Keith Law has a new article up, listing his top 25 prospects that are still in the minors (thus removing recent promotees like Steven Strasburg, Carlos Santana, Buster Posey, and Mike Stanton* from the mix.
* Stanton has been terrible thusfar, striking out in almost half his plate appearances while putting up a Chris Davis circa June 2009 line. One of the things I've been wondering about is if it takes high-strikeout players longer to adjust to the major leagues. Carlos Pena, Jack Cust, Ryan Ludwick all bounced around for years before establishing themselves. Brandon Wood, whose minor league profile is very similar to Davis and Stanton, still hasn't been able to establish himself.
In any case, Martin Perez is currently #5 on Law's list, but he isn't even one of the two highest ranked A.L. West guys...Mike Trout is #3, and Dustin Ackley is #4.
This list is also interesting as a counterpoint to the "no one has a prospect as good as Perez to deal for Cliff Lee" meme that has been floated out there. The Angels, who would presumably be interested in Lee, should they hang in the race, have Trout. The Yankees have Jesus Montero. The Rays have Jeremy Hellickson and Desmond Jennings. The Twins have Aaron Hicks. The BoSox have Casey Kelly. The Braves have Julio Teheran. The Cardinals have Shelby Miller.**
** Miller, of course, was the guy the Rangers supposedly would have picked last year, if they hadn't taken Matt Purke. Oops.
Every one of those teams is likely going to be interested in Cliff Lee, and every one of those teams has an elite-level prospect (everyone listed above is in Law's top 15) like Martin Perez that they could give up for Lee.
Now, that doesn't mean that the M's will get one of those prospects. It may be that no team is willing to part with a player of that caliber, even to get arguably the best pitcher in the American League.
But the idea that the Rangers don't have to include Perez in a deal because no other contender has a Perez-level prospect to give up is simply wrong.