Appalachian League Top Prospects – Hitters
The Minor League season is now over and it’s time to go through each level to see who the top performing players were. Some names will be heavy on the radar while others will be new names. We continue our series with the Appalachian League – Hitters. The “Appy” as most people like to call it, is one of 6 rookie leagues in baseball, along with the Pioneer league it’s consider a little higher level than the other 4 facility based leagues. The Appy is located in the Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee region. So let’s take a look.
Eddie Rosario, OF Minnesota Twins - 09/28/1991 (19) - Height: 6’0″ Weight: 170 – The “CO”-MVP of the Appalachian league, Rosario hit .337/.397/.670 for the Elizabethton Twins. His HR-21/3B-9/2B-9/RBI-60/R-71/SB-17 in just 270 AB, complimented by this .233 IsoP are numbers you would find in a comic book. He commited just 2 errors in 130 chances on the field as well. The 2010 4th round draft pick from Puerto Rico, in addition to being player of the year, was also named to the Appalachian league All-Star team and was player of the week 3 times on the 2011 campaign. He should start the 2012 season with the High-A FSL Fort Myers Miracles. My suspicion is that he will finish the season with the AA New Britain Rock Cats. I’m not ruling out a September 2012 call up either. He’s a stud.
Miguel Sano, 3B Minnesota Twins - 05/11/1993 (18) - Height: 6’3″ Weight: 195 – The non-drafted free agent was signed by the Twins in October of 2009. All that’s he done for the Twins since them is play well. He hit .292/.352/.637 and a .354 IsoP (That’s not a typo) to go along with HR-20/3B-7/2B-18/RBI-59/R-58/SB-5 in 267 at bats. Fielding is still an issue for Sano, making 26 errors on 225 chances between 3B and SS. Sano may follow a similar 2012 path as Eddie Rosario in 2012, but is likely to see most of the season with Low-A Beloit Snappers.
JaDamion Williams, OF Minnesota Twins - 11/20/1990 (20) - Height: 5’11″ Weight: 183 – selected in the 10th round of the 2010 draft out of Brooks-DeBartolo Collegiate High School in Tampa, Florida. He isn’t the prospect that Rosario and Sano are, but he is interesting nonetheless. He hit .324/.406/.465 with to go along with HR-4/3B-1/2B-12/RBI-24/R-30/SB-10 in 185 at bats. With just 2 errors and 2 outfield assists, so far he is proving to be a decent outfielder. He could start next season in several places, but I don’t think Low-A Beloit Snappers is a stretch as to where he could finish the year.
Brandon Drury, 3B Atlanta Braves - 08/21/1992 (18) - Height: 6’2″ Weight: 190 – The other half of the “CO”-MVP of the Appalachian league, Brandon Drury hit .347/.367/.525. He also added HR-8/2B-23/RBI-54/R-40/SB-3. He needs to take a walk, having just 6 in 251 plate appearances, however, we will cut him a break after hitting for such high average at 18 years old. He’s a solid defensive 3B committing 8 errors in 130 chances, while having 90 assists and converting 16 double plays. The 2010 13th round pick will probably open the 2012 season back with the Danville Braves for some refinement, but could quickly find himself with the Class A Rome Braves.
Kyle Kubitza, 3B Atlanta Braves - 07/15/1990 (21) - Height: 6’3″ Weight: 190 - The Texas State Alum was a 2011 3rd round draft pick that hit .321/.407/.475 and also had HR-1/3B-3/2B-16/RBI-34/R-36/SB-9. He has good plate discipline as evidenced by his 38/24 K/BB ratio in 186 plate appearances. Kubitza is a strong kid with good power potential and a good arm. There is some question if he can field well enough to stay at 3B. He could start out at Danville again in 2012, but as I stated in my 2011 MLB Draft | Third Basemen Review, he’s done well enough to open up with the Low-A Rome Braves and will probably need to split off from Drury so both can get full season work at 3B.
Chase Davidson, 1B Houston Astros - 01/14/1990 (21) - Height: 6’5″ Weight: 222 – Davidson was selected with the 1240th pick in the 41st round of the 2011 draft. The former Georgia Bulldog was the Appalachian League OPS Champion. He hit .335/.426/.646 and a .211 IsoP to go along with HR-11/3B-2/2B-13/RBI-44/R-33/SB-8 in 161 at bats with the Greenville Astros before getting a 1 game promotion to to the Tri-City Valley Cats. His 53/24 K/BB ratio was good, and he committed no errors 109 chances in 2011. He could start out 2012 where he left off with Tri-Cities, but his Appy League All-Star season might of been good enough to land him with the Low-A Lexington Legends. He’s got some sleeper potential here, so keep an eye on him.
Jamal Austin, OF Seattle Mariners - 08/26/1990 (20) - Height: 5’9″ Weight: 180 - After playing for Alabama-Birmingham, the speedy little man was drafted by the Mariners in the 13th round at pick number 393. He went on to hit .335/.405/.383 and also had 3B-2/2B-6/RBI-13/R-35/SB-20 for the Pulaski Mariners. While there’s no power to offer here, the 21/22 BB/K ratio is very impressive, and the fact that plays excellent defense, just 2 errors in 97 chances to go along with 2 outfield assists, means he should move up to the Everett AquaSox of the Northwest league in 2012. This is good news for our readers as we will be able to cover and evaluate him first hand.
Guillermo Pimentel, OF Seattle Mariners - 10/05/1992 (18) - Height: 6’1″ Weight: 180 – The other Guillermo Pimentel (I know, right?) was signed by the Mariners on July 2nd, 2009 from Haina in the Dominican Republic. Pimentel hit .265/.308/.441 which brought HR-11/2B-10/RBI-46/R-33/SB-4 in 245 at bats with the Pulaski Mariners. While the numbers don’t pop off the page, they are good. Now throw in a .933 fielding % and 3 outfield assists at the young age of 18 and you have an interesting power prospect. Another guy I’d like to keep an eye on and hopefully he’ll make his way to the Everett AquaSox so I can take a closer look at him in 2012.
Taylor Motter, SS Tampa Bay Rays - 09/18/1989 (21) - Height: 6’1″ Weight: 190 – Despite finishing the season with 3 games for the Bowling Green Hot Rods, The Palm Beach Gardens, FL native spent almost the full season with the Princeton Rays in the Appy league. Another speedy guy, he hit .323/.436/.481 with a .158 IsoP. That’s not an amazing Isolated power number, but we will take that from a speed guy. He also had HR-5/2B-13/RBI-23/R-38/SB-22 in 158 at bats and had a .955 fielding % in route to being named to the Appy All-Star team. The 2011 draft for the Rays was deep and impressive, with lots of 1st round picks and slipping into the playoffs, where at this time are tied 1-1 in the best of 5 with the Texas Rangers. Having drafted Taylor Motter with pick #540 in the 17th round, the Rays keep on impressing. He ended the season with Hot Rods of the Low-A New York-Penn League, and you can bet he will open up the season there in 2012.
Roberto De La Cruz, 3B St. Louis Cardinals - 11/10/1991 (19) - Height: 6’2″ Weight: 180 – Signed a $1.1mm contract in 2008 with the Cardinals out of San Pedro de Macoris, a hot bed for baseball in the Dominican Republic. De La Cruz hit .264/.299/.542. with a .272 IsoP, which included HR-16/2B-15/RBI-47/R-39 in 227 at bats. His 57/7 K/BB ratio needs improvement, as well as his fielding (12 errors in 63 chances), but has a good sense for the game, with a strong arm and he should stick at 3B. I look for Roberto to open the 2012 season with the Johnson City Cardinals again, but could quickly move up to the Short Season Batavia Muckdogs very quickly in 2012.
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. While you’re here, take a look at our on going series Prospect Instinct | Bryce Harper 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 us now at firstname.lastname@example.org.