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Mayo's Top 50 Prospects

At long last, itís time for the 2006 Top 50 prospects rankings. I assure you, it was worth the wait.

Watch's 2006 Top 50 Prospects Show

This yearís rankings come courtesy of an all-time high 23 members of the scouting community. The results were tabulated in an AP poll-type format: Any prospect listed No. 1 got 30 points, No. 2 got 29 and on down to one. The cumulative score for each player helped determine the final rankings. Each prospect's score can be seen in parentheses.

The only parameters set for the participants is that a prospect must still have rookie status entering the 2006 season to be included on this list. Thatís why you wonít see Jeff Francoeur, Felix Hernandez, B.J. Upton (he lost rookie status back in 2004) or Bobby Jenks (too much service time last year) on this list. Any other Minor Leaguer, from Triple-A players knocking on the door to recent draftees just getting started, were eligible for the rankings.

Itís amazing how quickly the prospect landscape can change, both because of graduation to the big leagues and ever-changing evaluations of the players. More than half of this yearís list Ė 26 to be exact Ė were not on the Top 50 list that appeared near the end of last season.

The best thing about this list is the debate it stirs. Undoubtedly, there are prospects you believe should be on this list that didnít make the cut. Thatís what the email address below is for. Donít hesitate to let me know your thoughts about the rankings (you usually donít). Happy reading!

Stats are from the 2005 season  |  Someone missing?  E-mail your comments >

Jump to a ranking:  1-10  |  11-20  |  21-30  |  31-40  |  41-50

Delmon Young, OF, Devil Rays (659)
2005 stats: [AA] .336 BA/ .386 OBP/ .582 SLG [AAA] .285 BA/ .303 OBP/ .447 SLG
2005 Club: Montgomery/Durham ETA in Majors: 2006 2005 Final Rank: 1
The Delmon Era is just about ready to begin. He may be in Durham to start the year, but there's no doubt he'll finish the season in Tampa. The near-consensus No. 1 pick can do it all on the field.

Jeremy Hermida, OF, Marlins (596)
2005 stats: [AA] .293 BA/ .457 OBP/ .518 SLG [FLA] .293 BA/ .383 OBP/ .634 SLG
2005 Club: Carolina/Florida ETA in Majors: 2006 2005 Final Rank: 5
Hitting a pinch-hit grand slam in his first Major League AB was certainly a way to introduce himself. By the time he's done, though, it'll be just one of several memorable moments in a long career.

Brandon Wood, SS, Angels (563)
2005 stats: [A] .321 BA / .383 OBP/ .672 SLG [AAA] .316 BA/ .316 OBP/ .526 SLG
2005 Club: Rancho Cucamonga/Salt Lake ETA in Majors: 2008 2005 Final Rank: 19
Well, the power is legit, as if 57 homers between the Minors and the AFL wasn't enough proof for you. If he can cut down on the strikeouts just a little bit more, it could get even worse for opposing pitchers.

Francisco Liriano, LHP, Twins (532)
2005 stats: 12-7, 2.63 ERA, 167.2 IP, 126 H, 50 BB, 204 K
2005 Club: New Britain/Rochester/Minnesota ETA in Majors: 2006 2005 Final Rank: 15
His competition against Scott Baker for the Twins No. 5 job is coming down to the wire. No one questions, however, who has more upside. The Johan Santana comps are justified.

Justin Verlander, RHP, Tigers (452)
2005 stats: 11-2, 1.29 ERA, 118.2 IP, 81 H, 26 BB, 136 K
2005 Club: Lakeland/Erie/Detroit ETA in Majors: 2006 2005 Final Rank: 10
The only question surrounding the No. 2 pick from the 2004 draft was command. His better than 10-to-1 K:BB ratio last year answered that question and after just one season as a pro, he's in the Tigers rotation.

Ryan Zimmerman, 3B, Nationals (434)
2005 stats: [A] .471 BA/ .471 OBP/ 1.059 SLG [AA] .326 BA/ .371 OBP/ .528 SLG
2005 Club: Savannah/Harrisburg/Washington ETA in Majors: 2006 2005 Final Rank: NR
Minors? We don't need no stinkin' Minors. Zimmerman went from UVa. to the big leagues in one summer. He's now the Nats' starting third baseman in his own backyard and should be for the next decade or so.

Justin Upton, SS, Diamondbacks (417)
2005 stats: Did not play
2005 Club: Did not play ETA in Majors: 2008 2005 Final Rank: NR
It says something about a guy's ability to be ranked this high before playing a pro inning. It's the highest a player of his sort has been ranked on this list. He'll more than live up to advanced billing, starting in South Bend.

Matt Cain, RHP, Giants (415)
2005 stats: 10-5, 4.39 ERA, 145.2 IP, 118 H, 73 BB, 176 K
2005 Club: Fresno ETA in Majors: 2006 2005 Final Rank: 8
Stuff-wise, he's right up there with phenom Felix Hernandez. The command is still an issue (19 BB in 46 1/3 IP in the bigs last year) but he'll get out of many jams just by blowing people away.

Stephen Drew, SS, Diamondbacks (408)
2005 stats: [A] .389 BA/ .486 OBP/ .738 SLG [AA] .218 BA/ .301 OBP/ .386 SLG
2005 Club: Lancaster/Tennessee ETA in Majors: 2006 2005 Final Rank: NR
He'll be the Diamondbacks shortstop at some point soon. It's just a question of when. Anyone who thought Craig Counsell was the answer, even before his injury, hasn't seen Drew play.

Chad Billingsley, RHP, Dodgers (370)
2005 stats: [AA] 13-6, 146 IP, 116 H, 50 BB, 162 K
2005 Club: Jacksonville ETA in Majors: 2006 2005 Final Rank: 38
His stuff could absolutely get big-league hitters out now. He'll get that chance eventually this year, but for now go to Vegas, baby, to see him and an absolutely stocked 51s roster.

Jump to a ranking:  1-10  |  11-20  |  21-30  |  31-40  |  41-50