Reviewing the Top Prospects: NL West

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 National League West division.

The San Diego Padres

Simon Castro| Right-Handed Pitcher
2010 Level: Double-A
Age: 22

The Padres organization said goodbye to some interesting arms while trying to solidify its roster for the playoffs. Smartly, the club held onto to Castro, who is performing very well in double-A at a young age. The right-hander has seen his strikeout rate drop from 2009 (10.07 to 7.43 K/9) but he continues to show excellent control (2.50 BB/9) and he continues to be a difficult guy to hit (7.43 H/9). If everything breaks right for Castro he could be a solid No. 2 starter. Value: Even

The San Francisco Giants

Buster Posey | Catcher
2010 Level: Triple-A/MLB
Age: 23

Posey has been as good – or better – as advertised. It’s just too bad the Giants club waited so long to call him up. The former college standout is the odds-on-favorite for Rookie of the Year in the National League with a 2.9 WAR rating and triple-slash line of .329/.372/.505 in 295 at-bats. He already has a positive UZR rating but the athletic Posey has not been catching that long (since college) and projects to get even better behind the dish. Value: Up

The Los Angeles Dodgers

Dee Gordon | Shortstop
2010 Level: Double-A
Age: 22

Flash’s son made a two-level jump to begin 2010 after posting a .359 wOBA with 73 steals at low-A ball in 2009. His time in double-A in 2010 has produced a .321 wOBA with 49 steals. Although his game is built around speed, Gordon could stand to get a little stronger (.081 ISO). On the plus side, his walk and strikeout rates are similar to what they were in low-A, although – like a lot of young, speedy guys – he could stand to be more patient (6.3 BB%). Value: Even

The Colorado Rockies

Christian Friedrich | Left-Handed Pitcher
2010 Level: Double-A
Age: 23

It hasn’t been the best season for Friedrich but he remains one of the top southpaw pitching prospects in the minors. The 23-year-old hurler has appeared in just 18 games and has a 4.21 FIP with 10.31 hits allowed per nine innings. Friedrich has been hit by a line drive this season and also suffered a strained lat muscle in another start… Luckily none of those injuries appear to be long-term concerns. His ascent has definitely been slowed but he could still surface in Colorado in 2011. Value: Even

The Arizona Diamondbacks

Jarrod Parker | Right-Handed Pitcher
2010 Level: Injured – Did Not Play
Age: 21

Despite the knowledge that Parker would be on the sidelines for the entire 2010 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, he could be found at the top of every publication’s top prospect list for this organization. The reason for that was A) He’s just that good, and B) The club’s depth was fairly weak. Things have changed, though, as the club has received a huge boost from its 2009 draft haul (Matt Davidson, Chris Owings, Bobby Borchering, Marc Krauss, etc.). All reports have Parker rebounding well since surgery and he should be on schedule to open 2011 back on the active roster, most likely in double-A. Value: Even

Up Next: The AL 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: NL West”

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  1. noseeum says:

    Off topic, but I thought I remembered in a chat with Dave Cameron that purchasers of the Second Opinion had access to Fan Graphs’ ESPN articles via the bonus blog. That doesn’t seem to be the case.

    Are they in some other section that I’m missing? Thanks!

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  2. Dan says:

    You have to say that Friedrich’s value has gone down at least a little bit from last off-season to this year… it’s been a rough 2010. Can’t really complain about the rest though.

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  3. ray says:

    I agree, Friedrich should be a Drop in value….in my opinion.

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  4. Potato, Potatoe: some would say the Giants handled Posey correctly.

    BA said in the pre-season that Posey need more work with his defense and his MLE in April was nothing to write home about ( 0.286/0.351/0.381/0.732 ) whereas Molina put up a 1000+ OPS in April.

    In addition, the Giants were able to transition Posey into the team by letting him get his bat going while at 1B without needing to worry about handling the pitching staff full-time, and meanwhile, he gets to observe how Molina handled the pitching staff, pick up tips and stuff, and slowly integrate that into his work routine.

    Then with the trade of Molina, the Giants got a very good reliever in Ray that we probably otherwise would not have been able to pick up except for a nice prospect, plus get a nice prospect in return in Michael Main.

    The Giants bought time for Posey to get his defense and offense together by signing Molina, allowed him to acclimate to the majors at 1B, which is no minor thing, Earl Weaver allowed his pitchers to get used to the majors over a full season as a reliever, then when he was ready, traded Molina and got a needed setup guy in Ray, as Romo and Affeldt were struggling then, plus an upper level starting pitcher prospect, which the Giants need with the promotion of Bumgarner. They have done things wrong before – all GMs have – but this was not one of them, the way I see it.

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