It is almost the halfway point of the Minor League Baseball season. Some of baseball’s best prospects — Juan Soto and Gleyber Torres come to mind — are now transitioning to successful major leaguers. Other teams are finding out just how good their top 30 prospects really are.
As we near this halfway mark, some teams in some leagues will lock up titles and thus a playoff spot. Others will simply lengthen their already big leads in the standings, while some may just enjoy putting on a show with baseball’s best and brightest. Here are 5 you should most certainly be paying attention to right now.
New Hampshire Fisher Cats
This one is in the no-brainer category, and if you don’t tune in quickly, you may miss the best prospect in baseball.
The Fisher Cats are a game up on the Trenton Thunder in the Eastern League Eastern Division, and that’s thanks to baseball’s best bloodlines. Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. continues to prove at 19 that he’s too good for AA and with Josh Donaldson on the DL, rumors are quickly astir. He’s hitting a ridiculous .414/.464/.691 with 18 doubles and 11 home runs as the youngest player in the league.
He’s joined by Cavan Biggio who is amid a breakout (.311/.429/.652 with 11 doubles and 13 home runs) and Bo Bichette (.272/.348/.427, 12 doubles, four home runs) who is not adjusting as easily as Vladdy the Kid, but he’s doing just fine. Guerrero, Jr. and Bichette are two of baseball’s ten-best prospects. Get out and see them before they jump.
San Antonio Missions
Another team ripe with baseballs bloodlines, the Missions have a two-game lead on Corpus Christi in the Texas League North Division.
Fernando Tatis, Jr. and Cal Quantrill are the most recognizable names on this roster thanks to their fathers before them, but the Missions are stacked with a ton of Padres top prospects for a team with a very bright future. Tatis, Jr., the youngest hitter in the league, has been struggling a bit with the contact, but the power is there with 16 doubles and 10 home runs. Quantrill has seen better days on the mound, but is still certainly one worth watching with arguably the best changeup in the minors.
Then there is one-time Marlins top prospect Josh Naylor who has always been good at making contact, but seems to have found some power this season, rising his stock back up the prospect charts. Logan Allen leads the pitching staff at 7-2 with a 3.24 ERA and a 76:29 K:BB ratio over 66.2 innings pitched. Austin Allen, Michael Gettys, on any given day you can see a lineup full of star power, making them a can’t-miss stop on the must-see list.
Scranton/ Wilkes-Barre Railriders
Brian Cashman worked hard to rebuild the Yankees farm system, and now it is really showing at the upper levels. Some of those blue chip prospects are in the majors, but there are plenty left to see in Pennsylvania.
Justus Sheffield was recently promoted from Trenton and has allowed just three runs in his first four starts. The 2018 breakout star Josh Rogers continues to excel on the bump, sitting at 5-3 with a 2.48 ERA and rumors abound he may get the Monday start in the double header. Even Chance Adams is worth watching. Adams shot up the Yankees prospect charts as a closer turned starter but really seems to be hit or miss this season. His regression is certainly curious and worth watching.
Offensively, you get to see Clint Frazier slug home runs until the Yankees need him in the Bronx. There are a few other names as well, especially when Thairo Estrada returns from the DL and Billy McKinney getting back, but pitching seems to be the thing here.
Charlotte Stone Crabs
The Tampa Bay Rays have arguably the most major league ready team at Triple A with Willy Adames and Jake Bauers just a couple of the names that are fun to watch. But the High-A Stone Crabs have a top 50 prospect on each side of the game worth watching. Actually, one of them does both sides of the game.
Brendan McKay is a consensus top 25 prospect and he continues to impress as both a hitter and pitcher, though he has been much more effective as a pitcher since his promotion. His 19-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio should confirm that. Jesus Sanchez, widely considered a top 50 prospect in the game and one of my favorites, is off to a great start as well, slashing .337/.351/.522 with 13 doubles and six home runs. One hopes to see him cut down on the strikeouts, but there is a lot to like in the toolsy outfielder.
There are plenty of other prospect stars to watch as well, like shortstop Lucius Fox who is off to a great start. The Lowe brothers are another nice tandem. Josh Lowe is considered the better prospect, but its Nathaniel who is out to the hot start. The first baseman is slugging .366/.442/.612 with a 1.084 OPS and 15 doubles and 10 home runs.
Yup, this is 100 percent biased because I do watch them (although right now, not as much). But it is also well deserved. A lot has been made about the Braves coveted farm system, as names like Ronald Acuña, Jr., Mike Soroka, Luiz Gohara and Max Fried are already showing their stuff at the next level. But the Braves next wave may be just as exciting.
Kyle Muller already earned a promotion, but there is plenty of pitching to watch here, highlighted by breakout star Bruce Zimmerman. Freddy Tarnok has been a bit wild, but seems to be getting himself under control and can strike out people in bunches.
Offensively, Drew Waters is an exciting prospect in every aspect of the game. He can hit, run, rake and field. Riley Delgado is enjoying a breakout year as a contact-hitting infielder while Jean Carlos Encarnacion seems to be fitting the lofty bill he was assessed when signed. William Contreras is fitting in nicely since coming to Rome and there is always fun home runs to watch coming off the bat of Drew Lugbauer and now Austin Bush when they connect.
Top 100 prospects? Maybe not right now, but this team had a lot of question marks to start the season. So far, they seem to be answering them.