I figured if anyone actually read this, they’d ask why I omitted player “x” or “y”, etc etc. I’m sure the two that will come up first are Michael Bourn and Carlos Ruiz. So, I’ll tackle them one at a time.
Michael Bourn, OF. To me, Bourn didn’t deserve to be on this list, and here’s why. He has very limited upside. I’m sure people will question this, but here’s my line of thinking. He is now 24, and 2006 was his age 23 season. He posted a .715 OPS in 318 AB at Reading, and upon being promoted to Scranton, posted a .796 OPS in 152 AB before he was brought to Philadelphia to ride the pine. Bourn played 3 years of college ball at Houston, and over that span, his single best season was an .827 OPS in 244 AB, which was his sophomore year. He followed that with an .818 OPS in 182 AB his junior year, and was then drafted by the Phillies in the 4th round. Bourn had only 23 extra base hits in 644 career college AB’s. In college, he posted on base percentages of .431, .446, and .411, and obviously drew a ton of walks, which set up his speed (90 SB/119 attempts) well. Upon his entrance to pro ball, his plate discipline remained at both Batavia and Lakewood, posting an OB% of .404 and .433 respectively. However, the last two seasons Bourn has seen his OB% dive to .348 at Reading in 2005, and then .350 and .368 at Reading and Scranton in 2006. If you take that by itself, a .368 OB% is solid, but when you factor in that he has almost zero power (60 extra base hits in 1,014 AB’s in 2005 and 2006), he’s reduced to being a one tool (speed) player. You don’t see many teams carry a guy that can’t hit or get on base, but can steal bases. Bourn is an impressive 163/191 in stolen bases in the minors, but his future (it would seem) is as a 5th outfielder, where he will be a defensive replacement/pinch runner for guys like Pat Burrell, and to me, that doesn’t warrant his placement in this prospect list. He could surprise me, or he could turn into a guy that bounces from AAA to the bigs his entire career.
Carlos Ruiz, C. Simply put, he’s too old for these lists. He’ll be 27 on opening day, and in only the rarest cases do I consider guys over the age of 25 “prospects”. That said, I think Ruiz can be a decent regular if given the chance. His defense is what people raved about, but I don’t know that we know enough about his game calling ability based on his limited exposure last season. We’ll see.