The 2016 Draft concluded Saturday, and the signings are coming in quickly. Soon enough, those players will be making their professional debuts.Members of the Class of 2015 know what that's all about. After getting their feet wet last summer, most of them are a couple of months into their first
The 2016 Draft concluded Saturday, and the signings are coming in quickly. Soon enough, those players will be making their professional debuts.
Members of the Class of 2015 know what that's all about. After getting their feet wet last summer, most of them are a couple of months into their first full season in the Minors. Some, both first-rounders and those taken later on, are off to impressive starts, while others have stumbled a bit out of the gate.
It's All-Star season in many leagues in the Minors, with rosters being announced at a regular clip. They are littered with 2015 draftees. There are 26 Midwest League All-Stars from the Class of 2015. The South Atlantic League has 19, just to give an idea.
Among the All-Stars are players taken near the top of the first round. No. 3 pick Brendan Rodgers (No. 10 overall prospect; No. 1 on Rockies' Top 30) is in the SAL and has hit .281/.347/.473 with eight homers and 35 RBIs in 49 games. Kyle Tucker went No. 5 to the Astros, and their No. 4 prospect made the MWL All-Star squad, hitting .306/.374/.417 with 23 steals in 56 games.
On the pitching side of things, there's Phil Bickford of the Giants, who went 18th overall. San Francisco's No. 3 prospect has a 2.70 ERA, a .220 batting average against and 69 strikeouts (vs. 15 walks) in 60 SAL innings. Over in the Midwest League, Jon Harris (Blue Jays, No. 29 pick) has a 2.30 ERA and 46 K's in 47 innings. There are All-Stars up a level as well. In the California League, Chris Shaw (No. 31 pick to the Giants) has shown good power (.535 SLG), with 13 homers and 47 RBIs in 60 games. Christin Stewart of the Tigers (No. 34 overall) has done the same in the Florida State League, with 16 homers, albeit without much average. On the pitching side of the FSL, No. 5 overall pick Tyler Jay is making a seamless transition to starting, with a 2.97 ERA and 61 K's (vs. 18 BB) in 60 2/3 innings.
Closest to the big leagues
Several 2015 draftees have already reached the upper levels of the Minors. No. 1 overall pick Dansby Swanson began the year in the Carolina League but was bumped up to the Double-A Southern League in the Braves' system after just 21 games. Combined, he's hitting a very respectable .274/.368/.439 with 26 extra-base hits and 10 stolen bases as he adjusts to the higher level.
No. 7 pick Andrew Benintendi of the Red Sox has followed a similar path. He also began the year in the Carolina League and is now in the Double-A Eastern League, hitting a combined .301/.366/.489 with 29 extra-base hits and 11 steals.
Then there's Alex Bregman, the No. 2 overall pick, who has been in the Double-A Texas League all season. A Texas League All-Star, the shortstop has hit a robust .311/.410/.582 with 13 homers and 42 RBIs in 51 games.
Of course not everyone at the upper levels is a first-rounder. Cardinals third-rounder Harrison Bader has also been in the Texas League all year and is turning in an All-Star campaign of his own, with a .302/.371/.522 line. Dodgers fourth-rounder Willie Calhoun is also there (and on the same All-Star roster as Bader), hitting .271/.339/.502 with 12 homers and 40 RBIs in his first full season.
The pitchers who have fared well in Double-A are also from some later rounds. Andrew Moore (Mariners, No. 72 pick overall), moved from the California League up to the Southern League after nine starts. Combined, the right-hander is 5-1 with a 2.18 ERA and a .209 BAA. D-backs third-rounder Taylor Clarke has some serious upward mobility. He's pitched at three levels already and is currently in the Southern League. In 13 starts this season, he has a 3.21 ERA over 70 IP.
Other top performers from the later rounds include Giants 11th-round pick C.J. Hinojosa, hitting .314/.398/.450 in the California League and Indians 25th-rounder Connor Marabell, who has a .327/.388/.502 line in the Midwest League. Pitching-wise, take a look at Matt Hall, the Tigers' sixth-round pick. He is a perfect 8-0 with a Minor League-leading 0.73 ERA (think it's time to promote him?) in the Midwest League.
Not everyone has adjusted as well to full-season ball. The Reds sent first-rounder Tyler Stephenson to the Midwest League and he's missed some time, which hasn't helped him get into a groove. In 92 at-bats, the teenaged backstop has just a .529 OPS. Angels first-rounder Taylor Ward, also a catcher, has a .551 OPS in the California League after a stirring summer debut. Daz Cameron, the No. 37 overall pick of the Astros, hit .143 over 21 Midwest League games, and he now appears headed for Short-Season ball to help him get headed back in the right direction.
On the pitching side, a couple of top 10 picks have scuffled a bit. No. 4 pick (Rangers) Dillon Tate started out well, but now has a 5.35 ERA and .300 BAA over 35 1/3 innings for Hickory in the SAL. The White Sox sent Carson Fulmer straight to Double-A, and while the No. 8 overall pick has been a bit better of late, he has a 5.37 ERA and 39 walks in 63 2/3 innings.
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.