2019 Short Season Assignments, Part 1
June marks an exciting time for those who follow prospects! While the MLB Draft draws a lot of attention, short season leagues are just getting underway. As such, although the minor league season passed its halfway point, it is just starting for numerous intriguing prospects.
Short Season Assignments
Short season leagues play an abbreviated season, most starting in mid-June to transition draftees into professional baseball. All told, there are seven short season leagues, including three rookie leagues, two rookie advanced leagues, and two Low-A short season leagues. Prior to today, only the Dominican Summer (June 1st), Pioneer (June 14th), Northwest (June 14th), and the New York-Penn (June 14th) Leagues had begun play. This article will examine the top prospects to follow in these first four leagues, including several Top 200 Fantasy Prospects. Next week, we will examine the remaining three leagues, notable late assignments of 2019 draftees, and notable prospects without assignments.
DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE (DSL)
The Dominican Summer League includes most high-profile international free agents from the 2018 class and other intriguing teenage prospects.
Noelvi Marte, SS, Seattle Mariners. Marte has explosive bat speed and plus or better raw power potential. Already, he flashes significant pull-side power, with plenty of remaining projection. While everyone agrees on his power upside, Marte receives mixed opinions regarding his future speed and defensive home. Given his well-developed lower half, many believe his present plus speed will regress as he continues to fill out.
Gabriel Rodriguez, SS, Cleveland Indians. Rodriguez oozes physical projection (6’2″ and 174 pounds) with emerging raw power and a quick, compact stroke. Despite his youth, he already exhibits an advanced feel to hit and mature approach. Unlike Marte, Rodriguez lacks a carrying tool with less present raw power and speed. Still, his tools project as average, and in some cases above, across the board.
#Indians 17yr old SS prospect Gabriel Rodriguez video of his 3rd HR of the year yesterday in the DSL. Rodriguez has 3 HR's and 16 RBI over his first 8 career games.@Gabriel52549614 #Future pic.twitter.com/ekX99ZnOV0
— Indians Prospective (@indiansPro) June 12, 2019
Diego Cartaya, C, Los Angeles Dodgers. Regarded as one of the top international amateurs, Cartaya signed for $2.5 million last summer. Most observers rave about his defensive ability and precocious baseball instincts. In addition, Cartaya already displays advanced plate discipline and a feel to hit with gap-to-gap, projectable power. However, the journey to the majors for 17-year-old catchers is a long and risky one.
Kevin Alcantara, OF, New York Yankees. Standing at 6’5″ and 175 pounds, Alcantara is as projectable as prospects come. Presently, he is a plus runner with plus bat speed that generates big exit velocities. As he fills out, Alcantara projects to develop plus raw power and retain enough speed to profile in center field.
One such player moving up is Yankees CF Kevin Alcantara. We were the high guys on him when he signed and we've already heard good things from his 7 DSL games. He's 16 for another month, this is pulled from his instagram https://t.co/lG9VuFYGjm
— Kiley McDaniel (@kileymcd) June 13, 2019
OTHERS OF NOTE:
- Misael Urbina, OF, Minnesota Twins
- Alvin Guzman, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks
- Angel Martinez, SS, Cleveland Indians
- Junior Sanquintin, SS, Cleveland Indians
- Wilmin Candelario, SS, Kansas City Royals
- Fadriel Cruz, SS, Colorado Rockies
- Juan Guerrero, SS, Colorado Rockies
- Alexander Vargas, SS, New York Yankees
- Antonio Gomez, C, New York Yankees (already promoted to GCL)
- Osiel Rodriguez, RHP, New York Yankees
- Jose Rodriguez, C, Texas Rangers
- Alejandro Pie, SS, Tampa Bay Rays
- Alexander Ramirez, OF, Los Angeles Angels
- Adinso Reyes, OF, Detroit Tigers
- Freddy Valdez, OF, New York Mets
- Eduardo Garcia, SS, Milwaukee Brewers
- Eduarqui Fernandez, OF, Milwaukee Brewers
- Alex De Jesus, SS/3B, Los Angeles Dodgers
- Bryan Gonzalez, OF, Boston Red Sox
PIONEER LEAGUE (PIO)
The Pioneer League is a step up from standard rookie leagues with numerous college prospects and advanced teenagers.
D’Shawn Knowles, OF, Los Angeles Angels. One of two high-profile 2017 signees from the Bahamas (Trent Deveaux), Knowles impressed at just 17 years old between the Arizona and Pioneer Leagues (.311/.391/.464). A switch-hitter, Knowles has plus bat speed, plus speed, and a passive approach, leading to plenty of walks and strikeouts. However, he lacks much physicality and he has limited power projection.
Angels OF D’Shawn Knowles (@itsdshawn) RH/LH swings. The Bahamian 18 yo is looking to continue his success in rookie ball this season. Has the potential to be very special. 🇧🇸 @Prospects365 #TheHaloWay pic.twitter.com/BXJXMf57m8
— tyler j. spicer (@tylerjspicer) June 16, 2019
Will Wilson, SS/2B, Los Angeles Angels. A power hitting middle infielder, Wilson is a consistent college performer in a difficult ACC. As he lacks ideal athleticism, arm strength, and defensive actions for shortstop, he is a strong bet to move to second base. Nevertheless, Wilson has average-to-above hit and power potential, and a .260-.270 hitter with 20+ home run pop at second base carries a lot of fantasy value.
Jeremiah Jackson, SS, Los Angeles Angels. A second round pick in the 2018 MLB Draft, Jackson made quick work of the Arizona League (.317/.374/.598) before hitting a wall in the Pioneer League (.198/.260/.396) in his debut. A wiry and projectable athlete, he already flashes significant, all-fields raw power for a player with such a slight frame (6’0″ and 165 pounds). Ultimately, Jackson could develop average-to-above hit, power, and speed tools, providing huge fantasy upside.
Eddy Diaz, 2B, Colorado Rockies. Since Colorado does not have an Arizona League affiliate, Diaz has had to wait for his state-side debut. For two straight years, he has terrorized the Dominican Summer League with his elite speed, tallying 84 stolen bases across 87 games. Further, Diaz has exhibited a high-contact, patient hitting approach. It will be fun to see what he can do against more advanced arms (pitchers and catchers!).
OTHERS OF NOTE:
- Joe Gray, OF, Milwaukee Brewers
- Micah Bello, OF, Milwaukee Brewers
- Liover Peguero, SS, Arizona Diamondbacks
- Spencer Brickhouse, 1B, Arizona Diamondbacks
- Julio Carreras, 3B, Colorado Rockies
- Ronaiker Palma, C, Colorado Rockies
- Walking Cabrera, OF, Colorado Rockies
- Yolki Pena, OF, Colorado Rockies
- Cash Case, 2B, Cincinnati Reds
- Edwin Yon, OF, Cincinnati Reds
- Jonathan Willems, SS, Cincinnati Reds
- Quin Cotton, OF, Cincinnati Reds
- Andy Pages, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers
- Alec Marsh, RHP, Kansas City Royals
NORTHWEST LEAGUE (NWL)
On the verge of full season ball, Class A Short Season leagues (NWL and NYP) often contain advanced prospects and elite college performers.
Kristian Robinson, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks. At just 17 years old, Robinson debuted stateside last summer, advancing to the Pioneer League. Although his summer started slowly, he heated up as he acclimated to the rigors of professional baseball, hitting .330/.413/.500 with 4 home runs and 5 stolen bases over his last 25 games. With a strong, wiry, and broad-shouldered 6’3″ frame, Robinson evokes images of a NFL wide receiver. Already, he possesses plus speed and raw power, with remaining projection to develop double-plus power at peak. However, his profile is not without risk, and his approach is raw with substantial swing-and-miss. Nevertheless, few prospects possess his elite power/speed upside.
Kristian Robinson smashed two ⚾️s today. This looked like the harder hit one. If a 🧞♂️gave me 3 wishes, I'd spend one on knowing the exit velo. pic.twitter.com/R00ItRyPhS
— Jason Pennini (@JasonPennini) May 23, 2019
George Kirby, RHP, Seattle Mariners. The 21st overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft, Kirby is a command and control arm with four average-to-above pitches. Further, he has remaining projection with a lanky 6’4″ frame. This year, he had a sparkling 105-to-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio. While he did not face top college competition, he did excel in the Cape Cod League last summer in a relief role. This type of arm tends to fly through the lower minors. Kirby profiles as a high-floor 4-starter, with upside for more.
Adam Kloffenstein, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays. A third round pick in the 2018 MLB Draft, Kloffenstein signed for $2.45 million, a well over-slot bonus. Large and imposing (6’5″ and 243 pounds), he already sits in the low-90s, touching 96 mph, with a solid mid-80s slider and some feel for a curveball and change-up. While Kloffenstein is more raw than other top 2018 prep arms (Liberatore, Rodriguez, Winn, etc.), he has just as much upside.
— Vancouver Canadians (@vancanadians) June 14, 2019
OTHERS OF NOTE:
- Jayce Easley, 2B, Texas Rangers
- David Garcia, C, Texas Rangers
- Andy Yerzy, C, Arizona Diamondbacks
- Jorge Barrosa, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks
- Reivaj Garcia, SS, Chicago Cubs
- Jeremiah Estrada, RHP, Chicago Cubs
- Fernando Kelli, OF, Chicago Cubs
- Kohl Franklin, RHP, Chicago Cubs
- Ignacio Feliz, RHP, San Diego Padres
- Luis Frias, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks
- Jordy Barley, SS, San Diego Padres
- Aaron Schunk, 3B, Colorado Rockies
- Jacob Wallace, OF, Colorado Rockies
- Ronny Brito, SS, Toronto Blue Jays
- Will Robertson, OF, Toronto Blue Jays
- Tanner Morris, SS, Toronto Blue Jays
- Cameron Eden, SS, Toronto Blue Jays
- Juan Pie, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates
- Braxton Ashcraft, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates
- Angel Basabe, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates
- Juan Then, RHP, Seattle Mariners
- Austin Shenton, 3B, Seattle Mariners
NEW YORK-PENN LEAGUE (NYP)
George Valera, OF, Cleveland Indians. Valera possesses a well-regarded hit tool rivaling fellow 2017 international signee Wander Franco. Unfortunately, he suffered a broken hamate bone in his hand just six games into his debut last year. At the plate, Valera has a picture-perfect, smooth left-handed swing, advanced plate discipline, and gap-to-gap pop. His natural hitting ability has even drawn some future double-plus grades. While Valera lacks much size (5’10”), he projects to develop average-to-above power due to his plus bat speed and a leveraged stroke. Already, he is off to a fast start!
— Indians Prospective (@indiansPro) June 16, 2019
Greg Jones, SS, Tampa Bay Rays. One of the fastest players in the 2019 MLB Draft, Jones was among the Division I leaders in stolen bases (42). In addition to his elite speed, he has wiry strength and quick hands, allowing some projection on his power. Meanwhile, Jones made enough progress at the plate and in the field this year to potentially profile as a table-setting shortstop. With speed dwindling in the game, he possesses tons of fantasy upside.
Brayan Rocchio, SS, Cleveland Indians. While fellow 2017 signees Valera and Aaron Bracho succumbed to injuries in their debuts, Rocchio blew through the Dominican Summer and Gulf Coast Leagues (.335/.390/.442). A switch-hitter, he has elite bat-to-ball skills and barrel control from both sides of the plate. As such, many project him to be a plus hitter with plus speed. Additionally, Rocchio has plenty of remaining projection to develop double-digit home run power.
Brayan Rocchio – Special player, makes game look easy vs older comp. MIF stick: soft hands, quick first step, good INF actions. More power than stats indicate. Turned 18 in Jan. ++ hands. Weight stays back and head very still, short to ball. Advanced pitch rec and approach f/ age pic.twitter.com/3CVer58AsX
— Jason Pennini (@JasonPennini) March 29, 2019
Ethan Hankins, RHP, Cleveland Indians. Due to shoulder tightness and diminished stuff last spring, Hankins fell to the 35th overall selection in the 2018 MLB Draft. Previously, he has flashed a mid-90s fastball, touching 98 mph, with two promising secondaries (changeup and curveball). Further, his projectable 6’6″ frame portends even more velocity.
OTHERS OF NOTE:
- Antoni Flores, SS, Boston Red Sox
- Carlos Vargas, RHP, Cleveland Indians
- Raynel Delgado, 3B, Cleveland Indians
- Nick Decker, OF, Boston Red Sox
- Gilberto Jimenez, OF, Boston Red Sox
- Cameron Cannon, 2B, Boston Red Sox
- Nick Northcut, 3B, Boston Red Sox
- Jaxx Groshans, C, Boston Red Sox
- Ryan Zeferjahn, RHP, Boston Red Sox
- Jordan Diaz, 3B, Oakland Athletics
- Hogan Harris, RHP, Oakland Athletics
- Lawrence Butler, OF, Oakland Athletics
- Korey Lee, C, Houston Astros
- Jayson Schroeder, RHP, Houston Astros
- Joe Perez, 3B, Houston Astros
- Deury Carrasco, SS, Houston Astros
- Angel Macuare, RHP, Houston Astros
- Peyton Burdick, OF, Miami Marlins
- Albert Guaimaro, OF, Miami Marlins
- Dalvy Rosario, OF, Miami Marlins
- Everson Pereira, OF, New York Yankees
- Ezequiel Duran, 2B, New York Yankees
- Oswald Peraza, SS, New York Yankees
- Jean Carmona, SS, Baltimore Orioles
- Joseph Ortiz, SS, Baltimore Orioles
- Logan O’Hoppe, C, Philadelphia Phillies
- Logan Simmons, SS, Philadelphia Phillies
- Brayan Gonzalez, 2B, Philadelphia Phillies
- John Doxakis, LHP, Tampa Bay Rays