The various offseason winter leagues, much like the Arizona Fall League, offers players an opportunity to refine their games in a competitive environment and perhaps even improve their standing within their organization ahead of the upcoming season.Franchy Cordero, San Diego's No. 12 prospect, has done just that this offseason while
The various offseason winter leagues, much like the Arizona Fall League, offers players an opportunity to refine their games in a competitive environment and perhaps even improve their standing within their organization ahead of the upcoming season.
Franchy Cordero, San Diego's No. 12 prospect, has done just that this offseason while playing for Leones del Escogido in the Dominican Republic.
After recording his third straight multihit game on Wednesday, Cordero now leads the DWL in hits (tied-49) and total bases (73), ranks second in OPS (.872) and third in average (.322).
Cordero's impressive offseason comes after the 23-year-old outfielder tallied nine extra-base hits and 15 runs scored but also struck out 44 times in 30 games with the Padres in 2017. He fared considerably better during his time in the Pacific Coast League, where he produced a .326/.369/.603 line with 17 homers, 18 triples, 21 doubles and 15 steals in 93 games for Triple-A El Paso.
Here's a look at the top prospects currently making waves in the offseason winter leagues.
Gabriel Arias, SS, Padres -- Though he's currently not ranked among San Diego's Top 30 prospects, the 17-year-old Arias is a safe bet to make the list in 2018. Signed for $1.9 million after ranking sixth on MLBPipeline.com's list of the top 2016-17 international prospects, Arias batted .265 with zero home runs in his first full season, including an impressive 16-game stint with Class A Fort Wayne. He's found his power stroke in the ABL, however, as Arias enters Friday having homered in back-to-back games for Canberra Cavalry, the first being a two-homer performance. He's also accrued eight RBIs over his past three games and owns a .255/.300/.532 line through 13 games on the season.
• Garrett Whitley, OF, Rays No. 9 -- While the 2015 first-rounder didn't hit for much average (.238) during his first 12 games with Perth, Whitley went 4-for-7 over his past two games to lift his mark to .286 and has tallied more walks (14) than strikeouts (11) en route to a .444 on-base percentage and a .955 OPS. The 20-year-old outfielder began to put his entire game together in 2017 as he batted .249/.362/.430 with 13 homers, 18 doubles and 21 stolen bases in 104 games in the Class A Midwest League.
• Jose Siri, OF, Reds No. 22 -- Siri was named the Reds Minor League hitter of the year after a breakout season in which he slashed .293/.341/.530 with 24 home runs, 59 extra-base hits and 46 stolen bases in 126 games for Class A Dayton. The 22-year-old outfielder is continuing to showcase his impressive tools in the DWL, as he's now rattled off multiple hits in four straight games to improve his offseason slash line to .333/.365/.550 for Gigantes del Cibao.
• Socrates Brito, OF, D-backs No. 10 -- A dislocated ring finger on Brito's left hand suffered during Spring Training delayed the start of the 25-year-old outfielder's until mid-season. He performed well with Triple-A Reno after finally returning to the field, but a healthy A.J. Pollock and the acquisition of J.D. Martinez kept him from returning to the Major Leagues. Now making up for some of that lost time in the DWL, Brito has produced a .302/.364/.477 line over 38 games for Estrellas Orientales.
• Randy Arozarena, OF, Cardinals No. 11 -- Arozarena homered in three straight games to begin his week, the last of which was a walk-off three-run homer. He also connected on a home run on Thursday, giving the 22-year-old outfielder a league-leading 12 home runs through 47 games for Mayos de Navojoa. What's more, Arozarena, whom St. Louis signed for $1.25 million July 2016, also paces the circuit in runs scored (40), total bases (114) and slugging (.579). Overall, he's batting .299 overall with a .937 OPS.
• Donnie Dewees Jr., OF, Royals No. 18 -- Signed for a well above-slot $1.7 million in the second round, Dewees split his first full pro season between two Class A stops before the Cubs traded him to the Royals for Alec Mills in February. The 24-year-old outfielder made a smooth transition to Double-A in 2017 and is building on that performance in Mexico behind a .291/.361/.436 line in his first 15 games for Charros de Jalisco.
• Chuck Taylor, OF, Mariners No. 29 -- Selected by the Mariners (from Arizona's system) in the Minor League phase of the 2016 Rule 5 Draft, Taylor made the most of the fresh start by hitting .274/.369/.397 and setting career highs in nearly all counting offensive categories. He hasn't skipped a beat this offseason in Venezuela, as the 24-year-old Taylor owns a .339/.413/.441 line with 60 hits (13 extra-base hits) in 45 games for Cardenales de Lara.
• Ildemaro Vargas, SS/2B, D-backs No. 21 -- Vargas, 26, broke out this past season to slash .312/.355/.462 while also setting career highs with 10 home runs and 35 doubles in 113 games with Triple-A Reno. That success then followed him to the Major Leagues, where he batted .308 (4-for-13) over parts of 12 games with Arizona. Now playing for Cardenales de Lara, the switch-hitting middle infielder owns a robust .415/.487/.597 line with 21 runs scored through his first 15 games. Vargas has been particularly hot of late, too, posting a .435 average (20-for-46) and scoring 16 runs in his last 10 contests.
Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.