Monday, September 24, 2012

APBA Top 50 Hitting Prospects

In an agreement forged at a recent poker game with the benevolent King Lewis II, Acting Commissioner for Life, Kenny recently won, er, purchased the rights as the official sponsor of the APBA Minor League system.  As a part of this agreement, Kenny expands his budding media empire to include a picture of Kenny on the Centerfield wall of every minor league stadium, the immediate retirement of Kenny's number across all minor league teams, a special hot dog (with mustard) to be added and sold at every minor league game called the "Kenny MVP Anderson Gold Glove Special" that includes a souvenir cup with Kenny's image for the low price of $14.95 (5 cents of every purchase will go to the Kenny MVP Anderson Foundation supporting "grammatical research and amelioration" and $1 of every purchase will go to the Alaskan Wildlife and Inuit Foundation), and finally, the sole rights as the official word on all minor league prospects and ranking of such.  In related news, Kenny would like to announce the hiring of his first employee, Peter Brand, who Kenny won, er, hired at the same poker game from Brad Pitt.  Brand will immediately assume the duties of managing and reporting on the new "Kenny Anderson Presents APBA's Minor League Prospect Rankings".  So, without further ado, Kenny would like to introduce Kenny's main man, Peter Brand, with this year's prospect rankings.  Kenny hopes you like them as much as Kenny does...

As the 2012 season heads to the finish line, it is time to look at the Top Prospects in APBA.  Wondering who will be making an impact in 2013?  Look no further than here.  Note, I have only provided the rankings.  Kenny insists I consult with actual scouts to provide the assessment of the top players.  If it were up to me I would just send everyone a spreadsheet and be done as I loathe scouts and think they are dumb.  But whatever.  Here are the rankings of the Top 50 Hitting Prospects:

1. Bryce Parkman, OF – St. Louis
            Was there any question?  At 19, Parkman already possesses the skills to excel at the Major League level.  In fact, had he played at the big league level this year he undoubtedly would have been better than Hamilton and maybe as good as Davenport or Bruce.  The difference is St. Louis wants him ready to dominate which he’s still a year or two away from.  Talking to Robins’ management they expect Parkman to be on the level with the Cobra’s big three.  Realistically, while he has the potential to attain the level of a Chad White or a Keith Lee he’s more likely to be on par with Gerald White Jr or maybe an Alex Maldonado in a few years.  Oh and an unnamed scout says, "Parkman, he's mostly a bunch of hype, but damn he has good hair.  So, you never know."

2. Larry Brooks, 1B – Detroit
            Another 19 year old phenom, a scout said, "Brooks may not be as flashy as the free swinging Parkman, but he’s all business at the plate."  The Detroit future star has more gap power than Parkman (of all balls hit to the gap by both players, Brooks traveled an average of 3.7 feet farther) and strikesout about 1/3 less than Parkman.  Brooks is another one who could have held his own at the big league level this year, but the Devils wanted him to learn to take a few more walks first (very wise).  They are also privately hoping those doubles eventually translate into more homers once he bulks up a bit.  The good news for Detroit is they still have big Marcel patrolling the bag at first next year and have the luxury of waiting.  Brooks’ upside is probably Derek Tufnel but he should at least be a good replacement for the aging Marcel.

3. Aaron Moore, 1B – Boston
            Perhaps the best hitter in the minors, his age (22) is probably the only thing preventing him from being atop this list.  Moore has just as much long ball and gap power you could want, he’s even a hair more disciplined at the plate than either Moore or Brooks.  With Solar’s contract up at the end of the season, there is every reason to believe Moore will be standing at first base for the last place Beaneaters in 2013. Oh and the scout says, "Moore, I hear he likes soup.  There's something to be said for soup and you can trust people who like it."

4. Bubba Donaldson, OF – Hollywood
            Another 19 year old future star, Donaldson is a long way from helping the B’s out of the West basement.  He does a little bit of everything though none of them particularly well.  That being said, why is he the 4th best prospect in APBA?  Because there’s so much to like.  Need some power? He won’t win a long ball contest, but he can certainly hold his own.  Need some speed?  He’s no Kenny Anderson, but he’s plenty fast.  Want plate discipline?  For a 19 year old he’s got some.  Need an arm?  While not the best arm in the minors, there aren’t too many baserunners foolish enough to test him.  Ok, so he could stand to make a little more contact, but did I mention he’s 19?!  There is no doubt Bubba is a project.  But he’s got just as much potential as anyone on this list except maybe Parkman.  The scout says, "I am sure the B’s fans can’t wait for all of the great possibilities for “Bubba”.  I can see the signs now – “Hollywood Bubbas”."

5. Gromit Peveto, OF – Florida
            The dog on a mission.  He plays like a young Kirby Puckett and should be a mainstay in the Penguins’ outfield for years to come.  He’s got power and speed and really worked on making more contact this season in the minors.  The Penguins lineup could look really good over the next couple of years with Conn, Crom, Gerald Jr, The Dwarf, and The Dog going back to back to back to back to back.  Scout says, "He's got a lot of hair.  Players with a lot of hair have always fared well at the big league level."

6. Jordan Sadler, OF – St. Louis
            It is easy to get caught up in the hype of Parkman and forget all about Sadler.  But the 21 year old is ready to join The Bruce and Bryce in the Robins outfield next season.  Of course, the Robins have the aging Davenport already in place so it wouldn’t surprise us if St. Louis traded Sadler for some much needed pitching help. Scout says, "Jordan.  What kind of first name is Jordan?"

7. Squirrel Nutkin Jr, SS – Green Day
            A non-jawa, Nutkin is fielding wiz with a cannon for an arm.  Offensively he may not be quite ready for the big show but he can’t be any worse than their current shortstops.  That being said, they also have young SS Erik Smith but he’s a step behind Squirrel defensively and a virtual clone offensively and with Eddie Walker entrenched at 2B, it is unlikely to see Smith move where he may be more comfortable.  That being said, it won’t surprise us if Smith begins 2013 as the starting SS and the 20 year old Nutkin gets another year to bake in the minors while Green Day hopes to build a market for Smith and trade him.  It’s not like they are going to compete next year anyway.  Scout says, "Green Day needs a proven veteran not a squirrel."

8. Thomas Romero, 1B – Toledo
            Toledo’s future DH.  Romero has all the offensive potential of anyone on this list (except for Parkman), but has stone hands and a suspect arm that will likely keep him from wearing anything but a batting glove.  But what potential.  Rumor has it he has been lobbying to completely cease playing the field to focus strictly on his hitting. Could this lead to a big boost in offensive numbers?  Time will tell.  Scout says, "Romero sleeps with his bat."

9. Mike Sandel, 3B – Cleveland
            Though not a certainty, in a couple of years Sandel could be as good as Bobby Barrios.  Trouble is, Cleveland already has someone as good as Bobby Barrios…Barrios himself.  So, Sandel is stuck.  He is stuck behind one of the greatest thirdbasemen in the game.  They could possibly move Sandel to 1st or trade him.  Either way, he’s likely going to be ready for prime-time in 2013. Scout says, "Little known fact, Sandel's father worked in a coalmine, so you know what that means." 

10. Francisco Ortega, SS – Springfield
            The best 18 year old prospect in APBA.  Ortega is still very raw defensively and offensively.  However, he looks just like Tejawa did when he was 18…or was that 20?  Either way, he is likely a part of the next generation of great shortstops even if it will be a few years for him to arrive.  Scout says, "Why are you ranking an 18 year old this high?  He shouldn't even be on the list yet."

Marks, Jason
Santor, Gregory
Escobar, Darren
Merkich, Todd
Reed, Dante Jr.
Moore, Reggie
Rinard, Colby
Dobbs, Michael
Springer, Travis
Quero, Henry
Keen, Jeremy
Ramirez, Willy
Jenkins, Corey
Walls, Sean
Peterson, Brant
Soto, Javier
Mahan, Derek
Ford, Chevy
Steinborn, Peter
Cordero, Orlando
Frazier, Doug
Wargo, Shane
Alcantara, Junior
Jung, Wu-Hsiung
Sierra, Victor
Sandford, Tim
Hanson, Ken
Pinango, Randy
Andino, Ramon
Sucre, Fernando
Jones, James
Wright, Kyle
Wyckoff, Troy
Stevens, Otto
McKain, Henry
Crom, C.J.
Dawson, Mike
Treanor, Travis
Sweeney, Steve


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