Revisiting the Top 60: 6-10

Before we release this year's Top 60 list, 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 6-10 on last year's list.

10. Tim Melville, RHP

2009 Club: Burlington Bees

G: 21
IP: 97.1
ERA: 3.79
W: 7
L: 7
SV: 0
SO: 96
BB: 43
H: 89
HR: 10
AVG: .245

It was a solid professional debut for Melville, who didn't make his first start until late May. The Royals' 2008 fourth rounder was a first round talent, and the Royals lured him away from a commitment to North Carolina with a seven-figure bonus. The Royals usually start their high school pitching draftees in rookie ball, but the club felt Melville was advanced enough to skip all the way to the Midwest League. That faith was rewarded by Melville, who struck out just under one batter per inning while holding opposing hitters to a paltry .245 batting average.

Reflection on 2008 Ranking
Melville will jump a few spots on this year's Top 60, and he remains as one of the Royals' top right-handed pitching prospects. The 6-foot-5 20-year-old has a big league fastball that touches 95 mph, along with a plus curveball. His changeup hasn't come along as quickly as hoped, but he should get plenty of opportunities to work on it as he moves forward to Wilmington this spring.

9. Mike Montgomery, LHP

2009 Club: Burlington Bees, Wilmington Blue Rocks

Stats (combined)
G: 21
IP: 110.0
ERA: 2.21
W: 6
L: 4
SV: 0
SO: 98
BB: 36
H: 80
HR: 1
AVG: .201

In an organization that boasts more legitimate left-handed pitching prospects than any other club in baseball, Mike Montgomery used 2009 to distinguish himself as the best of the bunch. The 20-year-old Montgomery breezed through the Midwest League, making just 12 starts before his dominance prompted a midseason promotion to High-A Wilmington. Despite the early jump to the Carolina League, Montgomery continued to dominate while helping lead the Blue Rocks to another postseason berth. Between the two levels, the young southpaw held opponents to a miniscule .201 batting average while compiling a stellar 2.21 ERA.

Reflection on 2008 Ranking
Prior to the 2009 season, Montgomery's professional track record was limited to just over 40 dominant innings in the rookie Arizona League. Because we generally prefer a larger and more significant sample size, we were a little late to the Montgomery bandwagon. We wanted to see how he would handle more advanced leagues, and his 2009 performance put to rest any reservations we might have had. With three plus pitches, Montgomery profiles as a potential number one starter, and he'll move solidly into the top three on this year's Top 60.

8. Danny Duffy, LHP

2009 Club: Wilmington Blue Rocks

G: 24
IP: 126.2
ERA: 2.98
W: 9
L: 3
SV: 0
SO: 125
BB: 41
H: 108
HR: 6
AVG: .230

Another year, another level, and another dominant performance by Duffy. Since the Royals made Duffy their third round pick in the 2007 draft, the young southpaw has zoomed through the minors, and he should debut in 2010 at Double-A NW Arkansas. In 2009, Duffy held Carolina League hitters to a .230 average while striking out a batter per inning and compiling a staff-best 2.98 ERA.

Reflection on 2008 Ranking
Although he's never had high walk totals, Duffy's sometimes spotty fastball command has kept him a little lower on our Top 60 list than his numbers might otherwise suggest. However, the 21-year-old southpaw has been working hard on his mechanics and has made progress in repeating his delivery, and he's yet to run into any trouble in any of the leagues in which he's pitched. Double-A should be a nice test for him this year, and in the meantime, he'll jump a couple of spots on this year's list.

7. Carlos Rosa, RHP

2009 Club: Omaha Royals, KC Royals

Stats (minors)
G: 43
IP: 71.0
ERA: 4.56
W: 2
L: 8
SV: 7
SO: 80
BB: 32
H: 69
HR: 6
AVG: .258

After nearly being traded to the Marlins following the 2008 season, Rosa returned to Omaha and had a relatively solid season, culminating with a September promotion to Kansas City. The 25-year-old reliever made seven appearances for the big league club last year, finishing with a 3.38 ERA in 10.2 innings pitched. His numbers weren't as good for the O-Royals, but he did strike out over a batter per inning while holding opposing hitters to a .258 average. Rosa also pitched well in winter ball, posting a 3.45 ERA in 15.2 innings in the Dominican Winter League.

Reflection on 2008 Ranking
Rosa will fall a bit on this year's list, although this should be the last time he'll be eligible for our Top 60. He is out of options and stands a strong chance of making the Royals' 25-man roster out of spring training. He still offers a potentially plus fastball and an at times devastating slider.

6. Blake Wood, RHP

2009 Club: NW Arkansas Naturals, Arizona Royals

Stats (not including rehab assignment)
G: 17
IP: 78.2
ERA: 5.83
W: 2
L: 8
SV: 0
SO: 49
BB: 28
H: 92
HR: 8
AVG: .309

It was an all-around rough season for Blake Wood, who failed to make much progress during his second tour of the Double-A Texas League. The big right-hander battled some elbow inflammation and made a few rehab appearances in the Arizona League in August, but his fastball velocity was still topping out around the mid-90s. He finished the regular season back with the Naturals, and he made eight appearances for the Surprise Rafters in the Arizona Fall League, compiling a 6.75 ERA in 14.2 innings pitched.

Reflection on 2008 Ranking
We were hoping that Wood would use 2009 to really establish himself as a potential big league starter. At 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds, the 24-year-old has the ideal frame for a rotation workhorse, and his fastball, changeup, and curveball all have shown signs in the past of being potential plus pitches. Unfortunately, he didn't capitalize on that talent last season, and he'll fall to the back end of the top 20 this season. Nevertheless, he's still got a lot of potential, and the Royals placed him on the club's 40-man roster this offseason. He should get another shot at starting this season, probably back in Double-A, but he could be a strong candidate for bullpen duty at some point soon.

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