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Reviewing the Top 100 Prospects List, 50-26

This week we’re reviewing the annual pre-season Top 100 prospects list that originally ran in mid-March. Below you’ll find prospects 50 through 26 in the original order they appeared. Yesterday, we looked at prospects 75-51.

50. Josh Bell, OF, Pittsburgh: Bell opened 2012 in low-A ball but injured his knee in late April and had surgery. He has yet to return but the injury should not be a long-term concern. (Value Static)

49. Gary Brown, OF, San Francisco: Brown had a nice 2011 campaign but he’s finding the going a little tougher in double-A. The 23-year-old outfielder is producing league-average results with a wRC+ of 105. He’s stolen 22 bases on the year but has also been caught 13 times. Because speed is his best tool, Brown needs to do a better job of getting on base (6.1 BB%). (Value Static)

48. Christian Yelich, 1B/OF, Miami: Yelich, 20, was slowed earlier this year by an injury but he’s made up for lost time. He’s hit for average and power which has helped him post a wRC+ of 173. He could develop into a very talented No. 3 hole hitter and is probably ready for the challenge of double-A. Yelich could help Miami by the end of 2013. (Value Up)

47. Trevor May, RHP, Philadelphia: May has been passed by Jesse Biddle for the best arm in the system but he’s holding steady at No. 2. The right-handed hurler has struggled at double-A and currently has a 4.92 ERA in 89.2 innings. His command and control issues are definitely related to the challenges that he’s faced to this point in 2012. (Value Down)

46. A.J. Cole, RHP, Oakland: Cole got off to an extremely slow start after being included in an off-season trade between Washington and Oakland. The young hurler opened the year in high-A ball (California League) and posted a 7.82 ERA in eight starts. He was victimized by a .405 BABIP, though, and he also gave up seven home runs. The plus side is that he showed good control with a walk rate of 2.37 K/9. Cole is dominating low-A ball once again and should get another shot at high-A ball before too long (Value Down… a Bit)

45. James Paxton, LHP, Seattle: Paxton opened 2012 as one of the top arms in the system and was expected to move rather quickly and possibly help the big league club in the second half of the year – given that he originally signed with the organization in what would have been his senior year of college. The southpaw was inconsistent in May and then missed all of June due to injury. He’s back to throwing the ball very well in July and could still see the Majors by the end of the year (Value Static)

44. Michael Choice, OF, Oakland: I ranked Choice quite aggressively on this list and had my doubts at the time… and even more so now. He showed outstanding power numbers in both 2010 and 2011 (including the Arizona Fall League) but his ISO rate has dipped to .114 in 2012 at double-A. Because he doesn’t offer much beyond the power tool, Choice needs to make some adjustments if he’s going to be an everyday outfielder at the big league level. (Value Down)

43. Billy Hamilton, SS, Cincinnati: When he gets on base Hamilton is a very exciting player. After stealing 103 bases in 2011, the outfielder has already racked up 104 base thefts in just 82 games. He’s invoking memories of former Cardinals outfielder Vince Coleman who stole more than 100 bases three times at the big league level. Hamilton could accomplish that feat, as well, but the rest of his game (defense, hitting) still needs a fair bit of polish. (Value Static)

42. Drew Pomeranz, LHP, Colorado: Currently on the big league roster, Pomeranz has split the year between the Majors and the minors. His struggles at the big league level can be connected to his lack of control as his walk rate is at 5.09 BB/9, compared to a 3.86 rate in triple-A. (Value Static)

41. Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Chicago NL: After opening the year in triple-A with Bryan LaHair manning first base in Chicago, Rizzo has finally gotten his shot to play everyday with the Cubs and he’s taking advantage of the opportunity. The 22-year-old hitter is hitting .354 and has already slugged four home runs in his first 12 games. (Value Up)

40. Yasmani Grandal, C, San Diego: When the year began it was difficult to see where Grandal would fit into the Padres’ 2012 plans but struggles by incumbent backstop Nick Hundley (who replaced the rookie in triple-A) opened the door for the Cuba native. He’s played in just 10 games so far but has already made his presence known with four home runs. (Value Up)

39. Yonder Alonso, 1B, San Diego: Traded by Cincinnati to San Diego along with Yasmani Grandal in the Mat Latos deal, Alonso opened 2012 as the big league club’s everyday first baseman. His offense, though, has not been overly impressive. He has a .263 average with just three home runs in 293 at-bats. Alonso’s home ball park favors pitchers to the extreme and Alonso has yet to homer there (144 at-bats) but he has almost identical batting averages in San Diego and on the road. (Value Down)

38. Manny Banuelos, LHP, New York AL: The Yankees organization has seen quite a few of its young arms get hurt or take a step backward in their development this year and Banuelos fits into the former category. The left-hander hasn’t pitched since May due to an elbow injury that isn’t expected to require surgery. (Value Static)

37. Travis d’Arnaud, C, Toronto: d’Arnaud was playing extremely well in triple-A but he injured his knee and is expected to miss about another four weeks. He was hitting .333 with an ISO rate of .262 in 67 triple-A games and the injury is not expected to be a long-term concern. He should supplant current big league catcher J.P. Arencibia at some point in 2013 – and that would have likely happened by the end of ’12 if the injury had not occurred. (Value Static)

36. Anthony Gose, OF, Toronto: A member of the 2012 Futures Game, Gose is also one of the youngest hitters at the triple-A level. He is also one of the most impressive athletes in the minors but he’s still quite raw. Gose strikes out a ton but would still have a lot of big league value even if he hits .230-.240, thanks to his three plus tools: arm strength, defense and speed. (Value Static)

35. Francisco Lindor, SS, Cleveland: The top prep shortstop available in the 2011 draft, Lindor opened 2012 in low-A ball and hit .314 in April. His average has plummeted with each subsequent month, though. One encouraging sign with the young player is his strikeout rate, which is still very low at 13.9%. (Value Down… a Bit)

34. Bubba Starling, OF, Kansas City: Starling didn’t officially begin his pro career until the short-season clubs opened in June and he’s played just 10 games so far while dealing with nagging injuries. The outfielder is already flashing good power, though. He has 13 Ks and eight walks in 10 games. (Value Static)

33. Mike Montgomery, LHP, Kansas City: The young left-hander struggled to tame triple-A in two attempts and was just recently demoted back to double-A. At one time Montgomery was one of the top arms in the minors but his ceiling has been lowered significantly since he suffered an elbow injury (which did not require surgery) in 2010. (Value Down)

32. Randall Delgado, RHP, Atlanta: Delgado has spent the entire 2012 season at the big league level with mixed results. He’s been durable but he has a 4.52 ERA and has struggled with his control. (Value Static)

31. Nick Castellanos, 3B, Detroit: Castellanos, 20, opened 2012 in high-A ball and posted a wRC+ of 186, which included a .405 batting average. Promoted to double-A, he’s continued to hit for average and his power output has actually increased. He’s been quite aggressive at the new level with a walk rate of 1.7%.Castellanos has the ceiling of an all-star third baseman and he should be ready for the Majors by mid-2013. (Value Up)

30. Zach Lee, RHP, Los Angeles NL: Lee survived the potent California League and recently earned a promotion to double-A. He continues to flash good stuff coupled with above-average control. He still needs some work on his command but the right-hander should develop into a solid big league starter and could reach The Show within the next year. (Value Up)

29. Xander Bogaerts, SS, Boston: Bogaerts opened a lot of eyes with an impressive power display in low-A ball in 2011 and he’s become a better all around player this year at high-A. He still has good power (.193 ISO) while seeing his batting average and walk rate increase, while his strikeout rate has dropped. He could reach double-A in 2013 at the age of 20. (Value Up)

28. Martin Perez, LHP, Texas: The young left-hander made 26 starts at the triple-A level between 2011 and 2012 with mixed results. Perez, 21, recently received a promotion to the Majors and has made three appearances, including two starts. He possesses the ceiling of a mid-rotation starter. (Value Static)

27. Miguel Sano, 3B/SS, Minnesota: Sano’s calling card is his plus raw power and he’s flashed that in 2012 by hitting 18 home runs in the Midwest League. Unfortunately, he’s swinging and missing a lot with his strikeout rate above 28% and it’s dragged down his batting average to .246. He’s getting on base at a decent clip, though, because he’s walking a lot (13.7%). (Value Static)

26. Matt Harvey, RHP, New York NL: Harvey is on the cusp of reaching the Majors. The former first round pick has spent all of 2012 in triple-A and has put up solid numbers across the board in 98.1 innings of work. He has 102 strikeouts but he’s walked a few too many batters (42 free passes). He’s done a nice job of combating left-handed hitters and is holding them to a .218 average. (Value Up)