25. David Newmann, RHP, Charlotte (TB, A) - 3.39 ERA, 58.1 IP, 44 H, 23 BB, 65 K, 2 HR - Newmann missed his last start because of an injury, and I do not know how bad the injury is. However, there is not much to argue about with the numbers he has put up so far. He looks great, and as long as the injury is not related to the Tommy John surgery he had in college, or another huge injury, there is no big reason for concern.
24. Josh Donaldson, C, Midland (OAK, AA) - .261 AVG, .381 OBP, .441 SLG - Donaldson had one of the odder years of my prospects in 2008. He looked bad in low A, but was involved in the Rich Harden deal, and Oakland promoted him to high A, where he looked great. This year, in AA, Donaldson had a lackluster April, an incredible May, and so far a terrible June. Overall, the line Josh has this year is not all that bad, but so far as a pro he has been a remarkably streaky hitter.
23. Dominic de la Osa, 2B, Beloit (DET, A-) - .216 AVG, .295 OBP, .253 SLG - You might recall that de la Osa was on this list as a junior, but he went back to school. He struggled mightily in the Cape Cod League that summer, and did not recover his senior season. The struggles have continued, to say the least.
22. Todd Frazier, OF, Carolina (CIN, AA) - .331 AVG, .377 OBP, .508 SLG - Since last checking in on Todd, he has switched positions from shortstop to the outfield, and also seems to have a little different approach at the plate. He is posting his best batting average as a pro by far, and has cut down on his strikeouts considerably. However, that has come at the cost of some of his home run power, though his slugging percentage is still quite good. The bottom line is that Frazier continues to put up good numbers as he climbs the ladder.
21. Corey Brown, OF, Midland (OAK, AA) - .331 AVG, .409 OBP, .559 SLG - Speaking of cutting down on strikeouts, Brown's have plummeted this year, and consequently his batting average has sky-rocketed. The walks are down as well, but he is clearly getting stuff to hit. Corey's power numbers have diminished some as well, so perhaps he has shortened his stroke. However, the net result is easily the best year of his pro career to this point, so whatever adjustments he made are working.
20. Adam Mills, RHP, Portland (BOS, AA) - 6.51 ERA, 55.1 IP, 73 H, 16 BB, 38 K, 7 HR - Simply put, Mills is getting hit way harder this year, and the answer for him is even better location. He always profiled as a guy with decent stuff, but that would rely heavily on location and outsmarting hitters. In a similar number of innings in AA last year, Mills had much better numbers, and his three starts in June have been considerably better than ones he had in May and June. There are reasons to think he will improve, but this is still a rough year for him to this point.
19. James Simmons, RHP, Sacramento (OAK, AAA) - 5.80 ERA, 59 IP, 69 H, 28 BB, 42 K, 4 HR - From the start, the A's have rushed Simmons a bit, though after a good year in AA, this was the next logical step. The good news is that he has a low home run rate, and mostly needs to find a way to lower his hit rate. He looks a bit similar to Wade LeBlanc right now, who had a worse year in AAA in 2008 than Simmons is putting together right now, but has rebounded considerably.
18. Cory Luebke, LHP, Lake Elsinore (SD, A) - 2.48 ERA, 83.1 IP, 70 H, 16 BB, 78 K, 3 HR - Luebke had an ERA approaching 7.00 at this level last year before getting demoted, so this is fantastic progress. The league he is pitching in is definitely a hitter's league, making the numbers all the more impressive. He may be in line for a promotion to AA in the second half of the year.
17. Ross Detwiler, LHP, WAS - 5.23 ERA, 32.2 IP, 36 H, 14 BB, 23 K, 2 HR - Detwiler was on his way to a good year at AA before the Nationals decided to start calling up all their young arms with any promise. It would have been better for Detwiler's development to take it a bit slower with him, but when a manager has his job on the line with a pitching staff as awful as Washington's, a heralded prospect like Detwiler is not staying in the minors. To Ross's credit, he is an upgrade over some of the guys Washington has stuck out on the mound this year. Like almost any young pitcher, he needs to improve his command, but so far he has not got hit around too badly, as evidenced by a good home run rate so far.
16. Josh Collmenter, RHP, Visalia (ARI, A) - 3.65 ERA, 69 IP, 51 H, 18 BB, 61 K, 4 HR - This guy is validating the faith I have in him more and more every day. He was picked rather late in the draft, but is establishing himself as a legitimate pitching prospect by following up a good year in low A with an even better one in high A. Collmenter has been hit harder his last couple starts, but it is only a matter of time in the California league with all the friendly hitter parks.
15. James Adkins, LHP, Chattanooga (LAD, AA) - 4.80 ERA, 65.2 IP, 72 H, 33 BB, 30 K, 5 HR - The good news on Atkins is that he has looked much better in May and June than in April, so it seems that he just needed to adjust to the new league. However, the bad news is that his strikeout rate is remaining alarmingly low. That does not bode well for higher levels, especially if he continues to walk the number of batters he does.
14. Nick Chigges - As far as I can tell, Chigges is out of baseball, which I don't understand becuase he was good with the only appearances he got as a professional.
13. Mitch Canham, C, San Antonio (SD, AA) - .260 AVG, .350 OBP, .328 SLG - Canham still has a good eye, but he simply has not made good contact in AA so far. He got off to a good start in April, but since then has been mired in an ongoing slump for the past couple months. It is too early to tell whether it is simply a bad slump, or something bigger. He never looked like a big power hitter, but his complete lack of extra base hits this year is reason to worry.
12. Tony Thomas, 2B, Tennessee (CHC, AA) - .283 AVG, .361 OBP, .462 SLG - Tony was a little too aggressive for his own good in high A last year, but still got promoted, and is putting together a fine year. His patience has improved, but more notably he is making solid contact much more often. In half a season, he already has one more home run than he did all of last year. His production has steadily declined as the year has gone on, so the league is figuring him out. It will be interesting to see if he can make some adjustments now that the league has adjusted to him.
11. Josh Horton, SS, Midland (OAK, AA) - .285 AVG, .353 OBP, .378 SLG - The mild offensive line is encouraging coming from Horton. It is significantly better than what he posted in high A last year, and already includes two more home runs than all of last year. Horton is another guy making more contact this year.
10. Travis Banwart, RHP, Midland (OAK, AA) - 4.18 ERA, 64.2 IP, 73 H, 19 BB, 37 K, 4 HR - After progressing pretty quickly the last year and a half, Banwart is finally in a league that can hit his stuff. The good news is that he is not giving up many home runs, but the low strikeout total says he is not missing too many bats.
9. Will Kline - Out of baseball
8. Tony Watson, LHP, Altoona (PIT, AA) - 8.22 ERA, 15.1 IP, 22 H, 11 BB, 14 K, 2 HR - Watson has been out the last two months with an injury, so this is a pretty unfair stat line. He clearly was struggling badly, but how much of it is a limited a sample size, adjusting to a new league, and/or the injury is impossible to tell.
7. Nick Schmidt, LHP, Fort Wayne (SD, A-) - 3.09 ERA, 46.2 IP, 35 H, 22 BB, 54 K, 0 HR - After a major arm injury that cost him all of last season, Schmidt is rounding into form in a hurry. He has got progressively stronger, and it shows in his numbers. He is in line for a promotion to high A soon, because his past three starts have been completely dominant - 17 innings, 8 hits, 5 walks, 19 strikeouts, and only 1 run allowed (that's a 0.53 ERA).
6. Eric Sogard, 2B, San Antonio (SD, AA) - .292 AVG, .389 OBP, .393 SLG - Much like Canham, Sogard is suffering from a power outage this year, most noticable in his lack of doubles. Interestingly, his average is still good though, and he still is very selective at the plate. He was hurt for some time in May, but is coming back strong from the injury, so there is reason to think his numbers will be better by the end of the season.
5. Bryan Henry, RHP, Visalia (ARI, A) - 3.35 ERA, 37.2 IP, 41 H, 4 BB, 27 K, 3 HR - Henry is hard to figure out at this point. On one hand, he is putting up good numbers in a hitter-friendly league. On the other hand though, he is already relying pretty heavily on control out of the bullpen at a low level. More innings would definitely help the analysis.
4. Matt Wieters, C, BAL - .234 AVG, .265 OBP, .319 SLG - Wieters just got called up a few weeks ago, so that stat line is very unfair to him. His OPS was almost .900 in AAA by the time he got called up, and it was rising. It is only a matter of time before he figures out major league pitching a little better and starts flashing his prodigious power. He should be in the majors for the rest of this year, and with any kind of decent showing, he is in the majors for good.
3. Tyler Mach - Again, out of baseball, and I don't understand why because he was pretty good in the opportunity he got. He only played for half a season in rookie ball, but posted an OPS around .850.
2. David Price, LHP, TB - 2.37 ERA, 19 IP, 13 H, 18 BB, 26 K, 2 HR - He is nibbling badly at the major league level, and will eventually get burned by that. He actually was getting touched up a little bit in AAA, so at some point that ERA will go above 4.00. Still, Price is right on the cusp of staying in the majors for good.
1. Matt LaPorta, OF, Columbus (CLE, AAA) - .317 AVG, .387 OBP, .552 SLG - LaPorta logged a few weeks in the majors in May, but got sent back down after a sluggish showing. He is doing more than fine in AAA though, and it is only a matter of time before he gets another look. The Indians need his powerful bat producing in their lineup next year. Travis Hafner is not getting any younger, and more importantly, there is a good chance Shin-Soo Choo will have to serve his time in the Korean military in 2010.
The 2007 list does not look as good as 2006 right now, but many of the 2006 prospects have come on strong this year. This list has dealt with more injuries, which is a factor. In the end, it may feature more regular major-leaguers, but also more busts. Still, around 18 or so could make the majors from this list, which would be pretty solid.