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Minor League Prospects

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This morning's Minors & Majors with Grant Paulson on MLB Home Plate channel 175 on XM Radio had Baseball America's Jim Callis as a guest.  He talked about the Cub's latest coup, Jeff Sa-mar-ja, or Samardzija, depending on your preference.  

Prior to Samardzija's decision to stay in baseball and not enter the NFL draft, he was rated the #4 prospect in soon to be released Cubs Top 10.  Mr. Callis said he will be moved to #3 behind CF Felix Pie and LH Donald Veal.

From Mr. Callis' Baseball America write-up:

The Cubs rated the 21-year-old righthander as the best prospect in the 2006 draft and project him as a future frontline starter. Though he remains raw on the mound because he has split his efforts between two sports, they believe he'll develop a consistent mid-90s fastball and an above-average slider now that he's playing baseball full-time. He made seven starts this summer between short-season Boise and low Class A Peoria, going 1-2, 2.70 with 17 strikeouts in 30 innings.

Another piece of information, Mr. Callis provided was the expected ranking for the recently-acquired Atlanta Brave, SS Brent Lillibridge.  He told the host he expected Lillibridge to slot at the very back-end of BA's Top 100 and that he was a better prospect than Jamie Romack.  That makes sense as Adam LaRoche is more valuable than Mike Gonzalez, Manhatten Indian reliever valuations aside.

Another piece of intel that was released was the fact that Jason Hirsh was the #2 prospect in the Astros system.  That got me to thinking, "Who is #1?"  Hunter Pence?

Finally, Mr. Callis was asked which minor leaguers will breakout in the up-coming season.  Giants' pitcher Tim Lincecum was no surprise.  Nor was Tampa Bay SS Reid Brignac.  Dodgers LH Clayton Kershaw was the third mentioned, and the fourth one was Rockies CFer Dexter Fowler.  

If you play in a fantasy league with deep minor league rosters, none of those four should go undrafted.