I know many of you hate prospect rankings and I understand why, but I'm a prospect junky and I know I'm not alone, so for the others who enjoy this type of thing, here's my updated M's top 25 list. I'm certainly no expert, but based on my understand of various scouting reports and performance, here's how I see it. I'd love to hear others thoughts on this. (I'm going to include Hultzen and Miller since I expect both to sign, but no other as yet unsigned draftees as most of the others are still pretty iffy signs).
Tier 1 (Solid A prospects, top 25 overall)
1) RHP Taijuan Walker - Pleasedontgethurtpleasedontgethurtpleasedontgethurtpleasedontgethurt
2) LHP Danny Hultzen - I wasn't a big fan of the selection at draft time, but I'm coming around on him. Still not the guy I would have taken but I think he's going to start racking up a lot of WAR very quickly for the M's.
Tier 2 (B+ prospects, all in top 40 to 70 range)
3) SS Nick Franklin - The concussion put a big damper on things, but suffice to say I a) think he sticks at short and b) believe more in the breakout full season at Clinton than the disappointing half season at High Desert.
4) LHP James Paxton - The command is still spotty game to game, but this guy misses bats with the best of them. Barring injury he'll see time with the M's in 2012.
5) LF Trayvon Robinson - Probably the next Randy Winn who doesn't post enough batting average to impress or hit for enough power to satisfy but racks up 3-5 WAR seasons as a plus to plus plus defensive left fielder in Safeco who does everything at least average offensively.
Tier 3 (B- prospects, top 100-200)
6) RHP Jose Campos - My latest prospect mancrush. Showing incredible control to go with strikeout stuff and strong GB tendencies. They say the peripherals need work, but suffice to say his is the most exciting US debut of a Latin pitcher the org has seen since Felix (no, he's not the next Felix). Could easily be a top 50 guy overall by mid 2012 if he can do this at HD or Jackson. They might have him at Clinton though.
7) RF Chih-Hsien Chiang - Like everyone else I want to see that he can continue his incredible 2011, but I'm cautiously optimistic it's not a fluke. Doesn't seem to have much defensive value and he won't walk a ton, but I believe the power is real. Should be Ichiro's replacement if the M's don't extend him.
8) 3B Francisco Martinez - Scouts love him, stats are lukewarm. A toolsy but inconsistent defender, he's always been young for his level...
9) SS Carlos Triunfel...just like this guy. Seriously the two most similar prospects in the system.
10) LF Guillermo Pimentel - The Appy seems to have figured him out. The power is real but he's got to cut down on the strikeouts. At least he's starting to walk a bit.
Tier 4 (everybody else)
11) 3B/LF Vinny Catricala - The bat might be for real, but his defense is a real handicap. Don't think he can handle third, and left field just got really crowded. Might be trade bait this offseason. Much like:
12) 2B/3B Kyle Seager - Profiles best at 2B where he could potentially be an average starter, just not for the M's.
13) SS Brad Miller - Probably the hardest guy for me to slot, I still don't really know what I think of him.
14) 3B Alex Liddi - I'm a bigger fan of his defense than some, but his strikeout issues are maddening. Easy kid to root for, but his time is running out.
15) LF Phillips Castillo - Starting to flash some patience to go with tons of doubles/triples power which will turn into HR's as he progresses. Still tons of K's, but he's just 17 and has plenty of time to work that out.
16) 2B Martin Peguero - Another 17 year old, he's probably a second baseman long term but he could be a bigtime asset with the bat at that position.
17) RF Alfredo Morales - Solid all around package of skills has thrust him onto the radar out of nowhere. Scouts seem to really like him.
18) SS/C Marcus Littlewood - Plenty of upside here if he sticks behind the plate, but I'm skeptical.
19) RHP Forrest Snow - A decent candidate to take the Mariners vacant 5th starter position, if the first couple candidates flop. Should be a solid backend starter fairly soon in the bigs.
20) RHRP Stephen Pryor - Really struggled to start the year but has been lights out of late. Probably the best relief prospect in the system at this point.
21) OF Johermyn Chavez - A respectable July has sort of put him back on the map, but his June was so terrible it hurts to look at the numbers. At 22 he's still young enough to put it together, but the shine has certainly worn off a bit.
22) LHP Jordan Shipers - The obscure late round draftee we were all thrilled the M's signed last year, turns out he was a year old for his grade so he's already 20. Has pretty good stuff and his performance has been solid so far (minus the walks), but let's face it, he's kind of the white Mauricio Robles. Which is a decent guy to have around, I guess, but not the kind of guy you do huge backflips over.
23) OF James Jones - Mr Second Half is going to half to show up in the first half one of these years or risk completely losing relevance.
24) RHP VIctor Sanchez - Just signed last week for nearly $3 million, probably deserves to be higher.
25) C/2B Jack Marder - The steal of the draft at just $200,000 in the 16th round, holding his own at High Desert and most scouts seem to think he'll stick behind the plate.
Next five (no particular order): 3B Yordi Calderon, RHP Jose Valdivia, OF Jabari Blash, RHP Ambioris Hidalgo, 1B Rich Poythress