Number 1 Ranked Prospects by Position
CATCHER- Toronto Blue Jays
Travis d’Arnaud Rank: 1 Status: Disabled 7-Day ETA: 2013 Position: C Age: 23, DOB: 02/10/1989 Bats: R, Throws: R Height: 6′ 2″, Weight: 195 Drafted: 2007, 1st (37)
When Toronto traded Roy Halladay to Philadelphia, d’Arnaud may not have been the top prospect in the deal, but he might end up being the best. He has terrific all-around skills that surpass those of current young big league catcher J.P. Arencibia. He started truly fulfilling his offensive potential in 2011, showing the ability to hit for both average and power. Behind the plate, d’Arnaud is agile and athletic, and he has plenty of arm to help control the running game. A torn thumb ligament suffered while playing for Team USA isn’t an issue, and he started the Triple-A season on schedule, but he’ll miss a large chunk of the season after a torn ligament in his left knee landed him on the disabled list in late June.
1ST BASE- Chicago Cubs (Currently with club)
Anthony Rizzo Rank: 1 ETA: 2012 Position: 1B Age: 22, DOB: 08/08/1989 Bats: L, Throws: L Height: 6′ 3″, Weight: 220 Drafted: 2007, 6th (204)
Rizzo’s big league debut in 2011 may not have gone very well, but that didn’t mean his left-handed bat wasn’t still in high demand. Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer, who helped draft Rizzo in Boston and then traded for him while the GM in San Diego, acquired him in Chicago during the offseason. A solid defender at first, it’s Rizzo’s power bat (51 homers and 200-plus RBIs over the past two seasons in the Minors) that is his calling card. Look for him to make some adjustments and hit the big leagues in 2012. He started the year in Triple-A and was called up on June 26.
2ND BASE- San Diego Padres
Cory Spangenberg Rank: 1 Status: Disabled 7-Day ETA: 2013 Position: 2B Age: 21, DOB: 03/16/1991 Bats: L, Throws: R Height: 6′ 0″, Weight: 185 Drafted: 2011, 1st (10)
Spangenberg became a great example of the benefits of signing early, getting out and racking up 330 plate appearances while many of his fellow first-rounders were sitting around and waiting to sign. He also showed reports of his ability to hit were spot on, as he put up impressive numbers in average and on-base percentage. He also has plus speed that will allow him to continue to steal bases. He’s already made the move to second base full time and should be just fine there. He’s on the fast track already and to see him in Double-A at some point in 2012 seems very reasonable. Spangenberg was placed on the disabled list on June 22 with concussion-like symptoms, after being hit on the side of the head.
3RD BASE- Colorado Rockies
Nolan Arenado Rank: 1 Tulsa Drillers (AA) ETA: 2013Position: 3B Age: 21, DOB: 04/16/1991 Bats: R, Throws: R Height: 6′ 1″, Weight: 205 Drafted: 2009, 2nd (59)
Some players get knocked unfairly because of their surroundings. It’s not Arenado’s fault he played in the hitting-friendly California League and then the equally cozy Arizona Fall League in 2011. He deserves credit for raking in both places. He led the Minors in RBIs with 122 and struck out just 53 times all season. Arenado won the AFL MVP award, finishing among the leaders in a host of offensive categories. He should hit for average and will be a run-producer even if he doesn’t hit a ton of homers. There was concern about his defense at third, but he’s worked to improve and those worries are gone. It might not be too long before Arenado is spotted in Coors Field.
SHORTSTOP- Baltimore Orioles
Rank: 1 Bowie Baysox (AA) ETA: 2013 Position: SS Age: 20, DOB: 07/06/1992 Bats: R, Throws: R Height: 6′ 3″, Weight: 185 Drafted: 2010, 1st (3)
Machado was the first high school player taken in the 2010 Draft, and for good reason. Although his first full season had its ups and downs, including dealing with a knee injury that forced him out of action for a month, he did get promoted and went to the Futures Game. Machado is right where he should be defensively, playing solid shortstop despite his size. The time away from the field did show in his hitting a bit once he was up in the Carolina League, as he needs to improve his approach at the plate. That will come in time and Machado should hit for average and some power.
OUTFIELD- Kansas City Royals
Bubba Starling Rank: 1 Burlington Royals (R) ETA: 2015 Position: OF Age: 19, DOB: 08/03/1992 Bats: R, Throws: R Height: 6′ 4″, Weight: 180 Drafted: 2011, 1st (5)
As top athletes go, there are few in baseball better than Starling. Kansas City signed him away from a scholarship to quarterback at the University of Nebraska and Starling has all five tools in his toolbox. He has plus speed that should allow him to both steal bases and play an outstanding center field. His strong throwing arm is a plus defensively as well. He has excellent raw power and has shown enough pure hitting skills where there’s confidence he’ll tap into that power consistently and hit for average as well. It might take him a little time to put it all together, but the payoff could be huge.
LH Pitcher- New York Yankees
Manny Banuelos Rank: 1 Status: Disabled 7-Day ETA: 2012Position: LHP Age: 21, DOB: 03/13/1991 Bats: L, Throws: L Height: 5′ 11″, Weight: 200 Signed: March 30, 2008
The stuff is definitely there for Banuelos to be successful at the Major League level. All he has to do is learn how to harness it more consistently. He has three pitches that can be above-average or better with his fastball, curve and changeup. He’s struck out 9.2 batters per nine innings throughout his Minor League career and his pure stuff has gotten better in recent years, so that should continue. His command is what’s holding him back. He walked nearly five batters every nine innings in 2011 and often didn’t command his fastball well within the strike zone. He’s shown the ability to do it and once he finds consistency, he could be ready to help out full time.
RH Pitcher- Atlanta Braves
Julio Teheran Rank: 1 Gwinnett Braves (AAA) ETA: 2012 Position: RHP Age: 21, DOB: 01/27/1991 Bats: R, Throws: R Height: 6′ 2″, Weight: 175 Signed: July 2, 2007
Teheran was at the lowest full-season rung, the South Atlantic League, at the beginning of 2010. He made his Major League debut a year later in May, and spent more time in Atlanta in September 2011. In between callups, Teheran was dominant in Triple-A, using outstanding stuff and mound presence to excel. He has three above-average-or-better offerings with his fastball, curve and changeup, and commands them all well. He’ll be just 21 for all of the 2012 season and should continue to add strength to his frame. The Braves have a ton of good young pitching, and Teheran has a chance to lead them all. He made a spot start for the Braves in early June.