First of all, allow myself to introduce... myself.
I'm Kevin Gengler, and I'm happy to be posting here as the newest staff writer for DRaysBay. Steve contacted me about helping to expand prospect coverage on the site, as that always seems to pop up when we ask you what you guys want to see more of here.
A little bit about myself: I'm one of the writers over at RaysProspects, and will remain there while also writing here. Nothing about the coverage over there will change, and it'll still be the place to go for daily recaps, news, notes, statistical observations, and oh so much more.
Now that I've gotten the plug out of the way, I can talk about what I what to bring to DRaysBay, and that's supplement all the terrific major-league coverage with a weekly or bi-monthy gander into the prospect world (in addition to the occasional minor league posts by FreeZo, rglass, and others).
But since many people have asked for more prospect coverage, I turn the floor over to you guys: What would you like to see? Here are a few of the ideas I hope to bring to the table, but I'd love to hear feedback on these as well as any ideas you might have:
*Prospect Showdowns, to adopt an idea of John Sickels' at MinorLeagueBall.
*Yet another post about whether or not Tim Beckham is a bust (just kidding)
*Prospect Of The Week, an in-depth look at a particularly noteworthy player
*How I value tools vs. stats
I'm very excited to have the opportunity to write at DRaysBay, and your feedback will help me to make the most of it!
In the meantime, here's a somewhat quick-and-dirty AL East Top 25:
1. Jesus Montero, C, Yankees - I think the bat is just going to so special that even if he's playing below-average defense, he gets top billing here. Only if he 100% HAS to move off the position would I drop him a few spots.
2. Jeremy Hellickson, RHP, Rays - I think you might be familiar with his work at this point. You might be able to make the argument that he's the team's second-best pitcher right now
3. Matt Moore, LHP, Rays - Has the highest ceiling of any pitching prospect in the division. He just needs to show that the 2010 control improvements were for real and that he can be dominant for an entire season.
4. Kyle Drabek, RHP, Blue Jays - He's not unlike Hellickson: Ready for the majors right now, relatively "safe" choice, and I think he has more ceiling than people give him credit for. Unlike Hellickson, though, his change-up and command are questionable.
5. Manny Machado, SS, Orioles - Tough crowd when the #3 overall pick can only rank fifth in his division. I believe in Machado's bat, but I'm a little concerned that he won't have the range for shortstop.
6. Gary Sanchez, C, Yankees - He's obviously very far away, but he lived up to his scouting reports and then some by completely crushing it in the pitcher-friendly Gulf Coast League.
7. Zach Britton, LHP, Orioles - The minors' top groundball specialist, Britton can miss some bats, too. Needs to improve against righties.
8. Desmond Jennings, OF, Rays - Love the tools. Love the athleticism. Don't love the mixed bag results in 2010 and definitely don't love the injury history.
9. Manny Banuelos, LHP, Yankees - No concerns about his stuff, just want to see him do it for an entire season.
10. Anthony Ranaudo, RHP, Red Sox - He has some health questions, but he dominated the Cape Cod League and he oozes potential.
11. Jose Iglesias, SS, Red Sox - Could wind up among the game's best defenders at shortstop, but his offensive ceiling just isn't very high.
12. Alex Torres, LHP, Rays - Short lefty with good stuff like Banuelos, just not as polished with his command.
13. Andrew Brackman, RHP, Yankees - Tall righty with good stuff like Ranaudo, but not as much of a track record of success.
14. Josh Sale, OF, Rays - I'm just a huge fanboy.
15. Jake McGee, LHP, Rays - I think he could probably start, but he'll fill a void in the bullpen and settle in there.
16. Dellin Betances, RHP, Yankees - He had a great year in 2010, but I think injuries will force him to the 'pen.
17. Xavier Avery, OF, Orioles - He's more tools than production, but the tools are worth drooling over.
18. Deck McGuire, RHP, Blue Jays - He was their "safe" 2010 first rounder. Definitely a solid pitcher, but nothing about him wows you.
19. Drake Britton, LHP, Red Sox - Britton is close to being Boston's Jake McGee stuff-wise, but only has 121 pro innings.
20. Alex Colome, RHP, Rays - Electric fastball, but may not stay in the rotation without improved change-up and command.
21. Travis d'Arnaud, C, Blue Jays - Above average tools across the board, except for speed. Will definitely stay behind the plate barring futher back issues.
22. Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Red Sox - He's been good in the minors, but generally star 1st baseman are dominant in the minors.
23. Alex Cobb, RHP, Rays - There is no prospect I have spent more time thinking about than Alex Cobb. I'm cooler on him now than I was when the season ended, but I'm sure many would see this as an aggressively high ranking.
24. Garin Cecchini, 3B, Red Sox - Personal cheeseball, I think he could wind up as the steal of the 2010 draft.
25. Asher Wojiechowski, RHP, Blue Jays - A solid but unexciting Blue Jays pitcher? Well, I never!