Originally written on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 11/10/14

Jordan Danks, OF, Chicago White Sox
Current Level: MLB
2012 Top 15 Prospects Ranking: NR
Current Value: Static

Danks was a top amateur prospect while in high school but he told teams he would not sign because he wanted to play college ball at the University of Texas. John Danks‘ little brother followed through on his promise (It wasn’t the usual negotiation ploy) and he had a solid but unspectacular college career. After being drafted by the White Sox, Danks also had what can be best described as a decent minor league career but he struggled with strikeouts and a low batting average. The 25-year-old outfielder is a plus defender and a very good athlete but, despite his solid 2012 numbers in triple-A, his overall ceiling is limited to that of a fourth outfielder. He should still carve out a respectable career but Baseball America once ranked him as the 37th best draft prospect in 2005, ahead of the likes of Austin Jackson, Chase Headley, Matt Garza, Jeremy Hellickson, and Tim Lincecum.

Billy Hamilton, SS, Cincinnati Reds
Current Level: A+
2012 Top 15 Prospects Ranking: 2nd
Current Value: Increasing

Hamilton, 21, had a breakout 2011 season and he’s been even better in 2012 at the high-A ball level. The shortstop posted a wRC+ of 120 with 103 stolen bases last year. This season he currently has a wRC+ of 149 with 79 steals in 61 games. Hamilton only has 79 hits on the year. Along with the speed, his batting average is up to .315, he’s walking more (12%), his strikeout rate is down (21.8 to 16.5%) and he’s hitting for more power (.124 ISO). In other words he’s improved in almost every category. The prospect is probably still one to two years away from reaching the Majors but it appears safe to say that he’s going to be one of the most exciting players that baseball has seen in a long time.

Alex Meyer, RHP, Washington Nationals
Current Level: A
2012 Top 15 Prospects Ranking: 4th
Current Value: Increasing

Firing on all cylinders, Meyer threw 6.0 shutout innings on Tuesday night in low-A ball. The right-hander was the Nationals’ first round selection during the 2011 amateur draft (23rd overall). Although he was selected out of the University of Kentucky, Meyer was considered raw for a college pitcher so he began ’12 in low-A ball. As a result he’s old for the league and his numbers have to be taken with a grain of salt. Even so, the hurler has posted solid numbers with just 51 hits allowed and 68 strikeouts in 65.1 innings of work. He’s shown slightly above-average ground-ball numbers. Meyer’s walk total is slightly above average but it has gotten better over his past five starts. Meyer has the ceiling of a No. 2 or 3 starter.

Josh Rutledge, SS, Colorado Rockies
Current Level: AA
2012 Top 15 Prospects Ranking: 11th
Current Value: Static

Rutledge enjoyed a very impressive first full season in pro ball in 2011 (wRC+ of 142). The infielder, though, was playing in the California League so his numbers may have been inflated. He’s held his own at the double-A level in 2012 with a wRC+ of 119. He’s actually showing just as much power while hitting .291 but his walk rate is down from 7.8 to 4.7%. Rutledge, 23, projects to develop into a solid player with the ability to hit .280-.300, slug 15 home runs and steal 15-20 bases. He’s a so-so fielder at shortstop with average-at-best range so he may end up at second base – especially given that Troy Tulowitzki is manning the position at the big league level. Rutledge is about one year away from reaching the Majors.

Keyvius Sampson, RHP, San Diego Padres
Current Level: AA
2012 Top 15 Prospects Ranking: 11th
Current Value: Down Slightly

Sampson enjoyed a very good 2011 season when he posted a 2.90 ERA in 118 low-A innings. Skipped over high-A ball to open 2012 in double-A, the right-hander has struggled to find his footing against more advanced hitters. The 21-year-old hurler currently sports a 6.18 ERA and his results have been getting worse, not better. He’s striking out a lot of batters (62 in as many innings) but he’s also walking a lot of hitters (37 walks). On the plus side, Sampson, 21, is not giving up that many hits (56) and left-handers are hitting just .202 (right-handers hitting .276). The right-hander still has good stuff so this is likely just a hiccup and his No. 3 starter ceiling remains intact. He’s likely a year-and-a-half to two years away from helping San Diego.


Aaron Rodgers buys TVs for Packers teammates

Harbaugh smiled when asked about Michigan's bday tweet

Jackie Robinson West Little League accused of cheating

Police: Fire that burned down McClain's home 'suspicious'

Furniture store will refund purchases if OSU wins title

What each NFC team in the hunt should ask for from Santa


Is SI ashamed to mention Jameis Winston on its cover?

Kobe Bryant disappointed Lakers didn't get Rajon Rondo

Niners OT Anthony Davis takes shot at offensive coordinator

Report: Josh Smith expected to sign with Rockets

Cullen Jenkins unhappy over his roughing the passer fine

Bochy: Peavy trade was best in-season move of 2014

Peyton Manning plans to be back with Broncos next year

WATCH: Blazers announcer botches Damian Lillard call

WATCH: P.K. Subban disguises himself, surprises kids for Xmas

Baseball cards: a fan's love for the ultimate stocking stuffer

Packers game is a career defining moment for Stafford

A look inside Jason Grilli's contract with the Braves

10 Week 17 NFL matchups that will impact the playoffs

WATCH: Bahamas Bowl ends on insane Hail Mary play

Mike Yeo slams Wild for not having 'winner's attitude'

Michigan St. QB, Ohio State TE have awkward Twitter exchange

Will FIFA ever care to change?

Top storyline for each NFL Week 17 game

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.

WATCH: Announcer botches call

Police: McClain fire 'suspicious'

10 Week 17 NFL matchups that will impact the playoffs

Bahamas Bowl ends on crazy Hail Mary

49ers OT Davis takes shot at coordinator

Will FIFA ever care to change?

Top storyline for each Week 17 game

40 great Christmas-related sports names

Nick Mangold and dealing with feelings as a sports fan

Ibaka, Aldridge ejected for scuffle

Baseball cards: a fan's love for the ultimate stocking stuffer

Nick Young on Kobe-less win: He needs to pass

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

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

Company Info
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.