Back in April I took a pre-season look at what I determined to be the All-Prospect Team in each full-season minor league. With the minor league playoffs coming to an end I want circle back and give a post-season look at the same thing. My pre-season International League All-Prospect Team can be found here.
As a reminder, this article – and the entire series – is not intended to identify the best seasons or replicate a post-season All-Star team. Instead, this identifies a knee-jerk look at what I view as the best prospects at each position throughout the league. There were no hard and fast rules for eligibility but players that didn’t spend long in the league are typically not included.
Catcher: Ryan Lavarnway (Pawtucket) – There wasn’t much in the way of young catching in the International League this year and Lavarnway stood out at the start of the season and again at the end. With a .295/.376/.439 line in 83 minor-league games, Lavarnway earned another look in Boston, where he has hit just .169 in 26 games. Lavarnway’s bat still projects to play in the big leagues but he doesn’t look like an impact player if he doesn’t stick at catcher (which is rather unlikely). With continued September at-bats, Lavarnway is unlikely to be eligible for off-season rankings and this could be the last time I consider him a prospect. (Pre-Season Pick: Ryan Lavarnway)
First Base: Mauro Gomez (Pawtucket) – Gomez certainly isn’t a classic prospect, but then again actual first base prospects in Triple-A are few and far between. The 27-year old Gomez raked all year for Pawtucket, posting a .310/.371/.589 line in 100 games before heading to the big leagues for an extended showing. In 22 games at the big league level Gomez has hit .299 with four doubles and two home runs. He isn’t a big time prospect or a potential impact player, but he has shown enough to earn another big-league look in 2013. (Pre-Season Pick: Neftali Soto)
Second Base: Cord Phelps (Columbus) – Pre-season pick Jordany Valdespin played very little in the International League in 2012 and while he performed well, there just wasn’t enough time there to warrant the post-season nod. Second base was extremely thin throughout the league this year and Cord Phelps is the only name that stands out. Phelps has little big-league projection but could bounce up and down as a bat-first second baseman. (Pre-Season Pick: Jordany Valdespin)
Third Base: Yamaico Navarro (Indianapolis) – Will Middlebrooks’ brief stay in Pawtucket had him in line to take home the post-season award as well but he was so impressive in Triple-A that the Red Sox called him up and he continued to show well in his big league debut. Former Red Sox prospect Yamaico Navarro isn’t an amazing prospect, but he did hit .279/.366/.491 for Indianapolis and has the positional flexibility to stick in the big leagues as a solid utility player. (Pre-Season Pick: Will Middlebrooks)
Shortstop: Jose Iglesias (Pawtucket) – I called Iglesias’ defense “baseball pornography” at the start of the season and I wouldn’t back off that statement at this point. He still has the 80-glove that will force teams to give him chance after chance, and the bat continues to frustrate. Iglesias hit .266 with only eleven extra-base hits in 88 Triple-A games. It’s hard to envision Iglesias’ bat stepping forward and making him a sure-fire big league regular, but there’s still a chance he has a lengthy big league career because of his defensive prowess. (Pre-Season Pick: Jose Iglesias)
Outfield: Corey Brown (Syracuse), Starling Marte (Indianapolis) Eury Perez (Syracuse) – The pre-season picks in the outfield were not difficult to pick at all, with big time prospects like Joe Benson, Bryce Harper and Starling Marte smacking you in the face when you looked through rosters. In the end, Benson battled injuries, Harper quickly made his way to the big leagues and Marte filled the bill and torched the IL. Hitting .286/.347/.500 in 88 games, Marte earned the call to the big leagues and will likely leave prospect lists behind for good. Two of Harper’s minor league teammates fill in the gaps in this post-season roster with Corey Brown and Eury Perez both showing some big league potential. Brown is back on the prospect map after knocking 25 home runs while hitting .285 in 126 games for Syracuse. His teammate Perez hit .333 in 40 games for Syracuse with 20 stolen bases. Neither player projects as a true regular in the Major Leagues but both could be nice support players. (Pre-Season Picks: Joe Benson, Bryce Harper, Starling Marte)
Pitcher: Jeurys Familia (Buffalo), Matt Harvey (Buffalo), Julio Teheran (Gwinnett) – The pre-season pitching list may have been a bit of a curse as Banuelos and Turner both battled injuries while Teheran struggled all season long. Taking the place of Banuelos and Turner were Buffalo teammates Jeurys Familia and Matt Harvey, both of whom made their way to the big leagues. While many scouts still believe Familia will settle in as a reliever long term, he and Harvey will likely get chances to solidify spots in the Mets rotation entering the 2013 season. Teheran held onto his spot on this All-Prospect roster but his stock has certainly slipped. With an inability to develop a consistent breaking ball, top of the rotation projections are fading from Teheran’s reports in a big hurry. (Pre-Season Pick: Manny Banuelos, Julio Teheran, Jacob Turner)