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Anaheim Anteaters Future Shock: Top 10 Prospects

1/ SP Hugh Palmer. Age 24. AAA. ETA: S10
Selected 13th in the 1st round of the S6 draft, Palmer dominated the lower minors and has averaged a 16-4/3.35 record in 3 minor league seasons. Palmer's big calling card has been the punchout as he's K'd 502 batters in 51o frames. His heater is in the mid-90s and still developing. Palmer comes with 2 good pitchers, the fastball and slider, but could use a better forkball and curveball to sharpen his repertoire. Palmer's about a season away from the bigs and projects to a solid #2 or #3 starter.

2/ SP Vasco Almonte. Age 22. AAA. ETA: S10
A former 1st round draft pick by Atlanta/Chicago, Almonte was traded to Anaheim for fellow prospect Tony Mendoza. Almonte has been consistent in the minors, if unspectacular, with a 4.15 era and 1.32 whip. However, Almonte is just 22 and has progressed quickly through the minors with a AAA season already in the books. If he continues to develop his fastball and change-up he can become a stalwart in the rotation for a long-time to come, right next to Palmer.

3/3B Trenidad Rios. Age 23. ML. ETA: Now
Drafted 19th overall in the S5 draft, Rios has had little trouble with minor league pitching as evidenced by his 328/380/670 line in AAA last season, which echoes his career average in the littles. Rios was originally a shortstop, but was moved to 3B becuase of his limited range, and is set to displace Mathew Witt at the hot corner this spring. However, durability has been a concern for Rios, not to mention his propensity to strikeout, so there are some holes in his game that need work.

4/OF Bingo Gonzalez. Age 20. High A. ETA: S12
A late 1st-round selection from S7, Gonzalez projects to have strong power and line-drive ability, as well as good pitch selection at the plate. In his first two minor league seasons, Gonzo carries a 107/97 BB/K rate, as well as a 340/447/635 line. Bingo has missed some games due to freak ailments, but as his body matures and grows stronger he should regularly find the other side of the fence. ETA:

5/ 1B Edgar Bocachica. Age 20. High A. ETA: S12
Bocachica was signed as an international prospect from the Dominican last year and debuted in Low A ball by stroking a 435/556/790 line. He makes great contact at the plate, has a good eye, and may develop a little more power as he matures. Could be the franchise's succesor to Kip White at 1B, though he's not likely to ever match White's hall of fame numbers.

6/SS Emil Tavarez. Age 22. AAA. ETA: S10
Signed as an 18 year-old SS out of Venezuela, Tavarez' strengths are in his leather and ability to get on base, though the latter may be challenged by big league pitching. Tavarez mastered 4 levels of minor league ball in 4 seasons, earning trips to All-Star games at every level, and adding Gold Glove and Silver Slugger trophies at AAA. Emil will work on polishing hism defense in AAA this season and hope the team finds room for him soon, since Delino Julio is currently blocking his path at SS.

7/ SP Mitch Johnson. Age 22. Low A. ETA: S13
Drafted as a raw 21 year-old out of Wheeling Jesuit University in W.V., the Anteaters took a chance that they could develop and refine Johnson into a big league starter. His Short League debut included a 9-2/4.17 line and a 68/20 K/BB ratio. If Johnson can make leaps in his control and pitch movement, he can become a #3 starter in the bigs.

8/2B Don Cooper. Age 22. AAA. ETA: S10
Cooper led all of Capra last season in stolen bases by snaking 132 bags while getting rung up only 14 times in AA. However, he did post his lowest BA(294) and OBP(344) to date, something may become an issue as he rises in the system. Cooper's defense is fine, he just needs to control the strike zone more efficiently and find ways to get on base to capitalize on his projected 100 speed/94 baserunning ability.

9/ C Chet Sweeney. Age 21. AA. ETA: S11
Drafted in the 7th round at 18 from a small-town Indiana high school, Sweeney has moved through the lower minors like a man with something to prove. While his numbers have dropped a little at each successive level, he's still combined for a 365/448/650 line in three seasons. The next two seasons at AA and AAA will be critical to determine his big league future, if any.

10/ 2B Danny Ramirez. Age 19. Low A. ETA: S12-13
Drafted out of high school in the supplemental round last season, Ramirez debuted in short ball by rapping a 335/447/491 line, stealing 31 bases, and sporting a 46/35 BB /K ratio. Ramirez has lots of growth work ahead of him, but the exceptional speed he already has may be his ticket if he's going to make it in the bigs.

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