02/06/12 11:00 AM EST
NL East boasts plethora of pitching prospects
By Jonathan Mayo / MLB.com
First up is the National League East, with a new division coming each day through Saturday. Let's go one step further. Within the Top 20s in each division, who are the best prospects? Who would make up an all-prospect team in the NL East, for instance? MLB.com spoke to general managers from outside each division to get their thoughts on who the top future stars are within that division. It starts today with the NL East.
Julio Teheran (No. 4 on Top 100; Braves' No. 1)
Zack Wheeler (No. 28 on Top 100; Mets' No. 1 )
Arodys Vizcaino (No. 36 on Top 100; Braves' No. 2)
Matt Harvey (No. 38 on Top 100; Mets' No. 2)
Randall Delgado (No. 42 on Top 100; Braves' No. 3)
The Braves, not surprisingly, are stacked with young pitchers. Adding to their value is the fact that all three in this rotation are ready to contribute in the big leagues and have considerable upside.
"We like those three guys quite a bit," one GM said of Atlanta's trio.
He also liked the pair of Mets he chose, two power-armed right-handers who should have Mets fans excited for the future of the rotation. If there was room for six starters, the GM would add Trevor May (No. 54 on Top 100; Phillies' No.1).
"He'd be their guy, then they level off," the GM said. "They traded a lot."
Phillippe Aumont, RHP (Phillies' No. 5)
The only Phils prospect to make this squad, Aumont started to figure things out in the bullpen in 2011. He has future closer written all over him.
"He's a monster and he's got good stuff," the GM said.
2B: Steve Lombardozzi (Nationals' No. 10)
Lombardozzi's tools don't jump out, but he plays the game hard and does the little things well. He's also capable of playing multiple positions, an added plus. He's the kind of player, the GM agreed, you want to have on a winning club. He's also big league ready.
3B: Anthony Rendon (No. 27 on Top 100; Nationals' No. 2)
The first college hitter taken in 2011, he's the type of advanced bat who could move very quickly through a system. There are some who are concerned about his shoulder allowing him to stay at third, but the Nats, and this GM, aren't too worried.
SS: Andrelton Simmons (No. 65 on Top 100; Braves' No. 4)
Tyler Pastornicky might be the shortstop of right now, but a lot of people think Simmons is the shortstop of the long-term future. Pastornicky is solid, while Simmons has the higher ceiling.
"We like Pastornicky, but Simmons has more upside," the GM agreed.
C: Christian Bethancourt (No. 91 on Top 100; Braves' No. 5)
There are only two NL East catchers on the Top 10 catchers list, Bethancourt and the Phils' Sebastian Valle. Bethancourt is the one who is in the Top 100, and scouts love his athleticism behind the plate.
Bryce Harper (No. 2 on Top 100; Nationals' No. 1)
Christian Yelich, OF: (No. 35 on Top 100; Marlins' No. 1)
Brandon Nimmo, OF: (Mets' No. 4)
It was easy to pick the first two for the list, with Harper among the best prospects in the game and Yelich being one of the better pure hitters with excellent speed. They are No. 1 and No. 6, respectively, on the Top 10 outfielders list. Picking a third outfielder wasn't as easy, with the GM finally settling on the high ceiling of Nimmo, the Mets' toolsy first-round pick from 2011.
"Nothing jumps out like the first two," the GM admitted.
A whole lot of arms, with more than enough to pick a rotation and then some. After that, it's not nearly as impressive.
"I would agree with that one," the GM said. "There's strong pitching, but not much else."