2019 Short Season Assignments, Part 2
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. Last week, I examined notable prospects assigned to the first four short season leagues to begin play: Dominican Summer, Pioneer, Northwest, and New York-Penn Leagues. This article will examine the top prospects to follow in the remaining three short season leagues, including several top 200 prospects.
Arizona League (AZL)
The Arizona League has a staggering 21 teams! This is because several organizations without a Rookie advanced team have two teams in the AZL. Since there are so so many notable prospects in the AZL, this article will review prospects from the 2019 MLB Draft separately.
2019 MLB Draft Prospects
Previously, I discussed top fantasy prospects (Bobby Witt Jr., CJ Abrams, Corbin Carroll, and Kody Hoese) and all Day 1 selections (Brady McConnell, Joshua Mears, Antoine Kelly, Yordys Valdes, and Isaiah Campbell). Instead, this section will focus on other notable short season draft prospects.
Hudson Head, OF, San Diego Padres (3rd). Despite falling to the third round, Head received a record, $3 million signing bonus. A pop-up prospect, he enjoyed a huge spring, vaulting him in the Day 1 conversation. Head is a potential five-category performer, with plus speed, burgeoning, average-to-above raw power potential, and a feel to hit with gap-to-gap ability.
James Beard, OF, Chicago White Sox (4th). Arguably, Beard is not only the fastest player in this draft class, often receiving top-of-the-scale, 80 grades for his speed, but “the fastest man in pro baseball.” Indeed, he reported ran a 6.21 60-yard dash last summer. Most importantly, he has aggressively utilized his speed on the bases at showcase events and throughout his high school career. His hitting ability and power potential are open questions, however.
Kyle McCann, C, Oakland Athletics (4th). The replacement for Joey Bart at Georgia Tech, McCann possesses comparable, plus raw power, launching 23 home runs this spring (.375 ISO). However, most regard him as a poor defender and likely destined for first base, where he played while Bart manned behind the plate. Further, McCann has an extremely passive approach and likely profiles as a three-true-outcome hitter with tons of walks (20.9%) and strikeouts (25.9%).
"Deep to right-center field!" – @wiley_ballard on Kyle McCann's walk-off home run in the 11th inning #SCtop10 pic.twitter.com/I18zk7qOma
— Georgia Tech Baseball (@GTBaseball) February 23, 2019
Dilan Rosario, SS, San Francisco Giants (6th). One of the youngest players in this draft class, Rosario is already a strong defender with an above-average arm and plus speed. While he has nominal present power and bat speed, his projectable 6’2″ frame portends potential strength gains.
Others of Note:
- Bobby Witt Jr., SS, Kansas City Royals (1st)
- CJ Abrams, SS, San Diego Padres (1st)
- Corbin Carroll, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks (1st)
- Kody Hoese, 3B, Los Angeles Dodgers (1st)
- Brady McConnell, SS, Kansas City Royals (2nd)
- Joshua Mears, OF, San Diego Padres (2nd)
- Antoine Kelly, LHP, Milwaukee Brewers (2nd)
- Isaiah Campbell, RHP, Seattle Mariners (CBB)
- Grant McCray, OF, San Francisco Giants (3rd)
- Garrett Frechette, 1B, San Francisco Giants (5th)
- Levi Stoudt, RHP, Seattle Mariners (3rd)
- Adam Macko, LHP, Seattle Mariners (7th)
- Ty Adcock, RHP, Seattle Mariners (8th)
- DJ Gladney, 3B, Chicago White Sox (16th, $225K bonus)
- Yordys Valdes, SS, Cleveland Indians (2nd)
- Joe Naranjo, 1B, Cleveland Indians (3rd)
- Will Bartlett, 1B, Cleveland Indians (9th)
- Jalen Greer, SS, Oakland Athletics (5th)
- Drew Millas, C, Oakland Athletics (7th)
- Marcus Smith, OF, Oakland Athletics (3rd)
- Seth Shuman, RHP, Oakland Athletic (6th)
- Jose Dicochea, RHP, Oakland Athletics (8th)
- Justin Slaten, RHP, Texas Rangers (3rd)
- Cody Freeman, SS, Texas Rangers (4th)
- Kellen Strahm, OF, Texas Rangers (5th)
- Brandon Lewis, 3B, Los Angeles Dodgers (4th)
- Matt Brash, RHP, San Diego Padres (4th)
- Chris Lincoln, RHP, San Diego Padres (5th)
- Glenallen Hill Jr., SS, Arizona Diamondbacks (4th)
Notable Non-2019 MLB Draft Prospects
Marco Luciano, SS, San Francisco Giants. Luciano is the most well-regarded prospect from the 2018 international class. While other members of his class received assignments to the DSL, he is already state-side and performing (extreme small sample size, notwithstanding). In fact, if the Giants had an advanced rookie affiliate, he may have received a similarly aggressive assignment as Wander Franco did last year. With elite bat speed, Luciano already generates easy plus raw power, which could become double-plus once he fills out his wiry and athletic 6’2″ frame. In addition, his quick, effortless, and compact swing allows significant projection on his hit tool. If everything falls right, Luciano has superstar potential.
17-year-old Marco Luciano, the #SFGiants’ No. 3 prospect, with a no-doubter out to left. pic.twitter.com/z8LYkm6QRw
— William Boor (@wboor) June 22, 2019
Alexander Canario (OF) & Luis Toribio (3B), San Francisco Giants. Like Luciano, Canario possesses a lightning quick bat and plus or better raw power potential. In addition to his power, he has above-average speed and a patient approach, though with questionable feel to hit. Toribio impressed in the DSL last year (.270/.423/.479), displaying present plus raw power and a patient approach (18.6% BB in DSL).
Osleivis Basabe (SS) & Heriberto Hernandez (C/1B) Texas Rangers. Both Basabe (.344/.414/.474) and Hernandez (.292/.464/.635) lit up the DSL last year. In fact, Hernandez was the second best hitter in the league, behind Malcom Nunez (below). Basabe possesses double-plus speed with solid plate discipline and some power potential, but a raw, pull-heavy approach.
Aaron Bracho, 2B, Cleveland Indians. Bracho, not George Valero or Brayan Rocchio, received the largest signing bonus from the Indians’ 2017 international class. Unfortunately, he failed to debut in short season ball last year due to a broken arm. A switch-hitter, Bracho has plus bat speed, promising bat-to-ball skills, and gap-to-gap pop. With the presence of shortstops throughout the system, including Rocchio, Bracho is now playing second base.
Others of Note:
- Wilderd Patino, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks
- Stiward Aquino, RHP, Los Angeles Angels
- Trent Deveaux, OF, Los Angeles Angels
- Juan Querecuto, SS, Seattle Mariners
- Jairo Pomares, OF, San Francisco Giants
- Patrick Hilson, OF, San Francisco Giants
- Keithron Moss, 2B, Texas Rangers
- Richard Gallardo, RHP, Chicago Cubs
- Rochest Cruz, 2B, Chicago Cubs
- Luis Verdugo, SS, Chicago Cubs
- Pedro Martinez, SS, Chicago Cubs
- Debby Santana, 3B, Cincinnati Reds
- Jesus Gonzalez, LHP, San Diego Padres
- Jhoan Paulino, SS, Oakland Athletics
- Alexander Campos, SS, Oakland Athletics
- Alexfri Planez, OF, Cleveland Indians
- Larry Ernesto, OF, Milwaukee Brewers
- Daniel Castillo, SS, Milwaukee Brewers
- Lun Zhao, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers
- Caden Lemons, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers (2017 2nd)
Gulf Coast League (GCL)
Like the AZL, the Gulf Coast League has a ton of teams (18), and several organizations have two squads. Since the GCL is the last short season league to begin play (today), many rosters are not yet public. As such, I will update this article to reflect new information.
2019 MLB Draft Prospects
Previously, I discussed top fantasy prospects (Riley Greene, Brett Baty, Alek Manoah, Keoni Cavaco, Quinn Priester, and Zack Thompson) and all Day 1 selections (Sammy Siani, JJ Goss, Seth Johnson, T.J. Sikkema, Matthew Lugo, Nasim Nunez, Trejyn Fletcher, Matt Canterino, and Josh Wolf). Instead, this section will focus on other notable short season draft prospects.
Colin Barber, OF, Houston Astros. A late-rising prospect, Barber, a fourth round pick, received a well over-slot $1 million bonus. A raw prospect, he missed his entire sophomore year due to a broken leg. However, Barber has flashed all-fields hitting ability, budding power, and plus speed.
Vaughn Grissom, SS/3B, Atlanta Braves. The Braves aggressively extended lofty signing bonuses outside of the first ten rounds this year. The most notable prospects include Grissom (11th, $347,500), Owens, and Morton, below. The high school teammate of fifth overall pick Riley Greene, Grissom naturally received far less attention. However, he has sizable offensive upside. While Grissom lacks a standout tool, he has a projectable 6’3″ frame, solid bat speed, and average raw power. With further strength gains, he could develop above-to-plus raw power to pair with a strong hit tool. Meanwhile, his average athleticism and arm strength leave his future defensive home in doubt, but most project him to third base.
Others of Note:
- Riley Greene, OF, Detroit Tigers (1st)
- Brett Baty, 3B, New York Mets (1st)
- Alek Manoah, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays (1st)
- Keoni Cavaco, SS/3B, Minnesota Twins (1st)
- Quinn Priester, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates (1st)
- Zack Thompson, LHP, St. Louis Cardinals (1st)
- Sammy Siani, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates (CBA)
- JJ Goss, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays (CBA)
- Seth Johnson, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays (CBA)
- T.J. Sikkema, RHP, New York Yankees (CBA)
- Matthew Lugo, SS, Boston Red Sox (2nd)
- Nasim Nunez, SS, Miami Marlins (2nd)
- Trejyn Fletcher, OF, St. Louis Cardinals (2nd)
- Matt Canterino, RHP, Minnesota Twins (2nd)
- Josh Wolf, RHP, New York Mets (2nd)
- Jase Bowen, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates (11th, $392,500)
- Ryan Harbin, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates (17th, $397,500)
- Michael Harris, LHP, Atlanta Braves (3rd)
- Stephen Paolini, LHP, Atlanta Braves (5th)
- Darius Vines, RHP, Atlanta Braves (7th)
- Ricky DeVito, RHP, Atlanta Braves (8th)
- Tyler Owens, RHP, Atlanta Braves (13th, $547,500)
- Kadon Morton, OF, Atlanta Braves (19th, $447,500)
- Evan McKendry, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays (9th)
- Tony Locey, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals (3rd)
- Tyler Dyson, RHP, Washington Nationals (5th)
- Jamari Baylor, SS, Philadelphia Phillies
Notable Non-2019 MLB Draft Prospects
Orelvis Martinez, SS, Toronto Blue Jays. Like fellow 2018 international signee Marco Luciano, Martinez has massive offensive upside. In fact, he received the second-largest signing bonus of the class ($3.5 million), behind just Victor Victor Mesa. Martinez has a projectable frame with plus bat speed, a short stroke, and plus power potential.
Open face slow mo#BlueJays pic.twitter.com/owDl3r4qka
— Jason Woodell (@JasonAtTheGame) May 4, 2019
Juan Pie, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates signed Pie as part of the 2017 international class for $500,000. Last year, he impressed in the DSL (.258/.382/.421), flashing raw tools and a patient approach. Initially, he received an assignment to the NYP League last week, and performed well (5-for-14, 3 doubles, and a stolen base). At just 18 years old, however, Pie is now in the more age-appropriate GCL. Like many young bats, he requires a good bit of projecting on his 6’2″ frame. With that said, many see potential plus raw power along with a solid hit tool and some speed.
Others of Note:
- Mason Denaburg, RHP, Washington Nationals (2018 1st)
- Nick Schnell, OF, Tampa Bay Rays (2018 1C)
- Sandy Gaston, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays
- Alberto Figuereo, 2B, Tampa Bay Rays
- Abiezel Ramirez, SS, Tampa Bay Rays
- Edgardo Rodriguez, C, Tampa Bay Rays
- Victor Munoz, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays
- Emanuel Vizcaino, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays
- Ynmanol Marinez, SS, Miami Marlins
- Victor Mesa Jr., OF, Miami Marlins
- Lamar Sparks, OF, Baltimore Orioles (2017 5th)
- Angel Basabe, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates
- Kevin Alcantara, OF, New York Yankees (promoted from DSL)
- Alexander Vargas, SS, New York Yankees (promoted from DSL)
- Jose Villa, 3B, New York Yankees
- Antonio Gomez, C, New York Yankees (promoted from DSL)
- Raimfer Salinas, OF, New York Yankees
- Ronny Rojas, 3B, New York Yankees
- Adrian Hernandez, OF, New York Mets
- Francisco Alvarez, C, New York Mets
- Joerlin De Los Santos, OF, St. Louis Cardinals
- Steven Gingery, LHP, St. Louis Cardinals (2018 4th)
- Adanson Cruz, OF, St. Louis Cardinals
- Jeremy De La Rosa, OF, Washington Nationals
- Danny Diaz, 3B, Boston Red Sox
- Carlos Aguiar, OF, Minnesota Twins
- Alvaro Gonzalez, SS, Detroit Tigers
- Starlyn Castillo, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies
Appalachian League (APP)
Antonio Cabello, OF, New York Yankees. Last year, 17-year-old Cabello was the top performer in the GCL (.321/.426/.555). Many believe he is a potential plus hitter with superb bat speed, plate discipline, and barrel control. While his squat, 5’10” frame does not promise much projection, he already displays average-to-above raw power. A plus runner, his shorter stature allows him to get up to speed quickly, which bodes well for his ability to steal bases. All told, Cabello is a potential five-category performer who could rise up prospect lists with a strong performance in advanced rookie ball.
Slow mo open faced#Yankees pic.twitter.com/jroEJrpkI4
— Jason Woodell (@JasonAtTheGame) March 16, 2019
Malcom Nunez (3B) & Jhon Torres (OF), St. Louis Cardinals. Immediately after Nunez signed last summer, he received an assignment to the DSL. A man among boys there, he produced video game-like numbers (.415/.497/.774), and his performance topped all minor league hitters (238 wRC+). Nunez is a mature and fully developed slugger with plus bat speed, plus raw power, an impressive feel to hit, and strong plate discipline. Acquired in the Oscar Mercado trade last summer, Torres is a physical specimen with a strong, projectable 6’4″ frame and double-plus raw power potential. Both Nunez and Torres struggled during a brief assignment to Low-A Midwest League in mid-May.
Rece Hinds (3B) & Tyler Callihan (2B), Cincinnati Reds. The Reds selected Hinds and Callihan in the second and third rounds of the 2019 MLB Draft. Hinds has a large and powerful 6’4” frame, which generates mammoth power. However, he has a questionable hit tool and uncertain defensive home. Callihan has a quick, left-handed bat with an impressive track record of hitting quality pitching. Some project him to develop a plus hit tool with plus raw power. The open question is where he fits in the field with a stocky frame, poor speed, and shaky actions.
Others of Note:
- Mateo Gil, SS, St. Louis Cardinals (2018 3rd)
- Victor Garcia, OF, St. Louis Cardinals
- Tahnaj Thomas, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates
- Miguel Hiraldo, 3B, Toronto Blue Jays
- Leonardo Jimenez, 2B/SS, Toronto Blue Jays
- Alejandro Melean, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays
- Michael Massey, 2B, Kansas City Royals (2019 4th)
- Dante Biasi, LHP, Kansas City Royals (2019 6th)
- Noah Murdock, RHP, Kansas City Royals (2019 7th)
- Charles Mack, 2B, Minnesota Twins (2018 6th)
- Seth Gray, 3B, Minnesota Twins (2019 4th)
- Anthony Prato, SS, Minnesota Twins (2019 7th)
- Ivan Johnson, 2B, Cincinnati Reds (2019 4th)
- Evan Kravetz, LHP, Cincinnati Reds (2019 5th)
- Graham Ashcraft, RHP, Cincinnati Reds (2019 6th)
- Danny Lantigua, OF, Cincinnati Reds
- Anthony Volpe, SS, New York Yankees (2019 1st)
- Anthony Garcia, OF, New York Yankees
- Ryder Green, OF, New York Yankees (2018 3rd)
- Yoendrys Gomez, RHP, New York Yankees
- Roberto Chirinos, SS, New York Yankees
- Madison Santos, OF, New York Yankees
- Jelfry Marte, SS, Tampa Bay Rays
- Taj Bradley, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays (2018 5th)
- Matthew Peguero, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays
- Junior Santos, RHP, New York Mets
- Beau Philip, SS, Atlanta Braves (2019 2nd)
- Tanner Gordon, RHP, Atlanta Braves (2019 6th)
The following notable prospects received a short season assignment to the Pioneer (PIO), Northwest (NWL), or New York-Penn (NYP) Leagues after Opening Day. In addition, several prospects received assignments to Low-A.
- Nick Lodolo, LHP, Cincinnati Reds (PIO)
- Michael Toglia, 1B, Colorado Rockies (NWL)
- Logan Davidson, SS, Oakland Athletics (NYP)
- Shea Langeliers, C, Atlanta Braves (Low-A)
- Braden Shewmake, SS, Atlanta Braves (Low-A)
- Nick Quintana, SS/3B, Detroit Tigers (Low-A)
- Andre Lipcius, 3B, Detroit Tigers (Low-A)
- Peyton Burdick, OF, Miami Marlins (Low-A)
- Grae Kessinger, SS, Houston Astros (NYP)
- Will Ethridge, RHP, Colorado Rockies (NWL)
- Matthew Barefoot, OF, Houston Astros (NYP)
- Reid Schaller, RHP, Washington Nationals (Low-A)
Is orelvis Martinez MIA?
GCL assignments are still rolling in. I do anticipate he will receive an assignment to the GCL. I plan to update this article later today to reflect additional assignments.