This appears to be a more offensive oriented league. Myworld was not too impressed with the collection of pitchers, but this may be a result of the offensive conditions many of the parks offer their hitters. The assessment is based on numbers. Potential does not arrive until you put up the numbers to prove you can produce.
1. Amed Rosario SS (Mets) - The Mets signed Amed out of the Dominican Republic for $1.75 million in 2012. Myworld was impressed with his defense this spring. Now he is putting up some impressive offensive numbers in Las Vegas, a hitter friendly park where he is hitting .330. His seven homeruns are a career high. The Mets need a shortstop. Don’t know what their reluctance is in not promoting Amed. Perhaps they are saving some service time. Expect a September promotion. The Mets have a lot of depth at this position percolating up through their minor league systems, with some of them moving to second base but Amed is ready to make an impact now.
2. Luke Weaver RHP (Cardinals) - Luke was a first round pick of the Cardinals in 2014. The Cardinals gave him his major league debut last year but he struggled in 8 starts (5.79). This year he has appeared in two games in relief. He has been the most dominant pitcher in the Pacific Coast League this year (9-1, 1.91 ERA). With more innings he would be leading the league in ERA by close to two runs. His command is good with a fastball that sits in the low 90s made faster with an excellent changeup. The Cardinals have found themselves struggling this year. If they fall out of the pennant race they may give Weaver some more opportunity to pitch to major league hitters. Expect a September callup if not sooner if the Cardinals fall out of the race.
3. Derek Fisher OF (Astros) - Derek was a 2014 number one pick of the Astros. He got a brief callup to the major league club where he did well, slugging two homeruns. At AAA his 21 homeruns is tied for third in the league. He also has the ability to steal bases with 16 in 26 attempts. At this point he has to be a better offensive alternative than Nori Aoki, though the Astros like to use Marwin Gonzalez out there as well. His defense is below average but the offensive numbers he can put up are excellent. Of course, at this point the Astros have plenty of offense, even with the injury to Carlos Correa.
4. Ryan McMahon 2B (Rockies) - He made our Eastern League list. The Rockies made him their second round pick in 2013. Last year his bat was very quiet, only hitting .242 with 12 homeruns. That kind of production is not going to usurp Nolan Arenado from his third base job. This year his bat has been explosive. After tearing up AA pitching for a .326 average with six homeruns in 49 games the Rockies promoted him to AAA. He has been even better there with a .379 average and 9 homeruns in 41 games. They have also been playing him at second base where he has the potential to be an offensive oriented player at that position. And he does not have to worry about Nolan.
5. Alex Verdugo OF (Dodgers) - Another second round pick, this one by the Dodgers in 2014. Alex is a line drive swinger with battle title possibilities. His balls filter the gaps rather than travel over the fence. Because his lack of speed makes centerfield difficult on the defensive side of the equatione, he needs to play corner where many teams look for power. A plus arm allows him to play right field. If Tony Gwynn can survive as a rightfielder winning batting titles without hitting homeruns Verdugo can find a spot there as well.
6. Lewis Brinson OF (Brewers) - Brinson was originally a first round pick of the Rangers in 2012. He was part of the Jonathan Lucroy trade that saw him go to the Brewers. He is assaulting AAA pitchers, which led to a brief promotion to the Brewers where he struggled for a .097 average. Back in AAA he is hitting .346 while showing some power with his 10 homeruns. There is some pop in his bat and there is speed in his legs to cover a lot of ground in centerfield. Expect the Brewers to give him another opportunity in September.
7. Willie Calhoun 2B (Dodgers) - Listed at 5′8″ the 14th round pick in 2014 snuck up on a lot of people with his 27 homeruns last year. He did show some power in junior college hitting 31 homeruns in 61 games. After a slow start to the season this year the power has returned. Willie has slugged 20 homeruns that has come with a .302 average. His defense at second base is a bit spotty which could create a move to left field. The Dodgers have used him in 11 games this year but most of his time has been spent at second base.
8. Dinelson Lamet RHP (Padres) - Dinelson was a bargain, signing for just $100,000 out of the Dominican Republic. He only got eight starts in the Pacific League before being promoted by the Padres. His 3.23 ERA would have been second to Weaver in the Pacific League ERA race. At 6′4″ he has a little more meat than Weaver with a fastball hitting the mid-90s, to go along with a slider/change combination. While his ERA is higher in the major leagues (6.40) his opposition average is equal (.222 in AAA versus .229). What has been a challenge for Lamet is keeping the ball in the park. He has given up 11 dingers in his 45 major league innings.
9. Carson Kelly C (Cardinals) - The Cardinals second round pick in 2012 is expected to be the successor to Yadier Molina behind the plate. The Cardinals recently called him up to the major league club. This after he hit .283 with 10 homeruns. Last year he made his major league debut and only hit .154. There is power in the bat with gold glove caliber defense, tools that should get him to the major leagues. All he has to do is hit .250 to be an impact player. Carson began his career as a third baseman but the Cardinals moved him behind the plate after they drafted him.
10. Colin Moran 3B (Astros) - Colin was a first round pick of the Marlins in 2013 after he led the NCAA in RBIs. The big question with Colin was his lack of power at what is a power position. The Marlins traded him to the Astros for Jarred Cosart in 2014 when the power numbers did not show. Last year he hit a career high 10 homeruns, but still not what you want to see from a third baseman who does not have stellar defensive tools for third base. At 6′4″ you would expect the power to come. This year it arrived with 18 homeruns in 79 games with a .308 average. It was enough to get him a promotion to the major leagues after the injury to Carlos Correa. Last year in his major league debut he hit .130. In his first game this year he hit a triple and homerun. Times may be looking good for Moran.
Others to Mention
Dominic Smith 1B (Mets) - Another player criticized for his lack of a power bat. The Mets drafted him in the first round in 2013. What myworld saw of him in spring was a lackadaisical way of playing defense where he committed two errors on bone head plays in a span of three innings. With missing power defense was supposed to be his road to the major leagues. Last year the power began to show with 14 homeruns. This year it has crashed the minor league party with 13 homeruns, a .336 average and a career high .515 slugging. If the Mets trade Lucas Duda expect Dominic to see some major league time.
Tony Kemp 2B (Astros) - Not one of those toolsy players who will make prospect lists. The fifth round pick in 2013 also plays the same position as Jose Altuve. But his .333 average could see him as a utility player in the major leagues. Right now Marwin Gonzalez has the patent on that and the defensive capabilities for Kemp are not strong. Kemp though is playing some outfield but is limited to left field by a weak arm. He mostly finds himself at second base, where his defense is considered fringe. At 25 his time is now so myworld expects the Astros to use him as a trade piece with no role for him on their current roster.
Harrison Bader OF (Cardinals) - The outfield is crowded for the third round 2015 pick. His defense is more suited for the corner but there was some concern for his lack of power for a corner spot. Last year he slugged 19 homeruns. This year in 94 games he has already hit 19 homeruns, to go along with a .302 average. Harrison has been playing centerfield. With the recent acquisition of Tyler O’Neil it might be best he stay there, even though his range is just average for a centerfielder.
Brett Phillips OF (Brewers) - Brett was a sixth round pick of the Astros in 2012. The Astros traded him to the Brewers in mid 2015 for Carlos Gomez. With the Astros his batting average never dropped below .300. With the Brewers he had trouble staying healthy and the average last year dived to .229. Scouts began pegging him as more of a fourth outfielder. This year he has found his lost swing breaking out with a .293 average and 17 homeruns. His .582 slugging was just short of his career high. The Brewers have now promoted him to the major leagues where he is hitting .227 with two homeruns in 12 games. He does show a tendency to swing and miss so expect a lot of streaks in his season.
Renato Nunez 3B/1B (Athletics) - The best position for the Venezuelan who signed for $2.2 million in 2010 is probably DH. The positions he is listed for are first base and third base. The Athletics are crowded at those positions. Currently he leads the Pacific League in homeruns with 25. A .254 average, a propensity for strikeouts and poor defense are big downsides for Renato, but you have to like the power. A lack of speed makes moving him to the outfield a concern, but he has seen some time there.
A.J. Reed 1B (Astros) - Reed was a second round pick for the Astros in 2014. The Astros were so impressed with his power possibilities he competed for a major league job right out of spring training in 2015. He continues to show a power bat with 20 homeruns this year but a low average (.248) and sub par defense makes his wait continue. Last year he struggled with major league pitching (.164). Yuli Gurriel does not show as much power but he is more consistent with the bat and plays better defense. A.J. will just have to wait. He could still be used as a trade chip in the Astros playoff run.
Wilmer Font RHP (Dodgers) - At 27 years of age the prospect winds have probably passed him by. But he leads the Pacific Coast League in whiffs with 138 in only 101 innings. The opposition is hitting him at only a .225 clip and he shows good command of his pitches. The Dodgers have some depth in their starting rotation but if Wilmer keeps putting up the numbers it will be tough to keep him down. Look what happened to Brandon Morrow.