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Down on the Farm: Keith Law's Top 20 Impact Prospects for 2011

ESPN's Keith Law posted his Top 20 Impact Prospects for 2011 yesterday and here are few excerpts:

8. Craig Kimbrel, RHP, Atlanta | Prospect Rank: NR
Has the pure stuff to miss bats; his rate of strikeouts per nine innings was the highest in history for any pitcher with at least 20 innings. (Oddly enough, three more of the top 14 occurred last year: Carlos Marmol, Kenley Jansen, and Billy Wagner.)

Law goes on to say that it appears Kimbrel will get the first shot at the Braves closer job in 2011, and I have been saying the same thing.

11. Kenley Jansen, RHP, L.A. Dodgers | Prospect Rank: NR
Didn't get the publicity that Kimbrel got, probably because the Dodgers didn't make the playoffs, but Jansen has a similar profile -- big fastball to miss bats, below-average control -- with a little more upside because he's only been pitching for a year and a half. He did get the ball in save situations the final week or so of the season and has to be somewhere in line for the closer job after the next Jonathan Broxton implosion.

Jansen was pretty dominating in his 27+ innings in LA last year. Should Broxton implode again, Jansen should get the first shot as Hong-Chih Kuo's elbow may not allow him to pitch on consecutive days.

More after the jump:

13. Jordan Walden, RHP, L.A. Angels | Prospect Rank: 85
I don't know if they'll keep Walden to start the season, but I have heard the Angels' coaching staff was very impressed by what they saw from Walden, particularly the 99 mph bowling ball he throws.

I did not include Walden in my Top Fantasy Pitching Prospects rankings, and I whiffed on him. He could be closing in LAA at some point in 2011.

16. Brandon Belt, 1B, San Francisco | Prospect Rank: 17
The only reason he's not at or near the top is the lack of a job for him on Opening Day, and I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if he Poseyed his way into the majors before the June period when clubs looking to prevent super-two designations recall their prospects. If Belt does get a full season in San Francisco, I'd like his chances to challenge Freeman for NL Rookie of the Year.

I could see Belt winning the ROY award even if he is called up in June.