Minor League hitters overlooked by the experts this year

Corey Dickerson - Christian Petersen, Getty Images

A look at a handful of players who are producing quality numbers at a young age, but haven't received much recognition from prospect experts prior to this season.

A few hitting prospects have outplayed their projections this year and are still young enough to be considered rising stars. Defensive positioning, injuries or a combination of things have pushed them off the existing landscape of hot new prospects, yet these guys are still producing quality numbers and could be players to watch for in late season promotions.

Ji-Man Choi

1B - AA - Seattle Mariners

2B

3B

HR

BA

OBP

SLG

26

3

10

.317

.406

.601

I was a little surprised to see Choi's name left off of John's sleeper recaps as he was tabbed in Sickels' 2013 prospects book in that category. Choi was signed as a free agent out of South Korea in 2009, but suffered a back injury that required extensive surgery and moved him out of his natural catching position.

Choi led the CAL League with a 1.045 OPS this year, before he was promoted to Double-A Jackson in the Mariners system. He also enjoyed a 21 game hitting streak during his time as a Maverick. Yes, Choi played for High Desert and yes I'm aware it's the most hitter-friendly place on this side of the moon, but Choi didn't hit just in the dry altitude of California. He actually had a better average on the road (.317) than he did at home (.307). As John forecasted in his book, Choi put up some "obscene" numbers in High Desert and he's on the move in the Mariners system and has three home runs in 12 games for Double-A Jackson.

"A left-handed hitter with a highly advanced approach and gap power." was what Kevin Goldstein wrote about Choi back in 2010.

Since his back injury Ji-Man was dropped from a number of prospect lists, as he failed to appear on Baseball America's Top 10 last year, let alone Mlb.com's Top 20. But he's back and obviously healthy and now that he's been promoted to the Double-A level we can consider his age of 22 to be more on the projectable side.

Joey Terdoslavich

1B/OF - AAA - Atlanta Braves

2B

3B

HR

BA

OBP

SLG

21

1

15

.309

.344

.556

A switch hitting first baseman who is blocked in the Atlanta Braves system by Freddie Freeman. Joey has shown pop in the Triple-A International league where he ranks second with 15 home runs. Last year the Braves tried to clear Joey's path to the majors by testing him at third, but ultimately decided to end the experiment and move him back to first base.

This year Joey's been playing a lot of games in right field, but also has the ability to fill in at left. It's a little crazy to me how young the Braves outfield system is, and Terdoslavich is bracketed in age by Jayson Heyward and Justin Upton, who are 23 and 25 respectively. Being blocked could be an indicator of why he's not thought highly of by many experts. But as the Braves have proven with Evan Gattis, they're willing to be flexible with young position players in order to provide them with multiple at-bats.

With 36 extra base hits, Joey is showing a lot of power this season, but most of it coming from the right side, as he's struggled batting left handed against right handed pitchers. He has a .949 OPS from the right side and a mere .658 from the left. With Justin Upton struggling against right handers and the injury to Gattis, Terdoslavich could see some time in an outfield platoon option.

Corey Dickerson

OF - AAA - Colorado Rockies

2B

3B

HR

BA

OBP

SLG

19

13

9

.381

.425

.645

The Rockies liked Corey so much they drafted him twice, in the 29th round in 2010 and then higher in the eighth round the following year. Corey has consistently put up an OPS above .900 in the lower levels, but his 2011 season in Asheville was initially questioned because of a huge home/road split that saw him post a .642 OPS on the road. Those questions have since been answered as he's shown a more balanced split in both High-A Modesto and Double-A Tulsa last year.

Corey is currently tearing up the PCL where he leads the league in extra base hits and owns a .381 average. Dickerson excels at making contact and has multiple hits in 13 of his last 15 games. The knock against Corey has been his shaky defense, where he takes poor routes to the ball and isn't a fluid outfielder. He has shown an accurate arm however as he is one of the PCL's top outfielders in assists.

The depth of outfield prospects in Colorado's system currently blocks Dickerson as he sits in the pecking order behind guys like Tyler Colvin and Charlie Blackmon, who are three years older than the 24 year old Dickerson. John Sickels was the only major prospect expert to place Corey in his top 10 as he ranked eighth among Rockies prospects on his list. Keith Law and Baseball America left Corey completely off their list and Mlb.com had him ranked 15th in the Rockies system.

These are the type of players that if you asked about in a Keith Law chat, he would most likely say they are bench guys or organizational fillers and he might be right. But, these are the type of guys I like to watch for, because they're grinders, and they're producing at a high level. Are there players producing in your favorite organization who you think are being overlooked by prospect experts?

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