With clubs set to infuse more talent into their systems this week, and with being two months into the minor league season, it’s a great time to take a quick look at how the Top 10 prospects are doing in each system. Today, we’ll wrap up the series with a look at the National League West. Previously, we looked at the AL East, the NL East, the AL Central, the NL Central, and AL West.
*The Top 10 lists originally appeared in FanGraphs’ Second Opinion fantasy guide published in March.
Castro has dominated a good-hitting, double-A league. The right-hander has produced good ground-ball numbers and has been quite consistent. Forsythe has recovered from a slow start, which was made worse by a trip to the disabled list. Darnell, Decker, and Williams have all had their struggles, while Tate continues to deal with a plethora of injuries that have stalled his career. Luebke joins Castro as a rare bright spot on this list. His season didn’t get started until May 24 due to an injury, but he’s given up just four hits in 12.1 innings.
It’s been a pretty “meh” season on the farm in the San Francisco Giants’ system. Eight players are currently treading water and really haven’t done much to move their value upwards. The exception, of course, is Posey, who finally earned a call-up to the Majors. He could have an impact on the NL West race. On the other end of the spectrum, 2009 draft pick – and fellow catcher – Joseph has struggled down in low-A ball. He’s hitting just .193 against right-handed pitching, which isn’t going to cut it if he hopes to play regularly.
Friedrich hasn’t been overly sharp this season, although he’s battled some health issues. Chacin has stepped into the MLB rotation and has looked very good. Matzek opened the season in extended spring training, but he then moved up to low-A ball and has looked quite good. Rosario recovered from a bit of a slow start and has shown some unexpected pop with seven homers in 37 games; his career high in bombs is 12. Brothers, a 2009 draft pick, has looked strong in the high-A bullpen and could be a fast mover. Wheeler’s numbers can be categorized as good, but not great.
Prospect rating is definitely not an exact science: you win some and you lose some each year. This Top 10 list was the most controversial of the 30 I did in 2009 — mainly because I preferred Martin, Lambo, and Lindblom to Withrow. Well, it looks like I swung and missed on that assessment. Lambo was hitting well before his suspension, but Lindblom really took a step back this year. If I am going to take something positive from this list, I should focus on the fact that I was the only one to rank Ely in the Top 10 out of The Big Five, which includes Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, John Sickels, and Keith Law. The organization surprised a lot of people when it jumped Gordon over high-A and moved him directly from low-A to double-A. He’s hitting for an OK average, although his OPS is just .658. Webster and Miller are very exciting young arms.
The top of the list is hurting a bit with Parker still not back from Tommy John surgery and Allen looking for his offense at triple-A. The club is reaping the benefits from a very strong ’09 draft with good performances from Borchering, Belfiore, Owings, Krauss, and especially Davidson. Earlier in the year, the latter player was hitting very well but not taking many walks; he made an adjustment and has walked 11 times in his last 10 games. (He has a total of 18 walks in 54 games). Fellow ’09 draftee Pollock, who was actually the club’s second pick (17th overall, one pick after Borchering), is out for the year with an injury. Gillespie and Cowgill look like they could help out at the MLB level as future fourth outfielders.
Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.