It’s been a quick first quarter of the season in the minor leagues and a lot of prospects have already flashed their skills and raised awareness of their game or improved their stock in the organization. Some of them are familiar names while others are kind of breaking out.
Here are eight blue chips, along with a few other lower-profile players who could be pushing up more next month.
1. Aramis Ademan is flashing a little bit more muscle this year and hitting for a much higher average in his second go-round at Myrtle Beach. He is also showing much improved plate discipline with a 16.2% walk rate. Ademan has been playing the occasional game at second base and should not be around Myrtle Beach much longer. The All-Star break would be a good time to move him up to Tennessee.
2. Tyson Miller has just been dominant. He’s putting together the type of performance you want from your top pitching prospects. When MLB Pipeline releases their new top 30 after the draft, Miller should easily be in the top 10, maybe even top six. He’s got mid-90’s stuff, command, and the mental fortitude to shake things off and grind through games.
3. Robel Garcia may not technically qualify as a prospect in traditional terms, but the former Cleveland Indians farmhand via Italy has been taking the Cubs system by storm. He had a wRC+ of over 180 at Double-A Tennessee and was name the Cubs’ MiLB Player of the Month before he advanced to Iowa in early May. Garcia seems to be adjusting just fine in his second week of play and has been so good at the plate that he could be the PoM for May, too!
4. Riley Thompson has been sitting at 94-96 most days and is the most impressive arm in the system after Miller. He’s got a developing 12-to-6 curve with a vicious bite and if his changeup or slider sync up, he could be a fast mover this summer..
5. Jose Albertos is being held back in extended spring training this year, which is a smart move by the Cubs. After his little breakdown last year, the number one thing Albertos needs is confidence. He’s been throwing in the low-to-mid 90’s with command and he’s also punching guys out. Granted, it isn’t against elite competition, but it’s something to be hopeful for. He still just 20 years old, so he just needs to stay healthy and carry this performance into the higher levels
6. Oscar De La Cruz has a 1.04 ERA after his first five starts for Myrtle Beach and Tennessee and has looked flat-out wicked doing it. He’s got his fastball going with some good arm-side run and his curve looks to be falling off the table again. Maybe a suspension for using a masking agent might’ve been the best thing that ever happened to him.
7. Cole Roederer is working at a steady pace, slowly improving every week. Just 19, the young outfielder for South Bend has improved his bat-to-ball skills along the way. That’s impressive, considering he’s facing advanced pitching for the first time. His BABIP used to be in the mid .200’s, but it crept above .300 for the first time last week. His wRC+ broke 100 last week, too, so June and July could be his months.
8. Brailyn Marquez looks to finally be rounding into shape this month. The youngster with the upper-90’s heat is growing more efficient in his approach on the mound. Hopefully, his mental maturity will coincide with his continued development in his first year of full-season ball.
Other Movers and Shakers – As May is quickly passing by, there are several prospects who are just now starting to put things together after a rough April. Andy Weber of South Bend is stringing together some multi-hit games and Kevonte Mitchell is finally starting to tap into his immense power profile. Paul Richan and his two plus offspeed pitches looks to have adapted to Carolina League play and Derek Casey of South Bend is bouncing back in a big way after throwing a 7-inning no-hitter for South Bend.