Reviewing the Top 10 Prospect Lists: NL East

This is part three of a six-part series looking back at the pre-season Top 10 prospect lists for each organization, which were published at FanGraphs between November and January. Previously, we’ve reflected back on the National League West and Central lists. Let’s see now the East has fared.

Atlanta Braves
1. Julio Teheran, RHP
2. Freddie Freeman, 1B
3. Mike Minor, LHP
4. Randall Delgado, RHP
5. Craig Kimbrel, RHP
6. Arodys Vizcaino, RHP
7. Carlos Perez, LHP
8. Matt Lipka, SS
9. Edward Salcedo, 3B
10. Christian Bethancourt, C

Entering the 2011 season, the Braves Top 10 list was one of my favorites. It’s brimming with high-ceiling arms with some up-the-middle talent and some corner bats sprinkled in. Clearly, the club has already begun to reap the rewards of this strong list with Freeman and Kimbrel spending the entire season in Atlanta; it has also utilized Teheran, Delgado, and Minor. While young pitching is typically inconsistent and unreliable, Teheran, Vizcaino, and Delgado have been very good. I did ranked Vizcaino a couple slots lower than his talent might dictate due to the partial tear of a ligament in his elbow but he’s been durable this season. Perez, the least developed of the four high-ceiling arms, has had his ups-and-downs. Just 19, I would still consider his season an overall success. Brandon Beachy is the biggest omission from the 2011 list. It appears both Keith Law (who also failed to include him on his Braves Top 10 list) and I underestimated Beachy’s overall package. I do, though, still consider him more of a No. 3 starter in the long run.

Philadelphia Phillies
1. Domonic Brown, OF
2. Jonathan Singleton, 1B/OF
3. Jarred Cosart, RHP
4. Brody Colvin, RHP
5. Trevor May, RHP
6. Sebastian Valle, C
7. Jiwan James, OF
8. Jesse Biddle, RHP
9. Domingo Santana, OF
10. Aaron Altherr, OF

Like the Braves list, the Phillies list is another impressive group of prospects lead by high-ceiling arms. Cosart has really broken out this season and become one of the better arms in the minors and he’s actually separated himself a bit from Colvin. Last season a lot of prospect analysts would pretty much flip a coin when picking one over the other. Both May and Biddle have moved up the chain this season with solid years. I commend John Sickels for being the only analyst who included Vance Worley on his Top 10 list. I took the high-risk, high-reward athletes (Santana and Altherr) over a “safer” arm. James continues to have a solid conversion from pitching to hitting. No one from the pre-2011 list has been bad this year, which is very encouraging for the organization.

Florida Marlins
1. Matt Dominguez, 3B
2. Chad James, LHP
3. Kyle Skipworth, C
4. Christian Yelich, 1B/OF
5. Brad Hand, LHP
6. Marcell Ozuna, OF
7. Rob Rasmussen, LHP
8. Osvaldo Martinez, SS
9. Jhan Marinez, RHP
10. Scott Cousins, OF

The Marlins list was kind of hard to put together. The organization was lacking in high-level talent but has a lot of potential complementary and role players. Yelich has had a nice season in low-A ball even though the league has muted his power. Although he’s young, I’m a little concerned over James due to his high hit total and low ground-ball rate. I was more optimistic on Skipworth than any other analyst and he’s completely collapsed in double-A. He’s not hitting for average, power or showing any patience. I also thought Marinez would be in Florida’s ‘pen by now but his control has taken a big step back this season.

Washington Nationals
1. Bryce Harper, OF
2. Derek Norris, C
3. A.J. Cole, RHP
4. Danny Espinosa, 2B/SS
5. Sammy Solis, LHP
6. Wilson Ramos, C
7. Eury Perez, OF
8. Yunesky Maya, RHP
9. Brad Peacock, RHP
10. J.P. Ramirez, OF

Espinosa has been a pretty big surprise this season and, in hindsight, appropriately ranked. Of the five prospect analysts (FanGraphs, Baseball America, Goldstein, Law, and Sickels), Peacock appeared on just two lists (FanGraphs, BA). He’s been arguably the most improved prospect for the Nats in 2011. I believe most people have now bought into the fact that the right-hander may not be destined for the bullpen after all. The organization made an astute choice in picking up Ramos in a trade from the Twins. He’s had a solid rookie season for the big league club, while Norris has seen his star dim with a disappointing double-A performance. After encouraging Winter Ball reports, I added Maya to the Top 10 list thinking he was an advanced arm that could help a club in need of pitching depth but he continues to be an enigma. Young pitcher Robbie Ray made numerous working lists but was left off the final version, which was a mistake (as was buying into Ramirez’ bat). I suppose I can’t write about the Nats’ prospects without mentioning Harper, so here you go. He’s still good.

New York Mets
1. Wilmer Flores, SS/3B
2. Kirk Nieuwenhuis, OF
3. Matt Harvey, RHP
4. Juan Urbina, RHP
5. Fernando Martinez, OF
6. Aderlin Rodriguez, 3B
7. Reese Havens, IF
8. Cesar Puello, OF
9. Cory Vaughn, OF
10. Robert Carson, LHP

Jenrry Mejia was omitted because I didn’t consider him a prospect due to time spent on the big league roster (although he did not exceed the 50-inning cut-off for a rookie). The two most hotly-debated additions to my Top 10 list for the Mets were Vaughn and Carson. Almost four months into the season both are contenders for the 2012 list, with Vaughn being a little more likely than Carson… although I expect both to be there. Havens has had another disappointing season due to injury and I’ve never been a big fan. I’m thankful to the Mets for finally giving Martinez enough at-bats at the MLB level to no longer be eligible for the lists. I was the only analyst to omit Lucas Duda from the Top 10 but I’m pretty glad that I did. He looks like a part-time player at best. Harvey is definitely the easy favorite to be the club’s No. 1 prospect for 2012.

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Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects, depth charts and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

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