Top 10 MLB Positional Prospects
With the middle of the baseball season upon us, I decided to take a look at the top positional prospects left in the minors. Due to all the recent call-ups, this list is not as deep as one would think. Mike Trout, Anthony Rizzo, Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer and many more have all moved their way up. It seems, this year, that if you can hit, your major league team wants you as soon as possible.
Some may disagree with who made this list, but this is my own personal ranking as I see it, backed up by numbers. When making the list, defensive position was taken into consideration.
1. Bryce Harper, OF Washington Nationals (D.O.B. 10/16/92)
It's hard not to put Bryce Harper at number one on any list of top prospects. In his first professional season, the best power prospect to come around in a long time hasn't disappointed. Harper was recently promoted from the Single-A South Atlantic League to Double-A Harrisburg. That's a big jump for an 18-year-old. For the season so far, Harper is hitting .320 with 14 homers to give him an OPS of .966. It probably won't happen in 2011, but look for Harper in Washington sometime in 2012.
- 2010 Bowman Draft Aflac Buyback Autographs Bryce Harper (/230)
- 2010 Bowman Chrome Wrapper Redemption Autographs Bryce Harper (/100)
- 2011 Bowman Prospects Autographs Bryce Harper
2. Jesus Montero, C New York Yankees (D.O.B. 11 /28/89)
Even though he played there last season, Jesus Montero is the third-youngest player in the Triple-A International League. He can hit, but can he defend? Time will tell. The Yanks are loaded with catching prospects so Montero may eventually be moved, either to a new position or in a trade. On the year, he is batting .289 with a low OPS of just .763. His numbers are okay, but not spectacular. However, Montero is a Triple-A catcher that is just 21-years old, which gives him added value.
- 2008 Bowman Chrome Draft Autographs Jesus Montero
- 2008 Bowman Sterling Autographs Jesus Montero
- 2010 Bowman Platinum Autographs Jesus Montero
3. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B Arizona Diamondbacks (D.O.B. 9/10/87)
Many scouts thought Paul Goldschmidt would struggle at Double-A, but he has proven them wrong. In 2010, he had an uneven strikeouts-to-walks ratio and didn't show much patience at the plate. Goldschmidt did show massive power, though, leading the California League in homers. He currently leads the minors with 25 home runs and 77 RBIs to give him an OPS of 1.056. If Goldschmidt continues to hit, you could see him in Arizona before the end of the season. From a prospecting perspective, Goldschmidt is fairly old but you can't deny his numbers.
- 2010 Bowman Platinum Autographs Paul Goldschmidt
- 2010 Donruss Elite Extra Edition Autographs Paul Goldschmidt (/820)
- 2011 Bowman Chrome Autographs Paul Goldschmidt
4. Brett Lawrie, 2B Toronto Blue Jays (D.O.B. 1/18/90)
Moved in the Shaun Marcum trade, Brett Lawrie came into Toronto's system and immediately made a splash. Starting the season at Triple-A Las Vegas of the Pacific Coast League, Lawrie has shown he is a five-tool player. Hitting .354 with 15 homers, 49 RBIs and 11 stolen bases gives him one of the most impressive stat lines in baseball this season. He's moved all the way up to number four on my list, despite not being in my preseason top 50. Lawrie should be on his way to Toronto soon.
5. Manny Machado, SS Baltimore Orioles (D.O.B. 7/6/92)
Another young buck on this list, Manny Machado has already earned a promotion from the South Atlantic League to the High-A Carolina League. Knee issues caused a scare a few months ago, but he seems fine now. Machado has the best raw tools of any shortstop in the minors, with both a great bat and glove. His glove is so good, in fact, that scouts say he's one of the few minor league shortstops that will not be considered to move to another position. Look for Machado to be a long-term project for the Orioles. He could be on this list for the next few years while he continues to develop his bat.
- 2010 Bowman Chrome Draft Autographs Manny Machado
- 2010 Donruss Elite Extra Edition Autographs Manny Machado (/425) (Redemption)
- 2011 Bowman Autographs Manny Machado (Redemption)
6. Bryce Brentz, OF Boston Red Sox (D.O.B. 12/30/88)
The other Bryce in the 2010 MLB Draft, Boston nabbed Brentz with a first round supplemental pick. So far, they've had a great return as Brentz has smashed his way through Single-A ball and earned a promotion to the High-A Salem Red Sox. Since his promotion, Brentz hasn't missed a beat, especially with his power numbers. In 90 High-A at-bats, he has nine homers and a batting average of .300. Look for Brentz to battle it out for the right field spot next season with other top prospects Josh Reddick and Ryan Kalish.
- 2010 Bowman Chrome Draft Autographs Bryce Brentz
- 2010 Donruss Elite Extra Edition Autographs Bryce Brentz (/719)
- 2011 Bowman Autographs Bryce Brentz
7. Travis D'Arnaud, C Toronto Blue Jays (D.O.B. 2/10/89)
Moved in the Roy Halladay trade along with Kyle Drabek, Travis D'Arnaud may be the most overlooked prospect in all of baseball. Toronto already has a young backstop in J.P. Arencibia, but D'Arnaud is right on his tail. For the year, D'Arnaud is hitting .315 with 23 doubles and 12 homers to give him an OPS of .941 in the Double-A Eastern League. For a catcher, these numbers are amazing.
8. Devin Mesoraco, C Cincinnati Reds (D.O.B. 6/19/88)
Probably the closest on this list to being ready for the majors, Devin Mesoraco is having a great season with Triple-A Louisville. Hitting .303 with nine home runs and 30 doubles, he is showing that his bat is for real. After being the 15th-overall selection in 2007, Mesoraco struggled for the next couple of seasons. 2010 was the year that put him back on the prospect map, hitting his way from Single-A ball all the way up to Triple-A. Look for Mesoraco to be a late-season call-up and most likely the Reds' Opening Day catcher in 2012.
- 2007 Bowman Chrome Draft Autographs Devin Mesoraco
- 2007 Bowman Sterling Autographs Devin Mesoraco
- 2007 Donruss Elite Extra Edition Autographs Devin Mesoraco (/674)
9. Jonathan Singleton, 1B/OF Philadelphia Phillies (D.O.B. 9/18/91)
After a massive 2010, many projected Jonathan Singleton as one of the top prospects in the game. However, with his struggles this year, Singleton just squeaked his way onto this list. Most hitters with good seasons are getting called up. Singleton hasn't had the same success this year so he's still on this minor league list. Still just 19, Singleton has shown good power. The major roadblock for him is Ryan Howard, who has a stranglehold on the first base position. Singleton moved to the outfield to begin the year but has since moved back to first. Singleton could be used as trade bait or become a project in the outfield. With a recent hot streak, he has rebounded in both card and prospect value.
- 2010 Bowman Baseball Aflac Autographs Jonathan Singleton (/127)
- 2010 Bowman Platinum Baseball Autographs Jonathan Singleton
- 2010 Bowman Sterling Baseball Autographs Jonathan Singleton
- 2010 Donruss Elite Extra Edition Baseball Autographs Jonathan Singleton (/699)
10. Nolan Arenado, 3B Colorado Rockies (D.O.B. 4/16/91)
A former second round pick out of high school, Nolan Arenado was drafted for his bat. In 2010, his first full season, he hit 41 doubles in 92 games and was named the number two prospect in the South Atlantic League. Arenado started 2011 slow but has since surged, hitting .358 in June and .371 so far in July, raising his average to .308 for the season. One of the youngest power bats in the minors, Arenado has a bright future and could find himself hitting in Colorado's thin air by the end of 2012.
- 2009 Donruss Elite Extra Edition Baseball Autographs Nolan Arenado (/844)
- 2010 Bowman Baseball Chrome Prospects Autographs Nolan Arenado