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Reviewing the Top 10 Prospect Lists: NL West

This post represents the beginning of a six-part series that will take a look back at the annual pre-season Top 10 lists for all 30 organizations. It’s a great time to review as the full-season leagues are starting their second halves, while the short-season teams are just getting started. As you can probably already guess, we’re starting off with the National League West.

Arizona Diamondbacks
1. Jarrod Parker, RHP
2. Matt Davidson, 3B
3. Tyler Skaggs, LHP
4. Chris Owings, SS
5. Marc Krauss, OF
6. Bobby Borchering, 3B/1B
7. Pat Corbin, LHP
8. Wade Miley, LHP
9. Mike Belfiore, LHP
10. Keon Broxton, OF

Both Skaggs and Corbin – loot acquired from the Los Angeles Angels in the Dan Haren trade – have seen their values increase. Skaggs has a 2.68 FIP despite pitching in the potent California League (high-A). He also has a strikeout rate of 11.06 K/9 and has shown respectable control. Corbin has a FIP of 3.49 in 101.1 double-A innings. He’s also shown outstanding control with a walk rate of just 1.87 BB/9. None of the hitters on the Top 10 list have really broken out in a big way in 2011 but none have really hurt their value all that much either – save for Krauss. The 23-year-old slugger is hitting just .225/.321/.431 in double-A and the left-handed batter has hit just .191 against same-handed pitching.

Colorado Rockies
1. Tyler Matzek, LHP
2. Nolan Arenado, 3B
3. Wilin Rosario, C
4. Christian Friedrich, LHP
5. Peter Tago, RHP
6. Rex Brothers, LHP
7. Juan Nicasio, RHP
8. Charlie Blackmon, OF
9. Kyle Parker, OF
10. Chad Bettis, RHP

The Rockies Top 10 list has seen a lot of ups-and-downs in terms of prospect values. Matzek was one of my favorite prep pitching prospects available in the ’09 draft but the organization tinkered with his delivery and his effectiveness has plummeted. Similarly, Tago was again one of my key prospects available in the ’10 draft and he’s struggled to throw strikes in low-A. Nicasio, though, has seen his value increase with a very strong first half of the ’11 season. Bettis continues to move up the depth chart, too. On the offensive side of things, Blackmon, a Mr. Cistulli favorite, reached the Majors last month and has looked like a solid everyday player.

Los Angeles Dodgers
1. Dee Gordon, SS
2. Aaron Miller, LHP
3. Zach Lee, RHP
4. Allen Webster, RHP
5. Trayvon Robinson, OF
6. Jerry Sands, OF
7. Ivan DeJesus, SS
8. Chris Withrow, RHP
9. Ethan Martin, RHP
10. Rubby De La Rosa, RHP

One way to save on your big league budget is to rely on your minor league system. The cash-strapped Dodgers organization has aggressively moved along a few prospects this season with Gordon, Sands, DeJesus and De La Rosa reaching the Majors (with mixed results). I was more aggressive with my assessment of Miller than the likes of Baseball America, Keith Law, and Kevin Goldstein and injuries have derailed his season. Withrow has had a nice bounce-back season after a poor showing in ’10 but Martin continues to struggle.

San Francisco Giants
1. Brandon Belt, 1B/OF
2. Zack Wheeler, RHP
3. Francisco Peguero
4. Ehire Adrianza, SS
5. Gary Brown, OF
6. Thomas Neal, OF
7. Charlie Culberson, 2B
8. Hector Sanchez, C
9. Brandon Crawford, SS
10. Jorge Bucardo, RHP

I’m pretty happy with this list even now, despite the fact that I deviated from the pack (BA, Law, Goldstein, etc) with a number of my rankings. Bucardo was a feel pick that hasn’t worked out given that he has yet to pitch this season, but sleeper Sanchez has been a breakout player who is getting quite a bit of attention now. I left both Jarrett Parker and Tommy Joseph off the Top 10 list and neither has really stepped forward this season. Eric Surkamp was ranked No. 11 on my list and just missed the cut; he’s been outstanding in double-A and should be in a big league rotation in 2012.

San Diego Padres
1. Casey Kelly, RHP
2. Simon Castro, RHP
3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
4. Reymond Fuentes, OF
5. Donavan Tate, OF
6. Cory Luebke, LHP
7. Jaff Decker, OF
8. Jedd Gyorko, 3B
9. Matt Lollis, RHP
10. Adys Portillo, RHP

I’d say that it’s time to drop Tate further down the list after yet another season filled with injuries and now a suspension due to a positive drug test. Luebke and Rizzo are both on the big league roster, and the pitcher has been quite good and has moved from the bullpen to the starting rotation. By focusing on pitching rather (after being a two-way player in high school), Kelly was supposed to take a huge step forward but his ceiling has settled in around a No. 3 starter. Castro struggled in triple-A and has been moved back down to double-A. I was the only prospect ranker to go with the ceiling of Portillo over the “reliability” of James Darnell and it looks like a very poor choice in hindsight.