Commentary

10 prospects who just missed

These promising players came up just a little bit shy of the top 100 list

Updated: February 9, 2012, 11:32 AM ET
By Keith Law | ESPN Insider
Will MiddlebrooksChristian Petersen/Getty ImagesWill Middlebrooks played in the Futures Game in 2011, but needs to recognize off-speed stuff better in 2012.

As always, when I compile my rankings of the top 100 MLB prospects, I start with a longer list of candidates, including the top prospects in each organization, and gradually narrow the number of players on the master list as I make calls, review notes and video, write up capsules, and circulate drafts of the top 100 to trusted sources -- a process that leaves a few players just on the outside of the final ranking. Here are the 10 players who just barely missed the top 100 (in no particular order), including full capsules for two players I wrote up before deciding to bump them from that final list.


Will Middlebrooks, 3B: He emerged as one of the top Red Sox prospects last season with a breakout year at age 22 with Double-A Portland, showing raw power and plus defense at third base, a position that's really down around the majors right now. Middlebrooks has filled out his 6-foot-4 frame, so his rotational swing now produces home runs instead of just long fly balls. But his approach at the plate is a real weakness that pitchers started to exploit when he was called up to Triple-A and in the Arizona Fall League -- especially with better off-speed stuff.