Ranking 2011's impact prospects 

January, 31, 2011

The most frequent question I received on last week's top 100 prospects package -- other than "Why do you hate my team?" and "Where's Ryan Kalish?" -- was about the players on the list most likely to make an impact in 2011.

The 20 prospects listed here are, in order, the ones I consider most likely to get playing time and produce in that time this year. So, to be clear: That means that I've ignored any question of long-term potential. We're talking about impact in 2011, period.

1. Freddie Freeman, 1B, Atlanta | Prospect Rank: 43
Right now, Freeman appears to be the only rookie position player in the majors who has a full-time job locked down, and his history of making contact and hitting for average with good doubles power in the minors bodes well for his transition to the majors. He's just 21 and doesn't walk a ton, so there's some risk, but Atlanta made a wise move giving him the job and allocating the money they might have spent on a replacement elsewhere.

2. Jeremy Hellickson, RHP, Tampa Bay | Prospect Rank: 14
As ready as it gets, with command of four pitches, plus control, and a delivery he repeats easily. He doesn't have the ceiling of the guys ahead of him on the top 100 (like Julio Teheran or Shelby Miller) but the Rays should be very confident that he can fill Matt Garza's shoes without a major drop off -- as long as he keeps the ball in the park.