Top 10s Revisited: AL Central

With clubs set to infuse more talent into their systems next week, and with being two months into the minor league season, it’s a great time to take a quick look at how the Top 10 prospects are doing in each system. Today, we’ll take a look at the American League Central. So far we’ve looked at the AL East and the NL East.

*The Top 10 lists originally appeared in FanGraphs’ Second Opinion fantasy guide published in March.

Minnesota Twins

The Twins Top 10 list is a little thin on “can’t miss talent” but that’s what you get when you draft and sign a lot of high-risk, high-reward players. Hicks and Gibson are the cream of the crop in this system, while Ramos has turned himself into an interesting trading chip. Valencia has hit for a good batting average in triple-A but his power has dried up, which definitely hurts the value of a third base prospect. Benson was recently demoted from double-A to high-A but he’s still young so you definitely don’t want to give up on him.

Detroit Tigers

The organization made a couple of aggressive promotional moves with its 2009 draft picks. Oliver’s assignment to double-A has proven fruitful, while Fields’ overly-aggressive assignment to high-A has not really panned out. I’m not sure why the club felt justified in skipping the raw 19-year-old with no pro experience over low-A… A number of prospects on this list have seen their values diminished by injuries: Crosby, Strieby, and Satterwhite.

Chicago White Sox

On the cusp of a MLB promotion, Flowers’ bat has suddenly wilted under the pressure. Danks and Retherford are also struggling, but Hudson has rebounded from a slow start. Mitchell, the club’s top pick from ’09, will miss the entire season due to injury. Viciedo is hitting fairly well despite the lack of discipline at the plate and Morel was recently promoted to triple-A. All-in-all it’s been a bit of a disappointing season so far for the club’s top prospects.

Cleveland Indians

The Indians club entered the year with one of the deepest systems, even though its Top 10 list is not oozing with “can’t miss talent.” Santana has not been fazed by triple-A and he should be in the Majors soon. White, like the Twins’ Kyle Gibson, has really moved quickly and looks like a great No. 1 draft choice. Chisenhall has performed OK but not great. Hagadone was recently promoted to double-A.

Kansas City Royals

You don’t often hear this, but: It’s good to be the Kansas City Royals. The club has seen the biggest improvement amongst its Top 10 prospects… probably in the entire Major Leagues. Montgomery, Moustakas, and Hosmer have all taken big steps forward in their collective development. Duffy, who retired at the start of the season, has just returned to the club. Myers has looked good early on in low-A, and Lough has continued his ’09 success at triple-A in 2010. We can only hope Ka’aihue is used in a trade at some point this season.

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

8 Responses to “Top 10s Revisited: AL Central”

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  1. Dberg says:

    I don’t think the Daniel Fields experiment has been as bad as you claim. He’s a slightly below-average hitter (0.663 OPS compared to a league average of 0.691), but he’s also 3.5 years younger than the average FSL player (22.8 for hitters, 23.0 for pitchers). But most impressive, he has a 13% walk rate, and a 2:1 K:BB rate. Those are both quite impressive for a kid his age at that level. He’s certainly not blowing away the league, but he’s holding his own at a premium position despite playing against kids four years older than him. Personally, I’m pretty impressed.

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    • Steve says:

      I agree that Fields is performing pretty well considering the circumstances and you certainly can’t say that the assignment has not panned out. For a 19 year old in his first season of pro-ball, he is holding his own against significantly older competition. He has already shown a pretty good eye at the plate and hopefully his power will develop over the next 2-4 years. He is also doing this while learning a new position in centerfield.

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  3. Marc Hulet says:

    My concern is that the over-aggressive promotion is going to have a long-term impact on Fields… sure, the numbers could definitely be worse, but I’d rather see him dominating low-A competition and building up his confidence…

    On a totally unrelated note, I just realized that this post finally put me into second place behind Dave C for the most posts ever on FanGraphs… It’s been a long chase after Eric S.

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    • the fume says:

      Fields was only supposed to play a week or so in Lakeland as an injury replacement, but he handled himself well enough that they have just let him keep playing. I wouldn’t be surprised if he heads to the NY-Penn League (?) when that short season starts. In fact I’m kind of expecting it. But yeah the original plan I’m sure was extend spring training and then one of the short season leagues.

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      • David in DC says:

        Fields is putting up a league average OPS when he is 4 years younger than the league avereage age. All while learning a new position, where he has made no errors. Pretty successful, despite the Ks.

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  4. Paul says:

    I can’t see how a 1.100+ OPS, much better numbers than he put up last year at that level, is not a step forward for Kila.

    If Crow has been neutral with his numbers, why has Melville taken a step back? They’re struggles are similar, and both are relatively appropriate age and developmental level for their league. Melville’s last four starts have been much better.

    Not sure how Lough has taken a step forward. His numbers are fairly pedestrian and his low walk rate is going to be a problem.

    With the emergence of Jon Lamb and Derrick Robinson, and even Blake Wood, it really is a good time to be the Royals. They need to keep the waves coming, though.

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  5. Dberg says:

    Also, just curious why you don’t have Austin Jackson and Daniel Schlereth on your list.

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