Billy Hamilton is the fastest player in the game.  There’s really no disputing it, at this point.  In his first 51 games at High-A, Hamilton has 60 steals.  Over his last ten games, he’s been on a bit of a rampage, swiping 20 bags (!!!) and putting himself in position to surpass 100 steals before July. 

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With the draft less than a week away, we’re continuing our discussion of  some of the more advanced amateur prospects — guys who’ll be popping up on your fantasy radars within the next year or two.  Last week we went over Marcus Stroman, Richie Shaffer, and Kyle Zimmer. 

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We’ve recently devoted a bit of time to the discussion college ballers, so I don’t think it’s unreasonable to lead with this absurdly awesome catch from Derrick Salberg of Lower Columbia College.  The context of the moment makes the grab even more unbelievable:  two outs, bottom of the ninth, one runner on, LCC leading 4-2. 

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We’re two weeks away from Major League Baseball’s First-Year Players Draft, during which droves of high school and college baseball players will be chosen by MLB organizations to fill their farm systems.  Most all the draftees will never make it further than the low minors. 

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A week ago, I updated Jurickson Profar with news that his hitting streak had reached 21 games.  Well, Profar’s streak has now swelled to 29, the longest in pro ball this year.  With the graduations of Bryce Harper, Mike Trout and Matt Moore, Profar takes over as the game’s top prospect and it’s not too soon to start considering how and when he fits in with the Rangers. 

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Kolten Wong | 2B, Cardinals | Born:  10/10/1990

Tyler Greene was the 30th overall selection in the 2005 draft.  It was the Cardinals second pick that year; they took Colby Rasmus two spots earlier.  At this point, both players appear to be busts, really. 

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Perhaps Bryan LaHair isn’t quite the slob I thought he was.  Through 110 PA, LaHair is batting .359/.455/.717 with eight homers and it no longer looks as if he’ll be simply stepping aside to make room for top prospect Anthony Rizzo

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Taijuan Walker | RHP, Mariners | Born:  8/13/1992

The Double-A Jackson Generals have quite an impressive rotation.  With Danny Hultzen and James Paxton alone, it’d be among the best rotations in Minor League Baseball.  Toss in Taijuan Walker, however, and now we’re looking at a truly special Double-A collection of arms, the likes of which doesn’t come around very often.

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I don’t think I saw an organizational ranking all off-season that didn’t have the White Sox dead last.  Not that they deserve to be ranked higher – the Sox simply refuse to spend big money in the draft, and their presence in the Latin markets has been lacking of recent. 

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Mike Olt | 3B, Rangers | Born: 8/27/1988

The Rangers are flush with high ceiling prospects.  At every level you’ll find top-round draftees and highly touted Latin ballplayers, all of whom signed for big money.  Perhaps the most glaring example of this impressive collection of youthful talent lies with Double-A Frisco, and more specifically, with the left side of the Roughriders’ infield. 

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