As excited as the Royals and their fans are about Alex Gordon and Billy Butler, are they the best 1-2 prospect punch in baseball?
Lee's Summit, Mo.
Jeff asked this question in my ESPN.com chat last WednesdayPremium, and I asked him to send it to Ask BA so I could spend more time on it here.
Alex Gordon is the top true prospect in baseballóDaisuke Matsuzaka ranks No. 1 on my list because he still qualifies as a rookie, but he is an established Japanese big leaguer, after allóand Billy Butler is one of the best hitters in the minors. As much as I like that combination, I was surprised when I looked at my individual rankings that I had a few pairs that would rank ahead of them.
In the ESPN chat, I put Gordon and Butler fifth. After taking more time to think about it, I moved them up to fourth. Here's my Top 10:
1. RHP Homer Bailey, OF Jay Bruce (Reds)
2. OF Delmon Young, 3B Evan Longoria (Devil Rays)
3. OF Cameron Maybin, LHP Andrew Miller (Tigers)
4. 3B Alex Gordon, OF Billy Butler (Royals)
5. OF Justin Upton, OF Chris Young (Diamondbacks)
6. RHP Philip Hughes, OF Jose Tabata (Yankees)
7. RHP Yovani Gallardo, 3B Ryan Braun (Brewers)
8. SS Brandon Wood, RHP Nick Adenhart (Angels)
9. RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka, OF Jacoby Ellsbury (Red Sox)
10. SS Troy Tulowitzki, 3B Ian Stewart (Rockies)
The Royals also feature the No. 1 overall pick from the 2006 draft, Luke Hochevar, giving them a formidable prospect trio. This is how I'd stack up the top threesomes:
1. OF Delmon Young, 3B Evan Longoria, SS Reid Brignac (Devil Rays)
2. OF Justin Upton, OF Chris Young, OF Carlos Gonzalez (Diamondbacks)
3. RHP Homer Bailey, OF Jay Bruce, 1B Joey Votto (Reds)
4. 3B Alex Gordon, OF Billy Butler, RHP Luke Hochevar (Royals)
5. 3B Andy LaRoche, LHP Clayton Kershaw, LHP Scott Elbert (Dodgers)