Schwarber, Snell lead Prospect Team of the Year
MLBPipeline.com announces full roster of honorees
The Minor League regular season ended on Monday, as did our run of selecting MLBPipeline.com's Prospect Team of the Week every week for the previous five months. So it's only natural that we wrap up the season by choosing a Prospect Team of the Year.
First, a quick PTOW recap. Cubs catcher/outfielder Kyle Schwarber and Astros first baseman A.J. Reed tied for the most PTOW honors with four each. They also were the only two realistic candidates for our Position Prospect of the Year award, with Schwarber earning the nod for getting the job done at higher levels, including fueling Chicago's drive for the playoffs.
Indians first baseman Bobby Bradley, Rangers outfielder Lewis Brinson, Astros shortstop Carlos Correa, Mariners outfielder Tyler O'Neill and Rockies infielder Trevor Story all earned three PTOW berths. No pitcher earned that many, though six did receive two mentions: Twins right-hander Tyler Duffey, Reds righty Tyler Mahle, Orioles left-hander John Means, Yankees lefty Jordan Montgomery, Royals/Reds lefty Cody Reed and Rays lefty Blake Snell. Snell is our Pitching Prospect of the Year.
Led by Reed and Correa, the Astros led all organizations with 23 PTOW selections. Six other systems reached double digits: the Cubs (15), Twins (14), Dodgers (13), Indians (11) and Rockies (11). Every organization had at least one, though the Braves had just one -- third baseman Austin Riley.
Anyone who spent roughly half of the year in the Minors (70 games for position players, 15 starts for pitchers) qualified for our Prospect Team of the Year. That eliminated candidates such as Correa and Sano, who were outstanding in the Minors and Majors but got promoted a bit too early for PTOY purposes. There's still plenty of talent on this squad:
C: Kyle Schwarber (Graduated from Cubs Top 30 Prospects list)
125 G, .299/.402/.569, 87 R, 22 2B, 3 3B, 29 HR, 87 RBI, 72 BB, 131 SO, 4 SB
The Cubs took him No. 4 overall in the 2014 Draft, but never expected him to reach Wrigley Field this quickly. Schwarber forced the issue by hitting .323/.430/.591 in 75 games between Double-A and Triple-A this year, throwing in the Futures Game MVP award for good measure. He produced four hits in his first big league start and has been the second-most productive hitter in a quality Chicago lineup, batting .262/.356/.536 with 13 homers in 50 games.
1B: A.J. Reed (Astros No. 5 prospect)
135 G, .340/.432/.612, 113 R, 30 2B, 5 3B, 34 HR, 127 RBI, 86 BB, 122 SO
Another college hitter from the 2014 Draft, he unquestionably posted the best overall numbers in the Minors this year. Reed led all players in runs, homers, RBIs, total bases (320), slugging and OPS (1.044) and won the high Class A California League MVP Award. And while playing in a hitter's haven at high Class A Lancaster helped, he did hit .332/.405/.571 with 11 homers in 53 Double-A games.
2B: Yoan Moncada (Red Sox No. 1 prospect)
81 G, .278/.380/.438, 61 R, 19 2B, 3 3B, 8 HR, 38 RBI, 42 BB, 83 SO, 49 SB
The best prospect on the most loaded team in the Minors -- the low Class A Greenville Drive -- he showed why Boston gladly gave him a $31.5 million bonus and paid a matching $31.5 million penalty to sign him in March. Moncada spent the first six weeks of the season in extended spring training and was hitting .200 after his first month of pro games. After that, he showcased four plus tools and hit .311/.415/.505 with eight homers and 45 steals in his final 56 contests.
3B: Ryan McMahon (Rockies No. 5 prospect)
132 G, .300/.372/.520, 85 R, 43 2B, 6 3B, 18 HR, 75 RBI, 49 BB, 153 SO, 6 SB
One of the youngest regulars in the Cal League, he also had the handicap of playing in the hitter-friendly circuit's least-friendly park at Modesto. Nevertheless, McMahon led the league with 43 doubles, ranked in the top 10 in most offensive categories and slammed 15 of his 18 homers on the road.
SS: Corey Seager, (Dodgers No. 1 prospect)
132 G, .297/.348/.489, 86 R, 41 2B, 3 3B, 18 HR, 80 RBI, 40 BB, 80 SO, 5 SB
The 2014 Minor League batting champion (.349) began his encore by batting .375/.407/.675 in 20 Double-A games and easily handled Triple-A pitching as the youngest regular (age 21) in the Pacific Coast League. He topped all Minor Leaguers in homers at shortstop (17) and has hit safely in each of his first six big league starts this month, doubling in four of them.
OF: Lewis Brinson (Rangers No. 4 prospect)
100 G, .332/.403/.601, 74 R, 31 2B, 8 3B, 20 HR, 69 RBI, 44 BB, 98 SO, 18 SB
One of the reasons Texas felt comfortable including outfielder Nick Williams in the Cole Hamels trade with the Phillies is that Brinson has even more upside. Arguably the toolsiest player in arguably baseball's toolsiest farm system, he has one of the highest power/speed ceilings in the Minors and ranked second to Reed in slugging.
OF: Max Kepler (Twins No. 6 prospect)
118 G, .318/.410/.520, 80 R, 34 2B, 13 3B, 9 HR, 71 RBI, 69 BB, 68 SO, 19 SB
Signed for a then-European record $800,000 out of Germany in 2009 at age 16, he only hinted at his talent when he posted .267/.344/.418 numbers during his first five pro seasons. Kepler finally broke out in 2015, winning Double-A Southern League MVP honors while topping the circuit in on-base percentage (.416), slugging (.531) and OPS (.947) and ranking second in hitting (.322).
OF: Domingo Santana (Brewers No. 4 prospect)
125 G, .321/.418/.569, 91 R, 27 2B, 4 3B, 25 HR, 96 RBI, 65 BB, 140 SO, 4 SB
Originally signed by the Phillies, he went to the Astros in a mid-2011 trade for Hunter Pence and to the Brewers in a mid-2015 deal for Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers. Between Fresno and Colorado Springs, Santana led the PCL in slugging (.573) while finishing second in on-base percentage (.573) and third in batting (.333). After Milwaukee called him up, he erased memories of his 0-for-17, 14-strikeout big league debut in 2014 by homering five times in his first 16 games.
LHP: Blake Snell (Rays No. 2 prospect)
15-4, 1.41 ERA, 25 G, 23 GS, 134 IP, 84 H, 7 HR, 53 BB, 163 SO, .182 AVG, 1.02 WHIP
He had the most impressive Minor League feat of 2015, opening the season with 46 consecutive scoreless innings (running his two-year streak to 49). Snell finished the year with a 1.41 ERA, the lowest in the Minors since Justin Verlander's 1.29 a decade ago. He also paced the Minors in opponent average and ranked fourth in victories and strikeouts per nine innings (10.9) and fifth in strikeouts.
RHP: Jose Berrios (Twins No. 2 prospect)
14-5, 2.87 ERA, 27 G, 27 GS, 166 1/3 IP, 136 H, 12 HR, 38 BB, 175 SO, .223 AVG, 1.05 WHIP
Though he led the Minors in strikeouts and started the Futures Game for the second straight year, he couldn't get a callup from the contending Twins, who could have used him in their rotation. Berrios was at his best after a July promotion to Triple-A -- where he was the youngest regular starter in the International League, at age 21 -- and finished the season with eight quality starts and a 1.80 ERA in his last 10 outings.