We break down the top five prospects for each organization for 2010, taking into consideration: games, at-bats, innings and major-league service time. We expect these players to have rookie status remaining heading into next year.
According to MLB rules: "A player shall be considered a rookie unless, during a previous season or seasons, he has (a) exceeded 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched in the major leagues; or (b) accumulated more than 45 days on the active roster of a major league club or clubs during the period of 25-player limit (excluding time in the military service and time on the disabled list)."
Note: Statistics are those at each stop in the minors this season and age represents how old they will be on opening day 2010.
Chicago White Sox
The White Sox were aggressive trying to compete, dealing a number of top prospects for the likes Jake Peavy, Tony A. Pena and taking on the contract of Alex Rios. It depleted their system some, but surprisingly there is still plenty to work with here. Their top prospects might not be common names right now in keeper leagues, but a number of them could become solid big league contributors as soon as next season.
1. Daniel Hudson, SP, 23
Hudson sailed through the organization this season, going from low Class A all the way to the major league bullpen as a September call-up. There was talk at the trade deadline by GM Kenny Williams they might even have considered Hudson a No. 5 starter candidate in the pennant race. He went a combined 14-5 with a 2.32 ERA, 166 strikeouts and .200 batting-average against in 147 1/3 minor league innings. His command was good, too, with 34 walks and just five homers allowed. He will enter spring competing for a rotation spot, but the White Sox likely would prefer to start him in Triple-A and slot a veteran ahead of him. It won't take long for him to contribute for the White Sox and Fantasy owners.
2. Tyler Flowers, C, 24
Flowers, the key piece in the Javier Vazquez trade, is the Fantasy scouts favorite type of prospect -- a catcher that can hit. The word is he can catch some, too. It will be hard for manager Ozzie Guillen to trust a rookie catcher, but he can hit his way into the lineup as a part-time DH perhaps. Flowers hit a combined .297 with 15 homers, 56 RBI, 67 runs, .423 OBP and a .516 SLUG in 353 at-bats between Double- and Triple-A. He looks like he could be a 20-homer catcher annually, and there aren't many of those around.
3. Dayan Viciedo, 3B, 21
We scoffed at the talk the Cuban defector would make the White Sox roster as a teenager, but an impressive spring almost put egg on our faces. It is too bad he couldn't continue it into the regular season. Sure, he held his own as 20-year-old in Double-A (.280-12-78-72-5, .317-.391), but his numbers were a bit disappointing amid the hype. There is plenty of time for him to develop into a power corner infielder, but Baseball America's projection of 40-homer potential seems a bit too optimistic. He could open 2010 in Triple-A and be just one hot streak from surprising.
4. John Ely, SP, 23
We cannot be sure what it says about Ely when the White Sox allowed the less-experienced Hudson rip right through the system, yet kept Ely in a full season in Double-A. It was quite a season, though: (14-2)-2.82-125-.241 in 156 1/3 innings. Ely will compete with a slew of solid pitching prospects for what figures to be at most one rotation spot for a veteran White Sox staff. Ely figures to open the season in Triple-A and, judging by their treatment of him this year, they likely want him to spend the whole season there.
5. Brent Morel, 3B, 22
Morel, the White Sox next draftee of 2008 after Beckham, didn't have as good of a first full pro season as the AL ROY candidate, but his high Class A numbers are nothing to scoff at: .281-16-79-82-25, .335-.453. He is an athletic third baseman with speed and pop and could be an interesting guy to track in the minors in 2010.
Best of the rest: SP Carlos Torres; SP Clevelan Santeliz; SP Brandon Hynick; OF Jared Mitchell; 2B C.J. Retherford; SP Jake Egbert; SP Brian Omogrosso; SP Gregory Infante; OF Jordan Danks; OF John Shelby; RP Jhonny Nunez, RP Santos Rodriguez; SS Eduardo Escobar; SP Jeffrey Marquez; RP Jon Link; C Cole Armstrong; C Josh Phegley; OF Trayce Thompson; SP Kyle Bellamy; 3B Jon Gilmore and SS Justin Fuller.
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