Top 5 risers under 25 by organization - AL West

October 30, 2008

All Divisions: AL East / AL Central / AL West / NL East / NL CentralNL West

Now that the regular season in both the major and minor leagues is complete, we have a full grasp on which young players increased their stock. Here, I take a look at the players under 25 who I believe increased their value the most. These are not rankings in regards to talent or depth, but rather in whose value rose the most around baseball. Added weight was given to players in the majors or near major-league ready. Also, 2008 draftees are not eligible for these lists.


Los Angeles Angels top 5 risers under 25
No.   Player   Pos.   Comments   Age   Lvl   PP   SS
1   Jose Arredondo   RHP   Electric reliever K'ed 22.5% as a rookie while posting a 3.14 FIP, should warrant ROY votes   24.5   MLB   NR    
2   Mark Trumbo   1B   Was overmatched in A in '06 and '07; '08 breakout resulted in .864 OPS, 32 HR in A+ and AA   22.6   AA   NR    
3   Jordan Walden   RHP   Showed '07 success was no fluke, dominated Midwest league (2.96 FIP); strong in CAL too   20.8   A+   91    
4   Sean Rodriguez   2B   Went from .765 OPS in 508 AA AB in '07 to 1.041 OPS in 248 AB in AAA in '08, poor in MLB   23.4   MLB   NR    
5   Trevor Reckling   LHP   Lefty tossed 152.1 strong innings: 9.2 BB%, 19.9 K%, 55 GB% as freshly turned 19-year-old   19.3   A   NR    
* Age refers to the players age on October 1st, 2008                
** Lvl refers to the highest level that the player has played                
*** PP refers to the ranking that Project Prospect gave the player going into the 2008 season                
**** SS stands for "Sully Select", which is a prospect who Brett Sullivan expects to continue a steep rise in 2009                


Jose Arredondo was a converted infielder, and struggled with his command after becoming a pitcher. This is what kept him in the dark as a prospect for years, as his strikeout rates were always impressive. Next thing you know, Arredondo is the setup man for the single-season saves leader as well as a potential closer for the Angels in 2009. Arredondo’s 3.14 FIP as a rookie may be foreshadowing the type of ability he has.

2009 Outlook: The Angels were a few players stepping up short from going deep into the playoffs in 2008. With a very strong pitching staff, they will count on youngsters such Brandon Wood, Howie Kendrick, and Erick Aybar among others to produce next season. If these players improve collectively, the Angels will be in great position to win the division once again and make a run at the championship.


Texas Rangers top 5 risers under 25
No.   Player   Pos.   Comments   Age   Lvl   PP   SS
1   Chris Davis   1B   Tough to top 36 HR in '07 - Destroyed minors and had a .264 isoP in the bigs, 40 HR in '07 total   22.5   MLB   118   X
2   Neftali Feliz   RHP   Never pitched above short-season until '08, where he soared to AA -- posted 3.21 FIP   20.4   AA   NR   X
3   Derek Holland   LHP   Similarly to Feliz, '08 was first stint in full-season; 30.1 K%, 6.8 BB% from A up to AA   21.9   AA   NR    
4   Julio Borbon   CF   Many were critical of Borbon as 35th pick in '07; silienced doubters in '08: .824 OPS in AA   22.6   AA   NR    
5   Elvis Andrus   SS   Teen kept head above water in AA (.295/.348/.367), all while handling shortstop beautifully   20.0   AA   52    


Sully Select: Chris Davis has been a man-child since he was drafted. He has posted a .872 OPS or higher at every stop he’s been at from 2006 to present. He smashed 10 HR or more at every stop, including 10 or more at 3 different levels this year (AA, AAA, MLB). With an .880 OPS as a 22-year-old rookie, Davis looks like he can be a special player for a long time.

Sully Select: Neftali Feliz was acquired in the Mark Teixiera deal from Atlanta, and considered a throw-in by many. He was a teen with a big fastball, who hadn’t thrown a single pitch for a full-season team. When he took the ball for Clinton, he showed the world what he has that made Texas covet him. In 17 starts, Feliz struck out 1/3rd of the batters he faced, and made the jump to Double-A where he continued to be lights-out. Watch as Feliz attempts to blossom into a top-of-the-rotation major leaguer in the coming years.

2009 Outlook: With a system oozing with young talent, Texas should make its big jump next season, where they could be a serious contender for the AL West.


            Oakland Athletics top 5 risers under 25                
No.   Player   Pos.   Comments   Age   Lvl   PP   SS
1   Trevor Cahill   RHP   Abused the California league (29.9 K%, 62 GB%); was great in Olympics, and AA (64 GB%)   20.5   AA   49   X
2   Brett Anderson   LHP   After fantastic showing in A+ (4.4 K/BB, 3.40 FIP), was only better in AA (30.4 K%, 3.12 FIP)   20.6   AA   53   X
3   Chris Carter   1B   After 25 HR in Low-A in '07, more power in '08 (39 HR, .310 isoP) and walks(13.2 BB%)   21.7   A+   NR    
4   Vincent Mazzaro   RHP   Shelled in CAL league in '07 (5.03 FIP), TEX league pitcher of year in '08 (3.14 FIP, .229 BAA)   22.0   AAA   NR    
5   Aaron Cunningham   LF   3rd member of this list from Haren deal, .932 OPS between AA, AAA in '08, made MLB debut   22.4   MLB   NR    


Sully Select: Trevor Cahill passed up Dartmouth to play professional baseball. And you know what? Good decision. All he has done to start his career is dominate at every level, ending 2008 in Double-A. A huge part of the USA Olympic team, Cahill is a ground-ball specialist who also has the ability to strike a guy out if needed. This combination makes him one of the most exciting pitching prospects in baseball, and a guy who’s as safe a bet as any to be an above average major league starter.

Sully Select: Brett Anderson is a safe bet as well. Pretty much everything on Cahill’s resume is also credited on Anderson's. Fly through Low-A, High-A, Double-A? Check, Check, Check. Olympic medal? Check. The young lefty, who is exactly one month older than Cahill, should climb just as rapidly, if not faster. With impeccable command, and an abundant repertoire, Anderson could be an asset to a major league rotation for years and years.

2009 Outlook: Although the A’s have one of the best farm systems in baseball, their talent at the major league level is lacking. Expect the Oakland A's to breakout at some point, but that point may not be until 2010 or 2011.


            Seattle Mariners top 5 risers under 25                
No.   Player   Pos.   Comments   Age   Lvl   PP   SS
1   Brandon Morrow   RHP   Key change in performance was improvement in K/BB (1.32 as rookie in '07, 2.21 in 2008)   24.1   MLB   N/A    
2   Felix Hernandez   RHP   He is only 22, showed durability in '08 (over 200 IP for first time) & will only get better. Scary!   22.4   MLB   N/A    
3   Greg Halman   CF   '07 in Midwest league: .506 OPS; '08 in California league: .892 OPS, 19 HR, 23 SB in 257 AB   21.1   AA   NR    
4   Michael Saunders   CF   '07 left questions if he could produce outside High Desert, .858 AA OPS in '08 answered that   21.8   AAA   NR    
5   Michael Pineda   RHP   Quite a rise: Spent all of '07 in the DSL, ended 2008 with a complete game 1 hitter, 1 BB, 14 K   19.7   A   NR    


Brandon Morrow has bounced around between starter and reliever his entire career. He had some success as a rookie, but improved majorly in 2008 where he significantly decreased his walk percentage, while striking out more batters. As a closer, Morrow was lights out. Seattle had Morrow start a few games at the end of the year, which didn’t go so well, but considering his background as a starter in college, 2009 should result in much more success as a starter.

2009 Outlook: Aside from King Felix and the oft injured Erik Bedard, Seattle didn’t get much out of their starting rotation in 2008. With a very strong bullpen to go with an emerging offense, Seattle is 3/5 of a rotation and a couple sluggers away from competing for the division. Unfortunately, it’s very unlikely they can fix all of these problems in a single offseason.


Brett Sullivan can be reached at