In a remarkably close vote, Zack Cozart edged Billy Hamilton by 10 votes in the Home Depot Floor vs. Ceiling Bowl to earn the #2 spot on our list. Perhaps we should start calling him Billy "Salieri" Hamilton.
Cozart may lack the elite tools and superstar ceiling of most top prospects, but a major league ready player who is a safe bet to be at least an average MLB shortstop is quite valuable, and not so easy to find. Just ask the Reds. And about 15 other teams. Hopefully The Coz can have a solid debut performance and put the tedious shortstop discussions around here to bed.
It would seem, based on voting trends from the Iowa caucuses, that the vote for the #3 spot is going to come down to Billy Hamilton and Daniel Corcino. Both have their merits, but in case you aren't enamored by either player, and in the name of abundant choice, we have added 2 new players to the list. DiDi Gregorius and Juan Carlos Sulbaran make their first appearances on the poll, and they will be the last players to be added for a while. If you want someone else, get over it. Or join the Libertarian party.
Daniel Corcino, RHP, 21, BA-#4
(Dayton) 3.42 ERA, 139.1 IP, 156 K, 34 BB, 1.163 WHIP
Pros: Excellent fastball-slider combo, elite strikeout numbers, and excellent control, especially for a young pitcher
Cons: Slightly undersized (5'11", 165), needs to prove durability by throwing over 150 innings
Todd Frazier, UT, 26, BA-#7
(Louisville) .260/.340/.467/.807, 15 HR, 46 RBI
(Cincinnati) .232/.289/.437/.726, 6 HR, 15 RBI
Pros: Shown an ability to hit for power, lots of XBH too. Versatile on defense. Good clubhouse guy. Cool nickname and at-bat music.
Cons: Doesn't really have a set position, and isn't above average anywhere. Plate discipline is suspect.
Mariekson "DiDi" Gregorius, SS, 21, BA-#6
(Bakersfield) .303/.333/.457/.790, 5 HR, 28 RBI
(Carolina) .270/.312/.392/.704, 2 HR, 16 RBI
Pros: Excellent athlete, has the tools to be a well above average defensive SS. Very good contact skills.
Cons: Very aggressive plate approach, little in-game power so far. Still young, but needs his athleticism to translate into offensive numbers.
Billy Hamilton, SS/2B, 21, BA-#2
(Dayton) .278/.340/.360/.700, 3 HR, 50 RBI, 103 SB
Pros: Speed. Switch hitter. Speed. Excellent middle infield range. Speed--Many think he's the fastest player in baseball.
Cons: Almost zero power, strikes out too much for a guy with no power, and needs refinement defensively.
Yorman Rodriguez, OF, 19, BA-UR
(Dayton) .254/.318/.393/.711, 7 HR, 40 RBI
Pros: Tool shed--Chance for above average power, speed, contact skills, and defense.
Cons: Durability--has only played 122 games total the last 2 seasons. Very raw both at the plate and in the field. Very aggressive plate approach.
Neftali Soto, 1B, 23, BA-#8
(Carolina) .272/.329/.575/.904, 30 HR, 76 RBI
(Louisville) .412/.444/.588/1.032, 1 HR, 4 RBI
Pros: Breakout season last year, finally showing the bat to profile at 1B. More raw power than anyone in the system not named Juan Francisco. Still relatively young given his level.
Cons: Strikes out a lot, doesn't walk a lot. Didn't get going until about July last season. Can he sustain that production for a whole year?
J.C. Sulbaran, RHP, 22, BA-#9
(Bakersfield) 4.60 ERA, 137 IP, 155 K, 50 BB, 1.39 WHIP
Pros: Very solid 3-pitch repertoire, with an above average FB and a solid CH and CU. Above average stuff leads to high Ks, and he significantly improved on his previously spotty control in 2011.
Cons: Some question about his unorthodox mechanics remain, although he smoothed them out in 2011. Somewhat of an injury history. Mainly, he needs to repeat his strong season in AA in 2012.
Robert Stephenson, RHP, 18, BA-#5
No Professional Stats
Pros: Good size, outstanding velocity (has hit 97), good control, and a potential plus curveball. Supposedly has a very good makeup.
Cons: As a high school pitcher with no pro experience, he's about as risky of a prospect as there is. Can he avoid injury, develop his secondary pitches, and consistently get professional hitters out?