'Tis the time for prospect lists. Top-ten lists, top-100 lists, reviews of past prospect lists, prospects of past list reviews...it's a time of year that even the fan of a total loser team can appreciate, as the optimism isn't spliced with awful on-field results. Loves me some prospect lists.
My problem is that I'm not qualified to write one. I'm just not. I saw one minor league game last year, and I pretended like I knew what I was looking for, but I so didn't. Best swing of the night? Adam Witter...because he hit a home run. Best pitcher on the team? That one guy with the rosin bag. He had a clean delivery or something.
So while I'm not quite qualified to create my own top-ten prospects list, a list of my favorite under-the-radar prospects shouldn't expose me.
- Brian Bocock -- His inclusion here is almost entirely due to a single quote that I can't dredge up with my Google-fu. It was from someone in the Giants organization, and he said something like, "If we can make him a .260 hitter in the majors, he'll make a ton of money." That's just a perfect description; it's Bocock's strengths and weaknesses in one sentence. Bocock can run, and by most accounts, he's the best fielding shortstop in the system. He can't quite hit yet, which drops him out of every prospect list you'll see, but if Bocock can become the .260/.330/.400 hitter from the quote, he'll be a pretty valuable piece to a rebuilding team.
Travis Denker -- This could make up for the Pierzynski deal. Seriously. Just stay with me on this one. The Dodgers are just gorging themselves at the prospect trough -- so much so that they can give up a quasi-prospect for Mark Sweeney, a luxury who is the MLB roster equivalent of a wireless toaster from Sharper Image. They don't care right now. They have prospects and young players spilling out of their pockets.
Now picture Denker hitting a game-winning home run to knock the Dodgers out of the 2010 playoffs. Man alive, that'd be sweet. It be the perfect ending to a Greek tragedy. Organization has money and prospects; organization gets careless with prospects; organization is slain by the very prospect they discarded. Aristotle would be proud.
- Thomas Neal -- I'm not sure why I'm fascinated with Neal. He was a draft-and-follow, which always seemed like a great use of the last half of the draft. He's supposed to be pretty athletic, and he's only 20. There's a fine line between "injury-prone" and "untapped potential that we haven't seen because of injuries", and I'm going with the latter.
- Championship Beavers -- That would make a fantastic proper name, but I'm referring to two of the Oregon State pitchers drafted last year, Daniel Turpen and Joe Paterson. It seems like every other year or so, a pitcher from the Northwest League without a great draft pedigree becomes a top-fifteen prospect with a good season in the Sally or Cal League. Championship Beavers had nice K/9 ratios, so I'll hedge my bets by taking both.
Comment starter: Your favorite under-the-radar prospects, if you would.