Future Forty Update
Since I’m going to be busy next weekend, I’ve updated the Future Forty a week early, so the July edition is now online. We have three additions (Jeff Clement, Luis Valbuena, and Thomas Hubbard) to the list, with Clement obviously being the most prominant of the trio. Valbuena is the starting second baseman for the Aquasox and, by most accounts, the best prospect on the team this year. Hubbard has rebounded from a miserable professional debut last year to become one of the best hitters in the Midwest League, but at age 23, well, he should be.
Other things of interest in the system include promotions for Adam Jones and Asdrubal Cabrera, as the two young shortstop prospects each move up a notch. Also, as mentioned the other day, Clint Nageotte is on the rehab trail, and so he leaves the overcrowded land of the injured prospects.
We’re now a bit past the halfway point of the minor league season, and the system is in a similar state to where we believed it was heading into the season. Adam Jones has taken the biggest step forward, and the addition of Clement and the continued progress of Cabrera has given the organization a boost in offensive talent. The pitching continues to be, well, bad. There’s Felix, there’s a big gap, there’s Livingston and Campillo, and then there’s… not a whole lot. The M’s clearly recognized that the lower level pitching is in terrible shape, focusing heavily on pitchers in the early rounds of this years draft. In stark contrast to the Gillick/Mattox years, the system is now certainly heavy on hitters and light on pitchers. As bad as the offense is now, at least there is reason for optimism in the future.
As always, this is a prime thread for minor league questions. I’ll do my best to answer as many as I can.