Myworld watched the Bay Sox blow a 6-2 lead, giving up five runs in the ninth. The Bay Sox were able to rally for one in the bottom of the ninth to send the game into extra innings. The Reading Phillies went on to win the game in 13 innings 7-6 but needless to say we were long gone before the game ended. Instead of recapping the game we thought we’d list our top ten players who are impressing us in the Eastern League. These may not be the top ten prospects but they are the ten we like.
1. Francisco Mejia C (Akron/Indians) - This guy has an arm to discourage base runners. Usually those type of catchers come with weak bats. Not Francisco. He may have the best bat and the best arm of all the catchers in the minor leagues. A couple four hit games has given him a .447 average in his last 10 games, raising his average for the year to an Eastern League leading .363. That is more than 30 points better than the hitter closest to him. Francisco also has hit 8 homeruns to put his slugging average at .625 and his OPS at 1.026. This guy is a beast with all the tools but his legs.
2. Scott Kingery 2b (Reading/Phillies) - When you look at him you don’t see a big guy. Myworld had that same impression when we looked at Brian Dozier. Like Dozier, Kingery is flying balls over the fence with great regularity, blasting an Eastern League leading 18 homeruns. Some would argue the small park at Reading is responsible for a lot of his power, but only 10 of those homeruns have been hit at Reading. Power is not the only tool in his game. Kingery is second in the Eastern League in stolen bases with 16 out of 18 attempts. If he isn’t promoted to the Phillies he has a chance to be a 30/30 player. Myworld has also been impressed by what we saw of his defense. The power has come as a surprise since he has only hit 8 homeruns in his first two years. In 2016 he had a .388 slugging average, this year it is .609.
3. Ryan McMahon 3B (Hartford/Rockies) - Ryan was not long for the Eastern League. After hitting .326 with 6 homeruns he was promoted to AAA. In 13 AAA games he is hitting .404 with three homeruns. McMahon has the unfortunate luck of playing the same position as Nolan Arenado. To ease that dilemma the Rockies have had him play 19 games at second base. The good thing is the Rockies are in a pennant race so Ryan could get traded to acquire veterans quickening his pace to the major leagues at his regular position. The surprise stat for Ryan this year is his 9 for 9 success rate in stolen bases. Prior to that he was below 50 percent in his stolen base success rate.
4. Yefry Ramirez RHP (Trenton/Yankees) - Trenton has the top pitching staff in the Eastern League. Ramirez does not lead the league in ERA but his 61 whiffs in 57 innings puts him tied for first in the Eastern League in strikeouts. His fastball has good velocity, hitting the mid-90s and freezing Eastern League hitters to a .193 average. Yefry was placed on the disabled list to begin June otherwise he may have been called up by the Yankees. He only worked 3.2 innings in his last outing giving up one run. Yefry began his career as a position player but after one year moved to the mound.
5. Ronald Herrera RHP (Trenton/Yankees) - Ronald got the callup to the Yankees after leading the Eastern League in ERA (1.07) and going 7-0 in his first 8 starts. His secondary numbers are not as dominating as Yefry with only 41 whiffs in 50.1 innings. The soft contact is still there with the opposition hitting him at a lackluster .166 average. One thing you have to like about Ronald is he throws strikes with just 9 walks. He did get one two inning appearance with the Yankees and struggled, giving up two runs. At 5/11″ he is a couple inches smaller than Yefry and his fastball is a couple ticks slower sitting in the low 90s. Ronald could be due for a promotion since he had 24 starts last year in the Eastern League.
6. Miguel Andujar 3B (Trenton/Yankees) - It will either be Gleyber Torres or Miguel replacing Chase Headley at third base. Miguel is leading the Eastern League in RBIs with 47. He makes good contact with the ball which allows him to hit for average (.308). There is also a little pop in his bat with 7 homeruns. His defense is solid but not as flashy as Gleyber so if Greg Bird continues to have injury issues a move to first base may be in the future. The errors need to be reduced with 22 last year and 10 so far this year. Most of his errors are on bad throws.
7. Andrew Pullin LF (Reading/Phillies) - The bat has been solid (.310) with lots of pop (13 homeruns, .559 slugging). Most of his homeruns have been on the road so he has not been helped by the small Reading ball park (9 homeruns away with a .689 slugging). Coming into this season he was not on the Phillies prospect list but that will change after this year. He is tied with Kingery for the Eastern League lead in extra base hits with 34. Not noted for his speed, left field will probably be his best position.
8. Tanner Scott RHP (Bowie/Orioles) - We saw him pitch last night. His fastball is consistently in the high 90s. His breaking ball is a little inconsistent and he has trouble finding the plate. Tanner is not on the league leader boards because the Orioles pull him from his starts after three innings. The opposition is hitting him at a .150 clip and he has struck out 48 in 39 innings. His 26 walks put him a bit short of the 2 for 1 whiff to walk ratio you would like to see. Tanner has not allowed a run in his last four outings covering 12 innings to lower his ERA to 1.38.
9. Erick Fedde RHP (Harrisburg/Nationals) - The Nationals have moved him to the pen and promoted him to AAA. While in the Eastern League he got seven starts and 10 relief appearances. The first round pick could have his mid-90s fastball in the major leagues before the year is out. In the Eastern League he limited the opposition to a .215 average with 54 whiffs in 56 innings. His 3.04 ERA put him tenth in the Eastern League.
10. Rafael Devers 3B (Portland/Red Sox) - The bat can play and if Pablo Sandoval does not get his act together the Red Sox may promote Rafael to the major leagues. His .308 average just misses the top ten but his 12 homeruns and .561 slugging averages are career highs. He has hit homeruns in his last two games. With the Red Sox having a black hole at third base there is no longer any talk of moving Rafael to first base. Speed is not part of his game.
Adam Brett Walker OF (Bowie/Orioles) - He was recently released by the Braves and picked up by the Orioles. At one point he was considered a top ten prospect. He is trying to get scouts to talk about him again with a .444 average, four doubles and two homeruns in his first four games. When he was with the Braves in the Southern League he hit only .122, striking out 23 times in his 49 at bats. The strikeouts will always be there but if the power reappears he could be a player to watch. Last night he went 5 for 6.
Christin Stewart OF (Erie/Tigers) - The one Erie game we watched Stewart did not start. He pinch hit with the bases loaded and two outs, striking out on a high fastball. The bat has some thunder with 16 homeruns, second in the Eastern League but his prevalence for the whiff will keep his average down (.257). Stewart does not have a lot of speed and his defense will limit him to left field.
Chance Adams RHP (Trenton/Yankees) - Chance would be the highest rated pitcher on this list if he spent some time in the Eastern League. He only got six starts but dominated with a 4-0 record and 1.03 ERA. The opposition hit him at a .183 average. Chance is also pitching well at AAA with a 2.52 ERA and a .151 opposition average. At 6′1″ he is not intimidating on the mound but he has a mid-90s fastball and a slider that he uses as his strikeout pitch.