Postseason Future Forty
Now that the minor league seasons have come to an end, I’ve updated the Future Forty. As we head into the offseason, we’ll cease the monthly update and go into “as needed” mode, meaning I’ll probably update it once, maybe twice, more before spring training rolls around. Also, the team assignment has now been changed to refelect a projection of where I believe they’ll begin the 2006 season.
The final regular season update sees us say goodbye to four players – Bucky Jacobsen, Justin Leone, Casey Craig, and Mike Flannery. Jacobsen, as we discussed yesterday, has been released and will not be back. Leone is expected to sign elsewhere as a minor league free agent. Craig’s stock has slipped badly this year, thanks in large part to a pretty serious attitude problem, and Flannery didn’t impress in his short stint after coming over in the Ron Villone deal.
Replacing the four departed are newcomers Stephen Kahn, Robert Rohrbaugh, and Justin Thomas, while returning to the list is Hunter Brown. Kahn, Rohrbaugh, and Thomas were considered the best of the pitching bunch that saw time in Everett this year. Kahn showed the kind of power arm that the team lacks, though his command needs work. Rohrbaugh is a polished college arm who throws strikes with underwhelming stuff (stop me if you’ve heard that before), and Thomas, while a reach where the M’s tabbed him, has an interesting repertoire including a change-up that can be highly effective. All three are different types of pitchers and have a ways to go, but each has something interesting to offer. Brown is the new Leone, a player that lacks physical skills but is versatile in the field and has hit his way through the system. His upside is as a cheap reserve off the bench, but in this organization, that passes for a prospect.
Jeff Heaverlo and Bryan LaHair were 41 and 42 respectively, by the way. You could easily make a case for either one getting on the list, but neither has tremendous upside, so it’s basically splitting hairs.
It will be interesting to see how Baseball America puts together the M’s top ten list after the season, considering that nearly every interesting young player in the system no longer has rookie status. Adam Jones and Jeff Clement will fight for the top spot, though I’d give a slight edge to Clement at this point, but then what? Bobby Livingston, who profiles as John Halama if everything goes well? Chris Snelling, who we love but just can’t stay healthy? The M’s have two solid prospects that both need some more development in Clement and Jones, and then a lot of maybes. Adding Felix, Reed, Betancourt, Lopez, and Sherill to the major league club made this a very successful season for the farm system. The M’s shouldn’t look forward to anything near that kind of help coming from the farm in 2006, however.
As always, this is the thread to use for any minor league question you may have. I’ll do my best to answer as many as humanly possible.