This is the third part of six as we look at the Arizona Fall League rosters with the Scottsdale Scorpions up now after completing Peoria and Glendale already. The Scorpions are made up of prospects from the Angels, Giants, Mets, Reds and Yankees organizations.
I see Scottsdale as an intriguing team filled with prospects who will draw fans in. The Yankees group is the one group across the league which matches what the Braves have sent, while the Mets and Giants have both sent some interesting prospects. The Angels are a little behind, which is to be expected with their system but they are sending some players of note.
The Reds group is similar to what the White Sox sent, as they clearly shied away from sending their better prospects this year. One more thing you may notice is that this team is filled with light hitting glove first guys, particularly in the infield.
All ages are as of 9/1/2017.
Players on the taxi squad are represented with a * after their name. These players are only eligible to play certain days a week.
In my projected lineup the positions I have guys playing aren't set in stone by any means. Since you typically see guys sharing roles and playing slightly out of position, a lineup wouldn't be simple to project correctly- which is why my projected lineups are meant as a way to get the best lineup out there for each team.
Nathan Bates, RHP, Los Angeles Angels, Age 23
A 15th round pick out of Georgia State in 2015, Nathan Bates is a 6'8", 205 pound reliever. Bates split this year in Low A and High A, where he spent most of his season. He didn't enjoy a strong season, though the Cal League has that effect on pitchers.
Bates is a big framed, durable arm who can throw low to mid 90s, but he's been more of a pitch to contact guy than one who strikes out a lot of batters- even though his strikeout rate took a jump up this season. He's probably a middle to long reliever at best because he just doesn't have the stuff to pitch at the end of the bullpen, though he's got some attributes which will interest teams.
Tyler Beede, RHP, San Francisco Giants, Age 24
Tyler Beede is a rare guy. A kid taken in the first round by Toronto out of high school in 2011, but he chose to attend Vanderbilt and was then drafted again in the first round by the Giants in 2014. He doesn't have anything plus in his arsenal, but Beede does have four pitches which are all average to above. He struggled in Double A in 2015 and was able to rebound there in 2016.
Similarly he had a down season in Triple A this year, which ended on the disabled list, and he will need to improve upon his numbers in the AFL to show that he's potentially ready for a shot at the big leagues in 2018. Beede looks like a potential #4 starter and if he's able to be a little less hittable here, it would go a long way to showing he belongs in the show.
Joel Bender, LHP, Cincinnati Reds, Age 26
Joel Bender was drafted in the 27th round all the way back in 2010 from a local high school. He began as a starter but moved to the pen in 2013. On the surface it seems though Bender is slow moving, but he reached Triple A in 2015 for a brief appearance before missing all of 2016 and most of 2017 due to injury.
Bender threw 17 of his 20 innings this year in High A as he rehabbed and while the numbers weren't great, he did see a spike in his strikeout rate. The AFL is going to be his chance to make up for his lost time and get himself back on track for the 2018 season.
I see Bender as a lefty who may be a reverse specialist based on his past track record, though he may get to do some starting here in a piggyback role to help get innings in.
Brennan Bernardino, LHP, Cincinnati Reds, Age 25
A 26th round pick out of CSU Dominguez Hills, Brennan Bernardino is a lefty reliever. Bernardino spent the year in Double A with a 4.46 ERA and 1.51 WHIP, and the rest of his stat line was also fairly pedestrian.
He's a one inning at a time lefty without the stuff to close and without the stuff to really profile well as a specialist, meaning he needs to make it in middle relief to be a big leaguer.
Cody Carroll, RHP, New York Yankees, Age 24
A 22nd round pick out of Southern Miss in 2015, Cody Carroll had a breakout this year. Carroll had success out of the bullpen as a pro in 2015 and wasn't bad in 2016, but this year as he split the year between High A and Double A something just clicked.
Carroll, who went 3-5 with a 2.54 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, and seven saves in 67.1 innings, saw his strikeout per nine jump to a career high- up from 8.9 per nine to 11.9 per nine. He also saw the hits per nine drop from 8.8 to a dominant 6.1. Of course his command troubles haven't let up since his walks per nine of 4.0 stayed the same as his 2016 total, and that remains his weakness.
Still he's a reliever with a true plus plus fastball capable of hitting 100 MPH on the radar gun and able to mix in a plus slider as well. He adjusted well this year in a role at the back of the bullpen and could be a guy who pitches late in games in the big leagues, though he'd be in need of some command improvement for any shot as a closer.
Tyler Cyr, RHP, San Francisco Giants, Age 24
The Giants 10th round pick in 2015 out of noted baseball powerhouse Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Tyler Cyr has been on a fast track to the big leagues. He spent the year in Double A collecting 18 saves with a 2.19 ERA but 1.42 WHIP as he was hit at a higher rate than he has been earlier in his career.
Yet in spite of being more hittable and still having command issues, he limited the damage against him in part due to his strikeout per nine remaining above 10. Cyr probably won’t close in the big leagues, but a setup or likely middle relief awaits him.
Samil De Los Santos, RHP, Los Angeles Angels, Age 23
Samil De Los Santos was signed by the Astros out of the Dominican Republic in 2011 and released before the start of the 2016 season, only to catch on with the Angels. De Los Santos didn't pitch much in the Astros organization, throwing a career high of 26.1 innings outside of what he did in the DSL.
De Los Santos didn't do much in 2016, both quality and quantity wise, but he seemed to click this year as he split the year between Low A and High A throwing 60.2 innings of relief with a combined 3.12 ERA and 1.27 WHIP. The numbers aren't eye popping but De Los Santos has experienced some success he can build off, as he hopes to get the most out of his live right arm- one that has produced at least 9.6 strikeouts per nine at every single stop he's had since he left the DSL.
He's got experience closing in the minors, but he's also able to go multiple innings and is more of a middle relief prospect than a late inning guy.
Jake Ehret, RHP, Cincinnati Reds, Age 24
After moving through the minors through High A without too much trouble, former UCLA reliever Jake Ehret struggled in Double A last year. That trend continued this year and he was demoted back to High A, where he struggled at a level he previously succeeded at.
Ehret was a 14th round pick in 2014 and was looking like a guy who could be a possible bullpen piece, but after his struggles in the last season and a half that is now in question as he's recorded a 6.97 ERA and 1.94 WHIP in 51.2 innings. Ehret is a guy who probably would fit best in long relief, but will need to use the AFL to help turn things around if he wants to reach the big leagues.
Adam Hofacket, RHP, Los Angeles Angels, Age 23
A 10th rounder in 2015 out of Cal Baptist, Adam Hofacket was actually in the AFL last year. Of course he pitched poorly in just three outings last year, but he was very strong in High A and Double A this year before some struggles in 11 Triple A games.
Hofacket has a fastball up to 93 MPH and a sinker that he uses to get weak contact as well as strike hitters out. He's a guy able to get outs either way, without being particularly strong in either area.
He's a bit more well rounded than he gets credit for and that has caused him to pitch out of many different roles in his pro career. He probably fits best as a middle reliever since he's not a guy without overpowering stuff, but it's a role he can be effective in.
Mickey Jannis, RHP, New York Mets, Age 29
The oldest player here is 29 year old Mickey Jannis, who is going to turn 30 in December. Jannis was a 44th round pick in 2010 and has slowly moved up the chain as a starter. This year Jannis spent the year in Triple A and actually posted strong numbers- a 3.60 ERA and 1.25 WHIP despite playing in Las Vegas and the Pacific Coast League.
Jannis is more of a pitch to contact type who gets by on his pitchability and has a potential chance to help in long relief or as a spot starter.
Conor Lillis-White, LHP, Los Angeles Angels, Age 25
The Angels 32nd round pick in 2015 out of Canadian school University of British Columbia, Conor Lillis-White has been dominant as a pro. He's the owner of a 3.26 ERA and 1.19 WHIP, but he's also given up just 6.8 hits per nine and he's never struck out less than 10.6 per nine at any stop he's made along the way. He spent the bulk of his season in Double A this year where he allowed a meager 5.2 hits per nine, but his command backed up to the point he walked 6.4 per nine.
Even though he's capable of going multiple innings Lillis-White is probably a future LOOGY based on the success he's had against lefties(.417 OPS this year) while he allowed right handers to make decent contact against him at times. If his command takes a step forward he could possibly see an uptick in his potential big league role.
Tim Peterson, RHP, New York Mets, Age 26
Tim Peterson was a 20th round pick out of Kentucky all the way back in 2012, but the light only seemed to come on this year for him- and some of that was his own fault as he does have an 80 game PED suspension on his resume. He had shown flashes before, but never over an extended time- until he tossed 55.1 innings in Double A this year with a 1.14 ERA and 0.78 WHIP.
He got to Triple A, but didn't have success in his two outings there, and should get another shot there next year. A strong AFL could help accelerate Peterson's path to the big leagues.
Matt Pobereyko, RHP, New York Mets, Age 25
Matt Pobereyko is an interesting prospect. One who despite his age made his pro debut with Arizona in 2016 after a college career at Kentucky Wesleyan where they signed him out of the independent leagues. He got as high as High A and put up respectable numbers overall- a 4.33 ERA and 1.15 WHIP in 27 innings, but he was released in the offseason.
He began this year back in indy ball before the Mets signed him. Pobereyko got in 34.1 innings in Low A and recorded a 3.15 ERA and 1.17 WHIP, but it was his 53 strikeouts at a rate of 13.9 per nine after he struck out 38 hitters in just 18 innings in indy ball. Pobereyko has a long way to go from the Sally League, but the Mets see something in him and are giving him the chance by sending him to the AFL.
Kyle Regnault, LHP, New York Mets, Age 28
Despite his age Kyle Regnault has only been in affiliated ball since the 2015 season. That's because the former University of Rhode Island reliever spent three years out of school playing in the Independent Leagues.
After a strong year in High A in 2015, Regnault appeared briefly in the AFL and looked good in limited time. He wasn't healthy last year and didn't see a large workload because of it, but bounced back to dominate Double A this year before spending the bulk of his year in Triple A.
His Triple A numbers aren't special: 3.28 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 8.8 H/9, 4.0 BB/9, and 8.8 K/9- but with the context that his home games were played in an extreme hitters park in Las Vegas, they're actually quite solid. Regnault is effective against hitters from both sides, but he's particularly strong against right handed hitters and should at the very least be a reverse lefty specialist in the near future.
Andrew Schwaab, RHP, New York Yankees, Age 24
Andrew Schwaab was an undrafted free agent out of the University of Missouri Columbia in 2015. He's made it as far up as spending part of this season in Double A after saving 20 games in Low A last year.
Schwaab's future isn't as a closer, or even as a setup man, but he was able to get the job done in the low minors. He's not a guy without adequate stuff, and his strikeout rate will show you that. He's most likely destined for either middle or long relief in the big leagues as he can go multiple innings.
Justus Sheffield, LHP, New York Yankees, Age 21
The Indians used a first round pick in 2014 on Tennessee prep pitcher Justus Sheffield, brother of Dodgers prospect Jordan Sheffield, and then dealt him to the Yankees in the 2016 Andrew Miller trade. Sheffield, who is still just 21 and has spent a full season in Double A, entered the season as a Top 100 prospect despite being under-sized for a pitcher at 5'11".
When he's on he's got a plus fastball up to 96 to mix with a pair of above average breaking balls in his slider and curve. He's also got an average change as a fourth pitch in his arsenal. Sheffield has always been able to get strikeouts, with the 8.1 K/9 this season being his career low in spite of being a solid number.
The problem he has is that he has below average command and is prone to walking hitters too. Sheffield is a potential middle of the rotation starter who could move forward quickly if he's able to see his command tick up.
DJ Snelten, LHP, San Francisco Giants, Age 25
A 9th rounder in 2013 from the University of Minnesota the Giants let DJ Snelten relieve to start his career before they gave him a shot at starting full time in 2015 with a mix of starting and relieving in 2016. The starting didn't go so well for him overall, but as a 6'7" 245 pound lefty with the stuff to strike batters out it's not hard to see why he was given a shot.
Snelten moved back into the pen full time this year for the first time since 2014, and experienced real success between Double A and Triple A- where he spent the bulk of his time. Overall Snelten went 8-1 with a 2.20 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, and 71 strikeouts in 73.2 innings and he completely dominated lefties by holding them to a slash line of just .158/.223/.179.
Not that he didn't do well against right handers, as they posted a .231/.293/.330 mark against him. Snelten's future is clearly in the pen, but it's just a matter of if he can be a middle reliever or if he's best as a LOOGY.
Dillon Tate, RHP, New York Yankees, Age 23
The Rangers used the fourth overall pick in the 2015 MLB Draft on UC Santa Barbara right hander Dillon Tate. Tate was a college reliever who moved into the rotation as a junior and saw his stuff really look like a top of the rotation type.
Tate's stuff backed up in a big way in 2016, which isn't unsurprising considering how quickly it ticked up in the first place, and the Rangers sold on him a little more than a year after drafting him by dealing him to the Yankees for Carlos Beltran.
Fast forward a year and his stuff has ticked back up again. It's not quite at what it was in 2015, and definitely not as consistent, but he's flashed his potential. Tate's 2017 saw nine starts in High A and four more to end the year in Double A with him going 7-2 with a 2.81 ERA and 1.14 WHIP as he struck out 63 hitters in 83.1 innings.
Tate is going to need to show his high end stuff more consistently through entire games, instead of just early on, or he could wind up as a relief candidate. The former 4th overall pick is certainly a guy to watch in the AFL as he's a guy who is still trying to figure out what role he fits best in.
Aramis Garcia, C, San Francisco Giants, Age 24
Aramis Garcia looked to be on his way after a bit of a breakout in 2015, as the second round pick from 2014 out of Florida International was starting to show the promise as an offensive minded backstop. Then he had his 2016 season ruined by a knee injury that limited him to 44 games and saw his numbers decline across the board.
Garcia went to the AFL last year and showed some flashes, then came back this year with a breakout in High A(Cal League) before moving up to Double A and finishing with 22 solid games. On the year he hit a total of .274/.323/.485 with 32 doubles and 17 homers, though those numbers are a little Cal League aided. Garcia is still a guy with the profile to be an asset at the plate as a catcher, but his defense and throwing arm have improved as a pro to the point he may not be a liability behind the plate.
On the downside as a college player who basically lost the 2016 season, Garcia is already 24 years old and only has 22 games played in Double A. The AFL will hopefully give him the chance to continue to make up for lost time as well as helping him to springboard himself onto the fast track for the 2018 season.
Tomas Nido, C, New York Mets, Age 23
An eighth round pick out of a Florida high school back in 2012, Puerto Rico native Tomas Nido has made his big league debut this year. Nido was an overslot bonus guy in 2012 and while he didn't really do much of anything in his first three seasons(2012-2014), he started to become a prospect in 2015 when his bat first started to show some signs of power.
Nido took a huge step forward offensively in 2016 in High A, though his 2017 Double A numbers suggest that may not be his true offensive upside. This year Nido has hit .232/.287/.354 with 19 doubles and eight homers, numbers not too different from what he did in 2015.
Nido is also a solid defender and because of that the Mets are hoping that he can become a quality big league starter who can both play defense and contribute with the bat. His AFL is important because he is a guy on the cusp of a permanent spot in New York and because he's still hoping to show the slash line of .320/.357/.459 from last year wasn't a fluke.
Chad Tromp, C, Cincinnati Reds, Age 22
The Reds sent Chad Tromp, a glove first catcher out of Aruba to the AFL. Tromp has reached as high as Double A if you take out one Triple A game back in 2015, but never played in more than 73 games in a season. Tromp played in 69 games this year split between High A and Double A and his slash line is in line with his career mark, as he hit .259/.327/.328 with 13 doubles and a homer.
Tromp threw out 28% of base stealers, which is a little below his career mark though his High A percentage was in line with his career mark. Tromp is a guy who probably won't ever be a big league starter, but he's got some potential as a backup- especially if he can show a little more in game power like the eight homers he hit in 73 games last year.
Taylor Ward, C, Los Angeles Angels, Age 23
The Angels used their first round pick in 2015 on Taylor Ward, a catcher out of Fresno State. Ward was generally considered to be an over draft by most of the industry and until this year didn't prove anyone wrong. He was looking like a glove first backup profile, but after a solid 54 game stretch in the Cal League, he got his first taste of Double A and really exceeded expectations in 33 games there.
On the year he hit .258/.368/.390 with 14 doubles and nine homers in 87 games, though his numbers were better across the board in Double A than what he did in the Cal League. Ward's glove is certainly good enough to make him a big league backup down the line, but if he's able to show his offensive gains this year weren't a fluke, then he could potentially develop into something more.
Brantley Bell, 2B, Cincinnati Reds, Age 22
The Reds took Brantley Bell out of a Florida JUCO in the 11th round in 2015 and have seen the light hitting second baseman have an up and down pro career to this point. After some promise in the Pioneer League after signing in 2015, Bell managed just a .620 OPS in Low A last year. He went back there to start this year and posted a .640 OPS before being promoted to High A, where he really struggled with a .541 OPS in 62 games.
Overall this season he hit .232/.293/.300 with 19 doubles, a triple, and three homers.
Those numbers aren't far off what he produced in 2016, as he doesn't hit for much power and strikes out quite a bit for a guy who doesn't produce power. What Bell does though, he does well. He plays very strong defense at second with just six errors in 119 games this year, and he also stole 29 bases in 36 attempts. He's going to need to improve the bat to be able to let those other skills play, but he's got a set of tools that can be intriguing.
Thairo Estrada, SS/2B, New York Yankees, Age 21
One of the more interesting players here is Thairo Estrada, a young Venezuelan infielder who spent his entire 2017 season in Double A at the age of 21. Estrada hit .301/.353/.392 with 19 doubles, four triples, six homers, and eight steals despite being younger than most of his competition.
While he's hardly a finished product, Estrada brings some tools that appeal to scouts- he's a plus runner, has a plus arm, plays strong defense, is able to play multiple defensive positions, has some plate discipline, and makes contact. Of course he has some issues as well- despite his plus speed he was just 8-19 in stolen base attempts, and he's never going to be known for his power, though after eight homers last year and six this year I wouldn't put it past him to grow into a guy who can hit 10-12 homers a year at maturity.
Estrada is young and has an intriguing skill set, though is still in need of developmental time, and that developmental time will determine if he's a guy capable of being a big league starter or if he's more of a utility type.
Chris Gittens, 1B, New York Yankees, Age 23
The Yankees 12th round pick in 2014 out of a Texas JUCO, Chris Gittens is a powerful first baseman. The kind of guy who hit 21 homers in Low A in 2016, and followed that up this year with 13 more in High A in just 73 games.
Overall this year Gittens hit .266/.372/.472 with 12 doubles and the 13 homers. He strikes out at a fairly consistent rate of about 28% of his plate appearances over the last two years, but he's also willing to take some walks.
Defensively he's limited to first base and designated hitter, which puts a lot of pressure on his bat to reach the big leagues. He probably needs to see a slight uptick in his in-game power if he wants a chance to contribute in the big leagues, but I do think he has a little more power in there than what we've seen so far.
Luis Guillorme, SS/2B, New York Mets, Age 22
There is perhaps no finer defensive shortstop in the minor leagues than 22 year old Venezuelan Luis Guillorme.
The Mets farmhand is the type of fielder who could legitimately challenge for a Gold Glove one day. A comparison thrown with him is former Mets shortstop Rey Ordonez, as the bat profiles similarly as well. Guillorme is a light hitter, the kind of guy who hit .283/.376/.331 with 20 doubles, one homer, and four steals in 128 Double A games. He's maybe a little bit better with the bat than he gets credit for, as he hit as high as .318 in the Sally League back in 2015, and he's a career .285 career hitter in the minors.
Not only does Guillorme make contact, but he'll take walks and rarely strike out, as his 72 walks against just 55 strikeouts this year show. He's even got some running ability despite his low steal totals, as that 2015 season mentioned earlier also saw him steal 18 bases.
Of course he's probably close to a 20 grade in the power department, as he has just two homers in 2041 trips to the plate in his career, and only 66 doubles...that's a double every 3.2% of his plate appearances, or what would amount to 16 in 500 plate appearances.
Guillorme isn't going to get his shot at short in New York, where Amed Rosario has the spot pretty much locked down for a while, but he could play a utility role with some second and even third as a defensive asset.
Kyle Holder, SS, New York Yankees, Age 23
I was a little surprised when the Yankees used a first round pick on Kyle Holder out of the University of San Diego in 2015. That's not because Holder doesn't have talent, but he's a bit limited as he's really a glove first guy without much hitting ability.
Holder is an excellent defensive shortstop who can handle second and third as well, but he has very limited power and isn't a guy who will steal a lot of bases either.
He spent all of 2017 in High A and did manage a .271/.317/.350 slash line, but that shows he's really only a singles hitter who doesn't walk all that much. His most likely role as a big leaguer would be that of a utility player with defense and versatility.
Taylor Sparks, 3B, Cincinnati Reds, Age 24
A second round pick out of UC Irvine in 2014, Taylor Sparks lit up the Pioneer League after signing his pro contract and the third baseman has never quite been the same. After that .840 OPS in the Pioneer League, Sparks posted just a .703 mark in High A in 2015, then he really struggled in 2016 between High A and Double A as he posted a .593 mark.
This year he battled injury and was limited to just 18 of his 57 games played above Low A, and he had a .518 OPS in those 18 Double A games. Sparks has some pop in his bat and has run well prior to being hurt this year, but he strikes out a lot and doesn't make enough contact to take advantage of the power in his bat.
A healthy Sparks in the AFL could help him rebound a bit, as he did show some more plate discipline this year with more willingness to take a walk.
Matt Thaiss, 1B, Los Angeles Angels, Age 22
The former University of Virginia catcher taken 16th overall by the Angels last year, Matt Thaiss has played exclusively at first base as a pro, as well as some designated hitter. He hasn't caught a game and the odds of him doing so at this point are unlikely, as he seems to have settled in as a first baseman all the way.
Thaiss reached Double A this year after spending the bulk of his season in High A(in the Cal League) and in 133 games he hit .274/.375/.395 with 27 doubles, four triples, nine homers, and eight steals. It's a solid stat line, but one that hardly screams out even average starter as a first baseman or DH.
Thaiss would be considered especially productive with that same stat line as a catcher, but as a first baseman that's a below average line. Thaiss is a guy who probably won't improve a whole lot more as he is a contact and approach oriented hitter rather than one who will show much in-game power. It's not out of the question he makes it to Los Angeles in 2018, but it is fair to question his overall impact in the big leagues.
David Thompson, 3B, New York Mets, Age 24
Power hitting University of Miami third baseman David Thompson dropped from 1st/2nd round conversation all the way into the fourth round in 2015, where the Mets grabbed him. The reason for the drop was that some were unsure if he was going to be able to stick at third, or if a move to first was inevitable.
Thompson struggled badly after signing, but rebounded last year with a big showing in Low A and then holding his own in High A. This year he was assigned to Double A and hit .263/.325/.429 with 29 doubles and 16 homers. While the power hasn't fully showed up in games yet, he has significantly improved his glove and is no longer in danger of being moved off third base.
His age is a bit misleading as he just turned 24 and will spend all of next year at the age of 24, and there is definitely more power in there for him to potentially show off, so he's a guy to watch.
Even if no more power comes he's got a shot at becoming a regular at the hot corner, and if the power comes on he's got a chance to be a much more significant prospect than he is now. The AFL could be a test for him, as he's running out of time to show his raw power will translate to the pro game.
Blake Trahan, SS, Cincinnati Reds, Age 23
The Reds grabbed Blake Trahan with a third rounder in 2015 out of Louisiana Lafayette, and it was noted that he had a good swing to produce line drives, but with limited power.
That has mostly held true so far, with just seven homers in 325 career games, but the line drive swing hasn't translated. Trahan played all of 2017 in Double A and hit just .222/.311/.275 with 18 doubles and two homers. He hit a fair amount of line drives, but suffered from a low BABIP(.269) considering he's a plus runner who stole 25 bases a year ago, as well as almost no power.
Trahan's offense may not be what the Reds envisioned when they drafted him, but his glove has improved to the point where it's borderline plus at short. He just turned 24 years old at the start of September so he's running out of time to start hitting, but even if he can't get the bat going his glove and running ability could still make him an asset to the Reds.
Steven Duggar, OF, San Francisco Giants, Age 23
Steven Duggar fell to the sixth round in the 2015 draft not because of his talent, but rather because scouts always felt like he under achieved during his three years at Clemson. It's easy to see a guy who is a better than plus runner with a plus arm and potentially plus fielding ability no matter where he's been, but he's got a potentially above average hit tool with the discipline to draw walks and enough pop to produce extra base hits even that didn't always show up in college.
He's certainly tried to shed that reputation as a pro, especially after his 2016 breakout split between the California League and Double A. He was in a spot to use this year to really make a name for himself, but injuries robbed him of a chance to build upon that, and he only got to play 13 games in Triple A late in the season, along with 31 games at lower levels as he worked his way back up.
The AFL is big for Duggar after 2017 was basically a lost year for him, but a strong showing here and a quick start to 2018 could get him up to the big leagues early on in 2018.
Estevan Florial, OF, New York Yankees, Age 19
Estevan Florial is easily the biggest prospect on the Scottsdale roster. The teenager is also the youngest, and with just 19 games in High A the least experienced. That should confirm this is an aggressive move by the Yankees, but when you’ve got five tools like this kid it’s not out of the question he handles it.
After struggling in the Appy League last year Florial looked like a future star in Low A, before a late promotion to High A where he didn’t slow down his pace. Florial is one of the more intriguing names in the league and is clearly a player capable of making some noise.
Kevin Kaczmarski, OF, New York Mets, Age 25
The Mets ninth round pick in 2015 out of the University of Evansville, Kevin Kaczmarski has been an under the radar type of player his whole career. He was drafted as a senior sign, and not truly viewed as a significant prospect. When he posted big numbers in the Appy League after signing it was looked at as an older college player not being challenged.
He started off 2016 in Low A and was productive enough to earn a promotion to High A after 69 games, and in 42 games in the Florida State League he actually posted better numbers than he had in the Sally League. At this point Kaczmarski was finally starting to gain some notice just as the Mets planned to challenge him with Double A.
The Double A numbers weren't anything special, .274/.370/.369 with 18 doubles, five triples, five homers, and 15 steals, but he held his own. He walked 61 times while only striking out 84 times and played all three positions in the outfield(I realize he only played one game in center due to the presence of a pair of much faster guys, but he's a capable defender there).
Kaczmarski isn't anything special, but he can do a little bit of everything- which makes him a very good candidate to be an extra outfielder at the big league level.
Billy McKinney, OF, New York Yankees, Age 23
Oakland took Billy McKinney with the 24th pick back in 2013 and he's had quite the interesting ride. McKinney rose to a Top 100 prospect status ahead of the 2015 season, after a strong 2014 where he was traded by the A's to the Cubs as part of the Jeff Samardzija trade.
Then he had an even bigger year in 2015, so he remained in that Top 100 prospect grouping for the start of the 2016 season- another season where he was traded for a pitcher, this time going from the Cubs to the Yankees as part of the Aroldis Chapman trade. Both before and after the trade, 2016 was a down year for him as the bat first corner outfielder failed to reach even a .700 OPS at either of his Double A stops that season.
McKinney started out back in Double A this year and played well for 69 games before a promotion to Triple A, where he had a very strong 55 game stretch. It was enough to get his season total to .277/.338/.483 with 29 doubles, seven triples, and 16 homers.
This season clearly resurrected McKinney's prospect status, and while he's not nearly the same type of prospect he was a couple of years ago he is back to being a guy that looks like he's capable of having a solid, productive big league career.
Troy Montgomery, OF, Los Angeles Angels, Age 23
An eighth round pick by the Angels out of Ohio State last year, Troy Montgomery was occasionally overshadowed in college and the draft process by his highly regarded former teammate Ronnie Dawson(HOU).
Montgomery was a fine prospect himself, and one I would have valued more than an eighth round pick. He's got an advanced approach at the plate and is willing to take his walks, and he makes consistent contact despite not having a lot of home run power.
Mix that in with his plus running and the chance to be an above average defender in the outfield, including in center, and you've got yourself a player. He's the type of guy who profiles as a third starter or fourth outfielder, more solid and steady than impact, but he's not a guy that will hurt a team and could be an asset for the Angels.
Chris Shaw, OF/1B, San Francisco Giants, Age 23
The Giants took Chris Shaw out of Boston College at the end of the first round in 2015, and have watched the slugger move up fast. Shaw spent the bulk of his season in Triple A this year, after spending some time early on in Double A.
He’s certainly produced like a top pick with 57 homers in 303 career games as a pro, including 24 this year alone. He’s also struck out a healthy amount, including in 25.6% of his plate appearances this season, as one would expect from a power hitter.
He's going to make hard contact and get on base with some walks, but the questions are whether he will make enough contact for his power to play and if he's capable of handling left field adequately, or if he truly belongs at first base. The AFL will give him a chance to answer both questions and potentially force his way into the Giants lineup as soon as 2018, as they are certainly a team in need of a power bat.
1.Steven Duggar, RF
2.Thairo Estrada, 2B
3.Matt Thaiss, 1B
4.Chris Shaw, LF
5.Estevan Florial, CF
6.David Thompson, 3B
7.Aramis Garcia, DH
8.Tomas Nido, C
9.Luis Guillorme, SS
1.Tyler Beede, R
2.Justus Sheffield, L
3.Dillon Tate, R
4.Mickey Jannis, R
5.Joel Bender, L
Piggyback Candidates: Andrew Schwaab, DJ Snelten, Samil De Los Santos, Jake Ehret
Middle Relief-Adam Hofacket, Matt Pobereyko, Nathan Bates, Brennan Bernardino
Lefty vs Righty Specialist-Kyle Regnault