Top 100 Prospects: John Sickel's Top Rated Hitting Prospects

PHOENIX, AZ - JULY 10: U.S. Futures All-Star Nolan Arenado #12 of the Colorado Rockies stands on base during the 2011 XM All-Star Futures Game at Chase Field on July 10, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Fantasy owners, especially those in keeper or dynasty leagues, are always looking for the next top prospect to draft who will carry them the their next (first?) fantasy baseball championship. The prospect experts are in full force right now with John Sickels covering his Top 20 Prospects for each major league team, Baseball America with their Top 10 Prospects and Baseball Prospectus's Kevin Goldstein publishing his Top 20 Prospects as well. ESPN's Keith Law will publish his Top 100 Prospects for 2012 at the end of January.

With that said, I will post some of the top rated prospects from each of the experts over the next 3 months leading up to draft day, so today I continue with more of John Sickel's Top rated prospects for 2012. I will limit the list to A, A- and B+ rated prospects.

John Sickels updated top rated prospect list after the jump:

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Hitters

A Rating

Jurickson Profar, TEX

Manny Machado, BAL

Bryce Harper, WAS

Mike Trout, LAA

Jesus Montero, NYY

A- Rating

Bubba Starling, KC

Wil Myers, KC

Cheslor Cuthbert, KC

Anthony Rendon, WAS

Nolan Arenado, COL

B+ Rating

Andrelton Simmons, ATL

Nick Castellanos, DET

Miguel Sano, MIN

Eddie Rosario, MIN

Kolten Wong, STL

Oscar Tavares, STL

Xander Bogaerts, BOS

Jonathan Singleton, HOU

George Springer, HOU

Christian Yelich, MIA

Josh Bell, PIT

Anthony Rizzo, SD

Rymer Liriano, SD

Jedd Gyorko, SD

Hak-Ju Lee, TB

Jake Marisnick, TOR

Travis d'Arnaud, TOR

Gary Sanchez, NYY

Gary Brown, SFG

Some thoughts on Sickel's top rated hitting prospects:

Rockies third base prospect Nolan Arenado had a break out 2011 season, and continued his torrid hitting in the Arizona Fall League as well. Arenado hit .298-.349-.487 with 20 HRs, 32 doubles and 122 RBI at High A in 2011. Arenado has some power, but I have to admit, for a third baseman hitting in the California League, I thought he would have a higher slugging percentage than .487. The Cal League is know to be a hitters league, and Arenado's 20 home runs was good for just 9th in the league. For comparison purposes, Padres third base prospect Jedd Gyorko hit 18 home runs in the Cal League last year, and he hit .365-.429-.638, yet Arenado is considered the better prospect. I wonder if the prospect experts are too high on Arenado.

Yankees catcher/DH Jesus Montero will probably be the Yankees everyday DH in 2012, while catching maybe once a week, if that. But, make not mistake about it, he should hit and provide plenty of value for fantasy owners hitting in the solid Yankee lineup. The big question remains whether fantasy sites will give him catcher eligibility this year. I drafted Montero in the FakeTeams Dynasty League with the hope that he will, but would be fine if he is not.

The Giants will move outfielder Gary Brown to AA in 2012, and there will be many eyes on him as he will be hard pressed to duplicate his breakout 2011 season. With that said, he has all the tools to be a solid leadoff hitter capable of stealing 35+ bases in the big leagues.

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