I wasn’t writing for this site last offseason so I don’t have personal 2010 prospect rankings to look back on. I will however, use the preseason rankings from this past season offered by minorleagueball.com and baseballamerica.com to show you how each player either progressed and digressed. These year-in-review analyses will lead in to my top prospect list for 2011. First I will start by looking at some (probably 15-20) of the fringe prospects and guys who made some noise but didn’t make last year’s lists. I will then show you the top 20 prospects in descending order. This will all come in a series of installments, so stay tuned.
Jose Altuve, 2B (20); Probably broke out as much as any player in the Houston organization this year. He went from borderline prospect to borderline top 10. Between Rookie and A+ leagues, Altuve posted a .307/.357/.448 line with 15 homeruns and 42 steals. But what I like best about him; 42 BBs to 66 SOs. Oh, and he’s only 20 years old.
Leandro Cespedes, RHP (23); Posted a 6.94 ERA over 96 innings at High-A Lancaster. Cespedes ERA has increased in each of his five professional seasons. The young right hander has good strikeout stuff with 461 Ks in 479.1 professional innings but his walks are increasing each year while his prospect status is plummeting. And Cespedes’ 5’11 frame doesn’t bode well for him as an innings-eating starter.
Koby Clemens, C-DH (23); In 2009, Koby son-of-Roger broke out and completely victimized High-A pitching. Clemens posted a .345/.419/.636 triple-slash with 22 homers and a 1.055 OPS through 122 games. But since his promotion to Double-A, he’s played 132 games and hit just .241/.359/.467. The power is still there as he’s hit 26 homeruns in that span. Clemens’ K:BB ratio is roughly the same as well, so the average in 2009 was probably a tad lucky. Either way, his discipline, and average, will have to improve before he can help the big league club.
Ed Ferreira, LHP (17); This guy is anyone’s guess. He’s 17 and has great stuff but he’s about as erratic as they come. In 16.2 innings this summer he had 14 strikeouts and a staggering 25 BBs. He’s young enough to still turn in to something special but right now he’s nothing more than an ‘interesting’ project.
Dallas Keuchel, LHP (22); A sleeper on any Houston prospects list, Keuchel has a chance to be a pretty good back-of-the rotation guy in the majors. Keuchel is a lefty with a good frame, 6’3 200 lbs, and controls the strikezone exceptionally well. 2010 was just his second professional season and in 174.1 innings had a HR/9 and BB/9 of 0.6 and 1.9, respectively. The only factor limiting his potential right now is his lack of a swing-and-miss pitch as he posted a K/9 of just 6.9 between High-A and Double-A this season. Not terrible, but not great for that level. I will definitely be keeping an eye on how he adjusts to a full season at Double-A in 2011.
Jonathan Meyer, 3B (19): A third round pick in 2009, Meyer struggled mightily in his first go-round of pro ball. But in 2010, he showed marked improvement. In average anyway. Meyer raised his BA from .190 in 2009 to .245 in 2010. However, his BB rate decreased enough to show he was being much more aggressive at the plate. Meyer’s OBP was almost identical both years despite the raise in average. The third baseman is just 19 has only played one year above rookie ball so there’s no reason to be discouraged yet.