Many consider the break between the Super Bowl and the beginning of Spring Training, to be the most boring weeks of the sports calendar. For us Prospectors it’s probably from the end of the MiLB regular season until the beginning of the Arizona Fall League. This is a time for us to put our pick axes, and helmet lights down, and reflect on the year that was. So in that vein, today we embark on the first part of a two part series, detailing my 2016 All-Prospect Team. Today’s feature, focuses on the position players, or the lineup for our Minor League dream team. Wednesday’s post will look at our rotation. I’ve eliminated players I view as graduated, whether MLB guidelines agree or not. So no Alex Bregman, Joey Gallo, Andrew Benintendi, Gary Sanchez, or Ryon Healy etc. I’ve also provided a runner up for each position, listed as bench options. These bench options deserve considerable acclaim, but unfortunately for them, I deemed the player ahead of them to be more deserving. Obviously these picks can’t be argued with, because what I say goes, and should be accepted as fact. So if you try and argue with me in the comments about my choices, I’m going to head to your house and pummel you while wearing foam Hulk mitts.

 

Catcher: Francisco Mejia, Cleveland Indians | A/hi-A | .342/.382/.514 11 HR, 2 SB, 80 RBI: Despite Gary Sanchez’s Bronx coming out party, there’s really only one backstop truly deserving of this spot. The switch hitter’s 50 game hitting streak was the longest in the minors in 62 years, and helped push his prospect stock to the next stratosphere. IMO the top catching prospect in baseball entering 2017.

Bench Option: Tom Murphy

First Base: Rhys Hoskins, Philadelphia Phillies | AA | .281/.377/.566 38 HR, 8 SB, 116 RBI: It was a banner year for the middle of the Reading Phillies lineup; Hoskins and fellow bash brother Dylan Cozens set the pace for power production in the minors, ranking first and second in home runs respectively. Though this was a breakout year for Hoskins, it wasn’t totally unexpected, like say Cozens. He did slug .518 last year with 17 homers across a few levels of A ball. While the 40 home run power is most certainly Reading aided, there’s a lot more to like about Hoskins game. He takes walks at a rate of 10%+, and keeps the strikeouts around 20%. He also hits a ton of flyballs (42%) which is what I like to see from power hitters.

Bench Option: Rowdy Tellez

Second Base: Yoan Moncada, Boston Red Sox | hi-A/AA/MLB | .294/.407/.511 15 HR, 45 SB, 62 RBI: I really wanted to take Willie Calhoun and his 27 homers here, but Moncada’s across the board production made him more deserving. He’s had a rough go of it at the big league level after starting out hot. The struggles call into question his ability to break camp with the Sox. My guess is he sees some time at AAA Pawtucket next season, before an early May promotion. He’s headed to the Arizona Fall League at season’s end.

Bench Option: Willie Calhoun

Shortstop: Brendan Rodgers, Colorado Rockies | A | .281/.342/.481 19 HR, 6 SB, 73 RBI: The number three overall pick from the 2015 draft has held his own amongst the heady company of his classes top ten. He spent his entire first year of full season ball with the Asheville Tourists of the South Atlantic League, winning the league’s award for the Most Outstanding Major League Prospect. Not sure if he sticks at short or moves to second, but either way he’s the top middle infield prospect in the game now that Moncada has moved to third.

Bench Option: Isan Diaz

Third Base: Edwin Rios, Los Angeles Dodgers | A/hi-A/AA | .301/.341/.567 27 HR, 3 SB, 76 RBI: Another breakout prospect from the draft class of 2015. Rios was part of strong Dodgers class that netted them, Rios, Willie Calhoun, Walker Buehler, Mitch Hansen, and Josh Sborz. The production this season was other-worldly from Rios. As he stormed his way through two levels of A ball; eventually settling into AA Tulsa’s lineup alongside Cody Bellinger, Calhoun, and Alex Verdugo. Rios’ batted ball profile backs up his numbers, showing a high percentage of hard hit balls (28% LD rate), and more flies than grounders (32% FB rate). He should see some time in the PCL next season, before getting his first major league at bats mid to late summer.

Bench Option: Hunter Dozier

Outfield: Dylan Cozens, Philadelphia Phillies | AA | .276/.350/.591 40 HR, 21 SB, 125 RBI: If there was a fantasy MVP for the minors it would go to Cozens, Halp said this on the last episode of the Razzball Prospect Podcast, and it’s absolutely true. He led the minors in home runs and RBIs, and transformed from a 15/15 type player to a 40/20 guy. It’s easy to dismiss Cozens season as being heavily Reading aided, but you still can’t ignore the gaudy numbers. His nearly 40% HR/FB is totally unsustainable, but his overall batted ball profile is legit (39.76% GB, 31.5% FB, 24.16% LD, 4.59% Pop), and he shows power to all fields. In the future Cozens projects more as a 20/15 type player with a batting average in the .250-.270 range.

Outfield: Tyler O’Neill, Seattle Mariners | AA | .293/.374/.508 24 HR, 12 SB, 102 RBI: As I continue to drive the Tyler O’Neill bandwagon I’m more than happy to take a moment to acknowledge his spectacular season at AA Jackson. After slashing .260/.316/.558 with 32 dongs at hi-A Bakersfield in 2015, he followed it up with another step forward in 2016. Showing advanced approach, raising his Bb% from 6.5% to 10.8% year over year. He’s a power hitter through and through hitting a ton of flyballs (36%), and spraying homers to all fields.

Outfield: Hunter Renfroe, San Diego Padres | AAA | .306/.366/.557 30 HR, 5 SB, 105 RBI: There’s no denying Renfroe his share of the PCL/AAA home run crown, even if he had to share it with a pair of older prospects (Jesus Aguilar and Kyle Jepsen). He’s currently immersed in a slump that’s seen him slash .229/.285/.424 since August 1st. Should be up once El Paso’s season ends, for a cup of coffee with the Friars.

Bench Options: Christin Stewart, Dylan Davis, Derek Fisher

Designated Hitter: Matt Chapman, Oakland Athletics | AA/AAA | .237/.328/.519 36 HR, 7 SB, 96 RBI: Well we had to have a DH right? Truthfully it was a way to sneak in Chapman’s booming power bat. Due to his low average I took both Rios and Dozier over him at the hot corner. His 36 dingers was third in all of MiLB behind fellow All-Prospect Team members Dylan Cozens and Rhys Hoskins. So I guess you could say Chapman led the minor leagues in homers outside of Reading. There’s a great deal of swing and miss in the package, but he brings real power too.

 

Follow me on Twitter @ralphlifshitzbb and make sure you subscribe to the Razzball Prospect Podcast

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Malicious Phenoms
Malicious Phenoms
6 years ago

Stephen Gonsalves
Mike Sorkoa
Joey Wentz
Kevin Gadea
Jordan Sheffield
Dakota Hudson
Matt Manning
Braxton Garrett
Amir Garrett

Hey Ralph,
Which two of the above SP’s have the biggest upside, long term, any aces or #2 types in that group..Not worried about ETA or anything, just the two with the biggest upside..

Thanks man

Malicious Phenoms
Malicious Phenoms
Reply to  Malicious Phenoms
6 years ago

@Malicious Phenoms: Tyer Jay also available..

regan
regan
6 years ago

Who do you like better long term Vogelbach or Tellez? OBP league. Thanks.

Geoff
Ralph Lifshitz
Reply to  regan
6 years ago

@regan: Tellez, there’s greater upside

Martin
Martin
6 years ago

Hey, Ralph. Keep up the good work and the podcast. Love listening to them!

Got a question about my keeper league. I have a rebuilding team, but many good young players, a few of which I can’t keep. That said, if you could only keep 5 out of the following, who would you keep and in what order? I’m having such a hard time deciding. I want them all!

Gallo, Eloy Jimenez, Soler, Berrios, Kepler, Tapia, Reed, Musgrove, O’neil

Geoff
Ralph Lifshitz
Reply to  Martin
6 years ago

@Martin: Kepler, Tapia, Reed, O’Neill, Eloy. I’m on the fence with keeping Gallo but I like those 5 players more than him. I wouldn’t keep any of those arms.

Malicious Phenoms
Malicious Phenoms
6 years ago

Ok, I have 3 of the best perts in the house and I have a qustion..

Thoughts on two Redsox, I knew you would like that Ralph..

Bobby Dalbec & Mauricio Dubon…Not high draft picks but both hit very well this year..

thanks, guys

Geoff
Ralph Lifshitz
Reply to  Malicious Phenoms
6 years ago

@Malicious Phenoms: Dalbec was highly rated coming into the ear and had some first round buzz in January-February. Had a piss poor season, dropped to the 4th, Sox snapped him up and he beat up NYPL pitching. It was a good showing but it’s lo-A short season ball. He’s fantasy relevant because he’s got power and a good hit tool, but I’d like to see what he does in Salem in 17′.

Discussed Dubon on the pod a couple episodes ago (the middle infielder list) and mention Dubon as a sleeper. He’s interesting because in hi-A to begin the season he was the speed guy on that Salem team with Moncada, Benintendi, and Devers. They promoted the first two and then Dubon. Once Dubon touched Portland he didn’t run as much and all of sudden hit for power. He’s always had a good hit tool and profiles as a potential .300 hitter. He’s for sure got 20 steal speed but I question the pop he showed in the second half. Not the most exciting guy but could carve out a niche as a avg/speed guy with a little pop.

Malicious Phenoms
Malicious Phenoms
Reply to  Ralph Lifshitz
6 years ago

@Ralph Lifshitz: Hey Ralph, thanks for taking the time and giving me great info.

I liked Dalbec coming into the year. He has great potential in my book..I’ll be cycloping him for sure in 2017..

Man, the Sox farm is loaded with talent!

Geoff
Ralph Lifshitz
Reply to  Malicious Phenoms
6 years ago

@Malicious Phenoms: Yeah it’s still very good should be interesting where I end up ranking them when we get into it.

Malicious Phenoms
Malicious Phenoms
Reply to  Ralph Lifshitz
6 years ago

@Ralph Lifshitz: Hey you ever think Rusney Castillio figures it out? Or is he a bust..

Geoff
Ralph Lifshitz
Reply to  Malicious Phenoms
6 years ago

@Malicious Phenoms: Bust, I’ve seen a lot of him in person and he can’t hit an offspeed/breaking ball. Serious…not a one. He’s got that long Cuban swing a lot of those guys have, and they always struggle with the breaking stuff until they shorten up. Think that’s part of Moncada’s problem at the moment.

Grey
Admin
6 years ago

How do we feel about Vince Staples?

Geoff
Ralph Lifshitz
Reply to  Grey
6 years ago

@Grey: I like him, my guess is the rest of the usual panel doesn’t. I banged out to Summertime 06 a lot. Norf Norf is my jam, I like his joint with A$AP Rockey. He’s pretty grimey, and sort of cliche, but I enjoy him.

Grey
Admin
Reply to  Ralph Lifshitz
6 years ago

Kinda loving his EP, I think I might just be easier than y’all

Geoff
Ralph Lifshitz
Reply to  Grey
6 years ago

@Grey: Yeah I like it. Only heard 4 of the 6. I’m a big A$AP Rockey guy

Grey
Admin
Reply to  Ralph Lifshitz
6 years ago

I like Smile, not as good as the best rap song named Smile, obviously

Geoff
Ralph Lifshitz
Reply to  Grey
6 years ago

@Grey: Seriously Smile, such a cliche name for a rap tune…

Grey
Admin
Reply to  Ralph Lifshitz
6 years ago

Baby Blue is my new jammy jam too…

J-FOH
J-FOH
Reply to  Grey
6 years ago

@Grey: I heard the new VS album when it dropped, I didnt hate it but didn’t like enough to own. Im on the fence with ASAP Rocky

Geoff
Ralph Lifshitz
Reply to  J-FOH
6 years ago

@J-FOH: Yeah he’s hit or miss but when he hits I really dig the vibe.

J-FOH
J-FOH
Reply to  Ralph Lifshitz
6 years ago

@Ralph Lifshitz: I can see that, there are a few that when he doesnt come off cliched you ‘re like nice

Grey
Admin
Reply to  J-FOH
6 years ago

It feels like a true EP, like there’s maybe two songs and a skit… Not saying it’s the best thing I’ve ever heard, but I like two songs out of five

J-FOH
J-FOH
Reply to  Grey
6 years ago

@Grey: No grey, he’s your new favorite artist

Grey
Admin
Reply to  J-FOH
6 years ago

Yeah…I am now listening to his first album

J-FOH
J-FOH
Reply to  Grey
6 years ago

@Grey: wow, that was easy

Geoff
Ralph Lifshitz
Reply to  Grey
6 years ago

@Grey: The previous comments from FOH were about A$AP. I like Vince. Like you said not my favorite but I do like him. The Summertime 06 joint is good

Grey
Admin
Reply to  Ralph Lifshitz
6 years ago

Yeah, it was all right on the first listen… Need to listen more

Geoff
Ralph Lifshitz
Reply to  Grey
6 years ago

@Grey: I like how he phrases on Narf Narf.

Grey
Admin
Reply to  Ralph Lifshitz
6 years ago

Yeah, Narf Narf’s solid, no songs are sticking yet

David
David
6 years ago

Great stuff Ralph! Which hitter do you like better, Reed or Hoskins? Thanks

Geoff
Ralph Lifshitz
Reply to  David
6 years ago

@David: Still like Reed more

jb
jb
6 years ago

I read the MLB POTY awards before your article, so it’s interesting. The only comment I have is not fantasy baseball related, but 9/11 related. I liked the song New York State of Mind and up pops Billy Joel, a pianoman, on Spotify. He sings it more jazzy than I’m used to. Tehn up pops Captain Jack. Are you serious? I’m getting a couple albums of his now. I’ll have to avoid being Captain Jack’d next week ha ha.

Geoff
Ralph Lifshitz
Reply to  jb
6 years ago

@jb: Yeah, haven’t check theirs yet. I assume they included Bregman and co.

Pretty sure Billy Joel wrote that song.

Buddy Biancalana
Buddy Biancalana
6 years ago

What position do you think Hunter Dozier plays next year? Is Culbert going to hold down 3B? Will Dozier start in the OF? I guess he made changes back to the way he used to swing. What kind of #s do you see him putting up next year and over the long haul?

Geoff
Ralph Lifshitz
Reply to  Buddy Biancalana
6 years ago

@Buddy Biancalana: Haha all of them! It’s the Royals you know they’re going to platoon.

The Hack
The Hack
6 years ago

I have so many guys on this list in both my dynasty leagues that for once I’m excited for the future. It’s like being 14 and anticipating the driver’s license.

I’m also going to disagree with your opening statement. I love when there is no baseball. That’s when I can dig deeper and find those under the radar players or prove that some are over rated. Also no play no injuries.

Anyway hood stuff as usual

Geoff
Ralph Lifshitz
Reply to  The Hack
6 years ago

@The Hack: But there is baseball still. Minor league playoffs too. It’s too early for my full off season stuff like my “Dynasty Buy Low” and I’m not going to cover the MiLB playoffs.

Yeah you’ve done a great job scooping the top breakouts

J-FOH
J-FOH
Reply to  Ralph Lifshitz
6 years ago

@Ralph Lifshitz: I think you missed my statement, when the guys Im looking at arent playing. Do you look at playoff stats?

Geoff
Ralph Lifshitz
Reply to  J-FOH
6 years ago

@J-FOH: So you’re ignoring guys that you’re looking at that are still playing?

Look at them? I rub my member in oil using a repetitive motion to them.

J-FOH
J-FOH
Reply to  Ralph Lifshitz
6 years ago

@Ralph Lifshitz: its officially weird. I dont love dynasty like that

MJ
MJ
6 years ago

Great stuff! However as an English major I must point out you can’t have a “first” annual :-))))

MJ
MJ
Reply to  MJ
6 years ago

@MJ:

With tat off my chest, how close was Cody Bellinger to making the team? I am curious what the Dodgers do with him if they don’t deal Gonzo AND Calhoun can’t handle second base. Where would Calhoun and Bellinger play?

MJ
MJ
Reply to  MJ
6 years ago

@MJ:

meant “that” not “tat”…never said I got good grades as an English major!

Geoff
Ralph Lifshitz
Reply to  MJ
6 years ago

@MJ: Karma’s a mother…Lol

Geoff
Ralph Lifshitz
Reply to  MJ
6 years ago

@MJ: Calhoun moves to left, and they transition into Bellinger late next year and he’s the guy in 2018. The real question is where does Rios play. Does he stick at 3rd or move to first. Bellinger is athletic enough to be a corner OF guy. Knowing the Dodgers one of Rios, Calhoun, and Bellinger gets dealt.

Bellinger was close, considered him for First but took Hoskins and Tellez. He was real close with Tellez, I just thought Tellez’s season was a it better. Bellinger really came on the last month.

Geoff
Ralph Lifshitz
Reply to  MJ
6 years ago

@MJ: Ugh, that’s going to eat at me now. But I’m not changing it….

The Great Knoche
The Great Knoche
6 years ago

Lovely write up

Huge fan of Tyler O’Neil at only 21 years old and taking that big of a step in K and BB Rate. A little more next year, and with the way his BABIP looks consistently throughout the minors he has a chance to be a true .300/30/100 Guy.

Hasn’t Tom Murphy graduated?

Geoff
Ralph Lifshitz
Reply to  The Great Knoche
6 years ago

@The Great Knoche: Agreed, I’m not sure he’s a shoo in for .300 every year but he’s above .270.

Nah Murphy has 50 at bats and won’t reach his limits. All the guys in the opening have and will. Benintendi might be close.

Malicious Phenoms
Malicious Phenoms
6 years ago

Good stuff Ralph..Looking forward to Wednesday..How about a top 10 for each position?

Geoff
Ralph Lifshitz
Reply to  Malicious Phenoms
6 years ago

@Malicious Phenoms: Probably won’t, we’ve been doing that on the pod more or less. The offseason’s goifn to consist of first year player draft rankings, sleepers, and breakouts, and team by team previews. Probably will slip in some other dynasty content about players I’m targeting

Malicious Phenoms
Malicious Phenoms
Reply to  Ralph Lifshitz
6 years ago

@Ralph Lifshitz: That works for me..Looking forward to lots of prospect stuff in the off-season! Thanks, man!

Geoff
Ralph Lifshitz
Reply to  Malicious Phenoms
6 years ago

@Malicious Phenoms: Thanks for your loyal readership!

ferris
ferris
6 years ago

What kind of numbers do you project for Ryon Healy next year? Think he’s a top 250 guy next year?

Need to make a dynasty league decision now.