Below is a list of the top 50 prospects in baseball, in my opinion. The ranking, player name, position, team, date of birth and highest level in 2011 are listed on the top line, followed by their Minor League stats for 2011 below. The top 20 prospects have a little bit more information there, again it is my opinion of the player. I am not a scout, I am a school teacher and father. I read a lot of baseball and research on my own. Leave comments about anyone you feel that I left out or under sold, I’d love to mock you for being wrong!
Top Prospects 2012
1. Bryce Harper, OF, Washington: 10/16/92, Double-A
.297/.392/.501, 24 2B, 17 HR, 87/59 K/BB, 26 SB
Harper is as elite as it gets. He could start the year in the Washington outfield. His power is off the charts and he is about as can’t-miss as it gets.
2. Matt Moore, LHP, Tampa Bay: 6/18/1989, Majors
12-3, 1.92 ERA, 155 IP, 210/46 K/BB, .184 BAA
Moore was a part of the Rays Postseason roster and he’ll be a part of their Opening Day roster in 2012. He’s better than David Price ever was, so consider him a future ace.
3. Shelby Miller, RHP, St. Louis: 10/10/90, Double-A
11-6, 2.77 ERA, 139 2/3 IP, 170/53 K/BB, .219 BAA
Miller is a studly prospect in a solid organization. He can throw strikes and he is an ace in the making. He could be ready by mid-2012, but the Cards won’t need him unless Wainwright’s elbow isn’t all the way back, Lohse comes back to reality, or Westbrook falters.
4. Julio Teheran, RHP, Atlanta: 1/27/91, Majors
15-3, 2.55 ERA, 144 2/3 IP, 122/48 K/BB, .232 BAA
His Triple-A stats don’t blow you away, but Teheran was just 20 when he was facing the vets and advanced hitters there. He may not have struck out 10 per 9 IP, but he did well for his age. His fastball and change are great pitches, but he still could refine his breaking ball. If Teheran improves his curve, he could be better than any pitcher on this list.
5. Jesus Montero, C/DH, Seattle:11/28/89, Majors
.288/.348/.467, 19 2B, 18 HR, 98/36 K/BB
Montero was just traded to Seattle, the hitter’s wasteland of the American League. While his fantasy production could take a hit there, he is still a player with elite upside. Montero is a DH that has caught before. He could get enough starts there to keep catching eligibility in fantasy leagues, but he could be the 2nd Mariners DH to make the Hall of Fame…Edgar Martinez is my plug here.
6. Jurickson Profar, SS, Texas: 2/20/93, Low-A
.286/.390/.493, 37 2B, 8 3B, 12 HR, 63/65 K/BB, 23 SB
Profar could be the 2B of the future in Texas if Elvis Andrus sticks around. The fact that he was 18 and showing the patience and hitting skills in full-season ball makes scouts and fans drool. His body doesn’t ooze the ability to be a power hitter in the future, but you have to wonder if some of those 37 2B will make it out of Arlington. Alfonso Soriano wasn’t a beefy power hitter, either.
7. Manny Machado, SS, Baltimore: 7/6/1992, High-A
.257/.335/.421, 20 2B, 5 3B, 11 HR, 73/45 K/BB, 11 SB
The comparisons to ARod coming out of High School weren’t just due to his size. This is a future All-Star SS with power and speed. Machado IS the future of the Baltimore organization. If he doesn’t become the star that he looks like he could, the current 14-season long losing streak will become 20.
8. Devin Mesoraco, C, Cincinnati: 6/19/88, Majors
.289/.371/.484, 36 2B, 15 HR, 83/52 K/BB
Mesoraco looked like a flop of a first-round pick in 2009. Then…2010 happened and 2011 legitimized his status as a future All-Star catcher. By dealing Yasmani Grandal to San Diego and letting Ramon Hernandez leave via Free Agency, Cincinnati is committing to Mesoraco as their catcher right now. He’ll split time with Ryan Hanigan, but could become a 20-25 HR hitter as soon as this season.
9. Trevor Bauer, RHP, Arizona: 1/17/91, Double-A
1-2, 5.96 ERA, 25 2/3 IP, 43/12 K/BB, .257 BAA
Bauer didn’t have an impressive ERA, but 43 punch outs in 25 2/3 IP is just sexy. Bauer looked better than his UCLA teammate, Gerrit Cole, in his final season there, enough to make me think that he is going to be better long-term. He’s small, like Tim Lincecum (but not that small), but he possesses top of the rotation stuff.
10. Jacob Turner, RHP, Detroit: 5/21/1991, Majors
4-5, 3.44 ERA, 131 IP, 110/35 K/BB, .238 BAA
Turner could be an ace or he could be the next Rick Porcello, a young starter with great stuff who was rushed to the Majors, losing his breaking ball while looking to throw strikes in the Minors. Turner’s name keeps coming up in trade rumors, specifically for Matt Garza, but the Tigers may have a better arm here long-term. They just need to be a little careful with him.
11. Anthony Rendon, 3B, Washington: 6/6/90, NONE
Rendon was the top college bat in the 2011 MLB Draft. He could be an All-Star at 3B, but he’ll move to 2B if Ryan Zimmerman is going to stick around in Washington. At 2B, if he posts numbers like he is projected to, he could become a Hall of Fame talent. He has enough athletic ability to hold down the position, even after the ankle injury.
12. Martin Perez, LHP, Texas: 4/4/91, Triple-A
8-6, 4.33 ERA, 137 1/3 IP, 120/56 K/BB, .284 BAA
Perez, like Teheran, was 20 last season while pitching in Triple-A. He may have posted underwhelming statistics, but he still has a great repertoire, one that makes him an elite prospect.
13. Wil Myers, OF, Kansas City: 12/10/90, Double-A
.254/.353/.393, 23 2B, 8 HR, 87/52 K/BB, 9 SB
Myers moved to RF from catcher last season so that he could move quicker through the system. He didn’t post the numbers that he did in 2010, but he was slowed by various injuries in 2011 and was just 20 in Double-A. He could repeat in Double-A in 2012 due to his struggles, but he won’t be there long when he returns to 2010 form. That’s right…when. He is a future star on the same side of the field as the Royals foundation, Eric Hosmer.
14. Carlos Martinez, RHP, St. Louis: 9/21/91, High-A
6-5, 3.93 ERA, 84 2/3 IP, 98/44 K/BB, .238 BAA
Martinez possesses upside that could make him better than future teammate Shelby Miller. He needs to get more innings under his belt in 2012 to see what the Cardinals have. If he does what he’s done the last couple of seasons, he’ll be a top five prospect in 2013.
15. Jameson Taillon, RHP, Pittsburgh: 11/18/91, Low-A
2-3, 3.98 ERA, 92 2/3 IP, 97/22 K/BB, .249 BAA
Taillon was babied by the Pirates in 2011, as the Bucs didn’t allow Taillon to go more than 5 innings in any start. That is understandable: see Bobby Bradley and John Van Benschoten. Taillon and Cole could be a solid 1-2 for Pittsburgh for years to come, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Taillon is the #1.
16. Danny Hultzen, LHP, Seattle: 11/28/89, NONE; Played in Arizona Fall League
1-0, 1.40 ERA, 19 1/3 IP, 18/5 K/BB, .225 BAA
Hultzen has a mid-90’s fastball and is about as polished of a college arm that you will ever see. He has huge fantasy upside due to pitching in Safeco, but he would have that wherever he would have landed. He could start 2012 in Double-A, but if he doesn’t, he’ll get there quickly.
17. Taijuan Walker, RHP, Seattle: 8/13/92, Low-A
6-5, 2.89 ERA, 96 2/3 IP, 113/39 K/BB, .202 BAA
Walker is a future ace. He is a big kid who could fill out and become even more intriguing than he already is, which is scary. It’ll be interesting to see what Seattle does with him, as Inland Empire of the California League could lead to a short stay and a jump to Double-A, saving Walker from confidence issues.
18. Gerrit Cole, RHP, Pittsburgh: 9/8/90, NONE; Played in Arizona Fall League
2-0, 3.00 ERA, 15 IP, 16/4 K/BB, .179 BAA
Cole was the #1 pick in the 2011 MLB Draft and he has “upside” out the wazoo. Like I mentioned earlier, his college teammate, Trevor Bauer, seemed to out-pitch him in 2011, but Cole has the 100+ mph fastball that makes people envious. He looked very good in the AFL, so I, like others, am looking forward to where Pittsburgh starts him and how he does.
19. Nolan Arenado, 3B, Colorado: 4/16/91, High-A
.298/.349/.487, 32 2B, 20 HR, 122 RBI, 53/47 K/BB
I love this guy, maybe a bit too much. Maybe it’s the fact that there aren’t many good third basemen in baseball right now, maybe I like when 20 year-olds post solid power numbers. Sure, it was in the California League, but Arenado shows the ability to make contact, just 53 strikeouts in 517 at bats, and it isn’t like the Rockies ballpark isn’t a hitter’s paradise, either. Huge upside here.
20. Travis d’Arnaud, C, Toronto: 2/10/89, Double-A
.311/.371/.542, 33 2B, 21 HR, 100/33 K/BB
Just like Mesoraco did in 2010, d’Arnaud finally had his breakout in 2011 in Double-A, showing incredible power while developing a major issue in Toronto. With J.P. Arencibia already in Toronto, what will the Jays do with these two power hitting monsters behind the plate? I am wondering if the club might look to get d’Arnaud some looks at first or left field in Triple-A in 2012. They may not want to mess with what they have, but it wouldn’t hurt their future lineup if they can keep d’Arnaud’s bat in it.
21. Manny Banuelos, LHP, Yankees: 3/13/91, Triple-A
6-7, 3.75 ERA, 129 2/3 IP, 125/71 K/BB, .266 BAA
22. Gary Brown, OF, San Francisco: 9/28/88, High-A
.336/.407/.519, 34 2B, 13 3B, 14 HR, 80 RBI, 77/46 K/BB, 53 SB
23. Tyler Skaggs, LHP, Arizona: 7/13/91, Double-A
9-6, 2.96 ERA, 158 1/3 IP, 198/49 K/BB, .218 BAA
24. Jarrod Parker, RHP, Oakland: 11/24/88, Majors
11-8, 3.79 ERA, 130 2/3 IP, 112/55 K/BB, .236 BAA
25. Jonathan Singleton, 1B, Houston: 9/18/91, High-A
.298/.392/.441, 23 2B, 13 HR, 123/70 K/BB
26. Michael Choice, OF, Oakland: 11/10/89, High-A
.285/.376/.542, 28 2B, 30 HR, 134/61 K/BB, 9 SB
27. Miguel Sano, 3B, Minnesota: 5/11/93, Rookie Ball
.292/.352/.637, 18 2B, 7 3B, 20 HR, 59 RBI, 77/23 K/BB, 5 SB…267 AB
28. Eddie Rosario, OF, Minnesota: 9/28/91, Rookie Ball
.337/.397/.670, 9 2B, 9 3B, 21 HR, 60 RBI, 60/27 K/BB, 17 SB…270 AB
29. Hak-Ju Lee, SS, Tampa Bay: 11/4/90, Double-A
.292/.365/.416, 17 2B, 15 3B, 5 HR, 94/53 K/BB, 33 SB
30. Zack Wheeler, RHP, Mets: 5/30/90, High-A
9-7, 3.52 ERA, 115 IP, 129/52 K/BB, .231 BAA
31. Christian Yelich, 1B/OF, Miami: 12/5/91, Low-A
.312/.388/.484, 32 2B, 15 HR, 77 RBI, 102/55 K/BB, 32 SB
32. Oscar Taveras, OF, St. Louis: 6/19/92, Low-A
.386/.444/.584, 27 2B, 5 3B, 8 HR, 62 RBI, 52/32 K/BB…308 AB
33. Oswaldo Arcia, OF, Minnesota: 5/9/91, High-A
.291/.335/.531, 23 2B, 4 3B, 13 HR, 51 RBI, 70/18 K/BB
34. Zack Cox, 3B, St. Louis: 5/9/89, Double-A
.306/.363/.434, 27 2B, 13 HR, 68 RBI, 98/40 K/BB
35. Jean Segura, 2B/SS, Angels: 3/17/90, High-A
.281/.337/.422, 9 2B, 4 3B, 3 HR, 26/15 K/BB, 18 SB…185 AB
36. Yonder Alonso, 1B, San Diego: 4/8/87, Majors
.296/.374/.486, 24 2B, 4 3B, 12 HR, 60/46 K/BB, 6 SB
37. Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Cubs: 8/8/89, Majors
.331/.404/.652, 34 2B, 26 HR, 101 RBI, 89/43 K/BB in 356 AB
38. Brad Peacock, RHP, Oakland: 2/2/88, Majors
15-3, 2.39 ERA, 146 2/3 IP, 177/47 K/BB, .188 BAA
39. James Paxton, LHP, Seattle: 11/6/88, Double-A
6-3, 2.37 ERA, 95 IP, 131/43 K/BB, .215 BAA
40. Drew Pomeranz, LHP, Colorado: 11/22/88, Majors
4-3, 1.78 ERA, 101 IP, 119/38 K/BB, .189 BAA
41. Yasmani Grandal, C, San Diego: 11/8/88, Triple-A
.305/.401/.500, 31 2B, 14 HR, 68 RBI, 97/59 K/BB
42. Trevor May, RHP, Philadelphia: 9/23/89, High-A
10-8, 3.63 ERA, 151 1/3 IP, 208/67 K/BB, .221 BAA
43. Bubba Starling, OF, Kansas City: 8/3/92, NONE
44. Dylan Bundy, RHP, Baltimore: 11/15/92, NONE
45. Jonathan Schoop, 2B/3B, Baltimore: 10/16/91, High-A
.290/.349/.432, 24 2B, 5 3B, 13 HR, 71 RBI, 76/42 K/BB, 12 SB
46. Rymer Liriano, OF, San Diego: 6/20/91, High-A
.298/.365/.465, 31 2B, 9 3B, 12 HR, 68 RBI, 108/53 K/BB, 66 SB
47. Jake Marisnick, OF, Toronto: 3/30/91, Low-A
.320/.392/.496, 27 2B, 6 3B, 14 HR, 77 RBI, 91/43 K/BB, 37 SB
48. Mike Montgomery, LHP, Kansas City: 7/1/89, Triple-A
5-11, 5.32 ERA, 150 2/3 IP, 129/69 K/BB, .271 BAA
49. Jake Odorizzi, RHP, Kansas City: 3/27/90, Double-A
10-7, 3.73 ERA, 147 IP, 157/44 K/BB, .244 BAA
50. Anthony Gose, OF, Toronto: 8/10/90, Double-A
.253/.349/.415, 20 2B, 7 3B, 16 HR, 154/62 K/BB, 70 SB