July 4th Edition: Top 10 Minor League Hitting Prospects to Stash
Last week, the Minnesota’s brass said that all needs to do is show consistency to earn a call-up. He made the Twins put their money where their mouth is (or mouths are?) by going on a tear and raising his average from .248 to .274 in a week, and getting the call. There have been many rapid ascensions and trials this year, so you want to stay tuned to see who’s next.
Seager finally ended his homerless drought with two dingers in a day earlier this week, and the Dodgers declined approving his selection to the Future’s Game. Although the pop has been lacking in Triple-A, I still expect him to hit for power in the majors, and his peripherals have remained consistent at both levels so I don’t expect him to strike out too much in the majors. For this year, his production will be more solid than stud-like, which is fine for a shortstop.
Nothing interesting has happened with him, but he should still be up later in the year and have one of the best odds at making an immediate impact if he can stay on the field… this isn’t the first time he’s gotten banged up and he’s no spring chicken.
Judge was deemed ready to get promoted to Triple-A, and has so far made the verdict seem prudent. In 35 Triple-A Plate Appearances, he’s hitting .276 with a dinger, but more encouraging is his K rate is down from 25% in Double-A to 20% and walk rate is up from 8.6% to 14.3%. I expect the K rate to regress some, but perhaps not the walk rate as he has drawn walks at every other level. He’s likely not far from a promotion, and with Beltran a DL possibility, the opening may present itself and he can state his case at the major league level.
I’ve been championing O’Brien all year, but it has gone from screaming “WOO!” to a polite golf clap. His season stats still look strong, with 15 Home Runs and a .281 AVG, but his season splits show that much of that was fueled by a strong April and he has since been steadily regressing and his K rate steadily rising. It’s still better than his numbers last year in Double-A, but it’s starting to look like he may only earn a September call-up if he can’t swing his momentum around.
Earlier this week, Story was promoted to Triple-A, after the the toolsy prospect hit .281 with 10 Homers and 15 Stolen Bases in 300 Plate Appearances. Many may be disappointed he didn’t get promoted directly to the majors, but this is probably a wise decision as Story still has a lot of swing-and-miss in his game and he needs to prove himself against more refined and polished pitchers so he’s better prepared for his debut. He’ll likely mash in the PCL and could force a promotion, but if he doesn’t immediately, he may have to wait until September.
– Shaffer is now up to 17 Home Runs on the year and 10 in his last 117 PA since his promotion to Triple-A. While he’s starting to cool off a bit from his torrid pace, there’s a lot to like in his profile. He could be a second coming of Jack Cust with his power and high walk rate combined with his high strikeout rate… That may not sound like an endorsement, but he was nearly left off some prospect lists entirely before this year, and Cust did have a few strong offensive seasons.
– His .348 Average has been so stable this year, I had to check to make sure it wasn’t cryogenically frozen in time. He could contend for the minor league Triple Crown, and while he will likely get promoted to Triple-A, it seems he’s already major league ready. I was hoping he could get a cup of espresso with Hosmer day-to-day, but that still hasn’t happened. It’s disappointing that such an amazing comeback season has gotten so little press, especially with such a fun name.
– Michael is clearly very Confortoble in Double-A (BOOOOO!!!) as he’s raised his batting average up to .333 with a .210 ISO in 121 PAs there. Surprisingly, his walk rate has remained higher than in previous levels, and so has his strikeout rate.
Walker is a man without many major league comps due to his crazy power combined with an insane strikeout rate (37.2%). The closest parallel is fellow behemoth Joey Gallo, who, despite the initial hype, proved to be a cautionary tale and was recently demoted. Walker is now up to a minors-leading 23 Home Runs in only 293 PAs… on pace for 45 over a full minor league season (550 PAs)! But if Walker does get the call, the impact could be substantial for power-hungry teams… Just remember that unlike Gallo, Walker’s home stadium is not so power-friendly.
In his second tour in Triple-A, Piscotty has already surpassed his 2014 home run total of 9 (by 1) and is also drawing more walks, with only slightly more strikeouts. His momentum is definitely on the upswing and could be close to earning major league playing time.
A former Met prospect and a rule 5 pick back in 2011, Marte had toiled the minors with nary a double-digit homer campaign until last year when he eked out 10 homers and 9 Stolen bases in Double-A for the Athletics. This year, after a promotion to Triple-A, the now-27 year old has already surpassed last year’s total with 13 Home Runs and a .229 ISO. He’s never had a lot of strikeout in his game and this year it’s just 14.8% and a .269 AVG to show for it, a sign he isn’t just selling out for power. With Castellanos flubbing, the Tigers could give him a shot in their search for a hot bat, as he’s likely the best-hitting Tigers infielder currently in the minors.
The other decent Tigers prospect and the guy who last year hit 35 Home Runs in Double-A, has not been as impressive in Triple-A, with a .240 AVG, 8 Homers and a 31.7 K% in Triple-A. recently stole his 20th base. He’s picked up the pace lately, but it’s a far cry from his 60 SB total last season. is hitting .256 with 8 HR in 307 PA. It’s nothing special, but he could be ahead of Fuenmayor in the major league pecking order and he is Here’s to you, who’s been flashing a tantalizing power-speed combo in Double-A (15 HR and 11 SB) but it comes with a 24.5% K rate and a .232 AVG while repeating the level. On the bright side, his K rate is still way better than his 33.2% mark last year, and he’s drawing walks at an astounding 17.3% clip, making him the rare TTO player with speed. has had a solid Triple-A campaign with a .285 AVG and 17 Stolen Bases. But with only 4 Homers, he could use a little MmmPop. (BOOOOO!!!)