And to read the rest of the rankings, go here:
Prospects 40-31: Tuesday
Prospects 30-21: Thursday
Prospects 20-11: Friday
Prospects 10-1: Monday
40. Audy Ciriaco – Shortstop
We're all still waiting for that big breakout season from Ciriaco, and there are small signs that it might just be coming. His strikeout rate dipped slightly from his first season in West Michigan, while maintaining his walk rate, and scouts say he was hitting the ball very hard, very regularly. He may be in line for a move to third base, but the tools are still there to remain at shortstop.
39. Will Rhymes – Second Baseman
Rhymes put together a very nice season in Double-A, posting the second highest single-season hit total in Erie history. He's a scrappy player with excellent contact ability and enough defensive ability to play a sound second base, and possible fill shortstop in an emergency role.
38. Eddie Bonine – Right-handed Pitcher
Bonine's relatively minor problems with his shoulder are concerning, as he has a very thin margin for error in his game. He relies on a unique arsenal and an excellent ability to command and mix all of his pitches; an approach that requires health and consistent mechanics. Bonine will need to be healthy and need to prove he can fill a long-man role at the Major League level.
37. Jonah Nickerson – Right-handed Pitcher
This may seem a touch low for Nickerson after a solid season at Lakeland, but his stuff just didn't stand up in the eyes of scouts and coaches. He's a pure pitcher, with incredible poise, intelligence, and a desire to win, and that very well could get him to the big leagues.
36. Luke Putkonen – Right-handed Pitcher
Never quite got all the way back from a minor operation on his shoulder in the spring, Putkonen did still flash some promising stuff in limited time on the mound in 2008. There's enough upside here to keep him in mind as an intriguing prospect going forward.
35. Charlie Furbush – Left-handed Pitcher
Tommy John surgery set Furbush back a year, but lefties with the stuff he showed in his 2007 debut, are not easy to find. If he comes back from surgery with the same low-90s fastball, big curveball, and improving change-up as he showed at West Michigan, he should re-emerge as one of the better pitching prospects in the system.
34. Marcos Nunez – Right-handed Pitcher
At 19-years old, look for Nunez to debut stateside in 2009; on the heels of a fine season in the DSL where he posted a 1.78 ERA in 76 innings. He utilizes his height well, creating an excellent downward plane on his fastball, while also bringing a curve and change to the table.
33. Mauricio Robles – Left-handed Pitcher
The Tigers were aggressive with Robles this year, skipping him straight from the VSL in 2007, all the way to West Michigan in 2008; skipping everything in between. Robles has exceptional velocity for a lefty, and only needs to refine his command to really take off and become a serious prospect.
32. Jay Sborz – Right-handed Pitcher
The long awaited arrival of former second round pick Jay Sborz finally occurred this year. Sborz found the strike zone with his hard fastball, and re-discovered the devastating bite on his curveball. He has true closer potential, needing only experience to refine his abilities. Sborz could be a sleeper for Detroit at some point in 2009.
31. Josue Carreno – Right-handed Pitcher
A very assertive ranking for a player that turned 17 during his debut season in the VSL, Carreno earned it with a sparkling 2.82 ERA and 0.92 WHIP. His curveball and change-up have showed promise, but he will make his money on a dominating sinker that is like trying to hit a bowling ball.