In a 16-team league, numerous high-end prospects were left off the Post-Season All-Prospect team, including fantastic players like Kaleb Cowart, Francisco Lindor and Todd Glaesmann. With so many prospects to pick from, the Midwest League list may be the most talented full-season All-Prospect team from top to bottom.
Catcher: Austin Hedges (Fort Wayne) – Hedges had plenty of buzz following the Fall Instructional League last year and that buzz carried over to spring training. With absolutely tremendous defensive skills, hedges didn’t have to hit much to be a true prospect, and he has exceeded even the most positive scouts early projections. Hedges suddenly looks like one of the game’s best catching prospects and one that will hit more than enough to have a big league career. (Pre-Season Pick: Austin Hedges)
First Base: Jeff Malm (Bowling Green) – As with most of the leagues I’ve looked at in this series, there were few real first base prospects to choose from. I could have stuck with my pre-season pick of Detroit’s Aaron Westlake, but I wanted to give the edge to the younger player with slightly more projection. Malm has pop in his bat and a solid approach but his swing and miss tendencies could be problematic as he faces better pitching. (Pre-Season Pick: Aaron Westlake)
Second Base: Eddie Rosario (Beloit) – The Twins began transitioning Rosario to second base this year and while he was rough at the position, he showed some athleticism and scouts believe he may become passable in time. Whether he plays second base or the outfield, Rosario’s bat is going to be his ticket to the Major Leagues. In 95 games with Beloit, Rosario hit .296 with 32 doubles and 12 home runs, hinting that he may have the offensive potential to carry the position switch. (Pre-Season Pick: Eddie Rosario)
Third Base: Miguel Sano (Beloit) – Rosario’s teammate, Miguel Sano earns the post-season nod despite a strong showing from Kaleb Cowart while he was in the league. Sano isn’t going to be a third baseman long term but if the bat fully develops, that won’t matter one bit. Scouts are unanimous in grading Sano’s power as at least a 70 tool with consistent 80s thrown in the mix. There was a ton of swing-and-miss in Sano’s game this year but he showed surprising discipline at the plate and could be a solid hitter in time. (Pre-Season Pick: Miguel Sano)
Shortstop: Javier Baez (Peoria) – Lake County’s Francisco Lindor made a strong run for this spot and even though Baez doesn’t project well at shortstop, his offensive potential is too much to pass up on an All-Prospect team. Before being promoted to the Florida State League, Baez smoked the ball with a .333/.383/.596 line that showed his natural feel for hitting and tremendous power potential. (Pre-Season Pick: Jake Hager)
Outfield: Jorge Bonifacio (Kane County), Luigi Rodriguez (Lake County), Jorge Soler (Peoria) – Bonifacio came out guns blazing this season and slowed as the year went along, but he still showed the kind of tools that could make him an impact big-league player. He was matched in tools by Luigi Rodriguez, who while very rough defensively, shows pop and speed and some slim potential to stick in the middle of the outfield. Rodriguez is exceptionally raw but his potential is through the roof. Soler is easily the best outfield prospect in the league this year, even after only playing twenty games after signing early in the summer. With a classic right field profile of athleticism, arm strength, power and hitting ability, Soler has the potential to be an elite-level prospect in short order. (Pre-Season Pick: Jorge Bonifacio, Christopher Hawkins, Donovan Tate)
Pitcher: Archie Bradley (South Bend), Adys Portillo (Fort Wayne), Aaron Sanchez (Lansing) – Archie Bradley showed two things this season, that he is incredibly talented and also incredibly raw. With true swing-and-miss stuff that includes a mid-90s fastball, Bradley has front of the rotation potential if he can improve his command and control profile. Since signing with the Padres several years ago, scouts have been waiting for Portillo to put things together. He did just that with Fort Wayne this year, fanning eight batters per nine innings before being jumped all the way to Double-A where his iffy command of an upper-90s heater was put to the test. The Lansing rotation had numerous pitchers with fantastic potential, including Justin Nicolino, Noah Syndergaard and Roberto Osuna later in the year, but scouts were consistent in praising Aaron Sanchez as the best of the bunch. Sanchez remains raw and will take time to develop, but he has the highest ceiling of the crew. (Pre-Season Pick: Archie Bradley, Lansing Lugnuts Rotation, Joe Ross)