Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com has released his top 50 prospects list for all of major league baseball, and four players with Bluegrass ties made the cut. Eastern Kentucky University alum Christian Friedrich (No. 23) leads the Kentucky contingent and is followed by 2009 Bowling Green Hot Rods shortstop Tim Beckham (No. 24) and 2009 Louisville Bats Yonder Alonso (No. 30) and Juan Francisco (No. 48).
Freidrich dominated the high A California League in 2009 while only giving up more than two runs in three of 24 starts. Mayo projects him to continue a fast rise through the minors to become an excellent No. 2 or 3 starting pitcher in the majors. Beckham had what some considered a down year in 2009, but Mayo writes he still has impressive raw tools and there is still plenty of time for him to develop into a standout major leaguer. Alonso and Francisco both earned late season promotions to Louisville last season and will likely start 2010 there. Mayo projects Alonso as a middle-of-the-order run producer with power and Francisco as a fearsome middle-of-the-order hitter as soon as he finds a defensive position. (Read more)
The most notable omissions with Kentucky ties are probably 2009 Lexington Legends ace Jordan Lyles and Hot Rods ace Matt Moore. Both pitchers excelled in full-season ball despite their young age and should rocket to the top half of this list with strong 2010 seasons.