Baseball America is my go to site when it comes to prospects in the Minors. Each year, they give a ranking of the top players in each organization, including a top 10 list and the top tools in the organization, which is free on their website. Below are the top players, one per organization as rated at the beginning of the 2011 season with the statistics and location of the player now.
Atlanta: Julio Teheran, RHP: Triple-A; 20-years-old; 10 starts, 6-1, 1.98 ERA; 2 starts at Major League level, 0-1, 5.19 ERA. He still has ace potential but he need a little more seasoning. He should be ready by July of this year, but he probably won’t become a fixture until next Spring.
Florida: Matt Dominguez, 3B: Triple-A; 21-years-old; .250/.337/.463 in 80 AB after breaking his elbow this Spring when he was hit by a pitch. Dominguez has 4 HR, 3 2B, and 1 3B, while showing solid plate discipline, 19/11 K/BB. He has been considered a defensive wizard since he was drafted, so if he can show solid pitch recognition and start driving the ball, he should be in Miami in no time.
N.Y. Mets: Jenrry Mejia, RHP: Triple-A; 21-years-old; Done for season after Tommy John surgery on May 16th, Mejia went 1-2 with a 2.86 ERA prior to the injury. He spent a lot of time in New York last year, making 33 appearances (3 starts) for the Mets, but we won’t see him until this time next year.
Philadelphia: Domonic Brown, RF: Majors; 23-years-old; Maybe this time he will stick in the Majors. Brown has the tools to be an All-Star. He is hitting .235/.312/.397 in 68 AB with Philadelphia, but in 109 games in the Minors since the beginning of the 2010 season, Brown has a .330 AVG with 28 2B, 24 HR, and 82 RBI in 403 AB. He has nothing left to prove in the Minors.
Washington: Bryce Harper, RF: Low-A; 18-years-old; Living up to the huge expectations, Harper is hitting .338/.434/.601 with 14 2B and 14 HR in just 213 AB. He has shown some arrogance with his kiss-blowing HR trot, but cockiness can be handled with this kind of production, so long as he doesn’t take a pitch to the head for his actions.
Chicago: Chris Archer, RHP: Double-A; 22-years-old; After going 15-3 with a 2.34 ERA last season, Archer has finally hit a bump in Montgomery. He is currently 2-3 with a 5.43 ERA in 13 starts. He is having issues due to a large number of walks, as he has a 62/36 K/BB in 64 2/3 IP.
Cincinnati: Aroldis Chapman, LHP: Majors; 23-years-old; “The Cuban Missile” is toiling in the Minors on a “rehab assignment,” as he is on the DL with terrible location, aka shoulder tightness. In 9 innings on his assignment, he has allowed 12 ER and has a 14/7 K/BB. He had a 15/20 K/BB in 13 IP at the Major League level before going Ankiel on the world. If he put the ball over the plate, opposing batters were hitting just .143 against him. The Reds need him to find it again.
Houston: Jordan Lyles, RHP: Majors; 20-years-old; Lyles has 3 starts at the Major League level, going 0-1 with a 4.15 ERA, posting a 12/3 K/BB in 17 1/3 IP; Lyles have thrived at each level, even with being very young at each stop. He hasn’t won as many games in the Minors as other top prospects, but that is because Houston’s Minor League system is as bad as its Major League team. He should stay in the Houston rotation the rest of the season and may have an innings limit once August rolls around.
Milwaukee: Mark Rogers, RHP: Triple-A; 25-years-old; Another year, another injury. Rogers missed all of 2007 and 2008 with shoulder issues, as he has already had two shoulder surgeries. Now, he is going to have surgery for carpal tunnel. The Brewers system is depleted due to major trades, leaving Rogers at the top going into the season. He won’t be there next year and he’ll be lucky to have a career at this point.
Pittsburgh: Jameson Taillon, RHP: Low-A; 19-years-old; Taillon is a future ace, even in Pittsburgh, where he will pave the way to a recovery to the Pirates long awaited return to glory. He is 2-1 in 9 starts with a 3.32 ERA and a 30/4 K/BB in 38 IP.
St. Louis: Shelby Miller, RHP: Double-A; 20-years old; As Chris Carpenter’s career winds down, Miller will become the ace replacement for the Cardinals. He has dominated, and, after just 2 starts at Double-A, holds an overall 3-3 record with a 2.77 ERA and 95/24 K/BB in 65 IP. Dominant.
Arizona: Jarrod Parker, RHP: Double-A; 22-years-old; Parker missed all of 2010 due to Tommy John surgery. He has been okay at Mobile this year, going 5-5 in 12 starts with a 4.95 ERA and a 52/27 K/BB in 56 1/3 IP. He will probably lose his #1 rating in the Diamondback system with the selection of Trevor Bauer, but he is still capable of a top-of-the-rotation designation, despite the overall numbers.
Colorado: Tyler Matzek, LHP: Low-A; 20-years-old; It hasn’t been pretty this year, as Matzek started in High-A and has been demoted. Overall, he is 0-4 with a 9.30 ERA in 40 2/3 innings, striking out 45, but walking 55. Matzek walked 62 in 89 1/3 IP in 2010. He was ranked #33 by MLB.com at the beginning of the year. Even with a high ceiling and great stuff, he can’t be a top 100 prospect if he keeps this up.
Los Angeles: Dee Gordon, SS: Majors; 23-years-old; Gordon has made it to the show due to another injury to Rafael Furcal. He could create a role for himself by showcasing his speed while he is up. He stole 22 bases while hitting .315 in Triple-A, while he is hitting .296 in 27 AB so far for the Dodgers. He is a twig and won’t hit for power, think Juan Pierre at SS, but he has game changing speed.
San Diego: Casey Kelly, RHP: Double-A; 21-years-old; Kelly was pretty hyped in Boston, part of that whole “East-Coast Bias” that allows the Saux and Yankees players to become more valuable than they actually are. In 51 Minor League starts, Kelly is 14-12 with a 3.77 ERA and a 210/71 K/BB in 262 1/3 IP. He is solid but not spectacular so far. He did give up playing SS midway through 2009, so he is still new to pitching full time if you consider that, but he needs to really show more to become “the major piece” that he was in the Adrian Gonzalez trade.
San Francisco: Brandon Belt, 1B: Majors; 23-years-old; Belt is on the DL for the Giants after breaking his wrist. He has truly proven himself at the Minor League level, yet, in 57 AB for the Giants, is hitting just .211/.328/.281 with 1 HR and 4 RBI. Belt may be playing the outfield more when he comes back, as Aubrey Huff seems entrenched at 1B for the Giants, but he is someone they NEED in the lineup, especially with Posey and Sanchez out for the remainder of the season.