Top 5 Center Field Prospects in Baseball

Posted: August 25, 2012 by Codey Harrison in Uncategorized

Saturday August 25th, 2012

Codey Harrison: (Lead Editor, and President/CEO) – Today represents the final installment of the three-part series featuring middle of the field positions. The most important outfield position usually is played by the team’s most athletic position player has seen some big stars come into the big leagues in recent years. With the likes of Matt Kemp, Andrew McCutchen, Mike Trout, Adam Jones, and Austin Jackson the center field position has grown from a defensive minded position, into one that includes some of the games biggest superstars. The current minor league crop of center fielder’s is a very solid group which is led by 2011 first round pick Bubba Starling of the Kansas City Royals organization.

1.) Bubba Starling (Kansas City Royals Rookie Lg) – The 6’4″ 180 pound former University of Nebraska quarterback commitment has it all in terms of abilities on a baseball field. The fifth overall pick in the 2011 draft out of Gardner Kansas has drawn comparisons to Cincinnati Reds center fielder Drew Stubbs, the only difference is that scouts see Starling as a much better pure hitter than Stubbs. In his first pro season, it’s pretty evident that Starling is still very raw as a baseball prospect, as he began this season with Rookie League Burlington at 20 years of age. In his first 50 career games, Starling has shown off all of his tools as he is currently batting .282, with a .379 OBP, .505 SLG, with 10 home runs, and 10 stolen bases. The Royals are already loaded with young hitting studs like Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Billy Butler, Wil Myers. With Bubba Starling, the Royals should be one of the AL’s premier offenses within the next 3-4 years.

2.)  Billy Hamilton (Cincinati Reds AA) – The professional baseball record holder for steals in a single season (148 & counting) keeps finding himself all over prospect articles. It’s easy to see why, as the speedster Hamilton poses speed that has never been seen on the baseball field. Right now Billy Hamilton is playing shortstop with AA Pensacola but some scouts feel that Hamilton’s eventual home is in center field. The Reds manager Dusty Baker has even mentioned Hamilton being a september call-up in a pinch running role, and it’s easy to see why with Hamilton’s 148 SBs, and only 36 times caught. So far this season between High-A and AA, Hamilton has combined to hit .319, .with a 419 OBP, .434 SLG, 14 triples and the previously mentioned 148 stolen bases. Although Drew Stubbs currently patrols center field in Cincinnati, Hamilton could be the starting center fielder in the not so distant future.

3.) Brett Jackson (Chicago Cubs MLB) – The University of Cal product Brett Jackson has 3 very impressive tools which have recently got him promoted to the major leagues. Jackson’s amazing speed, power, and fielding ability have been on display since being a first round pick in 2009. His strikeout numbers have been impressive too, unfortunately it’s in a bad way as Jackson has stuck out on average more than 1 times per game as a pro. This season with AAA Iowa, Jackson has batted .259, .338 OBP, .479 SLG, with 15 home runs, and 27 stolen bases. But Jackson has also struck out 158 times in 106 games. Cubs fans still have plenty to be excited about as he still has impressive tools at a position that is generally a light hitting posistion.

4.) Starling Marte (Pittsburgh Pirates MLB) – Although he has been forced to a corner outfield spot because of some guy named Andrew McCutchen at the MLB level, Starling Marte has been a center fielder throughout most of his minor league career. Marte is so highly touted that when superstar Justin Upton was rumored to the Pirates, Starling Marte was expected to be the key prospect in any such deal. Of course no trade ever occurred, and Marte shortly following the trade deadline made his MLB debut, but has since been placed on the disabled list. Before his promotion, Marte was with AAA Indianapolis posting very impressive numbers .286 AVG, .347 OBP, .500 SLG, with 46 extra base hits, to compliment 21 stolen bases. If you’re a Pirates fan watching Marte, remember that McCutchen gliding around is going to be a sight to see for many years to come.

5.) Gary Brown (San Francisco Giants AA) – The best prospect currently in the Giants system is Gary Brown. After faltering early in the season, Brown has rebounded nicely in the 2nd half to keep his ranking as the Giants’ top prospect. The 24th overall selection of the 2010 draft has already found himself in AA posting very solid numbers .283 AVG, .350 OBP, .395 SLG, 7 home runs, and 32 triples. With all-star MVP Melky Cabrera recently suspended 50 games for Testosterone, the Giants are unlikely to re-sign Cabrera. Meaning that Gary Brown may find himself in the Giants outfield sooner than you might otherwise suspect.

Part One: Top 5 Shortstop Prospects in Baseball Part Two: Top 5 Catching Prospects in Baseball

Today’s article was prepared by Codey Harrison, MiLB Prospects Analyst. We would like your feedback, so please feel free to comment on the article below, and share in discussion with our readers. You can also follow Codey on Twitter (@Codey_Harris0n)

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