Minor league POY candidates
Ten preseason selections for the minor leagues' best player this season
Making your preseason picks for minor league player of the year honors has a bit more complexity than big league awards. The biggest issue, of course, is playing time. Tampa Bay Rays lefty Matt Moore, Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper and Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout are universally seen as the top three prospects in baseball, but none of them are good picks for 2012 honors. Moore will open the year in the big leagues, with Harper and Trout likely following suit. In fact, those three showed up on last year's version of this list.
When searching for minor league POY, you need a player who will spend the entire year away from the majors -- and in an environment that is conducive to putting up numbers -- or with an assignment in which the player can impress for other reasons. Here are my top 10 preseason candidates for the unofficial minor league POY.
Nolan Arenado, 3B, Colorado Rockies
Arenado's chances might have diminished on Tuesday but for all the right reasons, as the Rockies released Casey Blake, thus making the soon-to-be 21-year-old's path to the big leagues wide open. After leading the minor leagues in RBIs last year and putting up a .388/.423/.636 line in the Arizona Fall League, Arenado is generally seen as one of the best pure hitters in prospect land. But all of a sudden, it looks like POY-type numbers will land him in the big leagues sooner than they would have 24 hours ago.
MORE MLB HEADLINES
- Kershaw dominates Padres, moves to 15-3
- First-place Angels lose Richards 6-9 months
- Tigers' Price tosses 1-hitter, but loses to Rays
- Sources: Red Sox, Tigers in lead for Castillo
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
Future Power Rankings
Keith Law's top prospects
FeaturesMarch 30: Szymborski: AL standings | NL
March 29: BP: Four fading Phillies
March 27: Szymborski: Five non-flukes
March 26: Cameron: Top 500's underachievers
March 23: Cameron: Will Strasburg be the same?
March 22: BP: Smoak underrated by Safeco
March 21: Szymborski: The next Bautista
March 19: Cameron: Controlling Bryce's price
March 15: Goldstein: Prospects making waves
March 15: BP: Who's starting the wrong guy?
March 12: Cameron: Tribe's nasty rotation
March 10: Lindbergh: Sale a good bet to succeed