I don’t think I saw an organizational ranking all off-season that didn’t have the White Sox dead last. Not that they deserve to be ranked higher – the Sox simply refuse to spend big money in the draft, and their presence in the Latin markets has been lacking of recent. The first month of the 2012 baseball season, however, has brought a bit of good news to the Southsiders, as former top prospect Jared Mitchell has reemerged as an elite outfielder in Double-A. Mitchell, who had a rough go at High-A in 2011 after missing all of 2010 with an ankle injury, has posted a .962 OPS through 28 games with Birmingham. He’s gathered 13 XBH and 6 SB within 120 PA. Mitchell’s hot start is greatly encouraging for a system in need of a boost.
Travis D’Arnaud | C, Blue Jays – The Blue Jays’ top prospect has effectively turned things around after an extremely slow start. He’s riding a 13-game hitting streak at Triple-A, which has brought his AVG up to .279. A late season arrival still seems in order for D’Arnaud.
Oscar Taveras| OF, Cardinals – I covered Taveras a couple weeks ago in my first Scouting the Unknown of the season. The 19-year-old has done nothing but mash since then, and he’s now hitting .324/.365/.648 with 7 HR through his first 27 games at Double-A Springfield.
Nick Castellanos| 3B, Tigers – Castellanos leads the minors in AVG at .423 through his first 116 PA. The future Detroit 3B is having no trouble with High-A pitching and it’ll be interesting to see if the Tigers choose to promote the teenager to Double-A if his impressive start continues.
Alex Castellanos | OF, Dodgers – It’s important to note that a dude by the name Castellanos currently leads every major hitting ratio category in MiLB. While Nick has AVG covered, Alex leads in OBP and SLG, with a Triple-A line that looks like .366/.477/.746. LA acquired Castellanos from St. Louis as a PTBNL in the Rafael Furcal swap and they must be pleased so far.
Andrew Chafin | LHP, D’Backs – While Trevor Bauer and Tyler Skaggs capture most of the D’Backs prospect chatter, both have been outperformed by Chafin. He’s perhaps a bit behind developmentally, but Chafin has looked sharp at High-A, posting a 3.03 ERA while whiffing 46 through 32.2 IP.
Dellin Betances | RHP, Yankees – You’ll remember that the Yankees used Betances late last season and had many wondering in the off-season if they’d pitch him at the major league level again in 2012. Well, they haven’t yet, and barring a major turnaround, it doesn’t look as if they will. Betances has posted a 6.35 ERA along with a 1.94 WHIP and an ugly .78 K/BB through his first six starts at Triple-A.
Tim Beckham | SS, Rays - The former No. 1 overall pick put up his best numbers as a pro in 2011, and had many wondering if he’d finally tapped into his vast potential. Seems like a futile pondering now, as Beckham has been suspended by Minor League Baseball for 50 games – the result of a second violation of the MiLB drug policy. Details of the violation aren’t exactly clear, but it looks as if the drugs in Beckham’s case are of the recreational variety.