We probably shouldn’t launch a list like this featuring someone playing Class A ball, but Kalian Sams‘ performance Friday is hard to ignore.
Sams, a Mariners outfield prospect, slugged three homers, including his second walkoff shot in eight days. He now has six homers, 11 RBI, has scored eight times and is hitting .310. The 23-year-old could finally see a promotion after playing in several different levels of Class A ball since 2007.
Here are five other prospects the Chinstrap Ninjas are keeping their eyes on:
Jesus Montero — In our inaugural Prospect watch it doesn’t hurt to mix in top prospects, like Montero, with the unknowns, like Sams. One of the top catching prospects in baseball, Montero has struggled with the Yankees AAA club in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He’s hitting just .273 with five RBI, one run and no homers.
Peter Bourjos — Taken in the 10th round of the 2005 draft, Bourjos is getting his first taste of AAA ball in 2010 and loving it. The Angels outfield prospect tripled three times on Friday, becoming the ninth player in Pacific Coast League history to pull off the feat. At age 23, Bourjos is hitting .400 (14-of-35) with five triples, a double and five runs scored. He stole 50 bags, hit nine homers and scored 83 runs while hitting .295 at high-class A in 2008.
Justin Smoak — An elite prospect, Smoak has 10 walks in 44 AAA plate appearances in 2010. He also has two homers, four doubles, eight runs and five RBIs to go with a .353 batting average and a 1.147 OPS. 1Bs Chris Davis and Ryan Garko are his current roadblocks to the majors.
Hank Conger — Another catching prospect — and another Angels prospect — Hyun Choi Conger belted a pair of homers on Friday, his first two at the AAA level. He’s shown serious power potential while batting in the .290-.300 range throughout his minor league career, explaining why he’s already at AAA at age 22.
Mike Stanton — Like Smoak, Stanton’s ultra powerful bat has scared pitchers enough to issue 11 free passes so far in 2010. He’s hit a trio of homers driven in seven runs and scored 10. He’s mashing .353 with a 1.212 OPS for the Marlins Class AA squad. He was impressive in spring training this year and is on the fast track to Florida’s outfield.