The 2015 New-York Penn League season has come to a conclusion with the West Virginia Black Bears crowned champions in their first season. In the next two weeks, we will take a look at some of the standout performers and top prospects to play in the NYPL this season. Let’s start with the hitters:
Will Allen, Connecticut Tigers
Key Stats: AVG- .324, HR -2, TB-85, OPS-.804
Allen had a standout year in his first professional season for Connecticut. He finished second in the league in hitting, behind only Bobby Wernes of Tri-City and eighth in OPS. Along with catching, Allen saw time at 1st base, which could be his position in the future as he moves through the Tigers system. I came away impressed with Allen when I saw him in Staten Island; he has a solid build, which I think will translate to power as he develops further.
Dexture McCall, Tri-City ValleyCats
Key Stats: AVG- .295, HR-4, TB-80, OPS-.776
McCall compiled an impressive season that saw him develop further for the 21 year old. His season even included All Star Game MVP honors, thanks to his two run double in the 1st inning. He finished in the top 10 in AVG and top 15 in OPS, leading the ValleyCats to the Stedler divisional title. McCall finished the season strong with a nine game hitting streak and batting .381 in his final ten games.
Honorable Mention: Casey Grayson, State College Spikes
Josh Tobias, Williamsport Crosscutters
Key Stats: AVG- .321, HR-4, TB-114, OPS-.837
For a second basemen at any level those are impressive numbers. Tobias was a key contributor for the Crosscutters as they had the best record in the NYPL. Tobias was third in hitting and slugging and fifth in OPS. Tobias, drafted in the tenth round of this year’s draft, came out of the gates firing to begin his professional career. In the future, he is a name to keep an eye on in the Phillies farm system.
Honorable Mention: Mitchell Tolman, West Virginia Black Bears
Max Schrock, Auburn Doubledays
Key Stats: AVG- .308, HR-2, TB-77, OPS-.803
Schrock, the 30th ranked prospect in the Nationals farm system according to MLB.com, had the best numbers of any SS in the NYPL. He was third on Auburn in hitting and second in OPS. Schrock only hit .212 against lefties, but overall had a solid season in the first year of his professional career.
Richie Martin, Vermont Lake Monsters
Key Stats: AVG- .237, HR-2, TB-65, OPS-.695
2015 first round draft pick Richie Martin did not put up numbers that will stand out this season, but I felt he should be included in this piece. He was selected 20th overall and immediately became a top prospect in Oakland’s farm system. Martin hit .302 against lefties and finished strong, with hits in seven of his last ten games. He profiles as a top of the order hitter, but must improve his defense (12 errors this season).
Bobby Wernes, Tri-City ValleyCats
Key Stats: AVG- .346, HR- 0, TB- 73, OPS- .822
In his first professional season, Bobby Wernes led the entire NYPL in hitting with a .346 AVG and on-base percentage of .434. With an average as high as Wernes’ he hit both lefties and righties equally well, but he stood out against lefties, hitting .375. Wernes joins teammate Dexture McCall as two players who had breakout years and carried Tri-City in 2015.
Honorable Mentions: Kelvin Gutierrez, Auburn Doubledays and David Thompson, Brooklyn Cyclones
Stone Garrett, Batavia Muckdogs
Key Stats: AVG- .297, HR- 11, RBI- 46, TB- 129, OPS- .933
Stone Garrett had the most impressive offensive performance of any player in the NYPL. The 19 year old broke out this season and is currently ranked as the 30th prospect in the Miami Marlins farm system by MLB.com. Garrett led the NYPL in home runs, RBI, total bases, and OPS. As I wrote about earlier this season, I came away very impressed when I saw Stone Garrett.
Andrew Benintendi, Lowell Spinners
Key Stats: AVG- .290, HR- 7, TB- 67, OPS- .948
Benintendi, 2015 first round draft pick, did not waste anytime in making an impact in his professional career. He impressed enough to earn a promotion to the Greenville Drive of the South Atlantic League, full season A ball. If Benintendi was not promoted, he may have given Stone Garrett more competition in some offensive categories. (Benintendi had a higher OPS than Garrett, but did not qualify for the lead due to his promotion) If he continues to hit the way he has in his first season, then the bat of Andrew Benintendi will not be in the minors for long.
D.J. Stewart, Aberdeen IronBirds
Key Stats: AVG- .218, HR- 6, TB- 82, OPS- .633
D.J. Stewart is another 2015 first round draft pick that makes it onto this list. He falls into a similar category as Richie Martin, as a top prospect who struggled in his first professional season. The power of Stewart was on display as he was tied with a few other players for fourth in home runs. He has an awkward stance where he crouches with his bat above his head. (My description does not do it justice, as it is a rare sight to see!) The biggest improvement Stewart must make in his game is his ability to get on base. He only posted a .288 on-base percentage, one of the lowest in the NYPL. A positive for Stewart in 2015 was his defense, only three errors in 97 total chances.
Honorable Mentions: Logan Hill, West Virginia Black Bears, Joe McCarthy, Hudson Valley Renegades, and Victor Robles, Auburn Doubledays
*All stats were taken from Milb.com and rankings were taken from Jonathan Mayo’s top prospect rankings on MLB.com