Next up the very talented Texas League, featuring Baseball America’s minor league player of the year. Also, check out our other League Top 10′s
1. Mike Trout, OF, Angels
There is nothing that Trout has not been able to do in his short time in the minors. In his first full season in 2010, Trout put up a line of .362/.454/.526 in the Midwest League. This year he was just as impressive, posting a line of .326/.414/.544 in the Texas League and earning Baseball America’s player of the year honors. Trout also was in the bigs by his 20th birthday and should be there to stay. Trout features outstanding speed that has led to plus defensive ability. Moreover, he has a very compact batting stroke allowing him to hit for a strong average and plus power. He projects to hit .300 with 20+ hr’s and gold glove defense.
2. Shelby Miller, RHP, Cardinals
Like Trout, Miller has been just as dominant on the other end. This season, Miller posted an impressive 2.70 ERA and striking out 9.24 per 9 IP. He already features three plus pitches, to go with above average command and delivery. Miller’s fastball sits in the mid-90′s and has been clocked as high as 98. Miller’s command is decent right now, but is one (probably the only) area where he could use some improvement is his command. This season Miller walked 3.4 hitters per 9, above his number last season. Expect no more than a month or or two before Miller is in the majors behind Carpenter and Wainwright. He can be a front of the rotation pitcher for many years.
3. Wilin Roasario, C, Rockies
Rosario is one of the top catching prospects in the minors both at and behind the plate. He does an outstanding job throwing out runners and has 30 HR potential at the plate. Rosario struggled some this season, coming off a knee injury, but still showed the power, hitting 21 HR’s before spending time in Colorado. The approach at the plate is an area where Rosario needs work. Rosario walked in less than 5% of plate appearances and punched out in over 20%. That is a gap that needs to close. Rosario is frequently too aggressive at the plate and though he makes decent contact, he could do more. Overall, Rosario is a very impressive prospect behind the plate, with gold glove ability and strong power potential, he could be the Rockies catcher for the next decade.
4. Martin Perez, LHP, Rangers
Perez has had his share of struggles in the minors, but showed a lot of improvement this year, posting a 3.16 ERA and a cut in walks. His fastball sits in the low to mid-90′s and the curve is as good as any not named Matt Moore, as well as a decent change. Perez has always had a smooth delivery, so it is odd that he has struggled with his command. Perez is one of the most talented LHP in the minors and once his command gets straightened out, he could be at the front of a big league rotation.
5. Robbie Erlin, LHP, Padres
Erlin has been very impressive since the Rangers drafted him in the 3rd round of the 2009 draft. What is most impressive about the left-hander is his outstanding feel for pitching, as evidenced by an 8/1 K/BB. Outstanding for a 20 yr old in AA. Erlin throws a low-90′s fastball, to go with a decent curve and strong changeup. While none of the three pitches are truly dominant, Erlin has still been able to strike out AA hitters at a strong rate. There are very few knocks against Erlin, as his feel for the game and above average pitches are impressive. Erlin could be a no. 2 starter moving forward.
6. Casey Kelly, RHP, Padres
Everybody knew about and loved Casey Kelly after his first full season in the Red Sox organization and capitalized, turning Kelly and a few other prospects into Adrian Gonzalez. Since then, Kelly has been average and does not have the ace stuff that some originally thought. That said, Casey Kelly should be a solid pitcher for the Padres. This season he posted a sub-4 ERA and had a K/BB of 105/46. Kelly has a solid 3 pitch mix, with his best arguably being his above average changeup. He commands his fastball well and the curve has been improving, but still lacking consistency. Kelly has not missed a ton of bats, but gets a lot of groundballs and has good command of his fastball. Moving forward, Kelly will be a mid-rotation starter and will reach San Diego in 2012.
7. Wil Myers, OF, Royals
Myers broke out in his first full season in 2010, but struggled some this season in AA. Originally a catcher, Myers has played the outfield in order to speed up his track to the majors, where his strong bat can help the Royals. Myers has an outstanding approach at the plate, where he walks at a high rate and frequently works deep counts. He should hit for plenty of power down the road, to go with a high average. Myers will likely wind up in a corner OF position, where he will have an above average arm. Despite some struggles this season, none of the numbers were alarming and Myers could see the majors before 2012 is over.
8. Zack Cox, 3B, Cardinals
It took less than 200 plate appearance’s in the minors for Zack Cox to reach AA, where Cox certainly held his own. In just under 400 PA’s, Cox posted a line of .293/.355/.432. Cox features a compact batting stroke and consistently hits to all fields. Expect Cox to hit for plenty of average, but his power is a concern. A .139 ISO% is not terrible, but you would like to see better from a corner infielder. On top of that, Cox could end up at 1B, as his defense still needs work. Moving forward, the power potential is what will lead him to be an above average big league player or just another guy.
9. Grant Green, SS, Athletics
Green was quite impressive in his first full season of 2010, but like many, faced issues in AA. Green posted a line of .291/.343/.408 and struck out in 20% of his AB’s. There are plenty of questions surrounding Green, but the potential is there for a .300 hitter with 25 HR’s as a SS. The biggest question is if he will remain at short, where he has fringe average range and arm. Green would likely move to 2B if he doesn’t stick, where he will need to show more at the plate. His approach needs work, but he has hit for a solid average consistently and has strong power potential. An improved approach could make Green an above average player in the next couple years.
10. Tim Wheeler, OF, Rockies
Wheeler had disappointed after the Rockies made him a 1st round pick in 2009, but he was outstanding this season. Wheeler posted a line of .287/.365/.535 and 33 home runs. Very impressive after a weak 2010 season. He has shown improvement against left-handed pitchers, leading to a strong season. Wheeler does strike out at a very high rate, however. He was punched out 142 times this season and because of it, is not a player that you can expect to hit .300 in the majors. Wheeler will need to continue to improve against LHP’s and show the impressive power he had this season in order to be a good player in Colorado.
Matt Adams, 1B, Cardinals
Garrett Richards, RHP, Angels
Jake Odorizzi, RHP, Royals