It's a little early into the season, but our AAA correspondent, Wybie Normal, has this report on the future stars of The Bigs:
- Norfolk may be leading the east at 12-4 right now, but the big news is with Washington, as their Legion of Lefties (Carter Leonard, Barry Rader, and John Balfour) has by far the most potential talent in the east. Expect to see those three and 3B Ewell Elster in D.C. at some point before the end of the season, even if it's only for a few games after roster expansion.
- In the North, Philly has two decent prospects in reliever Ramon Takada and slugging 3B Santos Mesa. But it's Kansas City that has the best AAA team here. They've got two shortstops to choose from in Jesse Pratt and Gustavo Contreras to go along with SP Ozzie Acker as legitimate prospects.
- Houston leads the NL South, but Austin has the deepest team. They've got slugging LF David Cortes, but their pitching staff is the envy of all systems except maybe Washington. Vladimir Bibby is the gem of the system, but they've also got Miguel Castilla, Richie Hatteberg, Dan Benard, and Denny Mann, all of whom are could be good ML starters someday.
- Out west, Salt Lake City has plenty of what the parent club has- big bats. Nick Robertson and Jim Dwyer may be unsettled postion-wise, but both can hit, along with IF Vern Monroe. Vancouver's got 1B Brendan Taft to hang their hat on, and Cheyenne has IF Jim Gibson as a good prospect.
- The East is led by Boston- scouts seem to like LF Chris Pose and pitchers David James and Pascual Beltre in particular. Louisville has P Tom Sanders and IF Dan Douglass.
- In the North, the defending division champs on the ML level, St. Louis, feel good about their future with infielders Kane Walters and Alex Silva to go with future closer Mickey Stanifer and young starter Vernon Taubensee.
- In the South, OKC is 11-5 with slugging infielder Raymond Black and all-around OF Felipe Valdes to lead the way. Outside of the Obese Supermodels system, the best the division has to offer in AAA are a couple of short relievers- Monterrey's Reese Duran and Charlotte's Dante Buckley.
- Out west is Boise's territory, led by uber-prospect LF Barry McEnroe and IF Dennis Huang. Hector Manto and Victor Soto are solid starters. Helena's got some solid position prospects in IFs Dave Cosby, Edwin Corey, and Jimmie James. Expect to see a trio of Chiles prospects in Anaheim soon- DH Jim Adkinsson, RF Dweezil Milligan, and 1B Esteban Santos. Even Seattle has a few decent-to-good prospects in AAA, led by 3B Albert Dale.