Thursday, August 4, 2011

Top Prospects - Anaheim through Cincinnati

Today I'll be looking at the top prospects for each team in MLB.  I will highlight at least one prospect per team, more if there are notable studs that need to be mentioned.  As an extra bonus, each franchise will get an overall farm system grade.  The methodology used for this highly scientific study is the Skills, Technique, and Understanding Diagnostic (STUD) Rating.  Comments and especially complaints can be referred to the editor.

Anaheim Angels
Five Star: None
Four Star: RF Howard Coghlan
Three Star: 2B Alex Dodson
Two Star: SS Rudy Pavlov, 1B Tito Mays
One Star: C Rey Sowders
Top STUD: Howard Coghlan - Coghlan shows good contact and power, but with only average splits and eye.  He has good defensive skills for the position and is quite durable. 
Farm Grade: B-, There are a few good hitting prospects here, but the pitching depth is next to nothing in the minors.

Arizona Diamondbacks
Five Star: SP Dave Lester
Four Star: SP Walter Gray
Three Star: SP Brandon Dickey, RP Kendry Cornejo
Two Star: 1B Jeff Bonds, SP Butch Reese
One Star: CF Khoury Harper, SP Chili Bang
Top STUD: Dave Lester - It's not even close, Lester is a safe bet to be a dominant all time great #1 starter barring injury, he's the class of the farm.
Farm Grade: A, The hitting depth isn't there in the Arizona minor leagues, but their pitching depth is so deep that they deserve the grade A rating.

Atlanta Braves
Five Star: None
Four Star: RP Rolando Polonia
Three Star: SP Akinori Zhang
Two Star: C Dickey Ma, LF Lou Cunningham, SP JP Maduro
One Star: 2B Felipe Rosario, CF Jhonny Mercedes, RF Ken Courtney
Top STUD: Rolando Polonia - He's a hard throwing RP with great control and splits, and can spot start if need be.  He'll be good for 140+ quality IP in the majors.
Farm Grade: C, This farm system is solid but not spectacular, and Polonia just makes a four star rating and is probably more of a 3.5 star player.  But there are some good role players waiting for their chance to help the ML club.

Baltimore Orioles
Five Star: 1B Alex Hart
Four Star: SP Rod Maurer, RP Vin Cueto
Three Star: SP Bryant Koskie, SP Reese Glauber
Two Star: None
One Star: C Harold Gross, SS Mo Brunette,
Top STUD: Hart may be five star for his position, but the top STUD in this system is SP Rod Maurer, who will be a workhorse #1 quality starter in the majors if he meets his projections.
Farm Grade: A, This is a very deep and varied farm system with one major bat and some top pitching prospects.

Boston Red Sox
Five Star: None
Four Star: SS Carlos Rivera
Three Star: 3B Travis Brownson
Two Star: C Micah Mitchell, SP Brutus Shumpert
One Star: 2B Roy Abbey, SS Thurman Gordon, CF Stevie Keppel, RP Alvin Orr, RP Cory Smith
Top STUD: Carlos Rivera - Rivera is probably better suited to 3B, but he is an on base machine with a pretty good glove.
Farm Grade: C+, there are a few top hitting prospects here, but not much in the way of top end talent otherwise.

Chicago Cubs
Five Star: None
Four Star: 2B Jerome Lanier
Three Star: SP Stan Foster, SP Fergie Romero, RP Cookie Alfonzo, LF Carlos Henriquez
Two Star: SS Wikin Calles
One Star: C Al Guzman, 2B Peter Sasser
Top STUD: Jerome Lanier - Lanier shows exceptional range and has good enough defensive skills to manage the hot corner if needed.  His bat is solid, very good vs. lefties and shows no real weakness. 
Farm Grade: B+, Outside of Lanier, there are a lot of very solid players in this farm system who will be ML starters someday. 

Chicago White Sox
Five Star: SP Omar Mercado
Four Star: RP Mac Kirkland
Three Star: SP Vicente Miranda, RP Buddy Borders, RP Alexander White, RP Don Plant
Two Star: C Daryl Hines, SS Tomas Belliard, SP Jo-Jo Poole
One Star: 2B Geovany Perez, 2B Barney McNeil, SP Cord Duffey
Top STUD: Omar Mercado - Mercado is the class of the White Sox minors, a true #1 Ace who is being eagerly looked forward to on the south side.
Farm Grade: A, There is some monster pitching depth down on the Sox farm.  If they can get a hitter or two they will be absolutely deadly in a few seasons.

Cincinnati Reds
Five Star: None
Four Star: None
Three Star: None
Two Star: DH Larry Branning, CF Tomas Rios
One Star: 2B Eugene Pulsipher, SS Timothy Randa, LF Bernie Panaigua, SP Jim Baxter, SP Matthew Dorsey
Top STUD: Larry Branning - Of all the minor leaguers in the Reds system, only Branning really has the elite skillset to make it as a starter, albeit only as a DH.  But his bat is legitmately lethal.
Farm Grade: D, There isn't much going on down on this farm, look for your square dances and sweet corn elsewhere.

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