clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Midwest League Top 20 Prospects

Another solid showing for Texas:

1. Mike Moustakas, 3b/ss, Burlington (Royals)
2. Neftali Feliz, rhp, Clinton (Rangers)
3. Jarrod Parker, rhp, South Bend (Diamondbacks)
4. Ben Revere, of, Beloit (Twins)
5. Brett Wallace, 3b, Quad Cities (Cardinals)
6. Engel Beltre, of, Clinton (Rangers)
7. Andrew Lambo, of, Great Lakes (Dodgers)
8. Philippe Aumont, rhp, Wisconsin (Mariners)
9. Derek Holland, lhp, Clinton (Rangers)

2. Neftali Feliz, rhp, Clinton (Rangers)

Feliz may have the most explosive fastball in the minors. He effortlessly sat at 93-94 mph and touched 99 mph with Clinton, and he reached triple digits after jumping to Double-A. Between the two stops, he led all minor league starters by averaging 10.8 strikeouts per nine innings.

"The ball jumps out of his hand," a scout with a National League club said, "and it jumps past bats also."

Feliz could rely on his fastball alone to overpower most MWL hitters, but he needs to use his secondary pitches more often. His hard breaking ball shows flashes of becoming a plus pitch and is at its best when he stays on top of it and achieves curveball action, but he tends to slow down his arm and drop his elbow, resulting in a flatter slurve. His changeup is promising, too, though he rarely unveils it.

6. Engel Beltre, of, Clinton (Rangers)

The MWL's youngest player at age 18, Beltre also had the highest ceiling among its position players. The league leader in runs (87) and hits (160), he's a fast-twitch athlete with all five tools.

Beltre has a very quick, sound swing that generates easy power, and he has the hand speed to turn around quality fastballs. He's more fluid than Revere in center field and on the basepaths, and he also owns a plus arm. The only question with Beltre is his aggressiveness—he walked just 15 times in 130 games—which may create problems at upper levels when pitchers will feed him fewer strikes.

 "He's a bad-ball hitter," a second American League scout said. "He was swinging at everything, but he hit it, smoking it everywhere. He's ready to hit every pitch."

9. Derek Holland, lhp, Clinton (Rangers)

A 25th-rounder signed as a draft-and-follow in May 2007, Holland made one of the biggest breakthroughs in the minors this year. He didn't arrive in Clinton with the notoriety of Feliz or first-round pick Blake Beavan, but he had a better mix of pitches than either. Holland's 7-0, 2.40 performance with the LumberKings was impressive enough, but he really opened eyes when he was worked at 94-98 mph deep into games in Double-A.

In the MWL, Holland's fastball typically ranged from 91-94 mph. Though his arm action and delivery aren't the smoothest, he achieved nice sink on his heater and commanded it to both sides of the plate. He also showed a slightly above-average changeup and a sweeping 78-80 mph slider.