Well, pitchers and catchers have reported. Crosby and Thomas' reports sound much better. Spring is here. Baseball is BACK! And with the coming of the season, Weekly Prospect Watch is back as well.
I wrote on sister site www.minorleagueball.com my top 20 prospect list on Feb 1, before John Sickels' top 20 list and BA's top 10 list. So there is no "vulturing" off their lists, though there are a few slight changes (like taking Brandon Recker and Ryan Webb off the list).
So, in this edition, prospects 16-20 will be represented, as well as honorable mentions.
20) Justin Sellers, SS--Born on Feb 1, 1986.Sellers is a scrappy small shortstop in the David Eckstein mold. Difference is, he has solid tools as well. He was rated the 3rd best HS defensive player before the draft by BA. Sellers has good instincts on the basepaths and is an above average runner, and he has good hands and range. In BA's A's draft review, Sellers was compared to Pennington in every facet of the game. He was also compared to Dustin Pedroia with his tools, instinct, and style of play. He doesn't have much power potential though. In Nat Bailey Stadium in Vancouver, he hit 274/.369/.331/700. 8 doubles, 1 triple, 0 homers, 8/11 on stolen bases. He scored 31 runs in 175 at bats. The Nat surely suppressed his power, but as you can see, he doesn't have much anyways. I think he'll hold his own very well in Kane County next year, then have a sort of breakout year in the California league.
19) James Shull, RHP--Drafted in 2005 in the 4th round out of Cal Poly. Born on August 21, 1983. Shull was outstanding in Short Season Vancouver (even considering the park he pitched in). In 13 starts that included 73 innings, he had 81 K's to just 10 walks, and a 2.47 ERA, He had a 1.03 WHIP. Shull features a high 80's/low 90's fastball, a slider, a change and a splitter. From what I know, his slider is very good (though it'd would be great if HollywoodOz could expand on this, and any other players from SS Vancouver). He'll likely begin the year in Low A Kane County, along with the HS Trio.
18)Gregorio Petit, SS-- RHB. Renowned for his GG potential, questions about his bat have carried with him. Last year, he had to have put some of them away. He OPS'ed in the Midwest League 795. .289/.349/.446. 9 homers, 10 doubles, 4 triples, 55 runs in 287 at bats. 26/44 BB/K ratio. 8/10 SB's. Overall a good offensive year. Will be 21 all of 2006 season. With Penningtons arrival, Petit was moved to second base, where he was just as succesful defensively. My favorite sleeper, he'll be playing in High A Stockton this year.
17) Jason Windsor, RHP-- Drafted in 2004 (in what's increasingly looking like a great draft), just after he led CSF to the CWS title. He dominated, and i watched every game he threw to Kurt Suzuki. He has a great changeup, throws his fastball in the high 80's. He also has an average slurve type, curveball (or some type of breaking ball). He came in as a C+ in John's preseason ranks, and i don't think it's changed. He dominated the Cal League (High A), with his peripherals even better than his 3.58 ERA. Called up to AA, his story is very similar to that of Dallas Braden. 5.72 ERA, horrendous 1.62 WHIP, he was shut down with a tired arm. Just been overworked. He'll come back to the Texas League, and he has a bulldog personality, he'll get through it even though his stuff is not the best. Some think his future like Braden is in middle relief.
16) Jason Ray, RHP--Drafted in the 8th round in 2005, he looks like a steal so far. A JUCO pitcher, he was converted because of his arm from RF to pitcher. So he's relatively new to the pitching experience. Carries a mid 90's fastball with a hammer curve (one of the best in the system) and circle change, though inconsistent with command on all pitches. He's a hard throwing setup man/closer. 21 years old, he pitched 29.2 innings in SS Vancouver. Amazingly, get this, he struck out 56 (!!!!) batters, good for a 16.99 k/9. Granted best pitchers park and weak competition, but the K's were just racked up. Command problems as well, walked 23 batters. Gave up 17 hits. Basically unhittable, literally. 2.12 ERA. He looks great.
Ramon Alvardo: OPS'ed 900 in rookie ball, but he's 21. He has 5 tool potential, and came out of the dominican academy. Mostly, he's being left off because he's still raw according to BA, and there is not much info on him.
Landon Powell: Major injury does not bode well for future as a catcher. Also have read about some attitude problems (Oz reported that he was pissed that he wasn't invited to ST on his blog)
Brandon Recker: Power potential is great, but had some contact issues while adjusting to wooden bats/being platooned.
Connor Robertson: Very good stuff and great numbers, but has a problem with his command as well. If he can refine a bit should have a future as a set-up man in the Jeff Nelson mold, with a great sinker/slider combo.
John Rheinecker: Started off great, but tore tendon in left middle finger ending his season. Still not fully recovered. Can still be a useful major league pitcher.
Well, there it is. Can't wait to see feedback, and also am happy to hear any possible requests for features or info.