One thing Jim and I have never refrained from is sharing ideas when it comes to the content we post. We’re not competitive and we only want what’s best for the site and our readers even if it’s using similar themes in each respective piece. Jim posted a great piece yesterday on the UTR pitching prospects on both the North and South pitching staffs in this years Florida State League All-Star Game. Therefore, I’m going to follow Jim’s lead. Over the next two days, I’ll highlight several hitting prospects who’ve been invited to this years Florida State League All-Star game, but most importantly, those that fall under UTR criteria. Unlike the Major League version, the minor league All-Star games are based solely on current season production which falls right into the UTRMinors philosophy of “production over pedigree.” Today, we’ll begin with the North Division.
- Andrew Knapp – Clearwater Threshers (PHI) – 23 yo; – Knapp was a 2014 UTR Org. All-Star with LoA Lakewood, then a 23 game stint with HiA Clearwater. Nap leads all league catcher with 30 runs scored and RBi’s with 25.
- Joe Hudson – Daytona (CIN) – 24 yo; – 2012 – 6th rounder out of Notre Dame
- First Base
- Dominic Ficociello – Lakeland Flying Tigers (DET) – 23 yo; – A 2013 – 12th rounder out of the University of Arkansas, Ficociello is currently tied for second in the league with 67 hits and ranks within the leagues top ten in batting (.310), on-base percentage (.370) and total bases (88).
- Second Base
- Chris McFarland – Brevard County Manatees (MIL) – 22 yo; – The 2011 draftee out of Lufkin HS (TX) was a 2012 UTR “Breakout” selection and a UTR Organizational All-Star in 2014. The 6’0″ – 190lb righty sits atop the FSL with 71 hits and leads all league second baseman in total bases with 89. Not bad for 18th round draft pick huh?
- Third Base
- Miguel Andujar – Tampa Yankees (NYY) – 20 yo; – Andujar was a UTR Organizational All-Star this past season after a #18 ranking in Baseball America’s 2014 Prospect Handbook. Jim and I put our off-season Org. All-Star lists together without cracking the cover of the newest BAPH issue and UTR PAG data pegged Andujar as the top statisticsl 3B in the Yankee system. Andujar shot up to #10 in the 2015 BAPH edition.
- The FSL North All-Star squad is a “who’s who” amongst the league’s top prospect pedigree with Cincinnati’s Alex Blandino and New York Yankee’s Tyler Wade. Blandino is a 2014 – 1st rounder out of Stanford University (CA) while Wade is a 4th rounder from 2013 out of Murrieta Valley HS (in Murrieta, CA.)
- Ben Verlander – Lakeland Flying Tigers (DET) – 23 yo; – The Tigers other “Verlander” has a way to go to reach the superstar status of organizational mate and big brother, pitching ace Justin. However, it says something when Ben, a 2013 – 14th rounder out of Old Dominion University is the only North Division All-Star outfielder not drafted out of a first round. All-Star teammates Phil Ervin (CIN), Victor Roache (MIL) and Clint Coulter (MIL) all are products of the first round, as Coulter and Roache were taken in 2012 while Ervin was drafted in 2013. Despite being the lone non-first rounder of the North division outfield, being a Verlander doesn’t come without a little bit of life’s luxuries. You, Ben, are the true All-Star. Ahh, the perks.
- Designated Hitter
- Mike Ford – Tampa Yankees (NYY) – 22 yo; – The 6’0″ – 225 lb. CI/DH is basically the epitome of ‘under-the-radar.” The former Princeton Tiger went un-drated in the 2013 First Year Player Draft, but signed a free agent contract with the Yankees only weeks later. Ford hits for average, displays above average plate discipline (with a career 99:110 BB:K ratio) and carries an above average glove onto the field. (career .983 Flg.%). Ford is also the only player in Ivy League history to win Player of the Year, Pitcher of the Year and Rookie of the Year in an Ivy League career and to win Player and Pitcher of the Year in the same season (2013).