The Minor League season started last Thursday and I had a chance to see an inside-the-park home run…on the first pitch of the game no less. While Justin Dean didn’t make our list, the play was remarkable and deserved a callout.
While the 10 players below had a great week, there were many others that I could have listed. But, we are limited to 10, so I kept the list tight and to the point.
Enjoy the list and please click on the baseball card to visit our partner amazon.com to explore additional information on each player.
Luis Robert (OF, CHW, High-A)
Luis Robert has done it all in the first week. In five games, he’s posted a 1.774 OPS with four home runs and three stolen bases. The athleticism and tools are clearly present but so are the strikeouts. The upside continues to be fellow country-mate Yoan Moncada. In other words, he’s an alluring talent but with pressure on the batting average and OBP.
Cavan Biggio (2B, Tor, Triple-A)
I’ve had a chance to see Cavan Biggio play multiple times over the past two years and have never been enamored. I don’t like the bat speed nor the passive approach at the plate. For me, the ceiling is more of a utility player as opposed to a starter. But, he’s got the pedigree and has gotten off to a quick start in Triple-A. In 5 games, he’s posted a 1.509 OPS with two home runs.
Yordan Alvarez (OF, Hou, Triple-A)
Yordan Alvarez biggest problem might be that he plays in the Astros organization and is just behind a lot of very good players. He’s got big raw power that has been evident early in the season as he’s slugged four home runs. He’ll strike out too much and is really a first baseman, or more likely a DH. He does reminds me of AJ Reed, as the profile is similar and the last time I looked, Reed was stuck in Triple-A waiting for his trade as well.
Chris Seise (SS, Tex, High-A)
Drafted in the first round in the 2017 MLB Draft, Chris Seise missed all of 2018 after having surgery on his shoulder. Seemingly fully healthy, he’s showing plus speed with four stolen bags already and an ability to get on base. The profile is that of a top-of-the-order hitter.
Ryan Vilade (SS, Col, High-A)
It’s good to see Ryan Vilade off to a hot start as he was one of my breakout players in 2018 who just never got it going. He makes solid contact, is a good runner with enough pop to eventually hit double-digit home runs. Sure, he’s played the first five games in Lancaster, one of the best hitting environments in all of baseball, but a hot start is still a hot start. In 5 games, he’s posted a .899 OPS with three stolen bases.
Nolan Gorman (3B, STL, Low-A)
Nolan Gorman is doing what I thought he would do after the Cardinals made him their first-round draft pick last summer. He’s showing plus power with a SLG of 1.000 through five games and six strikeouts in 23 plate appearances. If you can handle, the likely low batting average, he’s going to hit 30 plus home runs annually.
Gavin Lux (SS, LAD, Double-A)
Gavin Lux can really hit and if the power develops like I think it will, he has a chance to have a long and successful career with several all-star appearances. After four games, he’s posted a 1.374 OPS with only two strikeouts in 20 plate appearances.
Darwinzon Hernandez (RHP, Bos, Double-A)
I had a chance to see Darwinzon Hernandez pitch in the Fall League and was duly impressed. He built off his strong Fall showing by pitching five shutout innings with 10 strikeouts but also four walks. It’s the lack of control that will likely move him to the bullpen but I’ve heard from more than one evaluator that still believes the control will improve enough to start. I’m not yet convinced.
Dustin May (RHP, LAD, Double-A)
Dustin May opened eyes in Spring Training and kept it up with a strong showing in his first game of the year. In five shutout innings, he struck out nine while walking only one. The Dodgers started him in Double-A, but he could get the call at any point during the season to make his big league debut. After all, the Dodgers pitching staff has been very fragile over the years.
Casey Mize (RHP, Det, High-A)
Casey Mize went 1:1 last June and continued to show he was worth the pick. He has four quality pitches and provided he can stay healthy, has the everything needed to pitch at the top of the Tigers rotation. He’ll likely only spend the first month or so in the High-A before a promotion to Double-A. We will not see him in the Majors this season, but a callup sometime next season could very well be in the cards.