Revisiting the Top 60: 21-25

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 21-25 on last year's list.

25. Adrian Ortiz, OF

2009 Club: Wilmington Blue Rocks, Burlington Bees

Stats (combined)
AB: 432
BA: .241
OBP: .267
SLG: .299
HR: 0
2B: 13
3B: 6
BB: 15
SO: 68
SB: 22
CS: 8

Ortiz entered 2009 carrying a career batting average of .314 through his first two seasons, which was something of a surprise given the scouting reports on him out of college. Unfortunately, the 22-year-old Pepperdine product failed to maintain that pace this year, and finished 2009 with a disappointing line of .241/.267/.299. He began the season with the Blue Rocks, but his struggles in the Carolina League prompted a mid-season demotion to Burlington. Ortiz was an All-Star for the Bees in 2008, but even a return to the league in 2009 couldn't lift him out of his season-long funk.

Reflection on 2008 Ranking
It was just an all around disastrous year for Ortiz. Although most prospect watchers didn't expect him to continue hitting over .300, nobody could have predicted such a quick fall. Ortiz has one excellent tool – his plus speed – but that probably won't be enough to keep him on this year's Top 60.

24. Keaton Hayenga, RHP

2009 Club: Burlington Royals

G: 13
IP: 66.1
ERA: 3.66
W: 4
L: 7
SV: 0
SO: 34
BB: 16
H: 68
HR: 2
AVG: .249

Hayenga made his long-awaited professional debut in 2009, and the 20-year-old Washington native did not disappoint. Pitching for the Burlington Royals, Hayenga made 13 starts, posting a 4-7 record and 3.66 ERA while holding opponents to a .249 average. His control was very good, which was particularly impressive in light of his long layoff while recovering from a torn labrum suffered in high school.

Reflection on 2008 Ranking
Hayenga was ranked in the top 25 last year based solely upon positive reports from last fall and his over-slot signing bonus, but he used 2009 to solidify himself as a strong prospect. He has an excellent 6-foot-4 frame that should fill out nicely, and possesses a very clean delivery that produces a big league average fastball. In addition to the fastball, Hayenga throws a curveball and changeup, both of which could become quality offerings. Look for him to move up a bit on this year's list.

23. Joe Dickerson, OF

2009 Club: NW Arkansas Naturals, Arizona Royals

Stats (not including rehab)
AB: 126
BA: .230
OBP: .338
SLG: .317
HR: 0
2B: 7
3B: 2
BB: 18
SO: 19
SB: 5
CS: 1

In one of the bigger surprises of the summer, Joe Dickerson announced his retirement after suffering yet another injury. It's a shame, because even though he had been tagged with something of a "tweener" label, he consistently put up solid numbers when healthy.

22. Salvador Perez, C

2009 Club: Burlington Bees, Idaho Falls Chukars

Stats (combined)
AB: 360
BA: .267
OBP: .313
SLG: .356
HR: 2
2B: 20
3B: 3
BB: 25
SO: 40
SB: 0
CS: 2

Perez began the season with the Burlington Bees, but he hit just .189/.230/.236 in 127 at bats before being sent back to Idaho Falls for the start of the Pioneer League season. The 19-year-old catcher had an excellent 2008 season in rookie ball, and he picked right up where he left off upon his return, hitting .309/.357/.421 in 59 games for the Chukars in 2009.

Reflection on 2008 Ranking
Having mastered rookie ball, the next step for Perez is to prove that he can hit full season league pitching, and he'll get another chance against the Midwest League in 2010. Perez doesn't turn 20 until May, and he already has a big league body, excellent catch and throw skills, and an off-the-charts work ethic. Given his youth and potential, it would take more than a couple of bad months in the Midwest League to drop him significantly on this year's list.

21. Jason Taylor, 3B/1B

2009 Club: Burlington Bees, Idaho Falls Chukars

Stats (combined)
AB: 223
BA: .278
OBP: .360
SLG: .417
HR: 4
2B: 15
3B: 2
BB: 28
SO: 34
SB: 18
CS: 10

One of the last offseason's biggest disappointments was the news that Jason Taylor had been suspended for 50 games after testing positive for a drug of abuse. It wasn't Taylor's first run-in with such problems, and it was particularly disappointing because it came after a season in which he had played very well and reestablished himself as a prospect. After serving his suspension, the 21-year-old infielder finally got back on the field in late June, and after a short tune-up with the Chukars, he returned to Burlington for the season's last two months. Taylor clubbed 17 home runs for the Bees in 2008, but he hit just two in 57 games with Burlington in 2009. In addition to the reduced power numbers, he also got on base less often, although his .357 OBP for the Bees was still respectable.

Reflection on 2008 Ranking
It is tough to get a read on Taylor's 2009 numbers. If the power returns and he stays out of trouble, he could once again become a solid prospect. Of course, those are big "ifs," and one has to figure that Taylor is almost out of chances with the Royals. As it stands, he's on the bubble for this year's Top 60 list.

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