Originally written on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 11/10/14
Mike Newman and I traversed the back fields of Cactus League last week. When we weren’t berating one another with insults, we analyzed the prospects we watched.  After hours of back and forth we decided to memorialize our differences in “Dueling Prospects Lists.” So that we don’t taint our lists, we haven’t discussed these rankings or the analysis with each other.  You can see Mike’s list here, if you’re so inclined. No. 1 Francisco Lindor, Cleveland Indians — Shortstop Lindor walked Goodyear’s minor league complex draped in Major League Baseball apparel and did so with lots of swagger. Lindor’s confidence in himself is matched by the confidence his organization has in him: Cleveland has played Lindor in eight Spring Training games even though he has one full season under his belt. Some unfairly characterized his past year as a failure, but a 102 wRC+ in the Midwest League is impressive for an 18-year-old. Lindor’s floor is as high as any prospect due to his premier defensive abilities, but his ceiling is high too. In batting practice, he looked noticeably stronger and his bat control was outstanding. I expect him to arrive in Cleveland by next season and for his early career to resemble Elvis Andrus or Andrelton Simmons. No. 2 Taijuan Walker, Seattle Mariners — Right-handed starting pitcher There ‘s no question Walker — “The Prototype” — has the highest upside on this list. In fact, it isn’t a stretch to say he has a higher upside than any other minor league pitcher. He’s the perfect balance of fluidity, strength and athleticism. But, for as easy as Walker makes throwing a mid- to upper-90 mph fastballs seem, he’s still raw. And that’s scary because Walker can dominate hitters with an erratic spike-curveball, a developing changeup and inconsistent command. Once Walker refines his abilities at Double-A, watch out. No. 3 Trevor Story, Colorado Rockies — Shortstop Story is seriously underrated. I won’t preempt next week’s post, but he deserves to be mentioned with elite shortstop prospects, such as Chris Owings and Nick Franklin. No. 4 David Dahl, Colorado Rockies – Center fielder At first blush, Dahl reminded me of Dustin Ackley — whom I loved as a prospect. He has great bat speed with a line-drive stroke, but his physical tools underwhelmed me. The bat speed is sufficient to produce power, but that isn’t part of his approach. He projects to hit atop a major-league lineup and play average or better center field. No. 5 Stryker Trahan, Arizona Diamondbacks — Catcher We discussed Trahan last week. I love his bat, but that piece didn’t articulate how much more advanced his hitting ability is than his defense. As I said, his size won’t allow him to be an impact player at another position, so he’ll need to improve his blocking and receiving. No. 6 Dorssys Paulino, Cleveland Indians — Shortstop Newman and I were arguing whether Paulino’s future is at shortstop. Of course, if Paulino remains with Cleveland, Lindor will shift him elsewhere. Paulino has soft hands and a strong throwing arm, but his range is questionable. If anything, he’s going to play third, not second, if he outgrows shortstop. But his instincts and quick first step give him a change to stick at shortstop. His swing is impressive: he stays down through the ball for a long time. His potential 35/60 (hit), 30/50 (power) bat is special at his position, even if his defensive skill is a tick below average. No. 7 Trevor Bauer, Cleveland Indians — Right-handed starting pitcher During Bauer’s spring start against Kansas City, Newman and I wondered: “Where is the explosiveness?” Initially, I dismissed my misgivings. It’s unfair to be harsh on a player during Spring Training when he’s tinkering with his game. But his delivery and fastball lacked the explosiveness I’ve grown accustom to seeing from him, and now we know why he appeared to be off. Late Wednesday, Cleveland beat writer Jordan Bastian unleashed a series of quotes from the Indians’ pitcher. In short, Bauer has dramatically changed the delivery he credited with his success. Bauer is known for his (alleged) stubbornness, making this decision both shocking and intriguing. No. 8 William Swanner, Colorado Rockies — Catcher No. 9 Jacob Lamb, Arizona Diamondbacks — Third baseman No. 10 Wilfredo Rodriguez, Colordo Rockies — Catcher Full disclosure: Swanner, Lamb and Wilfredo Rodriguez were not within the top 10 prospects I saw on this trip, but they were almost as talented as many big names I saw. I wrote up the first two recently, writing: Lamb – I stumbled upon this 22-year-old third baseman while watching Matt Davidson and Chris Owings take infield. Lamb was the Diamondbacks’ sixth-round pick last June and played briefly in the Pioneer League. At third, Lamb is a confident defender with soft hands and a quick first step. At the plate, the former University of Washington standout impressed, using his line-drive stroke to rope the ball the other way. His size and natural leverage indicate power will be on the way. Lamb’s solid defense, sound mechanics and size make for an intriguing prospect. Will Swanner – At 6-foot-2 there are reasonable questions surrounding Swanner’s ability to remain a catcher, but there is no doubt he can rake. Swanner is long and athletic which is a rare body type for a catcher. To stick at the position he’ll need to overcome the problems associated with his size: slow pop times, poor blocking and limited mobility. If Swanner can stick behind the dish, he’ll be a force. He has average power to the pull side, which flows from his strong hands and the barrel of his bat lingering in the hitting zone. At times, his back side collapses. Few profile favorably after moving off the position and Swanner is no exception — but his ceiling is high if he can. Rodriguez, another Colorado backstop, also was impressive. He is quick to the ball and his compact stroke produced solid gap to gap power in batting practice. Like Swanner and Lamb, he’s high on my 2013 watch list.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Panthers officially parting ways with Greg Hardy

Could the Eagles release LeSean McCoy?

AEG: Inglewood stadium would be a terrorism target

Former Knick Anthony Mason dies at age 48

Report: Blackhawks, Caps discussed Patrick Sharp trade

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Giancarlo Stanton was 'angered' over $325 million offer

Colts, Cardinals, Cowboys interested in Adrian Peterson?

How much will Rousey and Zingano make for their fight?

Browns agree to three-year deal with Josh McCown

Bulls general manager expects Derrick Rose back in 4-6 weeks

Ray Allen reportedly will not sign with Cavaliers if he returns

Anthony Mason: The most 'New York' of the 90's Knicks

Ray Rice addresses domestic violence case, his future & more

Kentucky raffling off Wildcats-themed motorcycle

WATCH: Montrezl Harrell throws down monster alley-oop

WATCH: Tyler Hansbrough, Festus Ezeli ejected for fight

WATCH: Russell Westbrook literally gets dent in his face

WATCH: Knicks' Alexey Shved tosses wild pass into stands

Ten players ready to make the leap in 2015

WATCH: Reggie Bush says he won't quit football

PHOTO: ECHL team will wear Dr. Seuss jerseys

Report: Baron Davis in talks to join a contending team

Earl Lloyd and basketball’s cruel February

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Anthony Mason: The most 'New York' of the 90's Knicks

Could Eagles release LeSean McCoy?

AEG plays dirty with Inglewood stadium

Anthony Mason dies at age 48

Westbrook got dent in his cheek

Earl Lloyd and basketball’s cruel February

WATCH: Barkley rips analytics again

A-Rod: A con man returns to baseball

Bostick death threats show why some fans take sports too seriously

Russell Westbrook is surging into the MVP conversation

Five-round NFL Mock Draft

Key offseason moves for every MLB team

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.