New poll here on the main page. I want to get some more prospect talk, but I don't follow the minors as closely as a lot of people do, and I know there have to be those of you far more qualified to talk about these things than I am, so if you ever want to contribute prospect updates or anything of the sort, I would really welcome it.
Here's a Camden Chat Top 10 update:
1. Nick Markakis, OF, Bowie
Markakis was hitting .300/.379/.480 at Frederick when he was called up to Bowie to start August. Since arriving, he's destroyed the Eastern League at a .342/.404/.633 clip. Overall, he has 15 homers and 84 RBI. Looking good, and still, in my mind, the undisputed #1 prospect in the organization. Ranked 8th by the Baseball America Prospect Hot Sheet.
2. Jeff Fiorentino, OF, Frederick
Fiorentino hasn't put up the numbers you'd hope for in A-ball right now. .276/328/.476 is nothing to get worked up over. 18 homers is nice, but again, it's A-ball, and we're talking about a guy we'd definitely hope would be with Bowie by this point in the year. I'm not sure that cup of coffee with the O's did him any favors. He may be slipping down the list a bit.
3. Hayden Penn, RHP, Bowie
For a 20-year old in AA, he's been perfectly acceptable, I'd say. 3.92 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 9.69 K/9. He's giving up less than a homer per nine. He's doing OK. Those that expect him to be in the 2006 rotation may be going too fast; I'd say 2007 is the better bet.
4. Val Majewski, OF, DL
5. John Maine, RHP, Baltimore
I had him higher than some, but I stick by it, and that says something about our depth on the farm pre-draft. Maine had a 4.56 ERA at Ottawa and has done OK since coming back up for his second shot at the bigs. I think he's going to be a decent back-end starter that might have a big career year at some point. Whether that all happens for the Orioles or not is likely not going to matter very much.
6. Chris Ray, RHP, Baltimore
Started in Frederick, came up, did well, got squeezed out and sent to Bowie, and is back up. Ray can pitch. He could close as early as next year if necessary.
7. Adam Loewen, LHP, Frederick
Another guy you wish was doing better in A-ball or higher up the chain, but he isn't, and Loewen is going to require patience anyway. It's been said plenty: he's got the most upside of all of these pitchers. You don't find lefties with his arm every day. His 3.92/1.50 line does not look good, but that's mostly control problems as he's walked 79 in 133.1 innings. His K-rate is still good (9.47 K/9) but it's not phenomenal or anything.
8. Tripper Johnson III, 3B, Bowie
.258/.322/.406 line at Bowie. He was always a low-grade prospect with hopes because of his cool name, but he's not a top 10 guy in this system anymore or even close to it probably. Stubby Clapp had a cool name, too.
9. Walter Young, DH/1B, Ottawa
Big Walt's power hasn't come around at Ottawa, with a .288/.335/.442 line and 13 homers, definitely a disappointment after he slugged .563 in 2002 (Low-A Hickory) and .539 in 2004 (Bowie). This is a lot more in line with his 2003 year, when he hit .278/.348/.462 for Class-A Lynchburg. Walt will get his shot somewhere, but it might not be here.
10. Nate Spears, 2B, Frederick
Spears is my boy. My scrappy little white whale. When I updated this list on June 22, he was hitting .325/.378/.466. As of August 23, that had dropped to .288/.341/.412. I've compared him some to Brian Roberts (doesn't have the same speed) and apparently he took that to heart and fell apart along with Brian.
Now our new guys.
Brandon Snyder, C/3B?, Bluefield
Good power, good plate discipline. .272/.382/.507. I like him. I like him a bunch. No less a source than our own John Sickels said back around draft time, "Snyder may be my favorite high school hitter this year."
Nolan Reimold, OF, Frederick
He played with Aberdeen for 50 games, hitting .294/.392/.550, more than deserving of a shot in Frederick. So far, so good. In nine games with the Keys, he's hitting .344/.475/.781. He was just ranked 16th in the Baseball America Prospect Hot Sheet.
Garrett Olson, LHP, Frederick
6'1", 200-pound lefty hurler. Did pretty well for Aberdeen (11 games, six starts, 1.58 ERA, 9 K/9) and had a four-inning shutout start for Frederick after being sent there. It may not take him too long to become the best pitching prospect in the system.
Brandon Erbe, RHP, Bluefield
Has a mid-nineties fastball. He's completely overpowering the Appalachian League. He's 17 years old, turns 18 on Christmas day. Makes me feel old. Anyway, you don't put up a K-rate like 18.7 K/9 in 23.1 innings without turning some heads, no matter where it's at. He's also a Baltimore native, which everyone will root for.
Who are you most excited about? I'll say Markakis because I really think he's going to be a good one, but our top four draft picks are all guys to watch. Maybe that says something about how weak the system still is, but let's take excitement where we can get it.
Anyone else you're keeping an eye on right now?