The Texas League normally plays neutral to pitcher friendly and in some ways serves as more of prospect showcase league than AAA. Most of the top prospects in baseball tend to skip AAA on their way to the big leagues, so AA is more prone to seeing the 20 and 21-year-old future superstars. Keep in mind, this is not necessarily a top prospect list as much as it is a list of players who are red-hot right now, regardless of status or hype.
3B Ryan Rua (TEX) – .373/.456/.610, 5 doubles, 3 HR, 8 BB, 9 K
Rua has been on fire to begin the Texas League season, posting the highest batting average and ranking among the best in total bases. Rua had a breakout year last season when he belted 32 homers in A+/AA. He appears to be the heir apparent of Texas’ 3B spot once Adrian Beltre moves on. With a strong showing, Ryan could firmly entrench himself in what appears to be a solid Rangers infield of the future.
OF Billy Burns (OAK) .237/.362/.276, 3 doubles, 0 HR, 12 SB, 16 BB, 16 K
Burns isn’t young for the level, but everything about this guy screams leadoff hitter. At 5’9, 180 pounds, his strike zone isn’t overly large and the 24-year-old switch hitter is averaging nearly one walk per game. So despite the paltry .237BA, he’s posting a very good .362 OBP, which you know Billy Beane has to love. Burns swiped 74 stolen bases last year and has notched 11 already to begin this year. But remember – you can’t steal first base, as Billy Hamilton is finding out this year.
RHP Cam Bedrosian (LAA) 8 2/3, IP, 2 ER, 3 BB, 21 K
Yes, you read that right, Bedrosian (known as Bedrock to those with an ounce of appreciation for baseball history) has struck out 21 batters in 8 2/3 IP. To put this into perspective, Cam has faced 32 batters this season, and has struck out 21 of them. He’s walked three and given up three hits. You’d be hard-pressed to find a major league reliever that could put up the type of video game numbers Bedrock is, even against AA hitters. Given the Angels shaky bullpen, his bloodlines and sheer dominance, it is only a matter of time before the 21-year-old Bedrosian is striking out hitters at the big league level.
RHP Daniel Winkler (COL) 4 starts, 24 IP, 2 ER, 8 BB, 27 K, 0.75 ERA
Winkler has posted better than solid numbers at just about every stop since being drafted, but it seems only now that people are beginning to take notice. The Rockies pitching situation appears to be very fluid at the moment, and if Winkler continues to do what he’s done for another month or two, he may find himself pitching at Coors Field soon enough, which I’m not sure if that’s a reward or punishment.
RHP Drew Rucinski (LAA) 4 starts, 21 IP, 2 ER, 7 BB, 21 K, 0.86 ERA
Rucinski lacks the big time stuff to wow scouts and was abandoned by the Indians due to injury before. Upon signing with the Angels late last season, Rucinski went one to post five solid starts in the hitter-happy Cal League and now has four sparkling starts under his belt in AA. The Angels rotation looks good for the time being, but the depth clearly isn’t there, so if he keeps this up it’s easy to envision a spot opening up for him.