Monday, August 24, 2009

Organizational Rankings - Chicago Hitmen

1. Benji Martinez (Age - 19; Level - Low A; Position - SS) Last season's 18th pick looks like he has all of the tools to be a good Major League SS. He should be an average/above average defender up the middle and a consistent hitter. He hit 20 HRs in 58 games in rookie ball last season and while putting up a monstrous 1.286 OPS. Martinez backs his above average bat with good speed and a good eye. Grade: B

2. Mandy Vander Wal (Age - 23; Level - Low A; Position - C) For now, Vander Wal will remain as the Hitmen's number 2 prospect, however that is contingent on his quick ascent and ability to play catcher. Vander Wal projects big-time pop at the catcher spot, but his glove looks weak and he may not be able to stay at catcher. A supplemental pick in the Season 5 draft, Vander Wal hit 20 HRs in 74 games last season, but is old for his level. He could quickly slip on this list. Grade: B-

3. Christian O'Connor (Age - 22; Level - AAA; Position - 3B) O'Connor projects as a good hitter and average/below average defender. O'Connor's biggest attributes is are eye and speed, which project as elite, and will allow him to get on base and score runs even when he isn't hitting. Grade: B-

4. Bob Halter (Age - 22; Level - AA; Position - SP) Halter doesn't have great stuff, but has good peripherals. He has decent command and good velocity, and will be tough on RHs. He keeps the ball down well, evidenced by 27 HRs in over 280 minor league innings. Halter struggled the second half of last season after posting good first half numbers, but has decent career numbers. Grade: C+

5. Vic Park (Age - 21; Level - AA; Position - SP) The former first rounder struggled last season in High A, but still projects well enough at age 21 to land him at number 5. Park has below average control and will struggle against lefties, but should have good splits against RHs and has a power arm. He has a good cut fastball and keeps the ball on the gronud very well, only allowing 38 HRs in 340 innings. Grade: C

6. Fausto Hernandez (Age - 23; Level - AA; Position - LF) Hernandez sports a .994 career minor league OPS and has 63 HRs and 258 RBIs over the past two seasons. He projects as a mediocre defender and hitter at the Major League level. Grade: C

7. Vic Martinez (Age - 23; Level - AAA; Position - DH/1B) Martinez projects as a better hitter than Fausto Hernandez, but will likely be relegated to DH. He has a .950 career minor league OPS and had a monster year in AA last year as a 22-year old (204 hits/30 HRs/103 RBIs). Grade: C

8. Russell Pettitte (Age - 25; Level - Majors; Position - 3B) Pettitte finished last season in the Majors and hit for some power in his limited time. Pettitte is a pure power hitter who likely projects as a platoon player. Grade: C-

9. Jackson McNamara (Age - 21; Level - AA; Position - LF) McNamara sees both LHs and RHs slightly above average and has slightly above average power. He's projects as a below average defender and will probably never be more than a backup infielder. Grade: D+

10. Gorkys Lira (Age - 20; Level - AA; Position - Closer) Another former first round pitcher for Chicago who doesn't seem to be good enough to warrant that pick. Lira has good command and velocity and mixes in a good fastball and curveball. He is marginally tough on lefties and does a decent job of keeping the ball down. He struggled mightily in High A last season, and will have to get much better to be anything better than a mopup reliever in the Majors. Grade: D+

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