Alright, to get things started, I'm going to break our prospects into some sub-categories that should help when you consider where to place them:
Consensus Blue Chip Talent:
These are the five players that everybody seems to feel are capable of having a significant impact at the MLB level in starting roles:
Next I'm going to look at our right handed pitchers:
Refined Right-handed Starting Pitching
The first name on this list possibly should be included in the group above. I would, personally consider him that kind of talent and Baseball America apparently does as well, but I'm trying to see what a variety of sources say, and he still seems to be underrated by many. The rest have the polish to contribute to the MLB team in the next couple of seasons, but for the two 2007 draftees it would also take some atypically aggressive promotion by the Rockies for this to be the case.
Ching Lung Lo
Raw Right Handed Starting Pitching
Most of these guys will have higher upsides than the lower guys in the category just above, but might be riskier plays to advance through the system and have ETA's of 2010 or later.
Injury Marred but high ceilinged Right handed Starting Pitching
Eye Popping Late Inning Relievers
This is very much a strength in the system, I'll rate the top handful of them in what seems to be my current mental placement.
Ryan Speier (is he still eligible? I haven't checked)
Andrew Johnston took a severe hit this past season, but keep an eye on basically the entire Asheville bullpen from 2007, as well as some of the guys at Tri-City and Casper like Connor Graham and Riquy De Los Santos. I don't know if I'd put either of the latter in my top thirty, yet, but I wouldn't fault those that are impressed by the shiny newness of them.
Left handed pitching is weaker and boils down to about six or seven names right now, including Morales. I think some people could make a viable argument for Keith Weiser as high as the high teens in the overall list, but given our strengths in other areas and the lack of a high ceiling among these, I could see some people leaving all six of the following off of the top thirty list altogether:
Other Left handed starters:
Left handed relievers
Multi-Faceted Position Players
While not five tool talents, you aren't going to get many scouts who don't like the potential that they see with these guys. All are good defenders, all can acquit themselves well at the plate and on the basepaths. While I can see keeping the two infielders in the twenty to thirty range due to different questions surrounding their legitimacy (Nix has just decided to perform this past season, Velazquez is still far away) I think all four should be in the top thirty:
The next four groups have players that are more one dimensional right now.
Obviously the first name on this list has separated himself from the rest, and probably should be the only one included on our consensus top thirty list.
These guys don't figure to be big time power producers, but all have solid gap hitting swings. Davis is a catcher, and the only one of this profile to play a premium position, so perhaps I should put him higher, but his debut at Tri-City has brought some doubt to my mind.
Defensive questions hold both these players back a bit, I've put them in my preferred order, but it's obviously open to interpretation or debate. Both seem like legit top thirty candidates.
Eric Young Jr.
Quality Defensive Infielders with a little offensive upside:
Catching Depth (not including the guy in the next category):
Finally, these two:
They Weren't Supposed to be this good, but now that they are, we won't complain:
Both of these premium defensive players weren't projected to show the kind of offense that they have in their minor league careers to date, so there's some doubt that they can continue to perform as well at higher levels, but they definitely merit strong consideration for the top twenty in our lists.
Putting it all together:
Rox Girl's pre-discussion top 30
- Franklin Morales
- Hector Gomez
- Ian Stewart
- Dexter Fowler
- Chris Nelson
- Greg Reynolds
- Casey Weathers
- Seth Smith
- Brandon Hynick
- Brian Rike
- Pedro Strop
- Joe Koshansky
- Michael McKenry (way too aggressive, I know)
- Esmil Rogers
- Chaz Roe
- Juan Morillo
- Helder Velazquez
- Jhoulys Chacin
- Daniel Mayora
- Aneury Rodriguez
- Keith Weiser
- Jayson Nix
- Josh Newman
- Shane Lindsay
- Eric Young Jr.
- Jonathan Herrera
- Ryan Speier
- Zack Murry
- Corey Wimberly
- Michael Paulk
I made a couple of changes, namely, I forgot about Aneury Rodriguez for some reason when I made my initial list, so he's now at number 20, while discussion has led me to downgrade Speier considerably even though I'm going to leave him on the list. Xavier Cedeno and Cory Riordan are the two outside looking in right now.