Prospects Chat: Baseball America Florida State League Top 20 Chat

PHOENIX, AZ - JULY 10: U.S. Futures All-Star Shelby Miller #19 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches in the third inning during the 2011 XM All-Star Futures Game at Chase Field on July 10, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Baseball America published their 2011 Top 20 prospects in the Florida State League on Monday, and also held a chat to discuss their list. Here are some excerpts after the Top 5 FSL Prospects:

1. Shelby Miller, STL

2. Matt Harvey, NYM

3. Hak-Ju Lee, TB

4. Trevor May, PHI

5. Alex Colome, TB

How many Tampa Rays will make BA's Top 100? I put the over/under at 9.5.

@Jaypers413 (IL): Who would you say has the higher ceiling between Shelby Miller and Carlos Martinez, and why?

Jim Shonerd: Interesting. I might give Martinez the higher ceiling just because arms like his are so rare, but Miller's isn't behind by much and at this point he looks like a safer bet to reach it, hence his higher ranking.

Miller could see time in the Cardinals rotation at some point in 2012, as he reached AA where he went 9-3 with a 2.70 ERA, 1.212 WHIP and an 89-33 K/BB rate in 86.2 innings pitched. For the season, he was 11-6 with a 2.77 ERA, 1.181 WHIP and a 170-53 K/BB rate in 139.2 innings. His K/9 rate dropped from 13.8 to 9.2 with the move from High A to AA.

Jason Parks from Baseball Prospectus has called Miller the top prospect in the minors:

With his frame, his tenacity, his smooth delivery, his being a Texan, his power arsenal that could/should leave him with three plus pitches when he reaches maturity, and the overall command that seems to gain refinement by the outing, Miller is the present leader of the pack of right-handed pitchers, and one could make a very convincing case that he is the top prospect in the game itself.

More excerpts after the jump:

@ProspectD2J (Toronto): Scouts are super high on the tools of Aaron Hicks and Wilmer Flores. At this point, which of these players is closest to converting those tools into skills and reaching their potential?

Jim Shonerd: I would give the edge there to Flores because of his feel for hitting being more advanced, which was the biggest reason for his making the list in spite of his numbers dropping off.

Hicks is 21 years old and is still struggling in High A as he hit just .242-.354-.368 with 5 HRs, 38 RBI, 79 runs, 17 SBs in 26 attempts and a solid 110-78 K/BB rate. BA ranked him as their #45 prospect last year, and I have a feeling he will drop again this season.

Ben (Leland Grove): How did scouts evaluate Cesar Puello's season overall?

Jim Shonerd: Puello would've been in the 21-23 range. He definitely has tools, but he still struggles to recognize breaking pitches and the Mets have been trying to take away a hook in his swing. He hit some monster HRs and showed he has the speed for center field at least for now. He started the year in right and moved to center after Matt den Dekker was promoted, and he has the arm to fit in right if that's where he needs to be.

Puello, a 20 year old outfielder in the Mets system, hit .259-.313-.397 with 10 HRs, 50 RBIs, 67 runs, 19 SBs and a terrible 103-18 K/BB rate in 441 at bats at High A Port St. Lucie. He will need to learn to take a walk every now and then in 2012.

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