Finishing off the top 10. . .
#10. Lance Lynn
I’m really ready to revise my opinion of Lance Lynn. I probably should have after his strong performance last year out of the pen but I still hedged because he was a reliever and not a starter. I’m not hedging anymore. Lynn has looked great to start the season and has to be regarded as more than a “back-end starter” at this point.
#9. Matt Carpenter
The second player on the list who just looks radically different than he did just a year ago. Matt Carpenter has traded his walks in for power. He’s halved his minor league walk rate and nearly doubled his ISO. All of his plate discipline numbers have moved toward league averages and he just looks like a different hitter than he was in the minors. Clearly, this is a new approach at the plate and while it’s working right now, I’ll always wonder what a .400 OBP would have looked like in the majors from MCarp.
#8. Zack Cox
Off to a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad start in Memphis. He’s batting under .200 with an OBP under .250. After a rather unexciting 2011 aggregate performance, things are not trending in the right direction. It’s interesting, academically, that the two college “bat prospects”, Brett Wallace and Cox, are fairing so poorly right now.
#7. Trevor Rosenthal
Rosenthal has maintained a great strikeout rate but his walk rate has exploded. He’ll need to regain his former season command to move up the prospect list.
#6. Kolten Wong
Wong has shown a slight dip in power at Springfield compared to Quad Cities, which I would speculate is related to some minor nagging injuries, but nothing that should really concern anyone. The contact and walk rates remain healthy. The transition to AA looks successful thus far.
#5. Matt Adams
Adams isn’t on pace for quite the gaudy homerun totals he racked up in 2011 but his overall production continues to be consistent. Plus, he’s already matched his stolen base total from last year.
#4. Oscar Taveras
If there’s one player that looks poised to rocket up prospect lists, it’s Taveras. With more homeruns than 2011, a high OBP coupled with a sustainable BABIP and the continued playing of centerfield, Taveras has gone a long way toward showing he wasn’t just a one year wonder.
#3. Tyrell Jenkins
Strikeouts are steady. The problem with Jenkins is efficiency. With an increasing walk rate, he’s not quite managing 6 innings per start. He remains very raw and I haven’t heard anything this year to cause me to alter my opinion of him.
#2. Carlos Martinez
Stealthily having a good season. Walks are down. Like Jenkins, he’s still missing that magic 6 IP per start mark but things are pointed in the right direction. It looks like he’ll need more time in the minors than might have first been anticipated.
#1. Shelby Miller
He’s struggling with command in Memphis which has led to more walks and more homeruns. The strikeout rate is surprisingly high with Miller in the top 10 of AAA for strikeouts. I’d hesitate to call him up right now but he doesn’t seem far off from the majors. I’d be shocked not to see him in the major league rotation in 2013.