2015 Midwest League All-Stars (Eastern Division) UTR Hitters

  • Catcher
    • Cael Brockmeyer – South Bend Silver Hawks (CHC)  –  23 yo;   –  I’m not sure Brockmeyer will ever bring home any batting titles or Gold Gloves, but one thing he brings to the ballpark every day is enormous size (6’5″ – 235 lbs.) and above average defense. The 2013 – 16th rounder out of Cal-State Bakersfield (CA) ranks second among all league catchers in hits (64) and ranks within the top 10 in doubles with 15.
    • Nick Ciuffo – Bowling Green Hot Rods (TB)  –  21 yo;  –  The 6’1″ – 205 lb. lefty was a 2013 – 1st round draft choice out of Lexington HS (SC) and ranks within multiple Tampa Bay Rays Top 10 lists.
  • First Base
    • Rowdy Tellez – Lansing Lugnuts (TOR)  –  20 yo;   –  If there’s one way I could describe the 2013 – 30th rounder out of Elk Grove HS (CA) it could possibly be “Dan Vogelbach Lite.” Not so much in physical stature, but more so in baseball skills. Both lefty swingers are huge. The Cubs 2011 – 2nd rounder comes in at 6’0″ – 250 while Tellez measures 6’4″ – 245.  Even though Vogelbach has approximately 800 more pro at-bats than Tellez, both carry near identical career batting averages. (Vogelbach – .285; Tellez – .287), neither can run (well) and both provide approximately the same level of defense around the first base bag.  I believe if Tellez could better tap into his game power, the Blue Jays could have a prospect similar to Dan Vogelbach, but at the going rate of a draft pick 28 rounds later. Now that’s value.
    • Casey Gillaspie – Bowling Green Hot Rods (TB)  –  22 yo;  –  Gillaspie is the 2014 Tampa Bay Rays 1st round draft choice out of Wichita State University.
  • Second Base
    • Jace Conrad – Bowling Green Hot Rods (TB)  –  22 yo;  –  There really isn’t anything to dislike about Conrad. The 2014 – 13th rounder from the University of Louisiana Lafayette doesn’t get the publicity like other Tampa Bay organizational prospects do, but Conrad does a lot of real good things across the board: hits for average (.292), carries ample pop in his bat (10 HR), steals plenty of bases (21) and displays well above average defense (.989 career combined) at multiple positions on the diamond.
    • Claudio Bautista – Lake County Captains (CLE)  –  21 yo;  –  The 5’11” – 170 lb. Dominican has made a rather leisurely ascent up through the minors since his 2011 debut, as 2015 marks Bautista’s third consecutive season playing for LoA Lake County. Bautista posted 41 extra-base hits last season and is on pace to eclipse that total all while batting .302 so far this season; 41 points higher than his career average (.262).
  • Third Base
    • Zach Shepherd – West Michigan White Caps (DET)  –  19 yo;  –  You might not find the teenaged righty slugger at or directly near the top of the Midwest League statistical leaderboards, but there might not be a low-level Tigers hitting prospect with more promise than the 6’3″ – 185 lb. Sydney, Australia native. My 2014 Tigers Organizational All-Star third baseman may never hit for high average, but power is the name of his game. He has plenty of time for it to develop while making improvements to his defense at the hot corner.
    • Grant Kay – Bowling Green Hot Rods (TB)  –  22 yo;  –  Statistically it seems like the 2014 – 27th rounder out of the University of Louisville has made quite a stumble compared to his debut season playing for Short Season Hudson Valley. His average currently sits 104 points lower than his final season total from last year (.314) and defensively he’s been much less than outstanding. Not sure how he made this team. Several other 3B prospects were just as deserving as Kay.
  • Shortstop
    • Gleyber Torres – South Bend Silver Hawks (CHC)  –  18 yo;  –  When Jim and I state our UTR draft criteria is “no prospect between the 1st and 5th rounds”, that draft status might very well be the equivalent of a team taking the #1 International free agent.  Much like the Cubs did when they signed Torres for $1.7 million out of Venezuela in 2013. He currently sits as a top 5-10 prospect in most, if not all, current Chicago Cubs prospect lists.
    • Michael Ahmed – Great Lakes Loons (LAD)  –  23 yo;  –  The brother of Arizona Diamondback’s Nick Ahmed, younger brother Michael has a way to go to match his brother’s success. The 2013 – 20th rounder out of the College of Holy Cross (MA) brings solid speed to the table with 19 stolen bases this season.
  • Outfield
    • Anthony Alford – Lansing Lugnuts (TOR)  –  20 yo;  –  Alford was a highly recruited multi-sport athlete out of Petal HS (MS), but was wrestled away from a commitment to Southern Mississippi University. He was taken in the 3rd round in 2012, yet only logged 61 total games up until this season. Alford has a lot of making up to do, but the wait might be worth it.
    • Charcer Burks – South Bend Silver Hawks (CHC)  –  20 yo;  –  I like Burks, but I’m not in love with him yet. He had a solid 2014 over two levels ranking within the top 10 in batting and on-base percentage for Short Season Boise. He’s taken a bit of a hit statistically this season (no pun intended), but that’s to be expected. Sad part is Burks is trapped within a Cubs organization saturated with outfield prospects. However, at only 20 years old, Burks still has a lot of game yet to surface.
    • Michael Gerber – West Michigan White Caps (DET)  –  22 yo;  –  The 2014 – 15th rounder out of Creighton University (NE) was a definitive UTR Organizational All-Star choice last off-season after a much better than anticipated pro debut. In 57 games for Short Season Connecticut (NYPL), the 6’2″ –  175 lb. lefty finished in the top 10 in runs scored, doubles, slugging % and total bases. Gerber’s sophomore season is, again, more than even I anticipated. He leads the Midwest League in hits (83) and ranks within the top five in total bases (118). He also ranks among the league leaders in RBi’s all while batting .335 and tallying a 32:38 BB-to-K ratio.
    • Nick Torres – Fort Wayne Tin Caps (SD)  –  21 yo;  –  Torres was taken in the 4th round of the 2014 draft.
    • Coty Blanchard – Bowling Green Hot Rods (TB)  –  23 yo;  –  Blanchard brings a steady stick to the plate along with good plate discipline.  The 2013 – 15th round multi-sport star from Jacksonville State (AL) is a career .277 hitter, but most notably, brings a full duffle bag of gloves to the ballpark. He can literally play anywhere on the diamond. In fact there isn’t a defensive position Blanchard hasn’t played in his pro career with the exception being only pitcher. It looks to me like he’s carving out quite a niche as the super utility type.
  • Designated Hitter
    • Ryan McBroom – Lansing Lugnuts (TOR)  –  23 yo;  –  McBroom had a strong 2014 pro debut with Short Season Vancouver leading the Northwest League in doubles (23), home runs (11) while ranking in the league’s top five in RBi’s, slugging percentage and total bases. This season, the 2014 – 15th rounder out of the University of West Virginia has become more selective at the plate, yet continues to drive the ball with authority, as the 6’3″ – 230 lb. righty is on pace to hit 46 doubles this season; which would have ranked within the top 10 in overall minor league organized baseball last season.  I’m very anxious to see this kid grow as he ascends up through the ranks.

 

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This entry was posted in 2015 League All Star Games, Hitters, June. Bookmark the permalink.

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