Sunday, September 6, 2009

TPC in Retrospect: 2009 Top 10 Hitters: #6-10

Prior to the 2009 season, I put together my list of the top 10 prospect hitters, and I think it's about time I reviewed the list to see how I did. I'll start with the last 5 hitters, and then cover the top 5 hitters later this week.

6. Chris Carter (Oakland) -- I couldn't remember how highly Carter was ranked before this season, so I checked Baseball America, and they had him as the 76th best prospect in baseball, behind players like Jose Tabata, Taylor Teagarden, and Wilson Ramos. I understand why some folks don't like Carter, but hopefully his numbers at AA this year have opened some eyes. At 22 years old, he improved his plate discipline by posting career bests in K% (20.1%) and BB% (13.9%), while also posting career highs in batting average, OBP, SLG, and OPS (.337/.436/.576/1.012). To put that in context, Carter's numbers this year are almost identical to the AA stats of 22 year old Pedro Alvarez, who signed with the Pirates last year for a guaranteed $6.355 million. Not too shabby.

7. Max Ramirez -- This pick looks like my worst pick among the whole list. At 24 years old, I really thought Ramirez would force the Rangers to settle their future catching situation by trading at least one of their top catching prospects. However, no one has really stepped up to nail down the position, especially Ramirez. He has posted career lows in just about every category, and has been a complete disappointment in '09. There have been some injury issues, and maybe Ramirez just had a really bad year, but his future is looking a lot less promising than it was just 12 months ago.

8. Jesus Montero -- If I were to put this list together today, I'd definitely put Montero ahead of both Ramirez and Carter. His numbers this year were absolutely stellar, and I think he has a chance to be just as good as Miguel Cabrera or at least Pablo Sandoval. I think he's easily a top 10 prospect at this point, and maybe a top 5. It's amazing that Baseball America had him as the 38th best prospect heading into 2009.

9. Josh Reddick/Freddie Freeman/Lars Anderson -- During the preseason, I couldn't decide which one of these guys I liked more. At this point, I'd definitely go with Reddick. Anderson was much more hyped a few months ago, but he's struggled a ton, and has only gotten worse as the season has progressed. Freeman hasn't done too bad, but his power has dropped, and he probably won't be a major league contributor for another 3 years. Meanwhile, Reddick (who was completely left off Baseball America's top 100 list) was able to improve his plate discipline at AA while maintaining his power production, and has even been given a few spot starts with the Red Sox this season, hitting 4 doubles and a home run in 35 plate appearances.

10. Colby Rasmus -- I think putting Rasmus in at #10 was a good pick (Baseball America had him as the 3rd best prospect in baseball in front of Jason Heyward and Brett Anderson). He is obviously very talented, but will take a while to develop.

Summary: Looking back, I'd probably leave Ramirez off this list, include just Reddick at #9, and probably put Andrew McCutchen somewhere in my top 10 (probably around #8). I'm glad I left Travis Snider off the list (ranked #6 by Baseball America), who continues to struggle with Toronto, and I'm also glad I passed on Mike Moustakas (Baseball America's number 13 prospect, and Cameron Maybin (#8 by Baseball America).

Overall, I'd give my #6-10 list here a 'B'. I whiffed on Ramirez, but my other 4 picks were pretty good, so I'll take 80%. Could have been better, but could have been much, much worse.
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