As a long season comes to an end I figured what better way to wrap up this season’s report than with some awards and an all prospect team.
Hitter – Juan Soto: Soto spent most of the year on the DL. Next year he is going to fly up lists when he plays a full year.
Pitcher – Forrest Whitley: Going to pitch the year in AA. That is typically the last chance to get a pitching prospect.
Changed my opinion most
Hitter – Ronald Acuna: I thought he would be good, but now i think he might be a star.
Pitcher – Michael Kopech: I was basically not investing anywhere; now I have to cave that he is a top-25 player.
Most impressive 2017 draftee
Hitter – Keston Hiura: I love guys that can just hit. Worry about where he plays later.
Pitcher – MacKenzie Gore: Hard to pick pitchers because the sample size is so small. Gore was one of the top picks in the draft, and he hasn’t disappointed with 34 strikeouts in just 21.1 innings.
All Prospect Team
The all prospect team was built like a roto lineup. There might be a couple of guys that make the cut that are currently in the majors, but I don’t think they exhausted their rookie eligibility. So if I predict someone is still rookie eligible in the offseason, they are eligible for the list.
This list is going be determined based on a blend of 2017 performance and prospect pedigree. I am not going to put a 26-year-old career minor leaguer that mashed in the PCL on this list, nor am I going to include Alex Reyes. There is no set weight, but if you want to guess it is probably about 2/3 weight towards performance and 1/3 towards pedigree. Away we go.
C – Francisco Mejia
Mejia was the easiest choice for this list. Not because he is the best player in the minors, but because he is so much better than anyone else at his position in terms of prospect pedigree and 2017 performance.
C – Victor Caratini
Caratini was a deep sleeper of mine this year, but I didn’t really expect this. He tore up AAA and spent some time in the majors, where he currently resides.
1B – Rhys Hoskins
He will likely be the closest of anyone to not being rookie eligible next year, but currently sitting at 85 ABs I think it is a pretty safe call. As you likely know if you are still in baseball mode and reading this, Hoskins had a great year. A 29 homer AAA season over 115 games before the call was capped by an unreal start to his major league career where he currently sits with 12 homers after being named the rookie of the month.
2B – Scott Kingery
Hoskins teammate for a chunk of the season. Kingery hit 26 homers this year after hitting just eight in his first two seasons combined. His speed was in display again as he stole 28 bases.
3B – Vlad Guerrero Jr.
He might be the biggest riser this season. What he is doing at 18 is pretty crazy. The .323/.425/.485 isn’t eye popping, but again, this is an 18-year-old in high-A.
SS – Brendan Rodgers
Rodgers tore up high-A and struggled, relative to him, in AA. But for the season, the .335 average and 18 homers was enough to give him the nod over Amed Rosario, who if you have been following, I am down on from a pedigree standpoint.
CI – Nick Senzel
Didn’t blow anyone away with the power, but he continued to hit for a high average. Much of his power output this season came with his promotion to AA.
MI – Bo Bichette
He just won’t stop hitting. If Bichette dominates again when he sees a big chunk of his time in AA next season it will be hard to not make him a top-20 prospect. I am not convinced he stays at shortstop long-term which is why he is in the middle infield slot. He could be at second, short, or third, and two of those positions qualify here.
OF – Ronald Acuna
Just absurd numbers this year as he moved from high-A all the way to AAA. I gave him the top outfield spot over a lot of other promising names.
OF – Eloy Jimenez
It is funny when a .312 average and 19 homers as a top prospect in the game gets overshadowed so much. Jimenez had a great year, but it felt like much of the outfield talk this year revolved around Acuna and Robles.
OF – Victor Robles
Some have him as the top outfield prospect in the game, but for this list his numbers weren’t quite good enough. However, considering the depth of the outfield position, being third is no slouch. Robles is soon to be the Nationals premiere player.
OF – Jesus Sanchez
Not as high on prospect lists as the three in front of him. The potential for the 19-year-old isn’t far off. A solid hit tool, some power, and enough speed to swipe some bases, Sanchez will be a big riser this offseason.
OF – Kyle Tucker
A ho-hum 24 homer .272 average season. Tucker is going to have big time power in a few years in the majors.
UT – Willie Calhoun
There isn’t a better spot for Calhoun than here. All the guy does is rake. Another 30 plus homer season, this time with a .298 average and 60 strikeouts to 42 walks. I can’t wait for him to be in the majors.
Ryan McMahon, Shed Long, Harrison Bader, Taylor Trammell, Fernando Tatis Jr.
P – Triston McKenzie
McKenzie put up some pretty gaudy strikeout numbers, 186 in 143 innings, pitching the full year in high-A. It was a little disappointing for him not to get bumped to AA even if he just turned 20 in August.
P – Walker Buehler
Coming back to his first full season since undergoing Tommy John Surgery, Buehler moved quickly through high-A and AA before hitting a bit of a road block in AAA. The season long numbers were still good enough for a spot here.
P – Brent Honeywell
Still a bit of a surprise that he never pitched in the majors (as of this writing) as he seemed to pitch like the best pitching prospect with a realistic 2017 ETA. Honeywell’s screwball is his most talked about and probably best pitch. Overall, he has five pitches that can be at least major league average.
P – Forrest Whitley
Whitley was another guy to make the jump and play three different levels. Most impressively he is another teenager that played in AA and performed pretty well. He is a power pitcher that has three great pitches and an above average changeup as a fourth pitch.
P – A.J. Puk
Puk dominated high-A, which he should have as a 22-year-old, pitching in short stints and some relief appearances. In AA he kept some of the strikeout numbers that he had in high-A, but players were able to hit him better when they did make contact.
P – Michael Kopech
One of the biggest fastballs and brightest futures in the minors. People have compared his future potential to Noah Syndergaard, and I can definitely see why. Kopech should debut next season relatively early unless the White Sox want to limit service time.
P – Luiz Gohara
Another guy to pitch at three levels. To be fair, this is probably the least impressive of the three as he is a bit older, but impressive nonetheless. Gohara, maybe more than the others, didn’t see crazy or really concerning changes in his numbers from level to level.
P – Kolby Allard
If you have been following you know I love Allard. He just turned 20 and spent the entire season in AA pitching to a 3.18 ERA.
P – Dylan Cease
Still a big fan of his too. Such high upside and he showed it this year.
Luis Escobar, Mitch Keller, Mike Soroka, Justus Sheffield, Stephen Gonsalves
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