Prospect Team Of The Month: April
An all-star team comprised of prospects, based on their performance in the minors during the month of April. Monthly all-prospect team archives available here. Park-adjusted OPS+ and ERA+ are calculated by Baseball America in the style of the familiar Baseball-Reference.com index statistics. Park factors for the 2016 season are used in all cases.
C Will Smith • Dodgers High Class A Rancho Cucamonga (California) The third Atlantic Coast Conference catcher drafted in the first round last June—behind Zack Collins and Matt Thaiss—Smith has hit the ground running in the California League. Thaiss already has shifted to first base in the Angels system, while Collins, now a White Sox prospect, doesn't have the defensive tools to match Smith, who should provide at least average offensive production for a catcher.
1B Rhys Hoskins • Phillies Triple-A Lehigh Valley (International)
Righthanded-hitting first basemen get no respect, but Hoskins is making a case to be an exception to that rule. After blasting 38 home runs and driving in 116 runs at Double-A Reading last year, Hoskins has continued to crush the ball and make steady contact as he advances to Triple-A.
2B Kevin Kramer • Pirates Double-A Altoona (Eastern) The Pirates selected collegians Kevin Newman (first round) and Kramer (second) in the 2015 draft, and the two have reunited as double-play partners at Altoona this season. The lefthanded-hitting Kramer could boost his prospect stock significantly if he keeps hitting the ball with as much authority as he did in April.
3B Vladimir Guerrero Jr. • Blue Jays Low Class A Lansing (Midwest) The second-youngest player to open the season on an Opening Day roster, the 18-year-old Guerrero also is one of the most promising. He has had no trouble acclimating to full-season ball after ranking as the No. 1 prospect in the Rookie-level Appalachian League a year ago. Guerrero had nearly as many extra-base hits (nine) as strikeouts (11) in April.
SS Bo Bichette • Blue Jays Low Class A Lansing (Midwest) A 2016 second-rounder and Florida prep, Bichette torched the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League in his debut, hitting .427 with power in 22 games, until a bout of appendicitis truncated his season. He has picked right up in full-season ball where he left off last year. Bichette teams with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to form perhaps the most formidable left side of the infield in the minors.
OF Anthony Alford • Blue Jays Double-A New Hampshire (Eastern) A knee injury and concussion short-circuited Alford's 2016 season, but he appeared to be in fine form while making his Double-A debut this season. With good feel to hit (.356 average), plate patience (nine walks) and plus speed (seven stolen bases), Alford profiles as an impact table-setter.
OF Christin Stewart • Tigers Double-A Erie (Eastern) Stewart hit just .218 in a month at Double-A last season, but he still finished with 30 home runs and 86 walks on the year. Both totals ranked among the highest in the minors. The 2015 first-rounder continues to play to his strengths this year—minus the slow start—with plus power and patience.
OF Marcus Wilson • Diamondbacks Low Class A Kane County (Midwest) The D-backs made Wilson, a California prep, a supplemental second-round pick in 2014, projecting him to grow into more strength. That has begun to happen this season for the 20-year-old, who also has benefited from greater maturity. Wilson flashed a bit of everything—power, speed, contact ability, patience—in April.
RHP Dane Dunning • White Sox Low Class A Kannapolis (South Atlantic) A Nationals first-round pick last June, Dunning joined the White Sox organization, along with Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez, when Chicago traded Adam Eaton to Washington. A product of the University of Florida, Dunning and his above-average fastball and changeup were too advanced for the South Atlantic League, so the White Sox bumped him to high Class A Winston-Salem in May.
RHP Jack Flaherty • Cardinals Double-A Springfield (Texas) Sharper control and physical gains have helped Flaherty's stuff dominate in his first taste of Double-A. The Los Angeles prep and 2014 first-rounder leads a Springfield rotation that also includes top prospects Sandy Alcantara, Dakota Hudson and Austin Gomber.
LHP Luiz Gohara • Braves High Class A Florida (Florida State) Gohara failed to make a full-season Opening Day roster in four years in the Mariners system, but after Seattle traded him to the Braves in January, he not only made the high Class A Florida roster—he dominated. Gohara has prototype size (6-foot-3) and power stuff (fastball, slider) to profile as a front-end starter, provided that he keeps throwing strikes.
RHP Merandy Gonzalez • Mets Low Class A Columbia (South Atlantic) Gonzalez shined in the short-season New York-Penn League last year and jumped out to a fast start in full-season ball in 2017. He has been so sharp that he was one of five qualified minor league pitchers to not allow an earned run in April. Gonzalez blends an excellent fastball-curveball combo that could play in a big league rotation if he develops sufficient command.
RHP Tyler Mahle • Reds Double-A Pensacola (Southern) Mahle threw the second perfect game in Southern League history in April and exhibits fine command of a fastball up to 97 mph. With further improvement to his slider—which is entirely possible given how far his fastball has come in pro ball—Mahle will pitch in a big league rotation.
2019 MLB All-Rookie Team
Baseball America's annual All-Rookie team, featuring prominent names like Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Pete Alonso, Yordan Alvarez & more.