Today continues my look at the Post-Season All-Prospect team across the minor leagues with a look at the Pacific Coast League. There were plenty of hits on the Pre-Season team, including several players that made held onto or improved their stock as the year went on, keeping their spot on this roster.
Catcher: Travis d’Arnaud (Las Vegas) – Travis d’Arnaud entered the year as the best catching prospect in baseball and if not for an amazing start to his pro career by Mike Zunino, there wouldn’t be any doubt that he’s still the best. Even though d’Arnaud missed some time due to injuries, he still managed to post a .333/.380/.595 line in 67 games for Las Vegas. He’s waiting in the wings to take over every day duties in Toronto and that should come at some point in 2013. (Pre-Season Pick: Travis d’Arnaud)
First Base: Matt Adams (Memphis) – In an upset, I’m sticking with my first two pre-season picks as the best prospects at their positions. Adams is rare among Triple-A prospects as a legitimate first-base prospect that projects well at the big league level. With Albert Pujols departed and an early injury to Lance Berkman, many thought Adams would seize the job but he posted a paltry .244/.286/.384 line in 27 games despite mashing with a .329 average and 18 home runs in just 67 games at Triple-A. He still looks like a middle-of-the order slugger down the line but he needs to start showing it at the big league level. (Pre-Season Pick: Matt Adams)
Second Base: Johnny Giavotella (Omaha) – In his second tour through the Pacific League, Giovatella hit .323/.404/.472 in 89 games for Omaha, earning a call-up to Kansas City where he has hit just .237/.281/.298 in 39 games. He doesn’t have star-level abilities, but he has some potential as an offense-oriented second baseman and he should get the bulk of the time at the position in 2013. (Pre-Season Pick: Taylor Green)
Third Base: Jedd Gyorko (Tuscon) – Gyorko can flat out hit and you won’t find a scout that disagrees with that statement. After hitting solidly in 34 games at Double-A, Gyorko was promoted to Tuscon where he went on a tear and smoked the ball to the tune of a .328/.380/.588 line that included 24 doubles and 24 home runs. He doesn’t profile well defensively anywhere on the diamond but his bat is the type that you find room for somewhere. (Pre-Season Pick: Zach Cox)
Shortstop: Adeiny Hechavarria (Las Vegas) – My pre-season pick Ryan Jackson was just fine this year but there was real progress from Hechevarria that merits the nod in this spot. In 25 games since arriving in the big leagues, Hechavarria has hit just .237 with five extra-base hits, but that comes on the heels of a .312 average in Triple-A with 20 doubles, six triples and six home runs. He lacks impact potential, but with his defensive tools and his ability to hit enough to reside in the bottom third of the order, Hechavarria should be a big-league regular when the Jays move on from Yunel Escobar. (Pre-Season Pick: Ryan Jackson)
Outfield: Adam Eaton (Reno), Brett Jackson (Iowa), Will Myers (Omaha) – Mike Trout was an obvious pre-season pick but he only played 20 games in Triple-A before heading back to the big leagues and terrorizing the best pitchers in the world. In his place, Will Myers tore through the minor leagues and cemented himself as one of the best prospects in the game with a massive .304/.378/.554 line at Triple that doesn’t include a .343/.414/.731 showing in Double-A. Jackson did as expected in the minor leagues this year, including good defense, some pop and plenty of strikeouts. The surprise of the year in the PCL was the play of Arizona’s Adam Eaton. Long projected as a fourth outfielder, Eaton exploded .381/.456/.539 line in 119 games and no suddenly earns some marks as a potential fringe regular. Regardless of his ultimate projection, he’s got a big league future thanks to solid hitting ability, gap power and some speed on the bases. (Pre-Season Pick: Anthony Gose, Brett Jackson, Mike Trout)
Pitcher: Trevor Bauer (Reno), Shelby Miller (Memphis), Jake Odorizzi (Omaha) – Much has been made of Shelby Miller’s struggles throughout the 2012 season, and even if he hadn’t righted the ship down the stretch, he still would have made this post-season roster. He’s an impressive pitching prospect that should be a mainstay in St. Louis for a long time. Trevor Bauer started the year in Double-A, jumped to the big leagues and then pitched well in Triple-A as he worked to improve his efficiency. He still has a ceiling as a number two starter but will need to improve his command and control to get there instead of settling in the middle of the Arizona rotation. While I picked Kansas City’s Mike Montgomery for this team in April, his teammate Jake Odorizzi stole his spot with more impressive scouting reports throughout the year. In 107 1/3 innings, Odorizzi posted a 2.93 ERA in the offensively-charged PCL with less than a hit per inning and a solid 7.4 strikeout rate. He has easy number three projection and could peak higher than that if everything comes together. (Pre-Season Pick: Shelby Miller, Mike Montgomery, Jarrod Parker)