I just received my copy of the Baseball America Prospect Handbook ($29.95 from baseballamerica.com). It’s an excellent reference book that includes each team’s top 30 prospects and a ranking of the top 50 prospects in the game. Nine of our former draft picks were listed in the handbook. In addition, Tim Lincecum was the Giants’ number one prospect in 2007 before moving on to the big leagues. Here’s our ranking of our top nine:
1. Joba Chamberlain, rhp, Yankees
Best stuff of any prospect. Electric 96-97 mph fastball, nasty slider and curve. Could be No. 1 starter or elite closer.
2. Matt Wieters, c, Orioles
Plus tools at the plate and behind it. Polished switch-hitter who can be a Gold Glove defender. Plus makeup and work ethic.
3. Lars Anderson, 1b, Red Sox
Best contact and power hitter in the Boston farm system. Patient hitter who drives the ball to all fields. Solid defender.
4. Matt Latos, rhp, Padres
Three potential plus pitches. Mid 90s fastball with life, hard curve and changeup. Raw but has the stuff to pitch at the front of a big league rotation.
5. Justin Masterson, rhp, Red Sox
One of the best sinkers in the minors. Also throws plus slider and an inconsistent changeup. Could be a No. 3 starter or a short reliever.
6. Jordan Walden, rhp, Angels
Raw but impressive arsenal of pitches. 97 mph fastball and a slurvy slider with great stamina. Could become innings-eater as a No. 2 or No. 3 starter.
7. Jeff Manship, rhp, Twins
One of the best curveballs in the Twins system. Throws 90-91 mph fastball with precise command. Could develop into No. 3 or No. 4 starter.
8. Mark Melancon, rhp, Yankees
Tommy John surgery in late 2006 have limited him to eight pro innings. Off the charts makeup and work ethic. Mid 90s fastball and power curve could make him a big league closer.
9. Graham Godfrey, rhp, Athletics
Chance to become a big league starter. Throws a plus 90-92 mph sinker, a changeup and a curve. Acquired for Marco Scutaro in the fall.