Beyond the few already widely recognized names of top prospects that are bound for big league glory sooner than later lay another level of prospect who may be somewhat less heralded. Bryce Harper, the 1st overall pick of the Washington Nationals has already graced the cover of Sports Illustrated and may even break into the majors before the end of this season but besides the most heralded position prospect in years, there are plenty of serious candidates to join their respective clubs and make immediate impacts in their rookie debuts.
As far as prized pitching prospects go, a few of the best looking rookie starters call the American League East home and don’t reside in the farm systems of the perennial front-running Yankees and Red sox. Tampa Bay’s top prospect RHP Jeremy Hellickson, Toronto’s stud RHP Kyle Drabek and the Oriole’s LHP Zach Britton are among the top young arms in the game and each could play significant roles in their team’s rotations. Hellickson is a very polished starting prospect who looks to fill the role that Matt Garza occupied during his time with the Rays. The 23 year old ended up breaking into the big show last season and doing quite well for him-self picking up 4 wins in 10 appearances.
Drabek came over to the Jay’s as one of the fixtures of the Roy Halladay deal and also got his first taste of the big league’s last season making just 3 starts. The son of former big-leaguer Doug Drabek certainly has the genes and competitive makeup to be successful on the highest level. Good thing for the Blue Jays he also has the stuff to complement the intangibles. Drabek’s solid fastball and sharp curveball stand out amongst his now 5 pitch repertoire that will surely keep hitters guessing at the plate. Although he has already lost one season to Tommy John surgery, Drabek looks to have fully recovered and the future looks bright for his big league career.
Perhaps now team could use an impact rookie in the starting rotation more than the Baltimore Orioles. With Brian Matusz solidifying his spot in the Baltimore rotation, the O’s now hope Zach Britton their next promising young lefty can have a similar early impact. Britton was a lot less hyped early in his professional career than many of his top prospect counterparts who top the list of standouts heading into 2011.