Revisiting the Top 60: 41-45

With the minor league season completed, RC is busy putting together this year's Top 60 prospect list, which should be released in mid-December. First, however, it is useful to take a look back at last year's Top 60 prospects. Who took a step forward? Who took a step back? Who should have been ranked higher? Today we take a look at prospects 41-45 on last year's list.

45. Clint Robinson, 1B

2009 Club: Wilmington Blue Rocks

AB: 436
BA: .298
OBP: .356
SLG: .463
HR: 13
2B: 31
3B: 1
BB: 35
SO: 79
SB: 4
CS: 3

Somewhat lost in the Blue Rocks' strong season was the fact that Clint Robinson captured the Carolina League's batting title. Indeed, it was a solid season for the 24-year-old 1B/DH, whose offensive production down the stretch helped vault Wilmington into the playoffs. Robinson's splits were also very encouraging. He was one of the few Blue Rocks players seemingly unaffected by the cavernous Frawley Stadium, and the left-handed hitter had no problem whatsoever with Carolina League southpaws.

Reflection on 2008 Ranking
Despite being a 25th round selection in the 2007 draft, Robinson has been a mainstay on RC's top prospect lists thanks to his above average power. After adding a batting title to a hardware collection that includes the 2007 Pioneer League MVP award, Robinson should move up a bit on this year's list. Still, he was a bit old for the league, his bat speed is a tick below average, and he was essentially moved to full-time DH when Eric Hosmer was promoted from Burlington at midseason. There are still questions about whether or not Robinson will be able to hit at higher levels, but the Royals certainly can't be disappointed about what he's done so far, and he'll continue getting opportunities to prove himself as he moves forward to Double-A next season.

44. Kyle Martin, IF

2009 Club: Burlington Bees

AB: 134
BA: .187
OBP: .261
SLG: .269
HR: 1
2B: 6
3B: 1
BB: 11
SO: 28
SB: 3
CS: 0

After hitting .316/.373/.537 for the Bees in 2008, Martin returned to Burlington in 2009. Unfortunately, he got off to a dreadful start, and in late May, he decided to retire.

43. Patrick Norris, OF

2009 Club: Burlington Bees

AB: 393
BA: .244
OBP: .304
SLG: .272
HR: 0
2B: 3
3B: 4
BB: 31
SO: 80
SB: 45
CS: 9

Norris entered the 2009 season carrying a career OBP of .375, but he hit just .244/.304/.272 in his first exposure to full season ball. The 23-year-old outfielder had some success in the middle of the season, hitting .291 in June and July, but his year was otherwise a disappointment. The speed was still there, however, as Norris finished third in the Midwest League in stolen bases while being successful on over 83 percent of his stolen base attempts.

Reflection on 2008 Ranking
Because Norris has so little power to speak of, his presence on RC's top prospect lists has always been dependent upon his ability to get on base. Unfortunately, that ability failed to show up in 2009, and Norris will likely not be on this year's Top 60, despite his plus-plus speed.

42. Chris Lubanski, OF

2009 Club: Omaha Royals

Stats (not including rehab assignment)
AB: 132
BA: .227
OBP: .313
SLG: .341
HR: 2
2B: 7
3B: 1
BB: 17
SO: 27
SB: 7
CS: 1

After an excellent spring training with the big league club, Lubanski got off to a great start with the O-Royals, hitting .308 with nine extra base hits and 15 RBIs through his first 24 games. Unfortunately, he then suffered a hamstring injury which sidelined him until late July. He struggled mightily upon his return before hamstring issues shut him down for good in mid-August. Lubanski is now a minor league free agent, and it seems likely that his journey to the big leagues will have to go through another organization.

Reflection on 2008 Ranking
When we ranked Lubanski at #42 last year, it seemed utterly implausible that he might get a shot with the big league club in 2009…and then the injury bug hit the Royals. It now seems safe to say that if Lubanski hadn't suffered his injury, he likely would have received some of the big league at bats that ultimately went to players like Josh Anderson and Mitch Maier, and he might have even positioned himself for a spot on the Royals' 2010 roster. As it stands, that disappointment seems likely to be the final chapter of former first rounder's career with the Royals. Lubanski has always been a class act, and we wish him well.

41. Greg Holland, RHP

2009 Club: NW Arkansas Naturals, Omaha Royals

Stats (combined)
G: 35
IP: 54.1
ERA: 3.81
W: 4
L: 3
SV: 10
SO: 50
BB: 24
H: 58
HR: 4
AVG: .278

It was another successful season for Holland, who has been on the fast track ever since the Royals selected him in the tenth round of the 2007 draft out of Western Carolina. The 23-year old reliever began the season with the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, where he struck out more than a batter per inning while compiling a 3.18 ERA. Holland was named to the Texas League All-Star team, and in late July, he was promoted to Triple-A Omaha, where he made six appearances for the O-Royals.

Reflection on 2008 Ranking
At 5-foot-11, Holland is a bit undersized for a relief prospect. He possesses an outstanding fastball and a good slider, however, and that repertoire has allowed him to zoom through the Royals' system with little trouble. He got knocked around a bit in his first few Triple-A appearances, but he finished strong and remains as one of the Royals' best young relief prospects. He should climb a bit on this year's Top 60.

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