick in the 2006 draft, but questions about his bat pushed him to No. 8

Opening Day Age: 22. ETA: 2009

 

89 KURT SUZUKI, c, Athletics

Has provided clutch hits at Cal State Fullerton, throughout the minors and with Team USA

Opening Day Age: 23. ETA: 2008

 

90 MATT HARRISON, lhp, Braves

The closest thing Atlanta has had to Tom Glavine since Glavine left as a free agent

Opening Day Age: 21. ETA: 2008

 

91 WILL INMAN, rhp, Brewers

Solid stuff, tremendous command have led to 16-2, 1.77 record and 193-36 K-BB ratio in pro ball

Opening Day Age: 20. ETA: 2009

 

92 CHRIS IANNETTA, c, Rockies

Offensive-minded catcher gives Colorado eight players on this list, more than any other club

Opening Day Age: 23. ETA: 2007

 

93 BRENT LILLIBRIDGE, ss, Braves

An underrated part of the Adam LaRoche/Mike Gonzalez deal, he could fill Atlanta's second-base void

Opening Day Age: 23. ETA: 2008

 

94 CHRIS PARMELEE, of/1b, Twins

Advanced hitting skills, developing power made him the 20th overall pick last June

Opening Day Age: 19. ETA: 2010

 

95 COLLIN BALESTER, rhp, Nationals

Pitching-needy Washington might think about promoting him, but he needs a solid year in the minors

Opening Day Age: 20. ETA: 2009

 

96 SEAN WEST, lhp, Marlins

Has more stuff than most southpaws and plenty of mound savvy, too; looked great last season after early-season shoulder soreness

Opening Day Age: 20. ETA: 2009

 

97 WADE DAVIS, rhp, Devil Rays

Formed potent one-two punch in Midwest League with McGee last year, and capped strong finish with a no-hitter in his final start

Opening Day Age: 21. ETA: 2009

 

98 MICAH OWINGS, rhp, Diamondbacks

Now a full-time pitcher, he made a run at the national prep home run record and was a two-way star in college

Opening Day Age: 24. ETA: 2007

 

99 PEDRO BEATO, rhp, Orioles

Went from Tommy John surgery in 2004 to $1 million supplemental first-rounder in 2006

Opening Day Age: 20. ETA: 2009

 

100 DELLIN BETANCES, rhp, Yankees

He's raw, but he also has good stuff and plenty of projection remaining.

Opening Day Age: 19. ETA: 2010

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