<i> Baseball Prospectus picked its top 10 rookies for 2007 based on projected VORP (Value Over Replacement Player), a metric that calculates the number of runs a player contributes above those that the average Triple A replacement at the same position would. (Note: Top prospects such as the Yankees' Phil Hughes and the Reds' Homer Bailey didn't make the cut because BP predicts that their stints in the big leagues will be limited this season.) </i> <br><br>Minnesota's top pick in the 2005 draft, the 23-year-old flamethrower went 14-4 with a 1.99 ERA at three minor league stops last season, but struggled when he hit the big leagues (3-6, 5.76). That won't last.
2 of 11Chuck Solomon/SI
T10 | Delmon Young, RF, Devil Rays
Rest assured that the mercurial 21-year-old can do better things with a bat than throw it at an umpire. In 86 games at Triple A Durham last year he hit .316 with 59 RBIs and 22 stolen bases; he also hit .317 with three homers in 30 games with the D-Rays.
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9 | Chris Iannetta, C, Rockies
Iannetta, 23, is simply the best catching prospect that Colorado has had in its 14-year history. He hit .327 in the final 15 games of last season and has had a solid spring (.360 average, .484 on-base percentage).
4 of 11Al Tielemans/SI
8 | Dustin Pedroia, 2B, Red Sox
The 22-year-old won't have much pressure on him in the No. 9 spot in the lineup, but that doesn't mean he won't produce. He has a .396 on-base percentage in three minor league seasons, and Baseball Prospectus projects him to hit 33 doubles this year.
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7 | Kei Igawa, LHP, Yankees
The 27-year-old has struggled with his control this spring, but took a significant step toward locking up a rotation spot when he threw five scoreless innings against the Phillies on Tuesday. The Yankees have $46 million invested in him, so he'll get every opportunity to stay there.
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6 | Akinori Iwamura, 3B, Devil Rays
In his prime at 28, the 5-foot-9 Iwamura has been Japan's best all-around third baseman over the past several years. He hit .311 in 145 games last season with 32 home runs and eight steals on nine attempts, and plays Gold Glove-caliber defense.
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5 | Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Rockies
The future is now in Colorado, where the 22-year-old Tulowitzki, the No. 7 pick in the 2005 draft, takes over at shortstop. At 6-foot-3 he offers a valuable combination of power and speed (14 homers and nine stolen bases in 129 games between Double-A and the majors last year).
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4 | Kevin Kouzmanoff, 3B, Padres
Acquired in the off-season trade that sent second baseman Josh Barfield to the Indians, the 25-year-old hit .389 at Double-A Akron last year, then became the first batter in history to hit a grand slam off the first pitch he saw in the big leagues.
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3 | Alex Gordon, 3B, Royals
The 23-year-old blue-chipper offers the greatest hope for a franchise that hasn't reached the postseason in 21 years. Manager Buddy Bell says that Gordon (29 homers, 101 RBIs at Double-A Wichita last year) will likely bat fifth, behind Mark Teahen and Mike Sweeney.
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2 | Chris Young, OF, Diamondbacks
The five-tool talent, just 22, should settle comfortably into centerfield (and the leadoff spot) for Arizona. He hit 21 home runs at Triple-A Tucson last year and has stolen a total of 80 bases in his last three minor league seasons.
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1 | Daisuke Matsuzaka, RHP, Red Sox
Boston shelled out $103 million for the 26-year-old Japanese import, who allowed one run, one single and one walk in 5 2/3 innings against the Pirates on Wednesday in his best outing of the spring. He left to a standing ovation.
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