5 more prospects to go in my 2011 Top 30. Today I’ll hit on numbers 26-28. For Friday I’ll get to #29 and 30 as well as my guys who just missed the list. Then I’ll open the floor for questions in an old fashioned mailbag on Monday. Then the focus shifts to spring training. Check below the fold for more.
01. Domonic Brown, OF
02. Brody Colvin, RHP
03. Jon Singleton, 1B/OF
04. Jarred Cosart, RHP
05. Trevor May, RHP
06. Sebastian Valle, C
07. Jesse Biddle, LHP
08. Vance Worley, RHP
09. Tyson Gillies, OF
10. Justin De Fratus, RHP
11. Julio Rodriguez, RHP
12. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
13. Domingo Santana, OF
14. JC Ramirez, RHP
15. Aaron Altherr, OF/3B
16. Jon Pettibone, RHP
17. Cameron Rupp, C
18. Jiwan James, OF
19. Harold Garcia, 2B
20. Kevin Walter, RHP
21. Colby Shreve, RHP
22. Phillippe Aumont, RHP
23. Michael Schwimer, RHP
24. Matt Rizzotti, 1B
25. Austin Hyatt, RHP
26. Leandro Castro, OF
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2010 Summary: In his first full season, Castro did what he’s always done, which is do a little bit of everything, and leaving you thinking he might just have enough ability to be an every day outfielder. He stole 22 bags, improved his contact rate, and hit for power that would be decent for a CF, but is below average for a corner outfielder.
Strengths: Castro is a good athlete, and though his aggression occasionally hampers him at the plate, he has a strong work ethic and offers average to a tick above tools in a number of areas, starting with his speed. He has a strong arm, but doesn’t get the best reads on the ball off the bat in left field. He flashed above average power (for the NYPL) in 2009, but his power dropped off a bit in pitcher friendly Lakewood. He may still develop 15-18 HR power down the line, but that is the top end. He made significant strides with his contact in 2010, despite moving to a tougher league.
Weaknesses: Castro’s plate discipline is somewhat lacking, and his aggressive nature sometimes translates into quick ABs. His offensive profile would play well in centerfield, but not nearly as well in LF, and its unknown whether he can shift back to center, as he was taking a back seat to a superior defender in Jiwan James in 2010. His speed is solid, but not game changing.
Best Case: If his power ticks up a bit and he can play centerfield defensively, I think he has a chance to be a starting centerfielder in the big leagues. If his power doesn’t improve and he can’t refine his approach, he looks ticketed for a 4th OF job. Tightening up his contact skills will help him reach that level as a worst case scenario.
MLB ETA: He’s at least 3 years out, and it would be nice to see him play CF regularly in 2011, though he might not have that opportunity.
Ranking Difficulties: You have to project a bit to see him as an every day guy, and in a corner, he’s almost certainly not an every day guy unless his contact level becomes elite or his power improves. That said, at the back of the list, I think its okay to go with a guy who looks a good bet to make it to the majors and at least provide bench bat value.
Final Thoughts:Castro is a tough guy to rank, as are most of the guys outside of the top 10. He’s an aggressive guy who plays the game at full speed at all times, which sometimes gets the better of him. As he gains experience, he may be able to refine his approach and better utilize the energy and aggressiveness. And I just like what he has to offer, and its my list, so he goes here.
27. Miguel Alvarez, OF
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2010 Summary: After an unspectacular US debut in 2009, Alvarez put together a solid season in the pitcher friendly NYPL, hitting .329 in 279 PA and flashing a bit of speed. At 5’11/175, He doesn’t figure to be a big league slugger, but he has very strong wrists and a solid swing, and could turn himself into a line drive doubles machine going forward.
Strengths: Alvarez’s .329 average is nice, but no doubt fueled by his .398 BABIP. What gets me excited is his swing/setup, which you can see here. He has a strong setup and really strong, quick wrists. He doesn’t have a ton of moving parts in his swing, and gets his hands into a good position. Looking at his stat line, you can tell his approach is very crude, and while the power hasn’t emerged yet, I think its in there, looking at his swing.
Weaknesses: His walk rate was poor in 2010, and he didn’t make elite contact, though at 17% K rate isn’t in the worry zone, especially for a raw 20 year old from Latin America. He has good speed but doesn’t figure to be a burner. He spent time in both LF and CF, and like Leandro Castro, he might have the tools to play there, but hasn’t gotten a chance.
Best Case: When I look at his setup, his swing, and his size, my first thought was Rickie Weeks, with a slightly less pronounced bat waggle. Weeks was a highly touted college prospect, and is ahead of Alvarez in terms of performance and polish, but when looking at their bodies (both right around 6’0, Weeks weighs 30 pounds more), I think Alvarez could physically develop into that type of hitter.
MLB ETA: Hes many miles away, probably 4-5 years.
Ranking Difficulties: As with all short season players, especially those without dominant stat lines, you’re just guessing. As I’ve mentioned, I love his swing and I can see him adding more muscle to his frame and developing more power. At the back end of the list, you’re just going with guys you really like who you think may surprise. I think he has considerable upside.
Final Thoughts: Like I said, this one is an instinct call. His batting average was BABIP induced, but I think he has the raw tools to do damage, especially if he’s able to add more bulk and muscle. He’ll face a big test in 2011 at Lakewood.
28. Kelly Dugan, OF
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2010 Summary: Dugan has had a tough time staying on the field since being drafted in 2009, but he showed flashes of what he could do when healthy in 2010, putting up ridiculous numbers in the GCL before getting a quick taste of the NYPL to end the season.
Strengths: The Phillies liked Dugan’s ability to switch hit, with the potential for both average and power. Originally thought to be a first base prospect, he’s played the outfield as a pro, and should definitely be able to stick in LF going forward. Looking at his numbers, its impossible to gain any knowledge. We’ll have to wait for him to hopefully be healthy for a full season to give us more data, but the tools package is still intriguing. In a very brief spell, he showed very impressive raw power in the GCL, in brutal hitting conditions.
Weaknesses: He logged just 113 PA’s in 2010, which should have seen him end up with close to 300, so its tough to really know what to make of his numbers. 2011 is a crucial season for his development, and staying healthy is concern number 1. He doesn’t figure to be much of a burner on the bases, and he will likely be limited to LF as he moves up.
Best Case: If everything comes together, he could be a switch hitting every day LF who offers both a solid average and average to a tick or two above power. That said, his risk level is high because he lost a lot of reps in 2010 and he hasn’t faced much advanced level pitching yet.
MLB ETA: He’s 4-5 years away, especially if he continues to switch hit, as he will need to adjust to better pitching from both sides of the plate.
Ranking Difficulties: I think I could have rated him higher, yet there are guys behind him who I think merit a place on the list too. He has upside, but after not being a highly touted guy in high school, he still has plenty of question marks to answer as well. This spot feels right to me.
Final Thoughts: I want to see a healthy season from Dugan in 2011, preferably with him in Lakewood where he can log 500 PAs against good pitching, just so we can see where he is in his development. He’s one of the more interesting guys to monitor in 2011.