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The Northwest League top 20

BA's top 20 lists continue today with the Northwest League rankings now out.

The Rangers had a rather impressive turnout, with three farmhands cracking the top 20 -- catcher Taylor Teagarden (#3), right fielder John Mayberry Jr. (#8), and left fielder Steve Murphy (#14).

The Teagarden and Mayberry selections aren't surprising -- Teagarden was highly regarded coming out of UT, even though he slid to the third round, and tore up the NWL, while Mayberry was a first round pick whose draft status and tools helped him overcome a rather mediocre performance in his pro debut. Teagarden's defensive abilities and control of the strike zone impressed the respondents, while Mayberry's power potential and athleticism got good reviews, although concerns were voiced about his long swing.

Murphy coming in at #14, though, is an upset, given that he was a 14th round pick in June. Murphy came out of Kansas State, and BA's pre-draft scouting report described him as having average tools across the board, but with projectable power. That dovetails with the write-up he got in the NWL top 20:

Murphy went from a 14th-round pick in June to league MVP. He doesn't have a standout tool but he's average across the board.

He showed a good feel for hitting by making adjustments and using the whole field, though he could stand to be more selective. He led the league with 36 extra-base hits and projects to have solid gap power. He's a smart baserunner with average speed, and he can play either corner outfield spot, though his arm fits better in left.

"What a great 14th-round draft pick," Gideon said. "Everything's under control. He handles lefthanders well, has pop, can hit the ball the other way with pop. His range is limited, but I wouldn't worry about it because of what he brings to the plate offensively."

It is short-season ball, and a stellar performance here for a later round pick doesn't necessarily mean future success -- look at Jeremy Cleveland's 2003 season, for example. But Murphy is a guy to keep an eye on...