Top 100 prospects: 41-60
Posted: Friday February 8, 2008 2:26PM; Updated: Thursday February 14, 2008 6:40PM
41. Johnny Cueto, RHP, Reds: While scouts might find it hard to warm up to a 5-foot-10 starting pitcher, Cueto's mid-90s fastball, hard slider, and plus command leave few worrying any more about his size.
42. Manny Parra, LHP, Brewers: Always loaded with promise despite a propensity to spend long periods of time on the disabled list, Parra finally stayed healthy enough to reach the big leagues last year and cement a bid to join Milwaukee's Opening Day rotation.
43. Steven Pearce, 1B/OF, Pirates: The slugger put up a hefty .333/.394/.622 line across three levels last year in the minors, so the Pirates are scrambling to find a way to get his bat in the big-league lineup.
44. Chris Tillman, RHP, Orioles: Now the best arm in the Baltimore system following the Erik Bedard trade, Tillman had California League scouts drooling because of his power-pitcher's frame, mid-90s velocity, and biting slider.
45. Josh Vitters, 3B, Cubs: The third overall pick in last summer's draft has remarkable hitting skills, with the rare combination of plus power and an instinctual feel for contact. His defense at third needs work.
46. Fautino De Los Santos, RHP, Athletics: The best arm going to Oakland in the Nick Swisher deal, De Los Santos was a relative unknown going into last season, but the bulky Dominican came out firing bullets in 2007 and recorded 121 strikeouts while allowing just 49 hits at low Class A ball.
47. Austin Jackson, CF, Yankees: Once one of the top prep basketball players in the country, Jackson began to translate his athleticism into baseball skills in 2007, and is now looking like a 20/20 center fielder who could be ready by 2009.
48. Jose Tabata, OF, Yankees: Tabata is a sweet-swinging teenager who looks like a surefire .300 hitter in the big leagues, but the debate is over his power potential, and the impending result will determine how much impact potential he has.
49. Eric Hurley, RHP, Rangers: Hurley hit some bumps in the road at Class AAA last year, but he projects easily as a good No. 3 starter, and could be ready as early as the All-Star break.
50. Brett Anderson, LHP, Athletics: One of the most polished teenage arms to show up in years, the son of a pitching coach already has plus-plus command, an outstanding curveball, and a very good changeup.
51. Fernando Martinez, OF, Mets: Gifted with tools, youth, and potential, Martinez has never dominated while constantly being pushed up through the Mets' system, and constant injury problems haven't helped matters.
52. Adam Miller, RHP, Indians: Armed with a plus-plus fastball/slider combination, Miller has ace-level stuff, but his inability to stay healthy has many wondering if he wouldn't be better off as a lights-out reliever.
53. Justin Masterson, RHP, Red Sox: Masterson has the best sinker in the minor leagues and is a groundball-generating machine, but the depth of the Boston rotation might mean he'll begin his career in a bullpen role.
54. J.R. Towles, C, Astros: The Brad Ausmus era comes to an end in Houston, as he'll caddy for the rookie Towles in '08. The kid has the potential to hit .280 with 15 home runs annually while also providing fine defensive skills behind the plate.
55. Carlos Triunfel, SS, Mariners: To hit .288 at high Class A as a 17-year-old is a remarkable feat, but his upside gets dinged a bit becausehe did not hit a home run in 371 at-bats, drew just 17 walks, and didn't show enough range to stay at shortstop.
56. Gio Gonzalez, LHP, Athletics: Also acquired from the White Sox over the winter in the Nick Swisher deal, Gonzalez led the minor leagues in strikeouts in 2007 thanks to one of the best curveballs in the minors.
57. Jed Lowrie, SS, Red Sox: A .300 hitter who smacked 47 doubles and 13 home runs while drawing a ton of walks, scouts have no problems believing in the bat, but they also think that he'll end up at second base in the end.
58. Elvis Andrus, SS, Rangers: Moving from Atlanta to Texas in the Mark Teixeira trade, Andrus has Gold Glove potential afield, and the potential to be an ideal No. 2 hitter in the big leagues to boot.
59. Jordan Walden, RHP, Angels: A flamethrower who got a case of draft-itis during his senior year of high school, Walden was back in the upper 90s last year, giving the Angels yet another in a long line of late-round steals.
60. Ryan Kalish, OF, Red Sox: Loaded with tools, Kalish was arguably the best position player in the New York-Penn League before his season was cut short by a wrist injury. His '08 full-season debut is definitely one to watch.