STOP and read . . .

I think this is pretty self-explanatory but I have three rules.  The first one is that to be qualified on this list, you must have no major league expirience.  My second rule is that the player must either be signed to a contract or be under the rights of a major league team, such as drafting a player but not signing him yet.  My third rule is that . . . well, there is no third rule.  I just thought it would be weird if I only had two rules.  Here it goes:

 1. OF Jason Heyward, AA Mississippi Braves.  MLB Affiliate: Atlanta Braves

I'm going to start off by saying not many players can hit .417 in any minor league level.  Well, that is exactly what Heyward is hitting in Double A this year.  The 14th overall pick in the 2007 draft has definitely lived up to expectations, posting a .321 career minor league batting average while putting up decent power numbers as well.  That speed on the base paths that awed scouts so much hasn't yet to be seen, although he did steal 15 bases in 2008.  I'm just nitpicking though.  It is extremely hard to hit so high in Double A when you are only 19 years old.  Lots of people throw the term "5-tool player" around, and although it has really yet to be seen ever, Heyward is one of the closest things to it.  Expect this young pheonom to be a .300 hitter with 30-30 (HR-SB) capability.  The future looks good.  That is why Heyward is the majors top prospect.

 Stephen Strasburg 2. SP Stephen Strasburg.  MLB Affiliate: Washington Nationals

I had to do it.  Google the name Stephon Strasburg and you will get about 850,000 hits.  Type in Joe Mauer's name right after that and you'll get about half of that.  Strasburg could be the most popular player in baseball - and he's never played a level above college.  But his college stats at San Diego State, oh man, were they good.  13-1 with a 1.32 ERA.  His fastball, which is clocked as high as 102 mph, would be the fastest in the MLB, second to only Joel Zumaya who throws up to 103 mph.  Did I mention that he struck out 195 batters in 109 innings?  That means he strikes out almost 2/3 of the hitters (is that a good term to use?  Maybe I should use "players") he faces!  The only reason why he's not first is because he has yet to play at a pro level.

Mike Stanton 3. OF Michael Stanton, AA Jacksonville Suns.  MLB Affiliate: Florida Marlins

The athleticism is definitely there for Michael Stanton.  He was a varsity highschool player in baseball, basketball and football and could have went far in any one of those sports.  He chose baseball and he is tearing it up in the minor leagues.  He has averaged a crazy 14.3 AB/HR in his minor league career along with a rate of 5.3 AB/RBI.  He isn't the best contact hitter, hitting .273 for his career and .238 this year, but with his power, who cares?  He's only 19 years old so there is still time.  Stanton could be a very good fielder as well, he just tries to hard to make the "fantastic play."  Stanton has a bright MLB career ahead of him.  If you wanted to talk about which prospect can be the next hitter to hit 500 HR, Stanton is your man.

 4. SP Madison Bumgarner, San Jose Giants.  MLB Affiliate: San Francisco Giants

The San Jose Giants.  Can they get any more unoriginal?  The only difference between the minor league team and the major league team is the second word.  Wow.  But back to the real point.  Other than Madison Bumgarner's funny last name, what isn't to like about him?  Bumgarner is 25-5 in the minor leagues (you read that correctly) with a 1.64 ERA.  No Tim Lincecum comparisons please, this is a 6'5" 220 pounder we are talking about.  The 19-year old southpaw has a very good 95 mph fastball but not much else, he'll need time to develop.  Still, Bumgarner is one strikeout away from averaging a strikeout per inning and has only walked 46 batters in two years.  With Bumgarner on the Giants roster, they may very well have one of the greatest 1-2-3 combos in recent history.  You can already hear the majors calling his name.

Buster Posey  5. Buster Posey, Fresno Grizzlies.  MLB Affiliate: San Francisco Giants

I hate to go all San Francisco on you but what can I say?  They have damn good prospects.  Buster Posey has been shadowed by Matt Wieters for a while and now that Matt Wieters is having a less than stellar MLB season, Posey is having his time to shine.  Posey's defense is actually better than Wieter's and it wil be gold glove caliber by the time he's fully developed.  He's thrown out 46% of would-be base stealers through out his minor league career and has a .993 fielding percentage.  Enough with defense, Posey can rake.  He has 69 RBIs in less than 400 career at-bats with a .316 AVG and .418 OBP.  The dude can also run too, he has 6 SBs in the minors this year.  The Giants are so confident with Posey that they will probably let Molina walk next year.  I am confident too, expect Posey to hit around .300 during his career with around 20 HR each year.  And a lot of gold gloves.


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