Reviewing the Top Prospects: AL Central

Entering 2010, FanGraphs posted Top 10 prospect lists for all 30 MLB organizations. And it’s been a great year for rookies, which means there are going to be a lot of changes in the Top 10 lists for 2011. Before we tackle that beast after the season, though, we’re taking a look at how each club’s No. 1 prospect has fared in 2010. Today, we’re looking at the American League Central division.

The Cleveland Indians

Carlos Santana | Catcher
2010 Level: Triple-A/MLB
Age: 24

Santana forced Cleveland’s hand by posting a .451 wOBA in 57 triple-A games in 2010. The catcher then started off his MLB career with a scorching stretch before his bat cooled a bit. His season ended early after an ugly collision at home plate that forced him to go under the knife for a knee injury. Santana ended his rookie season with a triple-slash line of .260/.401/.467 in 150 at-bats. Like Buster Posey in San Francisco, Santana has a bright future as an offensive-minded catcher who projects to get better behind the dish after being converted to the position earlier in his career with the Dodgers. Value: Up

The Kansas City Royals

Mike Montgomery | Left-Handed Pitcher
2010 Level: A+/AA
Age: 21

Montgomery is one of the top pitching prospects in all of minor league baseball who reached double-A at the age of 20. The lefty did have a hiccup this season, though, when he landed on the disabled list with elbow soreness. His numbers have been very good in double-A, but he saw his walk rate increase with the jump (3.50 BB/9), but that could also be related to his injury. Montgomery still has a solid 3.76 FIP and has been hard to hit (7.67 H/9). With a fully healthy 2011 season, he could reach the Majors by the end of next season. Value: Even

The Chicago White Sox

Tyler Flowers | Catcher
2010 Level: Triple-A
Age: 24

After posting a wOBA rate of more than .400 in 2009 (split between double-A and triple-A), Flowers looked to be on course to take the MLB job of incumbent catcher A.J. Pierzynski in 2011. However, a disappointing triple-A season in 2010 may have cast some doubt in the minds of Chicago’s front office. Flowers has hit just .221/.333/.435 in 340 at-bats. Always known for power, walks and lots of strikeouts, the young catcher has continued the trend but the low batting average and even-higher-than-normal K-rate (35%) has led to a .339 wOBA. His BABIP is much lower than his career norm but he could also be putting too much pressure on himself with the Majors with a MLB job within sight. Value: Down

The Minnesota Twins

Aaron Hicks | Outfielder
2010 Level: Low-A
Age: 20

Asked to repeat low-A in 2010 despite a respectable ’09 season, Hicks has risen his wOBA from .337 to 372. His been quite consistent this season, save for a poor showing in May. He’s still learning to tap into his power (.146 ISO) but Hicks has already stolen a career high 19 bases and has an outstanding walk rate at 16.2 BB%. Overall, he has a triple-slash line of. 271/.389/.417 in 391 at-bats. He’s going to continue to require patience, but Hicks could develop into something special. Value: Up

The Detroit Tigers

Casey Crosby | Left-Handed Pitcher
2010 Level: Rookie
Age: 21

Injuries continue to haunt Crosby and he’s appeared in just three games this season after making 24 low-A starts in 2010 in which he posted a 2.80 FIP. The young pitcher has battled elbow soreness this season, which is definitely not good news considering he underwent Tommy John surgery shortly after signing with the Tigers out of high school in 2007. Value: Down

Up Next: The NL Central




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Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospect analysis. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

6 Responses to “Reviewing the Top Prospects: AL Central”

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  1. MauerPower says:

    I’m really excited about Hicks. I believe I was on a Fangraphs prospect chat and whoever was answering Q’s said A ball is a tough situation for the Twins to put their young guys in. It must be tough to hit in those parks. He said Hicks should bust out in AA. I’m really excited to see him in the majors. I also can’t wait to see Sano and Gibson.

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  2. Rich says:

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I find it ridiculous that a player who is going to need his entire knee reconstructed this year is listed as UP.

    Yeah, Santana looked great, but right now, he can’t walk. Some guys never come fully back from these injuries, and Cleveland is losing quite a bit of his surplus value/cost control.

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  3. KowboyKoop says:

    I’m a little surprised there hasn’t been a little more mention of Mike Moustakas on this site, given the season he’s having as a 21 year old in AA/AAA. .321/.370/.614 as that age in the upper minors…not bad. Plate discipline was decent in AA..not so much in AAA yet. Interesting what the projection on him would be once he’s in the majors..which looks to come next year by June or so.

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    • KowboyKoop says:

      Yeah..I’m gonna go ahead and nominate myself for the “good timing” award of the week.

      4 for 6, 3 HR, 2B, 11 RBI on the night…and his night may not be over.

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