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Published: Mon, 25 Mar 2013 16:56:43 EST

 



Ask BA

Mon, 25 Mar 2013 13:47:39 EST

Content: •Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports asked me an interesting question over the weekend. He noted that the Cardinals were No. 1 in our evaluation of minor league talent—those rankings are in our current issue and should go online this week—and wondered how many teams had occupied the top spot within two years of winning the World Series. Baseball America has rated farm systems since 1984, and only three other organizations have pulled off that double. The Blue Jays ranked No. 1 in 1993 after winning a championship in 1992, the Marlins captured the 1997 World Series and the top spot in our ratings in 1998, and the Yankees had the best farm system in 2000 following titles in 1998 and 1999. The good news for St. Louis is all three of those organizations had subsequent World Series championships in their near future (Toronto in 1993, New York in 2000 and Florida in 2003). •I had just about completed today's Ask BA when Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported that the Brewers will sign Kyle Lohse, pending a physical. Lohse is the last remaining compensation free agent on the market, and assuming the deal gets completed, Milwaukee would give up . . .



Ask BA

Mon, 18 Mar 2013 16:51:12 EST

Content: I'm off next week, so there won't be another Ask BA before the regular season starts on March 31 with the Rangers visiting the Astros. So let's get my predictions for the 2013 season on the record today. I'm calling a repeat of the 2011 World Series: How realistic are Mike Trout comparisons for Clint Frazier? Do you think he has a legitimate chance of going No. 1 overall in the upcoming draft? Chris Kurtz Rocklin, Calif. An outfielder from Loganville (Ga.) HS, Frazier may have moved ahead of crosstown rival Austin Meadows of Grayson HS as the top high school prospect in this year's draft. But any Trout comparisons are a bit much and he probably won't be the top choice in the 2013 draft. However, neither of those statements should be construed as a knock on Frazier, who delivered two homers when he matched up against Meadows last week. He looks like a future star. Based on his major and minor league performance to date, Trout could be a once-in-a-generation type of talent. He's a 6-foot-1, 220-pounder with top-of-the-line speed and hitting skills, not to mention at least above-average power and center-field ability. While Frazier is more highly . . .



Ask BA

Mon, 11 Mar 2013 15:44:17 EST

Content: As we've detailed several times, Stanford righthander Mark Appel turned down $3.8 million from the Pirates after they drafted him eighth overall last year. Though he has less leverage now because he's in his final year of college eligibility and it's hard to fathom that he'd hold out again and re-enter the 2014 draft, he's putting himself in position to get more than $3.8 million this summer. Appel, who entered the year as Baseball America's top-rated prospect for the 2013 draft , struck out a career-high 15 in seven innings while taking a tough 3-2 loss against Nevada-Las Vegas on Friday night. His stuff is as good as ever, and he's dominating like scouts always have thought he should. He's now 2-2, 1.20 with a 43-6 K-BB ratio and .160 opponent average in 30 innings. Appel will be attractive to a team that wants a college pitcher who can arrive in a hurry—that's just about any club—and also to anyone looking to spread their bonus pool money around. Because of his reduced leverage, it's unlikely that he'll command full pick value at the top of the draft. Could the Astros wind up drafting him No. 1 overall, just a year . . .



Ask BA

Mon, 04 Mar 2013 13:54:46 EST

Content: I'm in the minority at Baseball America, but I just can't get excited about the World Baseball Classic. From my perspective, the tournament is a bunch of glorified exhibition games in which players aren't in peak form and several of the top stars have bowed out. The best part is catching glimpses of the best international prospects, many of whom Ben Badler and J.J. Cooper noted here . I don't see any way to stage an international tournament that would include all of the best players from the top baseball nations. Shutting down MLB for 7-10 days in the middle of the year would compromise the regular season, and a tournament wouldn't work at the end of the long seasons here and elsewhere. The WBC may be the best we can do, yet it still hasn't captured my interest. In last week's Ask BA, you ran a list of all the players who received mentions from BA editors on their personal Top 150 lists (as part of the Top 100 Prospects process), including how many editors named them and their highest ranking. That breakout is my favorite thing you do now. It's very insightful. Could you do the same for . . .



Nationals Should Top Rays For Title...In 2016

Fri, 01 Mar 2013 09:13:17 EST

Content: CHICAGO—The city of Washington hasn't toasted a World Series title since 1924, when the Senators parlayed two bad-hop grounders and some clutch relief work from Hall of Famer Walter Johnson into a Game Seven victory against the New York Giants. Nine decades later, the nation's capital is on its third big league franchise and still looking for its second postseason series victory. Washington won't have to wait much longer for a second championship, however. Here in this corner of Baseball America, we like to raise the degree of difficulty in our annual Major League Preview and prognosticate three years into the future. Back in 2010 ($), we projected that the Braves, Nationals, Rangers, Rays, Reds and Yankees would make the playoffs this year, with Tampa Bay winning the World Series. That all seems plausible, so have faith when we tell you the Nats finally will emerge as champs again in 2016. First-Rounders Drive Nats The two most talented teams in the National League will reside in the East, where the Nationals will prevail thanks to Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg. The two No. 1 overall picks will win the NL MVP and Cy Young awards, not to mention the home . . .



Top 20 DSL/VSL Prospects From 2012

Tue, 26 Feb 2013 11:01:27 EST

Content: See also: 2011 DSL/VSL Top 20 Prospects See also: 2010 DSL/VSL Top 20 Prospects See also: 2012 International Reviews Rangers shortstop Jurickson Profar signed for $1.55 million out of Curacao on July 2, 2009. After starting his career in the short-season Northwest League as a 17-year-old in 2010, Profar had a breakout season in 2011, made his major league debut in 2012 and is now the best prospect in baseball. Usually it doesn't all come together so quickly. For most Latin American prospects, the first stop is either the Dominican Summer League or the Venezuelan Summer League. While players like Profar, Braves righthander Julio Teheran or Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez occasionally are so advanced that they skip the DSL, the majority of the game's best Latin American prospects made their pro debut outside of the United States. Twelve international prospects in the Top 100—Oscar Taveras, Xander Bogaerts, Miguel Sano, Carlos Martinez, Oswaldo Arcia, Gregory Polanco, Alen Hanson, Avisail Garcia, Marcell Ozuna, Yordano Ventura, Daniel Corcino and Bruce Rondon—all played in either the DSL or the VSL. Bogaerts and Martinez were on BA's inaugural DSL/VSL Top 20 list in 2010. A player performing well in one of the Latin American summer . . .



Ask BA

Mon, 25 Feb 2013 13:55:55 EST

Content: I missed the unveiling of Baseball America's annual Top 100 Prospects list last week because I had jury duty. So I'll try to make up for that by tackling some Top 100-related questions here. During the Top 100 chat, J.J. Cooper mentioned that you could provide a list of all the players who received votes but didn't make the list. Can you please do that? Tracy Keinast Myrtle Beach, S.C. The first step in our annual Top 100 process is for BA editors to submit personal Top 150 lists, which we crunch together in a spreadsheet and then let the arguments begin. This year, seven editors provided Top 150s, and 195 different players appeared on at least one list. Eight players made all seven Top 150s but fell short of the overall Top 100: Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams, Pirates outfielder Josh Bell, Braves catcher Christian Bethancourt, Mets shortstop Gavin Cecchini, Rays righthander Alex Colome, Cubs outfielder Brett Jackson, Red Sox catcher Blake Swihart and Brewers righty Tyler Thornburg. Just to clarify, I listed those eight alphabetically and they are not the eight prospects who came closest to making the list. The highest ranking on any individual list went to . . .



2013 International Signings Overview

Fri, 22 Feb 2013 16:39:22 EST

Content: Here's a quick look at each team's significant international signings in 2012. Ben Badler has produced much more detailed reports on each team's signees, which are available for Baseball America subscribers. Baltimore Orioles Top signing: LHP Yi-Hsiang Lin, Taiwan, $150,000. Six-figure signings: OF Carlos Rodriguez (Venezuela), 2B Yariel Vargas (Dominican Republic). Notable Cuban signings: OF Henry Urrutia. Quick Take: Baltimore's international scouting made an immediate impact on their big league team last year. They botched the signing of Korean high school lefthander Seong-Min Kim and were relatively quiet again in Latin America, though they were active in small countries without much baseball tradition. See also: Complete Orioles 2012 International Review Boston Red Sox Top Signing: SS Tzu-Wei Lin, Taiwan, $2.05 million Six-figure signings: RHP Simon Mercedes (Dominican Republic), RHP Jose Almonte (Dominican Republic), SS Wendell Rijo (Dominican Republic), CF Luis Alexander Basabe (Venezuela), 2B Luis Alejandro Basabe (Venezuela), LHP Daniel McGrath (Australia), RHP Heri Quevedo (Dominican Republic). Quick Take: The Red Sox were aggressive both before and after July 2 across the globe. Their two prized shortstops, Tzu-Wei Lin from Taiwan and Wendell Rijo from the Dominican Republic, were two of the better hitters in the class. See also: Complete . . .



International Reviews: Arizona Diamondbacks

Fri, 22 Feb 2013 15:44:30 EST

Content: Baseball America's annual International Reviews provide scouting reports on every team's top international amateur signings from the 2012 calendar year, as well as a look at any notable signings from the Cuban market. See also: 2011 National League West International Review Arizona Diamondbacks Top signing: OF Ismael Pena, Dominican Republic, $750,000. Six-figure signings: SS Sergio Alcantara (Dominican Republic), C Oswaldo Garcia (Colombia), OF Jose Ordaz (Venezuela), RHP Rafael Pujols (Dominican Republic), LHP Anthony Basora (Dominican Republic). The Diamondbacks stepped up their international spending significantly in 2012, using the majority of their $2.9 million international bonus pool space in the first two months of the 2012-13 signing period. After the season, international scouting director Carlos Gomez left to take the same job with the Angels, reuniting him with Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto, who had worked in Arizona. The Diamondbacks brought in Craig Shipley, who had previously been Boston's vice president of international scouting before being let go by the Red Sox, to serve as an assistant to general manager Kevin Towers. Junior Noboa, the organization's vice president of Latin American operations who oversees Arizona's Dominican scouting and is one of the most prominent figures in Dominican baseball, remains with the . . .



International Reviews: Colorado Rockies

Fri, 22 Feb 2013 15:03:49 EST

Content: Baseball America's annual International Reviews provide scouting reports on every team's top international amateur signings from the 2012 calendar year, as well as a look at any notable signings from the Cuban market. See also: 2011 National League West International Review Colorado Rockies Top signing: LHP Luis Guzman, Venezuela, $200,000. Six-figure signings: RHP Andres Matos (Dominican Republic). The Rockies have been a pitching factory under international scouting director Rolando Fernandez despite a modest annual budget, producing Ubaldo Jimenez, Jhoulys Chacin, Franklin Morales, Juan Nicasio and Esmil Rogers, with prospects like Jayson Aquino and Edwar Cabrera on the way up. Last year Colorado's two of Colorado's top signings were pitchers, including Venezuelan lefthander Luis Guzman, who signed for $200,000 on July 2. Guzman, a 16-year-old from Caracas who trained with Yasser Mendez, is 6-foot-1 with a mid-to-high 80s fastball that has touched 90 mph. Guzman should add more velocity but already stands out for his pitchability and feel for his secondary pitches, including a good curveball and a solid changeup for his age. Dominican righthander Andres Matos also signed on July 2 for a tick less money ($180,000) than Guzman, but some scouts think he has the higher ceiling. Matos, who . . .



International Reviews: Los Angeles Dodgers

Fri, 22 Feb 2013 15:00:03 EST

Content: Baseball America's annual International Reviews provide scouting reports on every team's top international amateur signings from the 2012 calendar year, as well as a look at any notable signings from the Cuban market. See also: 2011 National League West International Review Los Angeles Dodgers Top signing: LHP Julio Urias, Mexico, bonus unconfirmed. Six-figure signings: SS Cristian Gomez (Dominican Republic), RHP William Soto (Venezuela), OF Ariel Sandoval (Dominican Republic). Notable Cuban signings: OF Yasiel Puig. After years of being handcuffed by ownership to sign international players, the Dodgers have gone to the other extreme, first with the seven-year, $42 million contract (including a $12 million bonus) for Cuban outfielder Yasiel Puig from agent Jaime Torres in June. After the season, the Dodgers won the posting bidding for Korean lefthander Hyun-Jin Ryu for a reported $25,737,737.33, then signed the Boras Corp. client to a six-year, $36 million deal including a $5 million signing bonus (Ryu's full scouting report is available here). In between, the Dodgers also added several international scouts. They hired Bob Engle as vice president of international scouting after he had just stepped away from the same role with Seattle. They also brought aboard Patrick Guerrero to serve as Latin . . .



International Reviews: San Diego Padres

Fri, 22 Feb 2013 15:00:00 EST

Content: Baseball America's annual International Reviews provide scouting reports on every team's top international amateur signings from the 2012 calendar year, as well as a look at any notable signings from the Cuban market. See also: 2011 National League West International Review San Diego Padres Top signing: 3B Carlos Belen, Dominican Republic, $1 million. Six-figure signings: OF Euri Minaya (Dominican Republic), RHP Starling Ynfante (Domincian Republic), 1B Jonas Lantigua (Dominican Republic), Ronaldo Jose Contreras (Dominican Republic). Dominican third baseman Carlos Belen rose up the follow lists for teams as July 2 approached, then signed with the Padres for $1 million when the 2012-13 international signing period opened. Belen, a 16-year-old from Santo Domingo and trained with Ney Acevedo and Rodolfo Mendez, stood out for his offensive potential. At 6-foot-2, 190 pounds, Belen has a simple, compact righthanded swing. His efficient stroke, good bat speed and strength give him plus raw power and he's hit lasers to all fields in games. He has the potential to hit for average and power, but some scouts had concerns about his ability to hit breaking pitches. Belen has a plus arm and some scouts like his hands at third base, but the biggest question mark . . .



International Reviews: San Francisco Giants

Fri, 22 Feb 2013 14:59:58 EST

Content: Baseball America's annual International Reviews provide scouting reports on every team's top international amateur signings from the 2012 calendar year, as well as a look at any notable signings from the Cuban market. See also: 2011 National League West International Review San Francisco Giants Top signing: OF Gustavo Cabrera, Dominican Republic, $1.3 million. Six-figure signings: 3B Natanael Javier (Dominican Republic), RHP Michael Santos (Dominican Republic), OF Raiby Barias (Dominican Republic). The Giants have paid two of the biggest bonuses ever to a pair of Dominican hitters in recent years, but they're hoping their latest Dominican bonus baby turns out better then Angel Villalona ($2.1 million in 2006) or Rafael Rodriguez ($2.55 million in 2008). Last year on July 2 the Giants signed Dominican center fielder Gustavo Cabrera (video) for $1.3 million, getting a player with excellent tools but question marks on whether they will ever materialize in games. Cabrera, who turned 17 last month, trained with Christian Batista (nicknamed "Niche") and played in the Dominican Prospect League. In 2011, the La Romana native led the Dominican Republic to a junior division RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) World Series title at Target Field in Minnesota, winning MVP honors by going . . .



Top 30 International Bonuses Of 2012

Fri, 22 Feb 2013 11:31:41 EST

Content: See also: Top 30 International Amateur Bonuses Of 2011 The following list includes the top 30 international amateur bonuses from 2012. The list does not include players who left Cuba, such as Athletics outfielder Yoenis Cespedes or Cubs outfielder Jorge Soler. The age listed is the player's age when he signed. An asterisk denotes a player signed before July 2, which means the player's bonus will not count against the team's 2012-13 international signing bonus pool. One notable player not listed is Dodgers lefthander Julio Urias, who signed with the Dodgers in a package deal from the Mexico City Red Devils. Baseball America could not verify his bonus. . . .



Top 25 All-Time International Bonuses

Fri, 22 Feb 2013 11:30:28 EST

Content: The following list is the top 25 international amateur bonuses of all-time. The list does not include Cuban defectors. The bonus for Pirates righthander Luis Heredia, previously reported as $2.6 million, has been updated after Baseball America learned that he signed for $3 million from Veracruz of the Mexican League. . . .



International Reviews: Chicago Cubs

Thu, 21 Feb 2013 16:31:51 EST

Content: Baseball America's annual International Reviews provide scouting reports on every team's top international amateur signings from the 2012 calendar year, as well as a look at any notable signings from the Cuban market. See also: 2011 National League Central International Review Chicago Cubs Top signing: RHP Juan Carlos Paniagua, Dominican Republic, $1.5 million. Six-figure signings: SS Frandy de la Rosa (Dominican Republic), SS Danny Gutierrez (Venezuela), RHP Ramon Valera (Venezuela), RHP Wagner Disla (Dominican Republic). Notable Cuban signings: OF Jorge Soler, LHP Gerardo Concepcion. The Cubs had an eventful year internationally, signing one of the top Cuban prospects, one of the most overpaid Cuban prospects, a Japanese professional free agent and two of the top international free agents from the Dominican Republic. They also shuffled around their international decision makers in their first season under president Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer. In August, they fired vice president of player personnel Oneri Fleita, who had signed a four-year extension in September 2011 before Epstein and Hoyer took over. Fleita had previously run the Cubs Latin American scouting and was still involved in those operations, especially with Cubans. Louie Eljaua, who had been a special assistant to the general manager, . . .



International Reviews: Pittsburgh Pirates

Thu, 21 Feb 2013 16:30:30 EST

Content: Baseball America's annual International Reviews provide scouting reports on every team's top international amateur signings from the 2012 calendar year, as well as a look at any notable signings from the Cuban market. See also: 2011 National League Central International Review Pittsburgh Pirates Top signing: 3B Julio de la Cruz, Dominican Republic and OF Michael de la Cruz, Dominican Republic, $700,000. Six-figure signings: C Yoel Gonzalez (Dominican Republic), Jhoan Herrera, (Dominican Republic), SS Samuel Kennelly (Australia), SS Johan De Jesus (Dominican Republic). Several Pirates international signings improved their stock with strong seasons in 2012. Dominican outfielder Starling Marte made his major league debut. Shortstop Alen Hanson and center fielder Gregory Polanco, both from the Dominican Republic, had two of the biggest breakout seasons in the minors. Colombian infielder Dilson Herrera and Taiwanese catcher Jin-De Jhan both had strong U.S. debuts in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League. The Pirates spent the majority of their money last year in the Dominican Republic, including a $700,000 investment in July in third baseman Julio de la Cruz, who trained with Luis Polonia. The Pirates have signed several players from Polonia, including his son Rodney, who has spent the last two seasons in the Dominican . . .



International Reviews: St. Louis Cardinals

Thu, 21 Feb 2013 16:18:07 EST

Content: Baseball America's annual International Reviews provide scouting reports on every team's top international amateur signings from the 2012 calendar year, as well as a look at any notable signings from the Cuban market. See also: 2011 National League Central International Review St. Louis Cardinals Top signing: RHP Alex Reyes, Domincian Republic, $950,000. Six-figure signings: C Joshua Lopez (Venezuela), SS Edmundo Sosa (Panama), OF Luis Bandes (Venezuela), OF Henry Alvarado (Dominican Republic), RHP Julio Mateo (Dominican Republic), OF Magneuris Sierra (Dominican Republic), RHP Ronald Medrano (Nicaragua). When the Cardinals have spent big money in Latin America in the last few years, it typically hasn't been on 16-year-old players for July 2. The Cardinals gave $1.1 million to Dominican third baseman Roberto de la Cruz when he was 16 in 2008, then tried to sign Dominican outfielder Wagner Mateo for $3.1 million the following July 2 but his contract never went through. Since then, however, the Cardinals have been aggressive for players outside of the typical July 2 window, paying $1.5 million for Dominican righthander Carlos Martinez in 2010, then agreeing to a $750,000 deal with Dominican righthander Andres Serrano in 2011, though that deal fell apart last summer when Major League . . .



International Reviews: Milwaukee Brewers

Thu, 21 Feb 2013 14:30:04 EST

Content: Baseball America's annual International Reviews provide scouting reports on every team's top international amateur signings from the 2012 calendar year, as well as a look at any notable signings from the Cuban market. See also: 2011 National League Central International Review Milwaukee Brewers Top signing: RHP Yosmer Leal, Venezuela, $375,000. Six-figure signings: None. Milwaukee had a fairly quiet year with international signings, then changed personnel after the season. Fernando Arango, who had been the team's Latin American coordinator since the conclusion of the 2003 season, had been reassigned to the team's director of Dominican scouting before the 2012 season began, with former Rangers scout Manny Batista put in charge of Milwaukee's Venezuelan scouting. After the 2012 season, the Brewers dismissed Arango, who is now with the Cardinals as a southeast crosschecker. The Brewers promoted Batista to Latin American scouting director and named Eduardo Brizuela, who had been the team's coordinator of administration for Latin American operations the past three seasons, as the team's new director of Latin American operations/scouting. As a result, the Brewers brought in very few international players last year and only one six-figure signing, Venezuelan righthander Yosmer Leal for $375,000 on July 2. Leal, 16, is 6-foot-4, . . .



International Reviews: Cincinnati Reds

Thu, 21 Feb 2013 11:20:16 EST

Content: Baseball America's annual International Reviews provide scouting reports on every team's top international amateur signings from the 2012 calendar year, as well as a look at any notable signings from the Cuban market. See also: 2011 National League Central International Review Cincinnati Reds Top signing: OF Luis Hernandez, Dominican Republic, $160,000. Six-figure signings: SS Francis Azcona (Dominican Republic), Pabel Manzanero (Venezuela), OF Jose De Luna (Dominican Republic). Reds international scouts had to be pleased in 2012, as Cuban lefthander Aroldis Chapman turned in a dominant season for the Reds out of the bullpen. Didi Gregorius, a 2007 signing out of the Netherlands, was the key prospect that went to Arizona in the three-way trade that brought Shin-Soo Choo from Cleveland to Cincinnati. Last year the Reds didn't make any major international signings, as they felt many of the prices for the top players outstripped their value. That meant they had plenty of pool space left when Dominican lefthander Jacob Constante popped up recently and hit 94 mph with a solid slider, so the Reds signed him last month for $730,000. Cincinnati's biggest bonus last year went to Luis Hernandez, a Dominican outfielder who signed for $160,000 on July 9. Hernandez, . . .



2013 Top 100 Prospects Chat With John Manuel and JJ Cooper

Tue, 19 Feb 2013 16:55:14 EST

Content: Moderator: Baseball America editors will chat about the Top 100 Prospects starting at 2 p.m. ET. Shawn McDonald (Dallas): Taking everything into account, who do you think will get more MLB ABs this season, Taveras or Profar? And how many do you project for each? John Manuel: Thanks everybody for coming. I'll start us off and JJ Cooper will be in as well. I'd lean toward Profar there, in part because Taveras still isn't on the 40-man roster. I don't see the Cardinals keeping Taveras down for long, and I have a harder time seeing where Profar plays. Does he wind up in CF? I could see it for 2013. Our Top 20 rookies meeting is coming up shortly and figuring out the 2013 playing time for both those guys is a real challenge. Izzy (New York): Seems like some of the guys who are far from contributing are higher on this list than on others (Correa, Buxton, etc). Does BA weight ceiling a bit more? John Manuel: It depends on the individual. We had seven staffers contribute their own top 150 lists, put them in the spreadsheet and then debated how the list turned out. Considering how much we . . .



Top 100 Prospects: Risk Factors

Tue, 19 Feb 2013 12:15:11 EST

Content: See also: Top 100 Prospects See also: Top 100 Prospect Tidbits See also: Top 100 Prospects By The Numbers See also: Top 100 Prospects Podcast See also: Top 100 Prospects Best Tools See also: Top 100 Prospects Chat See also: Top 100 Prospects Process Keeps Improving See also: Some Bargains Were Found Among Top 100 Prospects See also: Five Top 100 Near-Misses To Watch In 2013 See also: All-Time Top 100 Prospects List See also: Updated Team Top 10 Prospect Lists          Wild Things Will Need To Add Control To Succeed     Three pitchers who cracked the Top 100 Prospects list walked more than five batters per nine innings last season at the low Class A level. Yet power righthanders Archie Bradley (No. 25 pictured above), Aaron Sanchez (65) and Kyle Crick (66) all catch scouts' attention with double-plus fastballs and curveballs that could be consistent put-away pitches with improved consistency.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      How optimistic should we be about Bradley, Sanchez and Crick cutting back on free passes as they climb the minor league ladder? Below are nine righthanders of recent vintage who had trouble finding the plate in the low minors but went on to make at least 30 career . . .



Top 100 Prospects: Best Tools

Tue, 19 Feb 2013 12:14:54 EST

Content: After sorting through all of the grades, here are the players at the head of each class including Oscar Taveras (pictured above):                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        . . .



Top 100 Prospects By The Numbers

Tue, 19 Feb 2013 12:08:59 EST

Content: Here's a look at the Top 100 Prospects list breaks down in a number of categories. With prospects like Trevor Rosenthal (pictured above) the Cardinals are among three organizations leading the way in number of Top 100 Prospects. . . .



Top 100 Includes Several Bargains

Tue, 19 Feb 2013 12:02:21 EST

Content: CHICAGO—Allen Webster was primarily a shortstop at McMichael High in tiny Mayodan, N.C. He was athletic and slick with the glove, though nothing special with the bat. He'd occasionally pitch at the end of games, relying primarily on his arm strength. As his senior season came to a close in 2008, Webster's next step appeared to be playing at nearby Rockingham (N.C.) CC. That changed when Dodgers area scout Lon Joyce got a tip that Webster had a fresh arm worth checking out. Joyce's brother Don had coached Webster in youth league basketball, so Lon knew a little about him. He decided to go see Webster pitch in a playoff game attended by two other scouts. Webster was 6-foot-2 and 165 pounds, and he threw 89-93 mph. His breaking ball was inconsistent and his mechanics needed work, but the sinking life on his fastball stood out. He showed enough to merit a predraft workout with Los Angeles, where he didn't throw as hard but showed the same movement. The Dodgers took Webster in the 18th round in 2008 and signed him for $20,000. Five pro seasons later, he has boosted his fastball to 92-95 mph with the same notable sink . . .