These guys are or will be in the Majors by the end of the 2011 season or will be carving out a dramatic increase in their future value in their current systems, in other words, breakout prospect stars.
Mike Trout, Angels, CF: He is already up, having played in two games. Trout is just 19 and his power/speed blend is going to make him rival Eric Davis in his prime. He probably won’t produce on the levels that he has the last season and a half in the Minors (.335/.416/.506) right away, but this is as intriguing as a prospect can get. He will head back to the Minors when Peter Bourjos returns from injury, but he should be up for good by next April.
Mike McDade, Blue Jays, 1B: McDade led the Arizona Fall League in doubles (11), was 3rd in Batting Average (.375), and was 2nd in hits (33). Now, at 22-years-old, he is tearing apart the Double-A Eastern League, leading the league in hits (103), doubles (30), and total bases (175), while ranking 5th with 14 homers, and 2nd in RBI (60). He is a big guy like Prince Fielder (6’1″, 270 lbs), and his contact rate could use some improvement (22.1% K rate), but he looks like a hitter that could be very valuable to the Blue Jays in the next year or so.
Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks, 1B: First base has been a revolving door for the Diamondbacks, as Russell Branyan, Juan Miranda, and Xavier Nady have struggled to take control of the position this year. It shouldn’t be long until the D-backs reach to the Minors for their slugging prospect. Just 23-years-old, Goldschmidt has hit 87 doubles, 78 homers, and a .621 slugging percentage since his professional career started in 2009. He has played in 298 games and averages a homerun every 9.23 AB. He has greatly increased his plate discipline this year, and he could settle in nicely in the middle of the lineup for years to come.
Tim Wheeler, Rockies, CF: Dexter Fowler – FAIL, Charlie Blackmon – Injured, Cole Garner – Organizational Depth. What does this mean? The Rockies are going to move on from what they’ve used so far and find a real centerfielder. Carlos Gonzalez could more than handle the position if called upon, but they may want to look to Double-A Tulsa, where Wheeler has been a monster this season. Though he has struckout 90 times (26.5% of at bats), Wheeler has posted a .999 OPS to go along with 18 doubles, 22 homers, and 15 stolen bases. Now 23-years-old, Wheeler has put together the tools that made him a first round pick in 2009 out of Sacramento State. If he can keep the power/speed combo and improve his contact rate, he should be a lesser version of a healthy Grady Sizemore, a 6’4″, 205 pound slugging centerfielder.
Drew Pomeranz, Indians, LHP: The Indians fortunes only look like they will improve. Pomeranz was the top college lefty in the 2010 draft, taken 5th overall out of Mississippi. He should be up by the middle of 2012, but he could be a lefty specialist for the Tribe down the stretch this season. His numbers against lefties are very impressive, in 15 2/3 innings against lefties, he has a 32/2 K/BB and a .130 BAA. Overall, Pomeranz has a 1.87 ERA over 77 IP with a 95/32 K/BB and .202 BAA. He has lights out stuff and, though he is just in High-A right now, will finish off this season in Double-A, if not the Majors.
Jake Odorizzi, Royals, RHP: A little pitching to go with the hitting prospects who have reached the Majors, right? The Royals received Odorizzi from the Brewers in the Zack Greinke deal and he has many similarities to Greinke. He has great control and a variety of pitches that make him a top of the rotation candidate. Odorizzi has moved up to Double-A, so he could get a shot at the rotation next April if he finishes strong. Posting a 2.92 ERA over 16 starts, his most impressive stat is the 107/24 K/BB in 83 1/3 IP. He will add to the list of Lamb, Montgomery, Duffy, and Crow, as the Royals try to build a winner from within the organization.
Trevor May, Phillies, RHP: The Phillies need more pitching right now, right? This young man, just 21, has a 123/44 K/BB in 95 IP in High-A. He will probably move up to Double-A for the 2nd half. May has a very projectable frame, standing 6’5″, 205 pounds. He could become trade bait if the Phillies want to upgrade down the stretch, but he could become a solid #3 for them, settling in behind Halladay and Lee by the middle of next season.
Others you should know who could make an impact:
Julio Teheran, Braves, RHP
Yonder Alonso, Reds, LF
Brandon Belt, Giants, 1B/OF
Kyle Gibson, Twins, RHP
Leonys Martin, Rangers, CF
Jason Kipnis, Indians, 2B
Desmond Jennings, Rays, OF
Brett Lawrie, Blue Jays, 3B
Devin Mesoraco, Reds, C
Ryan Lavarnway, Red Sox, C