Today I continue looking at the top prospects by position, focusing in on the top left-handed starting prospects in the game. As expected, the top dog on this list is Matt Moore, the number two overall prospect in my Top 150 rankings. Also as expected, this list isn’t as deep as the prior list of Top 10 Right-Handers.
1. Matt Moore – Tampa Bay Rays
Moore resides on his own tier in these rankings. He is far and away the best left-handed pitching prospect out there and he has a chance to be a lights out number starter. He has a shiny new five-year contract in his back pocket and after fans got a taste of his potential dominance late last year, he appears ready to help lead the Rays rotation in 2012.
2. Martin Perez – Texas Rangers
3. Danny Hultzen – Seattle Mariners
4. Manny Banuelos – New York Yankees
5. Mike Montgomery – Kansas City Royals
6. Drew Pomeranz – Colorado Rockies
7. Tyler Skaggs – Arizona Diamondbacks
The middle of this list highlights a lengthy group of pitchers that all have the upside of a number two starter with a very good chance of settling in as a number three. Some scouts suggest that a guy like Montgomery has a chance to become a fringe ace but his command and control must make a significant step forward to achieve that ceiling. Hultzen arguably represents the safest bet in this section of the list, and he should arrive quickly in Seattle. Skaggs is quite possibly one of the more underrated prospects on this list, sitting as the number three prospect in the Diamondbacks Top 15 but still possessing considerable potential of his own.
8. James Paxton – Seattle Mariners
9. Jed Bradley – Milwaukee Brewers
10. Justin Nicolino – Toronto Blue Jays
Paxton burst back onto the scene last year after seeing his stock slip considerably after being forced to the independent leagues prior to the 2010 draft. He showed the quality stuff that had long intrigued scouts and has easy number three potential. Bradley owns a similar ceiling and he could move quickly through the Brewers system to help solidify their rotation. Nicolino is a touch and feel lefty with solid present stuff. He may not get it done in the same way as other pitchers on this list, but he could still mow through lineups as a mid-rotation starter.
Just Missed: Robbie Erlin – San Diego Padres, Daniel Norris – Toronto Blue Jays, Chad James – Florida Marlins, Matt Purke – Washington Nationals, Elvis Araujo – Cleveland Indians