The Top 10 Prospects: NL Central

After beginning this series last week with the National League West, we start the new week by taking a look at the Top 10 prospects for each of the NL Central teams, as well as their 2009 Opening Day assignments.

The NL Central features a few interesting systems (Milwaukee, Cincinnati, St. Louis) and two disappointing systems (Chicago, Houston), as well as one system that stirs lukewarm feelings (Pittsburgh). In Cincinnati, Juan Carlos Sulbaran is perhaps the biggest up-and-coming name even though he has yet to throw a pitch in a regular-season game. He upped his stock after an intriguing performance in the World Baseball Classic for the Dutch team. In Houston, the organization continues to be aggressive with pitcher-turned-outfielder Brian Bogusevic, who is in Triple-A after playing in just 42 games as a hitter last season in Double-A.

The Chicago Cubs
1. Josh Vitters, 3B, Peoria (A)
2. Jeff Samardzija, RHP, Iowa (AAA)
3. Andrew Cashner, RHP, Injured
4. Jay Jackson, RHP, Tennessee (AA)
5. Starlin Castro, SS, Daytona (A+)
6. Ryan Flaherty, SS, Peoria (A)
7. Hak-Ju Lee, SS, Injured
8. Brandon Guyer, OF, Tennessee (AA)
9. Dae-Eun Rhee, RHP, Injured
10. Welington Castillo, C, Tennessee (AA)

Other Players of Note: Kevin Hart, Micah Hoffpauir, Junior Lake, Tyler Colvin, Tony Thomas, Chris Carpenter

The Cincinnati Reds
1. Yonder Alonso, 1B, Sarasota (A+)
2. Daryl Thompson, RHP, Louisville (AAA)
3. Todd Frazier, OF, Carolina (AA)
4. Drew Stubbs, OF, Louisville (AAA)
5. Yorman Rodriguez, OF, Extended Spring Training
6. Neftali Soto, 3B, Sarasota (A+)
7. Juan Carlos Sulbaran, RHP, Dayton (A)
8. Chris Valaika, SS, Louisville (AAA)
9. Kyle Lotzkar, RHP, Injured
10. Juan Francisco, 3B, Double-A

Other Players of Note: Juan Duran, Devin Mesoraco, Chris Dickerson, Ramon Ramirez, Dallas Buck, Alex Buchholz

The Houston Astros
1. Jason Castro, C, Lancaster (A+)
2. Drew Sutton, 2B, Round Rock (AAA)
3. Brian Bogusevic, OF, Round Rock (AAA)
4. Ross Seaton, RHP, Lexington (A)
5. Bud Norris, RHP, Round Round (AAA)
6. Jordan Lyles, RHP, Lexington (A)
7. Chris Johnson, 3B, Round Rock (AAA)
8. Felipe Paulino, RHP, Round Round (AAA)
9. Jay Austin, OF, Lexington (A)
10. Collin DeLome, OF, Corpus Christi (AA)

Other Players of Note: Chia-Jen Lo, Sergio Perez, Brad James, Josh Flores, Eli Iorg, Leandro Cespedes

The Milwaukee Brewers
1. Alcides Escobar, SS, Nashville (AAA)
2. Mat Gamel, 3B, Nashville (AAA)
3. Brett Lawrie, 2B, Wisconsin (A)
4. Jeremy Jeffress, RHP, Huntsville (AA)
5. Angel Salome, C, Nashville (AAA)
6. Cutter Dykstra, OF, Wisconsin (A)
7. Lorenzo Cain, OF, Huntsville (AA)
8. Jonathan Lucroy, C, Huntsville (AA)
9. Jake Odorizzi, RHP, Extended Spring Training
10. Taylor Green, 3B, Injured

Other Players of Note: Cole Gillespie, Zack Braddock, Caleb Gindl, Cody Scarpetta, Eric Farris, Lee Haydel, Efrain Nieves, Joe Koshansky, Nick Green

The Pittsburgh Pirates
1. Pedro Alvarez, 3B, Lynchburg (A+)
2. Andrew McCutchen, OF, Indianapolis (AAA)
3. Jose Tabata, OF, Altoona (AA)
4. Brad Lincoln, RHP, Altoona (AA)
5. Bryan Morris, RHP, Lynchburg (A+)
6. Robbie Grossman, OF, West Virginia (A)
7. Neil Walker, 3B, Indianapolis (AAA)
8. Shelby Ford, 2B, Indianapolis (AAA)
9. Daniel McCutchen, RHP, Indianapolis (AAA)
10. Jarek Cunningham, 3B, Injured

Other Players of Note: Brian Friday, Quinton Miller, Daniel Moskos, Jamie Romak, Wesley Freeman, Jim Negrych, Robinzon Diaz

The St. Louis Cardinals
1. Colby Rasmus, OF, St. Louis
2. Brett Wallace, 3B, Springfield (AA)
3. Chris Perez, RHP, Memphis (AAA)
4. Jess Todd, RHP, Memphis (AAA)
5. Jason Motte, RHP, St. Louis
6. Bryan Anderson, C, Memphis (AAA)
7. Daryl Jones, OF, Springfield (AA)
8. Adam Reifer, RHP, Palm Beach (A+)
9. Clayton Mortensen, RHP, Memphis (AAA)
10. David Freese, 3B, St. Louis

Other Players of Note: Jon Jay, Peter Kozma, Lance Lynn, Mitchell Boggs, Francisco Samuel, Niko Vasquez, Jaime Garcia




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


10 Responses to “The Top 10 Prospects: NL Central”

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  1. FlimtotheFlam says:

    Another one for the Cardinals is PJ Walters who has had two strong outings one vs Memphis in the STL/MEM exhibition game. The other his first start of the year.

    He will most likely be the first called up pitcher from Memphis this year.

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  2. tgreenfield says:

    Daryl Jones at 7 for the Cardinals? Not to quibble, but he’s off to a great start in Springfield(385/.529/.692.) I think the CHONE/ZiPS projection severely underrated his value/potential. If his plate discipline improves(which by all indications it has so far), he clearly becomes the 4th or 5th best prospect on that team. A cost-controlled lineup of Ludwick, Rasmus, and Jones in 2 years is enough to make me quite happy.

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  3. cpebbles says:

    Jones has to repeat his success. He’s always been a bundle of tools and he has a ready excuse for taking off (LASIK), but you have to temper expectations when someone puts together such an unexpected season.

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  4. RMR says:

    I’m quite surprised to see Darrl Thompson at #2 for the Reds. He projects as a #3 starter at best. If this is about likelihood to be a major league contributor then Dickerson, Josh Roenicke and Ramon Ramirez probably belong in the top 10 and Frazier should be higher. If it’s about upside, then Juan Duran should be here, Soto and Fransisco should be moved up, and Mesoraco probably belongs in the top 10. It just seems like an odd mix of logic when Sulbaran and Lotzkar break the top 10 on potential alone and Daryl Thompson comes in at #2.

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  5. Marc Hulet says:

    I consider upside, tools, results, etc. all together when I rank players… some, like Thompson, I just have a good feel for… I have also read some really good scouting reports on Sulbaran, An argument could definitely be made to have Mesoraco in the Top 10.

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  6. Jack says:

    I doubt it, but does anyone have any idea as to why–including today’s double-header– Josh Vitters has sat out 2 of Peoria’s last 3 games? Any possibility he’s hurt?

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  7. Doug Gray says:

    Daryl Thompson is in EXT ST with shoulder tendinitis. JC Sulbaran is in EXT ST with blister issues. Lotzkar is in EXT ST with a tired arm. There just isn’t a way that Thompson belongs that high. He doesn’t have outstanding stuff. He has a shoulder surgery under his belt and each of the last two seasons has hit the DL with shoulder problems.

    What about Zach Stewart? He is starting right now, but thats a temporary move.

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