I have been trying to figure out who I could take with the #3 pick in my AL-only minor league draft. There are the two Tampa Bay infielders, Evan Longoria and Reid Brignac, and what? Detroit's Andrew Miller? Maybe, but he is $6 due to a FAAB at the end of last season. His owner may very well protect him. (And why not? He offers as much upside as most DLed pitchers who are eligible to be drafted.) Luke Hochevar? Geez, two pitchers for the 3rd pick in a non-K fantasy baseball league? That's heretical!
To assist my search, I checked John Sickels' 2007 Top 50 hitting prospects. The first AL hitter I come to who hasn't already been drafted is Blue Jays OF Travis Snyder. The one after him is fellow 2006 high school draftee Billy Rowell with the Baltimore Orioles. There are others (Travis Buck, Trevor Crowe, Brian Barton) mentioned on Mr. Sickels' list and amongst Baseball America's Top 10 lists, but the physical contrasts between Snyder and Rowell intrigue me.
Rowell is a Richie Sexson type - tall and rangy with power. Snyder appears to be closer to a Kirby Puckett type - thick. Given each is a ways from the majors/fantasy production, I am not sure how to grade them. I am worried about BA's characterization "...thick frame, especially his heavy lower half...." Maybe it is my recent re-reading of Moneyball, but that emphasis on his lower half scares me. The comments made about Jeremy Brown, while not exact, are damn close.
Then I looked over the most recent prospect ranking I have obtained, Baseball Notebook's Pre-2007 Top Prospect List. Neither Snyder nor Rowell appear. I can't say whether this is wise or not or if it is just Mr. Luciani being Mr. Luciani, but it was curious. After all, many experts have Snyder ranked on par with Adam Lind - BA's top Blue Jays prospect and BN's 22nd ranked one. And Lind is a quality 2007 fantasy sleeper!
BP's Kevin Goldstein basically sees the two players, Lind and Snyder, as a coin flip's worth of difference his recent chat:
ESPN's Keith Law has them similarly valued:
So what do I make of the exclusion of Travis Snyder and Billy Rowell from Baseball Notebook's list and how does that fit in with my decision to draft either at #3?