April Prospect Team Of The Month
An all-star team comprised of prospects, based on their performance in the minors during the month of April.
The runs above average estimates are calculated by Baseball America. For batters, weighted on-base average (wOBA) is used to calculate RAA. For pitchers, runs allowed per nine innings (R/9) is used.
PA stands for plate appearances.
C Austin Allen • Padres
Double-A San Antonio (Texas)
Runs above average: 12.2
The lefthanded-hitting Allen led all minor league batters with 12 doubles and 20 extra-base hits in April and did so while playing catcher every day. He hit .364/.423/.773 with eight home runs in 97 PA after ranking fourth in the high Class A California League with 22 homers last year.
1B Peter Alonso • Mets
Double-A Binghamton (Eastern)
Runs above average: 15.5
Alonso hit .408 and launched seven home runs in April while recording a minor league-best .505 on-base percentage. His 15 walks and 15 strikeouts in 93 PA represent a leap forward in his plate discipline metrics and could point to a breakthrough.
2B Shed Long • Reds
Double-A Pensacola (Southern)
Runs above average: 6.4
Long entered pro ball as a catcher but has made a name for himself as a second baseman in recent seasons. He spent a couple months in the Southern League in 2017 and got off to a fast start after returning there this season, batting .351/.432/.468 with eight extra-base hits, 11 walks and four stolen bases in 89 PA.
3B Taylor Ward • Angels
Double-A Mobile (Southern)
Runs above average: 9.8
The Angels converted the 2015 first-rounder from catcher to third base this season after he received mixed reviews for his receiving, blocking and game-calling behind the plate. Ward still is adjusting to the defensive demands of the hot corner, but his strong plate discipline (16 walks, 17 strikeouts) paved the way for a .385/.490/.513 batting line with two home runs in 96 PA in April.
SS Kevin Smith • Blue Jays
Low Class A Lansing (Midwest)
Runs above average: 7.9
The 2017 fourth-rounder from Maryland built his reputation in college with his defensive excellence at shortstop, but Smith's bat is beginning to do some of the talking this spring in the Midwest League. He hit .330/.381/.568 in 97 PA with 14 extra-base hits—including three home runs—and six stolen bases in six attempts in April.
OF Juan Soto • Nationals
High Class A Potomac (Carolina)
Runs above average: 14.1
Soto missed the majority of 2017 with an ankle injury, but his rust was not apparent this spring in a return trip to low Class A Hagerstown. He hit .373 with 13 extra-base hits in 16 games with more walks (14) than strikeouts (13) to earn a quick promotion to the Carolina League, where he continued to rake. Soto's ascension translated into a climb of more than 20 places on our May update of the Top 100 Prospects.
OF Calvin Mitchell • Pirates
Low Class A West Virginia (South Atlantic)
Runs above average: 10.6
The Pirates drafted Mitchell in the second round last year, and the SoCal prep has had no trouble adjusting to full-season ball or the cold April weather. Because of his left field (or possibly first base) profile, Mitchell will have to hit, which he did in April with a .364 /.418/.625 batting line with three home runs, eight doubles and three triples in 99 PA.
OF Luis Alexander Basabe • White Sox
High Class A Winston-Salem (Carolina)
Runs above average: 8.5
Part of the package Chicago received from the Red Sox for Chris Sale after the 2016 season, Basabe struggled mightily in the Carolina League in 2017. The switch-hitter rebounded at Winsotn-Salem this April by batting .310/.396/.607 with four home runs in 96 PA.
RHP Shane Bieber • Indians
Double-A Akron (Eastern)
Runs above average: 8.4
Bieber's combination of supreme control—0.6 walks per nine innings for his career—and an uptick in stuff helped produce a standout performance at Akron in April: 3-0, 1.16 with 30 strikeouts and one walk in 31 innings. That led to a May promotion to Triple-A Columbus.
LHP Jesus Luzardo • Athletics
Double-A Midland (Texas)
Runs above average: 6.6
A fastball and changeup that both grade as plus to double-plus helped the 20-year-old Luzardo rocket to high Class A Stockton and then to Midland this season—despite just 43 innings of pro experience coming into the year. All told he recorded a 2.19 ERA with 37 strikeouts, seven walks and 15 hits allowed in 24.2 innings.
RHP Corbin Martin • Astros
High Class A Buies Creek (Carolina)
Runs above average: 8.8
An outstanding fastball-curveball combination helped Martin strike out 26 Carolina League batters in 19 innings while allowing just four hits and zero earned runs in April. The Astros promoted the 2017 second-rounder from Texas A&M to Double-A Corpus Christi in May.
RHP Tony Santillan • Reds
High Class A Daytona (Florida State)
Runs above average: 8.2
The hard-throwing Santillan shined in the Florida State League in April by beginning the season with a streak of 21 scoreless innings. In total he allowed just two earned runs while striking out 29 and walking eight in 28.1 innings. If Santillan's control gains are real, then he could be on the verge of a breakout.
RHP Mike Soroka • Braves
Triple-A Gwinnett (International)
Runs above average: 5.9
The 20-year-old Soroka cruised through four starts at Gwinnett, going 2-0, 1.99 with 24 strikeouts and five walks in 22.2 innings, on his way to a May callup to Atlanta. He is the youngest pitcher in the majors leagues, and he and Atlanta teammates Ronald Acuna Jr. and Ozzie Albies are the three youngest players in MLB.