Sorry we have been away from posting for about a month! The real world caught up to us a little bit, but the blog is back off and running. The following is an “all star team” of lesser-known prospects coming into the season whose status has skyrocketed in 2010. I offer no real cut-off for when a player was sufficiently lesser-known to include on the list. Therefore, while I included Trout/Sano, Teheran/Moustakas were excluded.
C Will Myers (Royals)—Myers came into the season as a name followed primarily by draft watchers who recognized the large signing bonus given to the young catcher. Myers appears to be worth every penny, as he’s hitting for elite power and showing elite tools throughout the season. Look for him to start next season as a top 40 prospect.
C Devin Mesorasco (C, Reds)—Mesorasco came into the season looking like a failed first round pick, but he has been lights out this season, showing extreme potential and re-establishing himself as a decent prospect and possible option as the Reds’ backstop. I’m not totally sure if he’ll crack the back-end of the Top 100, but since he’s close to the major leagues, he’s a solid player to watch in fantasy leagues.
1B Jonathan Singleton (1B, Phillies)—few knew of Singleton coming into the season, but perhaps no other prospect not named Franklin or Trout has increased his status more over this off-season. The Phillies’ refusal to include him in a deal for Roy Oswalt speaks to the organization’s confidence in his abilities.
2B Jason Kipnis (Indians)—Kipnis was a solid player at ASU, but he was never really considered a top draft prospect because of his small stature and lack of a position (was a slow-footed outfielder in college). The Indians drafted him intending to covert him to the infield, and the experiment has worked nicely. Kipnis has surprised people with decent offense for a player who doesn’t have the appearance of a long-ball hitter.
SS Nick Franklin (Mariners)—Franklin appears to be a steal in the late first round as he has dominated the lower minor leagues showing solid defensive abilities and an impressive bat. He should be at least a top 50 prospect coming into next season.
3B Miguel Sano (Twins)—Sano is arguably too good to appear on this list because he was well-known coming into this season. Nevertheless, he has established himself as an elite prospect with tools that have wowed scouts throughout the season in the lower-levels on the minor leagues.
MI Drew Cumberland (Padres)—Cumberland is similar to Franklin in that he came into the season somewhat discussed only to post absolutely dominating numbers this season. Cumberland’s impressive performance was awarded with a trip to the futures game and he will definitely be appearing high on the list of Padres’ top prospects next season.
CI Nolan Arenado (CI, Rockies)—Arenado has been overshadowed by Tyler Matzek, who was drafted a round ahead of him. Nevertheless, Arenado is certainly appearing to establish himself as an elite talent with solid power and plenty of upside.
OF Mike Trout (Angels)—Trout is arguably the most exciting player in the minor leagues. He is a legitimate five-tool guy who possesses an exceptional knack for the game. He was almost unanimously ranked as a “top 100” guy coming into this season, but his status has skyrocketed into one of the best prospects in the game.
OF Derrick Robinson (Royals)—Robinson is really, really fast, but until this season, he showed no ability to be a major league hitter. A change in plate approach late last season seems to have started a remarkable improvement, as Robinson has been solid all season at AA. When he is called up, his unbelievable speed makes him a top fantasy prospect.
OF Brandon Belt (Giants)—Belt lit up competition several years younger to start the season, and the numbers were so dominant they could not be excluded from the prospect lists. While promotion to a higher-level reduced the production, he still posted numbers respectable enough to justify their inclusion on this list.
OF Jerry Sands (Dodgers)—see Brandon Belt.
OF Yorman Rodriguez (Reds)—he’s perhaps a little young to be including on this list, but despite lacking Sano-like upside, Rodriguez has been one of my favorite players to follow this season in the lower-levels of the minor leagues. A player to watch…even if his ETA is not anytime soon.
P Michael Pineda (Mariners)—Pineda has turned himself into upper mid-level prospect to elite prospect in just one season. His velocity continued to increase, and with his control improving, Pineda absolutely dominated hitters this season in route to becoming one of the game’s elite pitching prospects.
P John Lamb (Royals)—coming into the season, scouting profiles of Lamb often emphasized characteristics (mound presence, etc) that have burned me before. I was wrong. Lamb has posted great numbers throughout the season to form a group of pitching prospects which is second only to arguably Tampa Bay.
P Trey McNutt (Cubs)—Alabama pitcher Trey McNutt proved last season was not a fluke. In a time of advanced scouting, McNutt fell through the cracks in the 2009 draft to the Cubs. He possesses dominating stuff and terrific upside.
P Manny Banuelos (Yankees)—he has been a decent pitching prospect for the past several years, but Banuelos is having a true breakout year this season posting really solid numbers and establishing himself as one of the better pitching prospects in the American League.
P Brody Colvin/Jared Cosart (Phillies)—two of the Phillies’ best pitching prospects in prospect-rich Lakewood are each deserving of consideration. Cosart is more of a flamethrower while Colvin is a solid all-around pitcher. This group made people realize the Phillies were not sacrificing their future after trading several key prospects last season.