They Who Are Last Shall be First
We start at the bottom and finish with number one. But even before that, here are those who made honorable mention. These are players whose stats can catch your eye but fail to meet one too many criteria.
For instance, Kyle Higashioka is 27; he might go on to play in the majors but he has hit his ceiling as a prospect. The same it true for Zach Zehner, who is 25 and at Trenton; Sharif Othman is 28. At that age, it doesn’t matter what league you are in.
Ryan Lidge has not played enough, Brayan Jimenez was bad last season, and Donny Sands has had a good second half but still has no power. Wilkerman Garcia has talent but has yet to show it. Dom Thompson-Williams was the toughest call. He ended as unworthy to be ranked but remains a person of interest.
Now on to those still young enough and talented enough to one day wear pinstripes.
(38) LF Dario Unda: Age 21/ Team Pulaski
2017 AVG/OBP/SLG: .300/.358/.540
Unda is is getting too old to be at Pulaski and still be a prospect. He has shown some power, swatting 5 home runs in only 88 AB’s, but he is 21. Unda has a great track record, and a really cool name, but if he doesn’t begin to move up in a real hurry, I will never get to buy a jersey with his name on it.
(37) 3B Jose Polonia: 21/Staten Island
Polonia is similar to Unda, perhaps a subconscious ranking. He’s been pretty consistent with his bat and has done his best at his highest level, where he also has his most AB’s. But he is 21 and it took him 94 AB’s to hit three homers.
His last ten might show he is going from good to very good: .306 with eleven hits. And it better be. If Polonia does not move up quickly next year, he will cease to be a real prospect.
(36) C Gustavo Campero: 19/Gulf Coast League
Age at each level plays a larger role in the depths of the minors because the players have so few at bats. Because of that both here and with other players, I will often look at the last ten games. Ten games is often 20 or 25 percent of a young player’s season and can be a mark that he is starting to figure it out.
It can also just be ten good games. Predicting players is more an art than a science and we all make mistakes. I hope you remember that when you get ready to disagree with me in the comments section.
And age played a larger role in the rankings of the players in this group. For instance, Gustavo has a similar average (.304 in 112 AB’s) to the next player on the list but is one year older. Even with some additional power, that was good enough for Campero to come in at number 36.
Campero has put up three home runs in those 112 at-bats, two coming in his last ten games. That might not seem like much but remember Carlos Vidal has one home run and he’s two years older. Power plays, and even flashes of it in small sample sizes is worthy of notice.