Baseball America's Prospect Hot Sheet has its season finale up, and it lists the top performers for the 2007 minor league season. I can't help but think the players who are listed will also show-up at the top of the Top 100 list which comes out next March.
The entire list is worth printing and stashing in your 2008 fantasy draft preperation file. I have no doubt most of these players will be discussed endlessly this off-season. I've tried to cull out every player that I have mentioned previously. Please read the whole thing.
As usual, I have left BA's top player off this list. (ed: How do you define "top"? Looks like the first eight players are missing.)
Don't underestimate the power of Schafer, who had one of the best seasons in the minors and improved his stock in the Braves' system to become a shoe-in for the Braves' Top 10 Prospects. Schafer, who turned 21 today, had a very Grady Sizemore-like year in the Carolina League, batting .294/.354/.477 with 10 homers, 43 RBIs, 70 runs scored and 19 steals. Schafer wound up leading the minors in hits (176), and ranked among the overall leaders in doubles, extra-base hits and total bases.
12. Wade Davis, rhp, Double-A Montgomery (Devil Rays)
In many organizations, Davis would be the No. 1 prospect. In a system as rich as Tampa Bay's, though, Davis has to fight for the spotlight with a range of other talented prospects. But make no mistake: Davis is one of the elite pitching prospects in baseball. The 6-foot-5, 220-pound righthander had a 1.84 ERA with 88 strikeouts and 21 walks in 78 innings with high Class A Vero Beach before the Devils Rays promoted him to Double-A Montgomery. Davis continued his dominance with the Biscuits, striking out 81 with 30 walks in 80 innings, and holding down a 3.15 ERA. Davis turns 22 on Friday.
14. Jed Lowrie, ss, Triple-A Pawtucket (Red Sox)
A year ago, even some in-house evaluators in Boston didn't think Lowrie could remain at shortstop, but the 45th overall pick in 2005 is healthy for the first time in his pro career and continues to prove the doubters wrong. Lowrie had the best offensive season of any shortstop in the minors, hitting .298/.393/.503 with 13 homers, 47 doubles and 70 RBIs, and he finished up the year in Triple-A.
15. Matt Antonelli, 2b, Double-A San Antonio (Padres)
What do you do with an athletic third baseman who failed to hit for power in his pro debut? If you're the Padres, you turn him into the top second-base prospect in the minors. After going homerless in 205 pro at-bats in 2006, Antonelli, who was drafted 17th overall that year, successfully made the switch to second base, and his overall game blossomed. While the 22-year-old did not always look smooth at the keystone (17 errors), his offense certainly was not hindered in any way. In 534 at-bats for San Antonio and high Class A Lake Elsinore, Antonelli batted .307/.404/.491 with 21 home runs, 23 doubles and 28 steals. Oh, and he finished second in the minors with 123 runs scored, 14th with 164 hits and 13th with 83 walks.
16. James McDonald, rhp, Double-A Jacksonville (Dodgers)
McDonald came out of nowhere and will likely rank in the Dodgers' Top 10 Prospects. McDonald, who spent all of 2004 and 2005 as an outfielder, went 6-7, 3.95 in the Cal League before moving to Jacksonville where he carved up hitters with his 89-93 mph fastball, curveball and plus changeup. After going 7-2, 1.71 in 53 innings for the Suns, McDonald ranked among the overall strikeout leaders with 168 in 135 innings.
18. Cole Rohrbough, lhp, low Class A Rome (Braves)
Rohrbough, a draft-and-follow pick in 2006, burst onto the scene in 2007 with Rookie-level Danville where he completely shut down Appalachian League hitters. In 33 innings he went 3-2, 1.08 with 58 strikeouts.
He was promoted to low Class A Rome on Aug. 5 and went 2-0, 1.29 in 28 innings with 38 strikeouts to give him a 5-2, 1.17 line for the season.
20. Ryan Royster, of, low Class A Columbus (Devil Rays)
Royster hasn't spent a day above low Class A, but he tied for seventh in the minors with a .601 slugging percentage. With Columbus, he hit .329/.380/.601 in 474 at-bats with 30 home runs. The 2005 sixth-round pick also had a drought of 91 at-bats with no home runs, but later reeled off six straight games with a home run to rediscover his stroke.