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Touch’em All | Pioneer League Top MLB Hitting Prospects

Welcome to another edition of Touch’em All!  For you new visitors to the site, we are going through the minor leagues with one goal in mind: Give you, the fan or fantasy player, the info and analysis that you need.  This time we are reporting on some of the top hitting performances in the Pioneer league.  Rookie level ball tucked away in the Rocky Mountain region.  Players were selected for this list with age appropriate-ness to level, draft position, performance, and physical tools in mind. So let’s get started!

Joc Pederson, OF Dodgers

Los Angeles DodgersJoc Pederson, OF Los Angeles Dodgers – 04/21/1992 (19) – Height: 6’1″ Weight: 185 –  Drafted by the Dodgers in the 11th round of the 2010 MLB draft with pick #352.  After early struggles in the Midwest league, Pederson settled in nicely with the Ogden Raptors, hitting .353 with 11 hr’s, 64 rbi, 54 runs, and 24 sb in 266 at bats over 68 games.  Joc had a .997 OPS and destroyed right handed pitching, where all 11 of his hr’s and 55 of his rbi came against.  He had a very impressive 54/36  k/bb rate to go along with a .216 IsoP.  Defensively, the 19 year old can play all 3 outfield positions, and though he did commit 6 errors in left field, he plays above average defense and has a great arm; throwing out 12 would-be runners.  A return to the Midwest League in 2012 is likely.

Los Angeles DodgersO’Koyea Dickson, 1B Los Angeles Dodgers – 02/09/1990 (21) – Height: 5’11″ Weight: 215 – Drafted in the 12th round of the 2011 draft, former Sonoma State 1B O’Koyea Dickson hit .333 with 13 hr’s, 38 rbi, 33 runs, and 1 sb.  His 1.005 OPS and .270 IsoP in 189 ab’s over 48 games was outstanding.  He led the Pioneer League in Slugging with a .603 mark.  Dickson’s range factor of 9.45 and fielding % of .988 put him in the same defensive class as Albert Pujols and Joey Votto.  Dickson could join Pederson in the Midwest League next season, or could find himself with Class A Rancho Cucamonga of the California League in 2012.

Los Angeles Angels of AnaheimTaylor Lindsey, 2B Los Angeles Angels – 12/02/1991 (19) – Height: 6’0″ Weight: 195 –  Drafted as a SS in the 2010 draft at pick 37 in the 1st round, Lindsey built on his 2010 campaign (.284-0-18-26-8 in 194 ab’s) with the Arizona League Angels, by going .362-9-46-64-10 in 290 ab’s over 63 games with the Orem Owlz.  In doing so, Lindsey was named the Pioneer League MVP.  Lindsey dazzled with the glove as well, making numerous diving stops to the the thrill of the Orem fans.  His 46/13 k/bb needs some improvement, but with a .987 OPS and a .231 IsoP, he’s ready to move up.

C.J. Cron, 1B Angels

C.J. Cron, 1B Los Angeles Angels – 01/05/1990 (21) – Height: 6’4″ Weight: 235 –  After a great season with the University of Utah, the 2011 1st round pick (#17 overall) wasted no time in signing with the Angels on June 28th, 2011.  Cron then went on to hit .308-13-41-30-0 in just 143 ab’s over 34 games with the Orem Owlz.  a beautiful 1.000 OPS and a ridiculous .321 IsoP, Cron’s time in Orem was short lived. A knee injury ended his season and offseason surgery should have him ready for spring training. Expect him to start the season with the High-A Inland Empire 66ers of the California League, while reaching the AA Arkansas Travelers of the Texas League at some point in 2012.  He’s certainly going to be on the fast track to the Majors.  A Late season 2012 call up isn’t even out of the question.

Arizona DiamondbacksJonathan Griffin, 1B Arizona Diamondbacks – 04/29/1989 (22) – Height: 6’7″ Weight: 250 – Drafted by Arizona in 2011 at pick #634 in the 21st round, the big fellow from Central Florida was an after thought in many people’s mind, especially those in love with Diamondbacks 1b Paul Goldschmidt.  Griffin went .295-18-59-47-4 in 278 ab’s over 71 games with the Missoula Osprey.  The 18 homeruns ties Griffin with Goldschmidt for the single season homerun record for Missoula.  Now, before anyone goes bananas over Griffin, his .292/.352/.539 was good this season, but it’s not the monster of .334/.408/.638 that Goldschmidt posted in 2009.  Griffin is one to watch and will move up, but needs to improve the 77/29 k/bb to be taken seriously as a viable prospect for the Diamondbacks.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Roidany Aguila, C Arizona Diamondbacks – 10/22/1990 (20) – Height: 5’10″ Weight: 175 – The young catcher was drafted in the 18th round of the 2009 Major League baseball draft at pick #546.  After posting a .091/.121/.109 line in 2009 and .234/.305/.287 line in 2010 with no homeruns coming into 2011, Aguila turned the corner this season with a line of .256/.321/508, clubbing 12 homeruns.  Roidany was the Pioneer League’s best defensive catcher in 2011 with a .972 mark.  The enthusiastic backstop also calls a good game and handles the pitching staff very well.  There’s a good chance he will be the starting catcher with the Yakima Bears of the Northwest League in 2012.

David Kandilas, OF Rockies

Colorado RockiesDavid Kandilas, OF Colorado Rockies – 09/14/1990 (21) – Height: 6’2″ Weight: 185 – An undrafted 2008 free agent Kandilas, The Aussie played in the Australian league over the off season, turned in a good season after 2 less than average seasons for the Casper Ghosts of the Pioneer League prior to 2011.  He posted a line of .327-6-35-51-15 this season, including 10 triples and a .946 OPS.  Kandilas’ cycle on June 25th, 2011 was the 1st in the Pioneer league since 2007. Expect him to open 2012 with Tri-City Dust Devils of the Northwest League and if he continues to progress, he could be with the Asheville Tourists of the South Atlantic League at some point next season.

Colorado Rockies

Rosell Herrera, SS Colorado Rockies – 10/16/1992 (18) – Height: 6’3″ Weight: 185 – Signed by the Rockies on July 2, 2009 from the Dominican Republic.  He went on to to post a .237/.323/.284 in 2010 in the Dominican Summer League.  His .284/.361/.449 line with 8 triples, 6 homeruns, and 5 stolen bases for a 18 year old in the Pioneer League was impressive.  Obviously, we would like to see an improvement in the bb% (9.8%) and please improve the k% (22.5%), but again he’s only 18 so we will cut him some slack, plate discipline is learned, talent is not, and Herrera oozes talent.  Yeah, we want to see “more” of Herrera before we fall in love with him, but if he grows into the 6’3″ frame and turns that raw talent into intangible tools, he could be special.  Possibly back at Casper next season to start with.

Colorado RockiesTrevor Story, SS Colorado Rockies – 11/15/1992 (18) – Height: 6’1″ Weight: 175 – The Rockies 2nd pick in 2011, 1C #45 overall, Story left scouts with questions about his bat.  Though his average wasn’t terribly impressive, it wasn’t bad for a debut either.  His line of .268-6-28-37-13 in 179 ab’s over 47 games makes for a respectable debut, especially considering how well he defended the plate with a 41/26 bb/k ratio.  It will be interesting to see, but Story is likely to get the nod over Herrera to move up to the Northwest League to open the 2012 season with the Tri-City Dust Devils.

Daniel Mateo, SS Royals

Kansas City RoyalsDaniel Mateo, SS Kansas City Royals – 08/10/1991 (20) – Height: 6’1″ Weight: 178 – Signed out of the Dominican Republic on February 25th, 2008, Mateo hit just .254/.339/.390 in the 2009 Dominican Summer League and a less than stellar .218/.256/.350 in the 2010 Arizona League.  Granted, he was just 17 and 18 years old.  Enter age 19 and the 2011 season with the Idaho Falls Chukers.  The pieces started to come together where he hit a fantastic .348/.389/.478 with a modest,yet promising .130 IsoP.  While he is listed as a SS, he did find time at 3B and 2B.  He is likely a 2B in waiting, unless his power improves.  A growth spurt this off season could even push him to the outfield.  Mateo will likely open 2012 with the Burlington Royals off the Appalachian League.

Check back soon as we profile many more Top MLB Prospects and also get our baseball geek on and take a look at some of the later draft picks from the 2011 draft that we think could be big names on the prospect radars in the near future. Anyone can tell you that Mike Trout is going to be a stud now, but who told you that when he was drafted? So take a look at our Touch’em All | Southern League Hitters and be a step ahead of the game. Thanks for checking Baseball Instinct. We’re working hard to bring you the best of the minor leagues and make the site the best experience it can be. So don’t hesitate to tell us what you would like to read about. Email me now at Tom@baseballinstinct.com.


Closing in on 25 years of following the greatest game in the world very closely. I can remember as a kid how excited I was when a player that I had watched in the minors make his major league debut. The same holds true today. We designed Baseball Instinct with that in mind; getting you the fan excited to get out and see the see the stars of tomorrow - today!

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