Top Prospect Report – NL Central

February 2, 2008 at 11:55 am 2 comments

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The NL Central boasts the best prospect in the game (Jay Bruce), my pick for NL rookie of the year (Colby Rasmus), the most overhyped system in my opinion (Cubs, sorry Charlie), and the worst system in the game (Astros).

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The Reds have a very good farm system. The only knock is that it is s little top heavy, but man is it heavy at the top! They have my #1 prospect from last year (and this year) in Jay Bruce and two potential top of the rotation pitchers in Bailey and Cueto. Votto is a potential .295/.375/.480 bat at 1B that can steal bases in the double digits. As long as the Reds develop these prospects correctly and they go against the wishes of Dusty Baker (who likes to sit rookie position players and over-use arms).

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Colby Rasmus is a potential .290/.370/.520 bat in center with 30+ homer and 20+ stolen base potential, making him a top 10 prospect without a doubt. The Cards have a good crop of arms at the top but it’s hard to tell which ones will pan out as starters and which ones will be relievers, albeit good ones.

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I know I’ll catch some grief from my comment above but this farm system is a little overhyped in my opinion. The sytem is laced with starters that look more like middle reliers to me. They do have two very good catchers which is more than a lot of teams and one bat that has star potential (Vitters) but has only playe half a year in the pros and is only going to be 19 on opening day. The rest of the position guys (Patterson, Thomas…) look like role players or bench players to me. Don’t get me wrong, these type of players are great to have, especially when you can spend on free agents like the Cubs can. But, it also keeps them from acquiring the players (Bedard and Roberts) they have been pursuing.

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The Brew Crew have a system full of high risk/high reward guys that lean a little towards high risk. Guys like Jeffress (he needs to put the weed down), Escobar, Gillepse, Gindl, and Brewer all fit this bill. The top two prospects are both legit. La Porta has huge power, potential 35+ homer power, but isn’t very good at all in the field. Parra is a #2-#3 potential but may end up in the #4-#5 spot if he can’t get a hold of his command better.

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The Pirates have long suffered with their bad drafts and poor player development. Now that Littlefield and co. are gone we should see a change in the way things are done. McCuthen is a pure athlete. A true center fielder that has 25+ homer and 35+ stolen base potential. He has been rushed and could use more time to develop his pitch recognition and plate discipline. Lincoln and Daniel Moskos both project to be at worst good relievers. The one I’m not sold on that everyone else seems to be is 3B Neil Walker. His defense needs help and his bat isn’t a corner bat if his defense is bad.

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What can I say? They have possibly the worst farm system in all of baseball and they have very little pitching depth in the big leagues. Not a good combo. The best they have is catcher J.R. Towles. He is a legit cathcer that can flat out hit. He is a good athlete too, kind of a Russ Matin lite. Top pitching prospect Felipe Paulino can make you watch radar gun reading rather than the game. He has been clocked as high as 102 mph but his command and lack of secondary pitches make his destined for the bullpen. There are a lot of guys who can blow up a radar gun but never pan out (Seth McClung, Jesus Colome, Matt Anderson…). Norris and James are both potential #3-#5 starters or big league relievers at worst. The one guy to pay attention to is Mitch Einertson. I have to say I am a little higher on him than most anybody but I really believe he can be a plus big league CF or LF. This system lacks a superstar potential and depth and they can’t seem to draft correctly either (last year their first pick was in the 3rd round and they didn’t sign him due to money differences).

-Jonathan C. Mitchell

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Top Prospect Report – NL East Top Prospect Report – NL West

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Charlie Nehl  |  February 2, 2008 at 9:42 pm

    You won’t actually get any grief from me about the Cubs system comments. Outta the slew of pitching prospects, I only see 2 of those guys as starters in the future, that being Kevin Hart and Donnie Veal. Both of these guys are starting to put on some age as minor leaguers too with no (Veal) and little (Hart) Major League experience. They’re turning Ceda into a reliever to better hone this good stuff. Samardzija is going to be a reliever too. Gallagher will probably be trade off in a package, since he’s got starter potential, but did better outta the pen for the Cubs last season.

    I have the most excitement for Soto, who will be the starting catcher this season, and Tyler Colvin, who might make Sept. callups this season as a backup outfielder. Colvin could be a true five tool player.

    The Cubs prospects are no where as good as it’s been because they’ve traded off quite a bit in the past 4-5 seasons. Two seasons ago they trade 3 good pitchers for Pierre (for only one season of service). They also traded Willis off in the Clement deal from Florida.

    It’ll take a while to get it back up to where it should be.

    Reply
  • 2. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  February 2, 2008 at 10:04 pm

    Glad to see a realistic Cubs fan out there. I agree about Veal and Gallagher but both of their time is running out. Colvin to me is a 4th OF right now and needs to show a ton of improvement in the plate discipline and pitch recognition department. Soto is a stud! He is going to hit and do it at the catcher position, I actually almost had him #1 but Vitters cieling is too high.

    Reply

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