Results tagged ‘ Bryce Harper ’

AFL and Rookie of the Year success

I’m back in Arizona, watching the final night game here at Scottsdale Stadium, and started thinking about alumni from this league and how they fare during awards season. So I did some digging…

While one was unanimous and one was close, it really shouldn’t have surprised anyone that Mike Trout and Bryce Harper were this year’s Rookie of the Year Award winners.

It also shouldn’t shock anyone that both are Arizona Fall League alumni. For six years in a row now, at least one of the Rookies of the Year played in the AFL previously.

The Trout-Harper perfecta isn’t even that unusual. In five of the last seven seasons, starting with Huston Street and Ryan Howard’s ROY Awards in 2005, both winners cut their teeth here. The other dynamic duos:

Dustin Pedroia and Ryan Braun, 2007
Evan Longoria and Geovany Soto, 2008
Andrew Bailey and Chris Coghlan, 2009
Mike Trout and Bryce Harper, 2012

Trout and Harper have something in common with Street and Howard. In both cases, the Rookie of the Year tandems both played in the AFL the year prior to winning the top rookie honor. Not only that, in both instances, the award winners were AFL teammates. In 2004, Street and Howard were Phoenix Desert Dogs. Last year, Trout and Harper played in the same Scottsdale Scorpions outfield.

There have now been 24 Rookies of the Year who once called the Arizona Fall League home.

I’ll be back tomorrow with a look at Cy Young Award winners.

In case you missed them, here are two more AFL team reports:

The Yankees report focuses on Mark Montgomery. Their video report takes a look at Montgomery, Slade Heathcott and Dellin Betances:

Gary Brown is the focus of the Giants report. In the video report, Brown, Joe Panik and Chris Dominguez are featured.

Finally, Stars of the Day for Monday and Tuesday:

Monday: We’ll go with Kevin Siegrist of the Cardinals, for his four-inning, one run performance. The lefty gave up four hits, walked one and struck out eight. He’s now 10th in ERA (2.37) and second in strikeouts (27).

Tuesday: The aforementioned Slade Heathcott gets the nod after going 4-for-5, including his first homer of the fall. He drove in two and scored a run. Heathcott is now fifth in the league in batting average (.371) and second in OPS (1.084).

Let the games begin!

That might seem like a strange sentiment, given the Division Series in Major League Baseball are well underway, but I’m referring to games of another sort, in a variety of arenas (well, ballparks, but you know what I mean).

The first, of course, is the Arizona Fall League. Year 20 of the AFL will kick off on Tuesday and there are prospects aplenty who will be on-hand. Starting pitchers have yet to be posted, but we do know that the Mets’ Collin McHugh will be starting, courtesy of his tweet (follow him @Collin_McHugh):

No, it’s not a desert mirage. I am actually starting opening day of our AFL season on Tuesday! Truly humbled by the privilege.”

McHugh (who has a fantastic blog of his own, A Day Older, a Day Wiser) will also be contributing to our AFL prospects blog, which is already pretty active.

The top two prospects on’s Top 50 — Mike Trout and Bryce Harper — will be a part of the same Scottsdale Scorpions outfield. No. 44 Gary Brown will also be there, making the Scorps outfield one of the most fun to watch in recent memory (they’ve also got Tyson Gillies and Alex Hassan out there!).

Other Top 50 prospects in the AFL:

15. Wil Myers, Royals (also a blogger) (Surprise Saguaros)
23. Nick Franklin, Mariners (Peoria Javelinas)
24. Aaron Hicks, Twins (Mesa Solar Sox)
35. Matt Dominguez, Marlins (Surprise Saguaros)

As I pointed out in the roster release story, there were a total of eight No. 1 prospects from different organizations playing as well. That’s down to 7, with the Cubs’ Brett Jackson being replaced by Josh Vitters. Hey, at least Vitters is No. 5 on the Cubs’ list.

And while Jed Bradley is no longer going to be in Arizona, a number of 2011 first-rounders will, starting with No. 1 overall pick Gerrit Cole (Mesa). No. 2 Danny Hultzen (Peoria) will be there, too, as will No. 28 Sean Gilmartin of the Braves (Surprise), Joe Panik (Scottsdale) of the Giants and No. 31 Mike Mahtook of the Rays (Surprise).

That’s not the only place prospects are playing, of course. While Winter Ball rosters aren’t set yet, there’s overseas action to follow in the form of USA Baseball. The professional team’s first World Cup game in Panama got rained out, but they should be playing for gold soon. Keep in mind, this is a team of guys not on 40-man rosters, but there is Travis d’Arnaud (No. 47) and the aforementioned Brett Jackson (29) from the Top 50, along with some other good talent representing the United States in international competition.

So don’t despair if your team isn’t in the playoffs right now. There’s the future to watch in Arizona and, to an extent, in Panama!

Minor League All-Stars: South Atlantic League

We’re quickly approaching the time of year where the various full-season leagues in the Minors have their respective All-Star breaks. The rosters for those games are often stocked with legitimate prospects, especially at the lower levels. So I thought it would be a  fun exercise to look at the rosters and cross-reference it with the Top 50 prospects list, as well as the team and positional Top 10s, all of which can be found over on the Prospect Watch. Today, we’ll take a look at the South Atlantic League, whose All-Star Game will take place on June 21 in Delmarva.

North Division

Jameson Taillon, Pirates: No. 13 on Top 50; No. 1 on Pirates Top 10; No. 3 on RHP Top 10

Manny Machado, Orioles: No. 18 on Top 50; No. 1 on Orioles Top 10; No. 1 on SS Top 10

Bryce Harper, Nationals: No. 2 on Top 50; No. 1 on Nationals Top 10; No. 2 on OF Top 10

Trayce Thompson, White Sox: No. 6 on White Sox Top 10

Christian Yelich, Marlins: No. 3 on Marlins Top 10

South Division

Jio Mier, Astros: No. 5 on Astros Top 10

Kyle Parker, Rockies: No. 5 on Rockies Top 10

Slade Heathcott, Yankees: No. 8 on Yankees Top 10

Cory Vaughn, Mets: No. 7 on Mets Top 10

Using an oh-so-scientific system of giving 5 points for a Top 50 player; 3 points for a Top 10 position player and 2 points for a Top 10 organizational player, we end up with:

North: 34

South: 8

Hmm, not so close on paper in terms of prospect status. So I’ll guesstimate the South will win, 3-2.

Top 50 Update No. 4

And we’re back with another update with our Top 50 prospects. There are some changes in store, so stay tuned to tomorrow for an exciting new way to look/view/peruse our top prospects lists. I think you’ll find it pretty cool to take a look at. In that, there will be some changes to the initial Top 50 which I’ve been updating, thanks to players on the list surpassing the at-bats or service time levels to maintain rookie status, the benchmark I use when compiling the list.

Let’s start with the hitters, shall we?

Hitter of the Week: Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals

Remember when he was “strugggling?” That lasted a long while. Last week, April 25-May 1, Harper went 9-for-24 (.375) with four doubles, three homers and 6 RBIs. That allowed him to raise his triple-slash line from .306/.414/.551 to .329/.424/.671. And he’s not done. He went 3-for-3 today (Tuesday) with another double. He’s now got a seven-game hitting streak going. Over his last 10 games, last year’s No. 1 pick is hitting .500/.600/1.156 over 32 at-bats. Of his 16 hits, 11 have been for extra-bases.  He’s now hitting .355/.456/.697 for the year.

1 Trout, Mike LAA AA 0.268 0.535 0.342 0.877 71 4 9 3
3 Harper, Bryce WAS A 0.329 0.671 0.424 1.095 73 6 20 4
4 Brown, Domonic PHI A+ 0.368 0.737 0.429 1.165 19 2 4 0
5 Ackley, Dustin SEA AAA 0.212 0.303 0.345 0.648 99 2 7 4
7 Moustakas, Mike KC AAA 0.227 0.398 0.299 0.697 88 4 20 0
8 Hosmer, Eric KC AAA 0.407 0.535 0.490 1.025 86 2 12 3
9 Montero, Jesus NYY AAA 0.359 0.462 0.370 0.832 78 1 5 0
11 Jennings, Desmond TB AAA 0.269 0.419 0.395 0.814 93 2 9 7
16 Myers, Wil KC AA 0.261 0.435 0.300 0.735 46 2 8 2
17 Freeman, Freddie ATL MLB 0.217 0.38 0.314 0.695 92 3 8 0
24 Machado, Manuel BAL A 0.337 0.639 0.451 1.09 83 5 20 3
26 Belt, Brandon SF MLB 0.192 0.269 0.300 0.569 52 1 4 2
26 Belt, Brandon AAA 0.458 0.833 0.594 1.427 24 2 8 2
28 Lawrie, Brett TOR AAA 0.373 0.618 0.413 1.03 102 4 15 5
30 Singleton, Jonathan PHI A+ 0.306 0.408 0.424 0.832 49 1 8 0
32 Sanchez, Gary NYY A 0.211 0.31 0.250 0.56 71 1 7 0
36 Chisenhall, Lonnie CLE AAA 0.256 0.395 0.350 0.745 86 2 13 0
38 Franklin, Nick SEA A+ 0.241 0.405 0.388 0.793 79 1 6 5
39 Hicks, Aaron MIN A+ 0.205 0.282 0.309 0.591 78 0 6 1
41 Rosario, Wilin COL AA 0.263 0.561 0.311 0.873 57 4 9 0
42 Iglesias, Jose BOS AAA 0.232 0.232 0.264 0.496 69 0 4 1
44 Gordon, Dee LAD AAA 0.302 0.36 0.354 0.715 86 0 8 9
45 Mesoraco, Devin CIN AAA 0.314 0.543 0.410 0.952 70 3 12 0
46 Jackson, Brett CHI AA 0.302 0.512 0.408 0.919 86 3 12 8
48 Arencibia, J.P. TOR MLB 0.261 0.536 0.320 0.856 69 4 9 0
49 Alonso, Yonder CIN AAA 0.295 0.474 0.341 0.815 78 3 9 3

Pitcher of the Week: Jake Odorizzi, KC

There were a few candidates for weekly honors with several pitchers pitching well (and kudos to Jameson Taillon for getting his pro career officially started, albeit in a rain-shortened/suspended, two-inning stint). But Odorizzi, who is a step or two behind most of the Royals’ pitching prospects — perhaps in level only — deserves the shout out.  On April 29, the right-hander tossed seven shutout innings for Wilmington in the Carolina League, allowing just three hits, walking none and striking out 10. It was the second straight 10-K performance for the young pitcher the Royals got from the Brewers in the Zack Greinke deal. For the year, Odorizzi’s got 30 K’s in 20 IP, while walking just four. I’m no stats genius, but I think a K/BB ratio of over 7/1 is good, right?

2 Hellickson, Jeremy TB MLB 2 2 4.31 0 31.1 30 15 15 12 23
6 Chapman, Aroldis CIN MLB 2 0 1.42 0 12.2 5 3 2 11 15
10 Teheran, Julio ATL AAA 3 0 1.8 0 30 25 9 6 8 25
12 Drabek, Kyle TOR MLB 2 1 4.45 0 32.1 31 17 16 21 25
13 Pineda, Michael SEA MLB 4 1 2.01 0 31.1 22 8 7 12 30
14 Montgomery, Mike KC AAA 1 1 2.67 0 27 20 9 8 15 23
15 Turner, Jacob DET AA 0 1 2.7 0 26.2 22 8 8 4 24
18 Taillon, Jameson PIT A 0 0 4.5 0 2 3 1 1 2 0
19 Britton, Zach BAL MLB 5 1 2.63 0 37.2 30 11 11 15 20
20 Miller, Shelby STL A+ 0 2 3.68 0 22 18 12 9 10 32
21 Minor, Mike ATL MLB 0 1 10.38 0 4.1 7 5 5 4 2
21 Minor, Mike AAA 1 1 1.75 0 25.2 19 6 5 6 29
22 Kelly, Casey SD AA 2 0 4.1 0 26.1 30 13 12 9 19
23 Perez, Martin TEX AA 1 0 2.74 0 23 18 7 7 10 24
25 Sale, Chris CWS MLB 2 0 5.91 1 10.2 13 7 7 4 12
27 Moore, Matthew TB AA 1 2 5.18 0 24.1 24 14 14 4 32
29 Parker, Jarrod ARI AA 2 2 9 0 17 21 19 17 12 16
31 Lyles, Jordan HOU AAA 1 2 3.67 0 27 29 11 11 6 19
33 Matzek, Tyler COL A+ 0 2 8.31 0 17.1 16 17 16 20 19
34 Lamb, John KC AA 0 1 3.86 0 16.1 16 9 7 9 12
35 Banuelos, Manny NYY AA 0 0 1.56 0 17.1 14 4 3 7 13
37 Odorizzi, Jake KC A+ 1 0 2.25 0 20 15 7 5 4 30
40 Gibson, Kyle MIN AAA 1 1 3.46 0 26 22 10 10 4 27
43 Scheppers, Tanner TEX AAA 0 0 13.5 0 2 4 3 3 0 3
47 Archer, Christopher TB AA 0 1 5.96 0 22.2 31 17 15 10 23
50 Friedrich, Christian COL AA 1 2 7.65 0 20 26 18 17 8 16

Don’t forget … keep an eye out for exciting new prospect coverage on in the very near future.

AFL tidbits

Looks like Dustin Ackley’s finger is ok, huh? He returned to action yesterday and picked up three hits, including a double.

Freddie Freeman has what is being called a sprained thumb after diving into third with a triple recently. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the Braves’ first baseman of the future (or now) had an MRI on Wednesday and it came back saying that there was not too much damage to the left thumb. Looks like he’ll be out at least a week as they wait for the swelling to go down.

For those of you only focusing on the big leagues, Bryce Harper made his unofficial pro debut yesterday and went 1-for-4 with a double and two RBIs.

Star of the Day has to go to Tony Cruz of the Cardinals after his two-homer, four-RBI game.tony_cruz.jpg The 26th-rounder from the 2007 Draft. Cruz has played all over the place, starting out as a third baseman, then moving behind the plate.

He’s also played some first base, a spot he’s played in the AFL in five out of his six games (he caught the other). This was Cruz’s first multi-hit game and he also scored three times.

Stay tuned… tomorrow, I’ll post my very first Top 10 prospects for the Draft Class of 2011.

Off and running in the AFL

Gotta love this time of year, with the start of winter leagues, especially the Arizona Fall League. They are two games in — looks like Scottsdale’s running away with it, huh? — and high time I start blogging about what’s going on there. (The big news, of course, is that Bryce Harper will be there on Scottsdale’s taxi squad)

Every fall, I make the claim that I’m going to try and pick a Star of the Day each day (at least weekdas) of the AFL. It doesn’t always work out that way, but it’s worth at least giving it a shot, right?

Since two days have passed, we’ll just do one for the two games. While many hitters have


gotten off to good starts — Ryan Adams went 3-for-3 yesterday to improve to 4-for-7 with a homer and five RBIs, as an example — but the first Star of the Day(s) has to go to Michael Taylor in the A’s organization. The outfielder who went from the Phillies to the Blue Jays to the A’s during the whole Roy Halladay trade extravaganza has shown the power he was known for, but was missing during the 2010 season, so far. He’s homered in both games and gone a combined 5-for-8 with the two homers, four RBIs and 12 total bases (for a 1.500 SLG). He’s even swiped a base.

Pitchers, obviously, have only gone one game, at best, but several have started out well in a league that is notoriously hitting-friendly. Casey Kelly (you can follow him on Twitter @caseykelly23) is the only one to go four innings, allowing just two unearned runs. Brad Holt, Carlos Hernandez, Alex Cobb and Josh Collmenter all went three scoreless in their debuts.

In case you haven’t checked them all out yet, we’ve got a number of prospects blogging from the AFL this year. Here’s the menu for your perusal (all have been pretty active, so check early and often for updates!):

Please read them and leave them comments. Interactivity is the name of the game!

Finally, before I go, there’s something important I want to promote. I did it last year, so for those of you who come to B3 often, they’ll know all about the Joe Niekro Foundation. Natalie Niekro, Joe’s daughter, started it to raise funds for research and to raise awareness about brain aneurysms. Part of that effort will be the second annual Aneurysm Awareness Week in the Arizona Fall League, Oct. 26-30. In addition to having lots of information and appearances in parks during the week to let AFL fans know about aneurysms and the work the foundation is trying to do, a number of pitchers will be doing their part to raise some funds. Here’s how it works:

Joe Niekro played for seven teams over the course of his illustrious career. For the week of Oct. 26, the strikeouts for the pitchers in the AFL from each of those seven organizations will be tallied. Not only has the foundation found a donor to donate $36 per strikeout for the week, but most (I’m working on getting them all) of the teams have committed to making similar donations (You can donate to the foundation by clicking here.).

I’ll be pushing this a lot, especially as we get closer, but if you want to have a rooting interest, here’s a list of the pitchers from each organization who’ll be helping to strikeout aneurysms. And I tell you what, lets get some fan interest going here — the organization who gets the most votes — leave your rooting interest in comments — will get a donation in their name by yours truly. So get behind your team and help raise funds for this worthy cause:

Cubs: David Cales, Chris Carpenter, Jake Muyco, Kyle Smit
Padres: Brad Brach, Erik Davis, Colt Hynes, Alexis Lara
Tigers: Brooks Brown, Matt Hoffman, Chance Ruffin, Brendan Wise
Braves: Michael Broadway, Kyle Cofield, Erik Cordier, Cory Gearrin
Astros: David Carpenter, Kyle Greenwalt, Matt Nevarez, Pat Urckfitz
Yankees: Manuel Banuelos, Craig Heyer, George Kontos, Ryan Pope
Twins:   David Bromberg, Carlos Gutierrez, Tyler Robertson, Kyle Waldrop

Draft deadline: the latest

With just about 12 hours left until the Draft signing deadline, there’s still not a whole lot to report in terms of bona fide news. Here’s what’s out there with some of the teams working to sign picks,. starting with those in the top 12 of the first round. More to come…

1. Bryce Harper, Nationals: It’s been eerily quiet with the top pick and it’s quite possible there hasn’t been much in the way of negotiating going on between the two sides as of yet. It’ll come down to the wire, but I think it will get done. Nothing official on 2nd rounder Sammy Solis or 4th rounder A.J. Cole, but it did sound like both would sign when all was said and done.

2. Jameson Taillon, Pirates:  The Pirates are cautiously optimistic they’ll sign both Taillon and second-rounder Stetson Allie. There’s probably a money bridge to gap and there was some talk about the old big-league deal vs. no big-league deal discussion. The Pirates would probably like to avoid giving one out to a high school pitcher, but we’ll see how this one unfolds.

3. Manny Machado, Orioles: The O’s did sign RHP Jaime Esquivel, their 28th round pick, signed away from attending Rice. And there’s the hope they’ll sign a few more high school players before the day is over, including the No. 3 pick.

5. Drew Pomeranz, Indians: This one is going to come down to the wire. No news on this one yet, though there was talk that the Indians and third-rounder Tony Wolters were close.

6. Barret Loux, Diamondbacks: With the failed physical, this one got messy fast. I think there’s a good chance this one won’t get done when the deadline hits.

7. Matt Harvey, Mets: Not sure what the hold up is here, but I think this one will happen by the deadline.

9. Karsten Whitson, Padres: Sounded like the two sides were still fairly far apart as the last day approached. A lot can happen between now and midnight, though.

11. Deck McGuire, Blue Jays: No news on this one; still the same as before, with the Jays having put a number out there. Now it remains to be seen if McGuire will take it.

12. Yasmani Grandal, Reds: There were rumors that this was done, but it’s not just yet. The issue might be the big-league deal. Grandal wants one, the Reds don’t want to give one. I think it gets done, with an over-slot deal somewhere in the $3 million range.

Draft talk: Yasmani Grandal

Things are getting very interesting, as they always do this time of year. I had a scout tell me today that May is always the shortest/fastest month. Too many players to see, too little time to see them.

While it’s still a bit early to really project who will go where, things are starting to shake out a little bit. Right now, it seems that there are four names that belong at the top of the list. The general consensus is that Bryce Harper will indeed go No. 1 (look for that story, along with a an overall preview, on Monday). After Harper, in no particular order, are these three:

James Taillon, RHP, The Woodlands HS, Texas
Drew Pomeranz, LHP, Ole Miss
Manny Machado, SS, Miami Brito HS, Florida

I could take a guess who might go where, but other than a hunch that perhaps Pittsburgh will take Taillon, I’m going to wait on that until my first projection. After that four, and there’s no guarantee that those will be the top 4, there’s a whole mess of names kind of bunched together.

Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that Harper goes No. 1 and the Pirates do take Taillon next. The Orioles certainly have an interest in those other two guys can could very well take Machado. They also could go all Hobgood on us and take someone most don’t put in the top 4-5 names. Then it’s Kansas City’s turn.

Conventional wisdom might say to take an arm there and they could go Pomeranz or Deck McGuire, maybe even Chris Sale. In other words, unless Taillon drops, don’t look for the Royals to take a high school pitcher. There doesn’t look like there’s the premium bat to take, but I bet they’re doing due diligence on the advanced college hitters. That means they could potentially take, again in no real order: Zack Cox, Yasmani Grandal, Michael Choice, Bryce Brentz or Christian Colon. Like I said, still a long way to go.

Grandal is an interesting one because he’s certainly put up the numbers, but I’ve gotten mixed messages in terms of how much people like him. He is, however, the top catcher in the class and he’s going to go pretty high. Will it be Tony Sanchez high? That remains to be seen.

24-grandal-yasmani-10ex-001_Miami.jpgBut the good folks at College Splits (fantastic stuff, I highly recommend it) helped me take a little closer look at Grandal’s numbers. Keep in mind he enters this weekend of play hitting .424/.551/.741. But with College Splits’ help, lets drill down a bit, shall we?

The left-handed hitting backstop has feasted off of righties to the tune of .485/.592/.897. Southpaws have been a little more challenging: .328/.488/.508. He’s hit .508/.600/.908 away from home, for whatever that’s worth. He’s a terrific hitter with two outs (.474/.610/.772) and with runners on base (.447/.600/.753).

At the University of Miami, Grandal plays in the very competitive ACC. So it’s worth noting that he seems to rise to the occasion. In out-of-conference games, the catcher has hit .366/.521/.620 in 71 at-bats. Not too shabby, until you compare it with his in-conference numbers: .471/.578/.839.

Finally, I’ll leave you with this. In the college game, as many of you know, Friday is the day when teams send their top pitcher to the mound. So every Friday, Grandal is facing an ACC ace, in effect. Well, guess what his favorite weekend day to hit is? That’s right, Friday, though his power numbers go up when he faces the No. 2 and 3 guys later in the weekend:

Friday: .462/.571/.641
Saturday: .375/.528/.700
Sunday: .400/.500/.725

Interesting stuff, at least.

Top 20 Draft prospects revisited

A while back (early February), I threw up a very early look at the Top 20 talents in the 2010 Draft class. It was ranked by talent, not according to what order I thought they would get picked. I did it two stages, with Nos. 1-10 on one day and Nos. 11-20 the next.

As I said back then, things change very quickly in the Draft world. I’m not going to re-rank the list right now. We’ll save that for another day. For now, let’s just take a look at the 20 I posted back then and see how they’ve fared so far. We’ll do it the same way, with 1-10 today and 11-20 tomorrow.

1. Anthony Ranaudo, RHP, LSU — After pitching five innings in LSU’s opener on Feb. 19, Ranaudo hasn’t pitched since, sitting out with an elbow issue (stress reaction). He is slated to start on Sunday against Tennessee. He reportedly threw all his pitches from the mound on Sunday for the first time since the opener. If all goes well, he’ll be stretched out and moved to Friday within two weeks after this weekend’s return.

2. Drew Pomeranz, LHP, Ole Miss — The southpaw was last week’s SEC Pitcher of the Week after tossing a shutout against Kentucky. He’s 3-0 with a 1.23 ERA over five starts. In 29 1/3 innings, he’s allowed 18 hits and nine walks while striking out 49. Opponents are hitting just .170 against him.

3. James Taillon, RHP, The Woodlands (HS),  TX
— A potential No. 1 overall pick (see story here), he won USA Baseball’s first International Performance of the Year Award. Scouts have raved about his combination of stuff, size and poise.

4. Bryce Harper, C, College of Southern Nevada — After a little bit of a slow start, Harper’s been as good as advertised offensively. In 27 games that he’s  played, Harper has hit .420 with eight homers, 27 RBIs, a .864 slugging percentage and .514 on-base  percentage. He leads or is tied for the team lead in nine offensive categories.
5. Dylan Covey, RHP, Maranatha HS, Calif. — He stood out at the Major League Scouting Bureau’s showcase and has continued to dominate. According to MaxPreps, he hasn’t allowed an earned run over 17 2/3 IP, yielding just seven hits (.113 average against) and four walks while striking out 35.

6. Chris Sale, LHP, Florida Gulf Coast University — He’s made five starts for FGCU to date and has gone 2-0 with a 1.73 ERA over 26 IP. He’s given up 22 hits (.222 average), walking just four and striking out 40.

7. Jesse Hahn, RHP, Virginia Tech — Until a rough start this past weekend, Hahn has been outstanding, becoming more of a pitcher than a thrower. Overall, his numbers still look pretty good, with a 4-1 record and 1.34 ERA over five starts. In 33 2/3 IP, he’s allowed 27 hits and six walks  while striking out 29.

8.  Zack Cox, 3B, Arkansas — The draft-eligible sophomore has lived up to his reputation as one of better pure hitters in the class, with a .405 average in 18 games. He’s struck out just seven times in 74 at-bats, spanning 18 games.

9. Manny Machado, SS, Miami Brito HS, FLA
— Sometimes, finding high school information isn’t so easy. I’ll come back with some stuff on Machado after I’ve talked to some scouts who’ve seen him recently. He did go 3-for-4 with a homer and a pair of RBIs in a recent game against Hialeah Gardens.

10. Kaleb Cowart, 3B/RHP, Cook County HS, Ga. —  A very interesting two-way player, there might be some good debate over whether he should pitch or hit. The Georgia high school season is just getting cranking now. 

Getting back into the swing of things

By now, I’m hoping most of you realize that when I say “I’ll be back tomorrow with draft-related stuff,” I’m speaking figuratively.

I’m down in Ft. Myers currently and will spend the next 10 days covering Spring Training, giving our hard-working beat writers a chance to catch their breaths. But while I’m technically on big-league duty, rest assured that we’ll be on full-fledged prospect watch. I’m sure I’ll mix in some stories on Minor Leaguers along the way. I’m going to do my best to link to ’em on here and also throw up a “prospect of the day” based on players I’ll see.

But back to that earlier promise about Draft-related stuff. In case you haven’t seen it yet, we’ve started up our coverage of the 2010 Draft. We’ve posted 21 Draft Reports (thanks to UnderArmour for their support) to date, all with information gathered from talking to scouts, complete with video. You can check them out here. Check back weekly as we’ll be updating it weekly.

This year, I’m doing weekly features to accompany them. There’ve been two so far: SoCal HS outfielder Austin Wilson and Virginia Tech RHP Jesse Hahn. So be sure to check them out.

I did promise some Bryce Harper info last time. Well, to be honest, there’s not a whole lot to report. His College of Southern Nevada team has just started conference play and last I checked, it was the top-rated junior college squad in the nation (OK, I just checked now). He started off slow, but has settled in a bit. He’s leading his team in homers, RBIs and slugging. To be fair, he’s feasted some off some of the lesser lights pitching-wise on the junior college scene. And I’ve had scouts tell me he’s still having some issues with his approach at the plate, getting out front too quickly. Still, keep in mind how young he is and how much pressure there is (yes, I know, he put much of it on himself, but that doesn’t make it easier). I’m taking a wait-and-see approach to see how he continues to make adjustments and show improvement. As always, I’ll update on him and other top Draft prospects right here as the spring unfolds.

For now, if you’ve got questions for prospects I might be seeing, leave them in comments and I’ll try to get answers. Tomorrow, I’ve got the Yankees @ Twins, so ask away.

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