They may not be the best prospects in the league but myworld either likes what we’ve seen from them or the numbers they are putting up in the International League. A couple of these players have already been called up to the major leagues.
1. Yoan Moncada (Charlotte/White Sox) 2B - He got knocked from his perch as the best prospect in baseball by Andrew Benintendi, who is now playing for the Red Sox. There are a lot of tools to his game such as speed and the thunder in his bat. There are also some issues to be concerned about, such as his 85 strikeouts in his 66 games and his 10 errors at second base. His .281 average is also a bit pedestrian for a man of his talent. The White Sox are being patient with him so do not expect any major league playing time until possibly September. Yoan will hope to improve on his .211 average and his 12 whiffs in 20 major league at bats.
2. Willy Adames (Durham/Rays) SS - Adames has a smooth glove for short. He made a number of impressive defensive plays in the four game series myworld witnessed against Norfolk. If his bat can hit .270 or above he should be fine as a major league shortstop. His power seems to be limited for the gaps. The Rays picked him up from the Tigers a couple years ago and he is filtering up their system one level at a time. Expect a September callup with more major league time expected next year.
3. Rhys Hoskins (Lehigh Valley/Phillies) 1B - Many felt the Reading park helped him with his 38 homeruns last year. He is not playing at Reading this year and leads the International League in homeruns with 19. He is also hitting .303 with a league leading 63 RBIs. What you have to like about him is his ability to make contact with only 48 whiffs in 80 games. He also shows a good eye with 44 walks. The Phillies are in no rush to promote Hoskins for a last place run in 2017 but a September callup could be possible.
4. Brent Honeywell (Durham/Rays) RHP - Myworld does not like the 89 hits he has given up in just 73 innings or his 4.91 ERA. He also did not look too good in the one start myworld witnessed him pitch. But we still like his ability to miss bats (90 whiffs) and throw in the mid-90s. It may take another season in AAA to enhance his secondary pitches before he sees significant time with the Rays. With Blake Snell (no longer a prospect), Jacob Faria and Ryan Yarbrough the Rays have four excellent starters in their AAA rotation.
5. Jacob Faria (Durham/Rays) - There is not much velocity in his game. Jacob relies more on his plus change to make his low 90s fastball that much tougher to hit. It shows in his 84 strikeouts in his 58.2 innings of work. Jacob is also not giving up a lot of hits with just 44 hits given up. He is a tenth round pick from 2011. His success in AAA has resulted in a callup where he has earned quality starts in each of his four major league appearances.
6. Ozzie Albies 2B/SS (Gwinnett/Braves) - Dansby Swanson won the shortstop job, moving Ozzie to second. An injury late in the year prevented him from being promoted with Swanson. With the acquisition of Brandon Phillips it will be tough for Ozzie to find playing time this year. He has the tools to play shortstop but the Braves have moved him to second because that will be his future position with the Braves. He is hitting .280 with 19 stolen bases in 21 attempts. There will not be a lot of power in his game. The Braves would like to see a reduction in the 65 whiffs and an increase in his .327 OBA. Coming into this season his career OBA was .377. With his speed he would be an ideal lead off hitter with an improved OBA, Expect a September callup or an injury to Brandon Phillips to initiate his major league debut.
7. Dustin Fowler (Scranton Wilkes Barre/Yankees) OF - His season ended after crashing into a fence in his major league debut. Clint Frazier, a number one pick by the Indians in 2013 who the Yankees acquired in the Andrew Miller trade may have more tools. Dustin has the better numbers in AAA including slugging (.542), batting average (.293), homeruns (13) and stolen bases (13). His power appeared to break out last season when he hit 12 homeruns to go with his 15 triples. He has the speed to play centerfield but his arm falls short of Frazier as a right fielder.
8. Zach Granite (Rochester/Twins) - Coming into this season the 14th round pick was not a highly touted prospect. His minor league career average was just .282. His speed is not centerfield quality and his arm is probably better suited for left field. The pop is not there to fit the profile of a left fielder. The one thing he has done well this year is lead the International League in hitting with a .367 average. The power is still absent with only three homeruns but the Twins have been using him in centerfield, where his bat will profile better. If Byron Buxton stays with the Twins it will be difficult for Zach to dislodge him from centerfield, but any team will make room for a bat hitting .360.
9. Lucas Sims (Gwinnett Braves/Braves) RHP - The Braves traded for a bevy of number one picks to stock their pitching depth in the minors. Lucas is one of their originals, drafted by them in the first round of 2012. He is starting to make the Braves take notice that maybe the best they had was already in their system. He is second in the International League in whiffs with 92 and the opposition is hitting him at a .229 clip. That is much better than the .280 they hit against him last year. His biggest problem is giving up the long ball with 16 homeruns in just 86 innings of work. That is a reason for his high 3.98 ERA. Lucas has good velocity to his fastball at 93-95 with an above average change. Improving a third pitch is critical if he wants to stay in the starting rotation.
10. Nick Williams (LeHigh Valley/Phillies) OF - Nick got a callup to the major leagues. This year he is breaking out all his tools, hitting for average (.280) and power (15 homeruns and a .511 slugging). There are still too many whiffs in his game (90 in 78 games) but if he continues to hit the ball hard the Phillies will tolerate the swings and misses. His defense is centerfield caliber but may be more suited to left field. His arm is not a rocket but it is adequate for a right fielder. It would not surprise me if Nick struggles in his major league debut, with a whiff percentage at greater than 50 per cent.
Others worth noting
Dylan Cozens (Lehigh Valley/Phillies) - He has recovered from an average that was below the Mendoza line. His 18 homeruns are second in the International League to teammate Rhys Hoskins but last year he won the Eastern League homerun title with 40. Low batting averages and strikeouts will be a part of his game but the big time power is there. Dylan has the arm to play right field.
Johnny Field (Durham/Rays) OF - Not a player blessed with a lot of tools. What myworld witnessed was he made the diving catch in centerfield routine. At 25 he is about as good as he is going to get. He will hit .260 and give you moderate power with the bat for double digit homerun totals. If he could walk more he might be more attractive. His speed will also give you double digit totals but he falls short of being a 20/20 player.
Clint Frazier (Scranton Wilkes Barre/Yankees) OF - The Indians made him a first round pick in 2013. The Yankees traded Andrew Miller to acquire him. He has all five tools, with speed, power, arm and the ability to play defense. His one big challenge is his ability to make consistent contact, which could impact his average. The Yankees just called him up as a replacement to Dustin Fowler.
Tyler Wade (Scranton Wilkes Barre/Yankees) SS - In this age of seven to eight man bullpens it is important to find a player who is comfortable at multiple positions. Tyler appears to be that player. His .313 batting average is second in the league and his 24 stolen bases is tops in the league. Most of his time in the minor leagues was at shortstop, but he also played second, third and the outfield. Expect him to be a utility player in the mold of Marwin Gonzalez.
Ryan Yarbrough (Durham/Rays) LHP - He does not have an overpowering fastball but there is still a lot of swing and miss with his pitches. He leads the International League in whiffs with 92. The opposition is hitting him at a .248 clip. On his own team he shares the rotation with Honeywell, Blake Snell (recently called up) and Faria but don’t be surprised if Yarbrough gets an opportunity. If the Rays are in a pennant race it is not the starters with the most potential who get the callup, but the starters who show they can get the job done.
Sean Newcomb (Gwinnett/Braves) LHP - Sean pitched well in the International League (2.97 ERA) and is now transferring that success to the major league team (1.48 ERA). The Angels had drafted him in the first round of the 2014 draft and the Braves acquired him in the Andrelton Simmons trade. Not overpowering with a fastball in the low 90s but he hides the ball well and has an excellent curve ball.
Lucas Giolito/Reynaldo Lopez and Carson Fulmer (Charlotte/White Sox) RHP - It is a talented group of pitchers but the numbers they put up are not major league quality. The biggest issue for all three is their ability to throw strikes. Each of them walks close to a hitter every two innings. The biggest concern with Lucas was his drop in velocity. Reynaldo has a mid-90s fastball but stands only 6′0″. Based on their press clippings all three will get an opportunity to achieve success in the major leagues, but press clippings fail to get hitters out.
Austin Meadows (Indianapolis/Pirates) OF - Staying healthy has always been a problem for Austin. Without health the numbers are not there to show case his tools. A pulled hamstring put him on the disabled list just recently. Last year he was limited to just 80 games. He makes more contact than Frazier but his averages his last two years have fallen far below his norm. His power has been limited to the gaps but last year he hit 12 so there could be a break out season there. His arm is best suited for left field but his defensive instincts and speed could see him in centerfield.