Monday, February 11, 2008

NL South Top 10 Prospects

1) Mexico City Bandejos

Franchise Overview: The reigning three time World Series champs show no sign of letting up in the future as they have one of the strongest farm systems in the league. The major league starting lineup only contains two players over the age of 27, including 24 year old perennial MVP canditate Alex Shibata. Three of Mexico City's starting pitchers are 27 or under and only the closer is over 30 in the bullpen. The farm system is also stacked with future hitting and pitching stars lead by newly acquired Brian Jung who is not eligble for this list.

Top Prospects

#1: P Willie Velazquez (23) - As he has at every level, Willie is currently dominating AAA with 1.86 ERA. Willie tops out at 98 MPH and has a plus curve ball and slider. Willie also has very good control and projects to be the ace of the Bandejos within 3 years.

#2: 2b/LF Jalel Rivera (23) - Jalel was taken with the 15th pick of the season 2 draft. He has tremendous power and has already hit 248 minor league homeruns including a monsterous season 5 where he hit .345 with 70 hrs and 212 rbis. Jalel should be in the majors already but is blocked by Mexico City's major league talent. He projects to a 50-60 hr guy with the endurance of Cal Ripken.

#3: LF Ricardo Vazquez (21) - Ricardo is an international signing from Cuba. He has been an all star both minor league seasons and hit .381 last season. He is ready for the bigs right now at 21 and should be an on base machine and could challenge for a number of batting titles.

#4: 2b Aaron Pratt (21) - Aaron was drafted in the supplemental round of season 4. He is another typical Bandejo Ball player who should hit for a very high average. Aaron has tremendous speed and will most likely replace Michael Daughtery as Mexico City's leadoff man soon as he is also ready at the tender age of 21. Aaron also has a very good glove.

#5: RP Will Nicholson (23) - Will leads a strong class of Bandejo young relievers. Will is the early favorite to be the future closer. He has an outstanding sinker and can throw almost every day.

#6: SP Rob Andrews (23) - Andrews was a first round pick in season 5 and was acquired from Nashville late last season for top prospect Terrell Cox. Andrews throws in the low 90s and has one of the best curveballs in the minors. He projects to be the number 3 starter behind Velazquez and Jung but could easily be a number 2 for most teams.

#7: RP Rob Shields (22) - Shields was recently called up to the show to help out the major league pen. He has a dominating 4 seam fastball and is also a workhorse who is second in line to Nicholson for future closer.

#8: LF Anthony Moore (19) - Moore was Mexico's first round pick last season. He is also extremely fast and due to his great contact and batting skills, he could easily hit .340 in the majors. It would not be suprising to see him in the top 10 in average for years to come. His main weakness is a lack of stamina.

#9: C Eddie Whitaker (24) - Eddie is a very powerful catcher. He recently suffered a serious back injury which has jeopardized his prospect status. If he comes back strong he could be a 40 HR guy behind the plate.

#10: RP Dan Morton (20) - Morton is another minor league closer who is a workhorse with two outstanding pitches. He will join Shields and Nicholson to form the Mexican version of the nasty boys.

#11 - 15: 1b Flash Coco (25), SP Anthony O'Toole (23), RF Pete Richard (21), 1B Frank Shipley (22), C Marvin Leary (19)

2) Nashville Harmonies

Franchise Overview: Nashville recognized the tough competition it faced in the NL South and traded the team's best player Bartolo Gonzalez in an effort to restock the farm system. Nashville's has been a wild card the past couple seasons but has a difficult task in contending with San Juan and Mexico City. Nashville seems to have a plan by going with strong defense up the middle. The system is good enough to keep the Harmonies in the playoff hunt.

Top Prospects

#1: SP Rafael Rosado (22) - Rafael was an international signing in season 5 who is enjoying success in his first season in the bigs. His quick ascension has proven warranted with a 3.14 ERA. He doesn't throw very hard but has 3 plus pitches. He should be the ace of the staff for many years.

#2: 3b Terrell Cox (23) - Terrell was acquired in a top prospect swap from interdivision rival Mexico City for Rob Andrews. Cox is an excellent defender who could play SS. He also has great speed and an above average bat who has hit .336 in his minor league career.

#3: SP Moose Cohen (21) - Moose was drafted in the first round last season and was quickly posting a 2.41 ERA in AA by the end of his first season. Moose has a hard sinking fastball ala Kevin Brown and should be capable of throwing 200 solid innings a season. He projects as the Harmonies future #2 starter.

#4: C Kennie Rekar (20) - Ken was the 13th pick of this years draft. He is an average defender but has the tools to be an outstanding hitter with a great eye.

#5: RF Manny Hemingway (22) - Manny was a second round pick this season from the University of Nebraska. He led the Big 12 in homers the past two seasons. He has tremendous power and kills right handed pitching. He was known for having a number of six toed cats in college. He should be the Harmonies cleanup man by season 9.

#6: SP Rusty Dupler (22) - Rusty is a crazy man from the Ryne Duren school of pitching. He throws 99 and has a nasty curveball. He is a horse and its a good thing because he could throw 110 pitches by the sixth inning since he doesn't exactly have the best of control. If he can somehow harness his location he could become a monster.

#7: 1b Orlando Morris (18) - Orlando is a high average hitter with ok power. He projects to be a Hal Morris type hitter in the majors. He was signed this season as an international from Mexico. He has started very slowly hitting only .100 in high A so far. He probably belongs in Rookie league but the Harmonies have a policy of rushing guys through the system.

#8: SS Jamie Chong (20) - Chong was acquired in the blockbuster deal for former ace Bartolo Gonzalez. Jamie is a top notch defender with a cannon for an arm. How much he will hit is subject to great debate and his current .236 average in AAA does not bode well for the future.

#9: RP Wilfredo Coronado (20) - Scouts see Fredo as the closer of the future for the Harmonies. He is very raw and his skills have not equated to success yet in the minors. He is strictly a one inning guy but he can bounce back to throw 4 days in a row.

#10: RF Einar Guerrero (22) - Einar can flat out fly. He will consistently steal 40 bags in the majors. He doesn't have great bat skills but gets a lots of infield hits. He is mainly on this list because he hails from the water park capital of the world Wisconsin Dells.

#11 - 15: 2b Gene Moore (26), SS Ricardo Rivera (23), SP Les Barber (24), RP Yamid Tarasco (18), 2b Armando Calles (18).

3) San Juan Crownrificos

Franchise Overview: One of the most successful franchises in Second City history is having another fantastic season with the majors best record. Some of Crowns biggest stars are getting older but have not yet shown their age. Rumors of the franchise being for sale have not be denied by current owner Wang. San Juan has elected not to participate in the international market which has hurt their minor league system though recently promoted Billy Hoffman and David Carassco are elite young players.

Top Prospects

#1: SP Billy Hoffman (23) - Billy was the number one pick of the draft in season 2. He is about to lose his rookie status but he compiled and amazing 8-0 record in 9 major league starts last year with an era of 1.84. He is a legitimate #1 starter whose only question mark is his fair health.

#2: SS Will Curtis (20) - Will was a first round pick in the most recent draft. He is a great defender with excellent bat control and a great eye. He lacks any type of power but if he reaches his comparables of Omar Vizquel, San Juan will be quite pleased.

#3: 1b Glenn Foster (19) - Crown's first round pick in season 6 could become the next Max Lima. Not only does he have decent power but he should hit for a very high average. A number of .350 seasons are in his future along with a couple batting titles.

#4: RP Brian Burns (22) - The son of former White Sox character Britt Burns is one of Crownrificos excellent minor league relievers. Brian is particularly nasty on lefthanders and has a plus plus curveball. He is often compared to Jesse Orosco.

#5: C Ron Hurst (22) - Ron is not only a very good defensive catcher but he should also be an above average hitter. He manhandles left handed pitching and has a good eye. He has a career .339 average in 3 minor league seasons.

#6: DH Miller Prinz (20) - The second round pick from this years excellent draft class hails from Schoolcraft College. Miller is awful defensively but can swing the lumber. He projects to be a Jack Cust type player. He is the most likely player to be traded on this list as San Juan plays without the DH.

#7: LF Paul Drabek (20) - Paul was a third round pick this year from the University of Arkansas Fort Smith. While he has yet to use a wooden bat, he does look to be a top hitter as he lead all junior college players in the Bi-State Conference in hitting. He has had a number of significant injuries in his career, which limits his ranking on this list.

#8: RP Harry Cerveza (24) - Not only does Harry have one of the best names in the game but he also projects to be a dominant closer if he can improve his slider. Crownrifico fans are looking forward to dropping some hair clippings into their ice cold beers, preferably blonde ones.

#9: SP Bing Miller (22) - Bing was a supplemental pick in season 5. Bing has a 4.09 ERA in 3 minor league seasons and projects as a 4th starter for San Juan. Rumors that owner Wang fired his scout when he found out Bing was from Georgetown, Ohio and not Georgetown University have been confirmed.

#10: RP Leo Myers (24) - Have you sensed a pattern here? San Juan is relief pitching heaven. Amazingly Crown has dealt a number of good relievers in the past year. Leo has great control of his top notch sinker and will be an excellent set up man.

#11 - 15: LF Felipe Ontiveras (25), RP Junior Molina (22), RP Bing Mays (22), RP Lyle Richardson (20), 1b Rock Fassero (22)

#4) Atlanta Infuegos

Franchise Overview: Things are looking up for the NL South's doormat for a number of seasons. Atlanta's fourth place prospect ranking in this division is misleading as the Infuegos previously took the questionable route of immediately promoting all top prospects to the majors. Atlanta has since wised up and put these players in the minors where they belong so they can properly develop. Since most of those players are not eligible for this list because they have lost their rookie status, this list is not as impressive as it should be. But take note fans, Atlanta has a bright future if management can continue its recent excellent moves.

Top Prospects

#1: SP Rudy Robinson (22) - The third pick of this years draft from the University of Akron should be a future ace. He is a guy who can give you 8 innings night after night. He has great control and outstanding stuff. If he can reach his high projections, he can easily match up with the other big time aces of the division rivals.

#2: RF Chad Wright (19) - Chad is easily Atlanta's best hitting prospect. He was the third pick of last seasons draft and benefitted from the new regime that doesn't rush prospects. Chad is an ironman who should be a .300 hitter for years to come.

#3: RP Lucas Hendrick (22) - A second round pick from LSU has a chance to be an elite closer. Scouts believe he will throw in the upper 90s with a top notch curve ball.

#4: SP Julio Ramos (21) - An international signing from Venezuela, Julio should be a very good major league starter. He has been bounced around from the majors to AA and was bombed in the bigs. If he can stablize in the minors, he should be a future #3 starter.

#5: SP Jack Driefort (23) - Darren's cousin received all the good health in the family. He was a first round pick in season 6. Darren throws in the low 90s and has 3 very good pitches. He should also be a mainstay in the Infuegos future rotation.

#6: 2b Joe Davis (19) - A very fast and excellent baserunner who could steal 50 or more in the majors. Joe needs to work on his slap hitting skills to become a decent leadoff man.

#7: 1b Manny Rivera (20) - Manny is a good power hitting first baseman. He should be able to play every day and could put up Mike Sweeney type numbers.

#8: 2b Andre Moore (21) - Andrew is a defensive wizard who could win mutiple Gold Gloves. If he can hit .260 he will be an asset for the Infuegos.

#9: DH Dicky Martin (20) - Dicky is a sloth without a position. He is pretty good with the stick, especially against right handers. He could eventualy be a pretty good pinch hitter and role player.

#10: 3b Chin-Fing Yosida (18) - Chin is currently playing SS in Low A but his future is at 3b. He is an average hitter with pretty good speed. He projects to be a faster version of Scott Brosius.

Not #11 - 15 but instead what should be Atlanta's top five - LF Jose Cordero (22), DH Al Escobar (22), SP Tim Atkins (25), C Wascar Lee (23), C Brendan Jackson (22)

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