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I will be looking at the top two prospects from each team.  I will do six different blogs, one for each division.  To qualify as a prospect, you must have less than 100 career at-bats or less than 40 career innings pitched.

 

SS Michael Hollimon, MLB Detroit Tigers

MLB Affiliate: Detroit Tigers

Michael Hollimon is a slick fielding shortstop who may look a little too old to be a prospect - he is 26 years old and 2008 is his first year he has ever been to "The Show."  That is just because he played college for four years.  In his first two years in the farm system, he did really well in Low A and High A but people paid no attention because of his advanced age.  Now they are taking notice.  Hollimon has a career minor league average of .274 with 54 home runs and 206 runs batted in in 1,378 at-bats.  His power only ranks second in the farm system to 1B Jeff Larish and having good power as a shortstop is very valuable.  Hollimon also has a .507 slugging percentage and 48 stolen bases.  It wouldn't surpise me if he becomes a 30-30 player during his time in the MLB.  Hollimon has 377 whifs in 376 games and that may be a concern, he will strikeout even more in the majors than he does in the minors.  With the Tigers, Hollimon is hitting .261 in 23 at-bats.  Edgar Renteria will likely leave Detroit next year so Hollimon might be a full-time player by then.

 

RHP Rick Porcello, A+ Lakeland Flying Tigers

MLB Affiliate: Detroit Tigers

Rick Porcello is one of the best prospects in any major league farm system.  He could be the next Johan Santana or C.C. Sabathia - I don't see why not.  Porcello was the Tigers first round draft pick in 2007 and dropped all the way to 23rd because of small market teams fearing that they wouldn't be able to sign him.  The Yankees and Red Sox usually get the pleasure of prospects falling down to them but the Tigers won this time and inked Porcello to a $3.58 million signing bonus.  Porcello has a fastball that is consistently in the high 90's - and this is a 19-year old we're talking about here.  Porcello has a 4-6 record - not great but considering how badly the Flying Tigers are doing this year, Porcello's record would be around 6-1 on a good High A team.  Porcello boasts a 2.79 ERA - how many High A 19-year old pitchers can say that?  Not many . . . Porcello and Justin Verlander could make a great 1-2 punch when Porcello gets called up, likely around 2010 or 2011.

 

OF Denard Span, MLB Minnesota Twins

MLB Affiliate: Minnesota Twins

First of all, Denard Span has already made it to the majors and is hitting .361 with five stolen bases in just over 50 at-bats - it looks like he could be a star one day.  But he has under 100 at-bats so he is still a prospect.  Span isn't neccasarily a power hitter - actually, nowhere close.  He hit only 10 home runs in over 2,000 minor league at-bats.  Still, Span makes up for the lack of power by being a great athlete with good contact hitting and a ton of speed.  He hit .287 with 116 stolen bases in 549 games along with 192 runs batted in.  Minnesota doesn't have a great outfield so Span could easily be a full-time starter by the end of the season.  He is a great fielder and he had a .984 fielding percentage at center field last year.  Lack of power could be a concern in the major leagues but he still racks up quite a few RBIs.  Span could be called a poor man's Juan Pierre - although I have a funny feeling that Span will be much better than Pierre.

 

RHP Anthony Swarzak, AA New Britain Rock Cats

MLB Affiliate: Minnesota Twins

If you follow minor league baseball, you might be surprised to see that Anthony Swarzak is one of Minnesota's best prospects.  Well, he does have an elavated ERA so far this season with the Rock Cats.  He is 3-6 with a 5.96 ERA in 16 starts.  Not great, especcially when your still at the Double A level.  I think he is just going through a mini slump though, he did great in AA last year when 5-4 with a 3.23 ERA in 14 starts.  Swarzak has a career minor league record of 25-22 with a 3.75 ERA and his innings pitched outnumber his strikeouts. Not that good but he still has a lot of potential and at only age 22, he still has a lot to learn and a long time to develope.  So, with that said, I can't see Swarzak being a star major league pitcher - he doesn't have the skills or stamina for it.  He will probably find a career as a No. 2 or 3 guy although he might be used in a middle relief role.  Just a very good middle reliever.

 

1B Jordan Brown, AAA Buffalo Bisons

MLB Affiliate: Cleveland Indians

Jordan Brown is definiely the best prospect in the Indians' farm system, it isn't even close.  Brown started at Low A when his career began and the year after he started in High A then Double A and here he is a Triple A, starting the year there as well.  Usually, prospects don't advance this quickly and consistently through the levels - well, meet Brown.  Brown is hitting .304 with 194 runs batted in in 1,280 at-bats.  Many people think that first basemen should have a lot of power but Brown has just 34 home runs in those at-bats.  Since he is still developing though, he could grow more mature and become a 25 home runs guy in the major league, good production from any player.  Brown has good speed for a first baseman and stole 11 bases in under 500 games in 2007, not great, but good for a first baseman who are generally considered slow.  He also only has 160 strikeouts in 335 games - very good.  Cleveland has opened a spot up for Brown at first base - Ryan Garko is doing terrible this year and Travis Hafner is terrible and injury prone.  Brown could be a starter by the end of the year with the Indians.

 

LHP Tony Sipp, A+ Kinston Indians

MLB Affiliate: Cleveland Indians

Tony Sipp is a very good pitcher and has a tremendous amount of talent - the only setback to him is that he is injury prone and this is also the reason why he is at High A at 24-years old.  Sipp just came back from the Tommy John surgery and missed all of last year after hopes of being the secondary closer to Joe Borowski if he falters.  This year, he is still injured but at least has managed a few games in there and has allowed zero earned runs in six innings pitched in the RK league and with Kinston.  He is starting to climb up the ranks again after getting injured but when he isn't injured, he is lights out.  His fastball is constantly in the mid-90's and he has a 9-4 record with a 2.68 ERA.  An impressive stat is his K/9 which is at a whopping 11.66.  When Sipp is eventually all the way healthy, he could move up to the Cleveland Indians and take over Borowski's spot as a closer.  Sipp was also part time used as a starter in the minors but his stamina won't be enough in the majors.

 

SS Mike Moustakas, A Burlington Bees

MLB Affiliate: Kansas City Royals

Mike Moustakas potential is an A++, he has the talent to be a great one.  Moustakas was drafted second overrall in the 2007 draft and was signed right away to a $4 million deal.  In his first year with the RK Idaho Falls Chuckars, he hit .293 with 0 home runs in 41 at-bats but oh boy, did he really turn the power switch on this year.  Moustakas has already hit 12 home runs in just round 325 at-bats, tops on the team.  This doesn't seem like a lot but when you are a 19-year old playing in a pro league, it is a lot.  Moustakas is only hitting .244 in 2008 and has a career minor league average of .249 which isn't great and his OBP this year is barely over .300.  His slugging percentage is also just over .400 but he should improve as he gets older.  Believe it or not but Kansas City believes this .249 hitter to be their best contact hitting prospect!  Moustakas has decent speed and has stolen five bases this year.  One more problems other than his average - his defense.  His fielding percentage is hardly over .950 and doesn't make big plays very often.  He has a strong arm but that is only shown off when he actually catches the ball.  Moustakas could eventually hit 40 home runs in a year and he may get called up soon, all KC has at shortstop right now is the poor hitting Tony Pena Jr.

 

LHP Danny Duffy, A Burlington Bees

MLB Affiliate: Kansas City Royals

 

You know what?  While I was writing about Mike Moustakas and now writing about Danny Duffy, I have been thinking from a KC fan prespective and it must suck that all of KC's good players are still in the minors.  Duffy is one of those good players.  Duffy is 6-7 in one and a half year's worth of playing with the RK AZL Royals and now the Burlington Bees but don't let that record decieve you - Duffy has been forced to pitch on teams that are very bad offensivly.  If you look at other stats, you see that Duffy is a future Cy Young award winner.  He has 126 strikeouts to his 27 base on balls and he has all of that in just 85.2 innings.  Duffy has excellent stamina so without question, he will eventually be a starter, but there are some things to work on for this 19-year old southpaw.  His fielding, for one, is terrible.  He has a career minor league fielding percentage of .875 which is down right terrible - escpeccially when you are still in Single A where the ball isn't hit as hard.  The Royals have a decent pitching staff right now and would love to give Duffy a few more years in the minors to develope so  watch out for him in around 2011.

 

SS Juan Silverio, RK Bristol Sox

MLB Affiliate: Chicago White Sox

When you look at Silverio's minor league stats this year: .235 average with two home runs, 17 runs batted in and 19 strikeouts in 18 games - you wouldn't believe me if I told you that this guy could be the next Alex Rodriguez.  Before you read the stats, you have to remember something - he is only 17-years old!  Silverio was signed by the Chicago White Sox out of the Dominican Republic when he was just 16-years old, they signed all 175 pounds of him.  Not the body to be a star?  No way - he can hit home runs like nobody's buisness - and at least at 175 pounds, he will be out of the steroid talk.  When Silverio gets called up to "The Show", he could annually hit 40 home runs per year with over 100 runs batted in and an average around .315.  I'm not even joking - he could be up with the Chicago White Sox at age 19!  So this is a name to watch for 2010.  His whiffs and fielding could be a problem - 19 k's in 18 games with a fielding percentage under .900.  Still, at a 17-year old, you don't expect much, but CWS fans are eagar to see if the prospect is all it's hyped up to be.  Silverio could also be trade bait for a blockbuster trade if Orlando Cabrera signs long-term but it isn't likely.

 

LHP Aaron Poreda, AA Birningham Barons

MLB Affiliate: Chicago White Sox

Aaron Peroda won't be nearly as good as Juan Silverio but nonetheless, he will still be a very good starting pitcher on any MLB team.  He has a fastball that consistently reaches the mid-to-high 90's and can go close to 100 sometimes.  As Peroda developes, he could be reaching 100 MPH on the radar gun once in a while.  The young 21-year old has a 2.69 career minor league ERA and has climbed up three ranks in the farm system in less than two years.  THe White Sox are still searching for that fifth spot in the rotation and it doesn;t seem like Javier Vazquez is the right pick.  Actually, it is because of Vazquez that the White Sox have one of the worst farm systems in the league, as they traded a bunch of prospects including Chris B. Young to the Diamondbacks for Vazquez.  At least fans have Silverio and Poreda to look forward to and Poreda could be up in "The Show" as soon as 2009.  Poreda may also be used as bullpen help later in the season this year when you are allowed to increase your 25-man roster into 40 people.  Poreda could be a great one.

 

 

 

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