OK, the bumpy ride getting through the minors Hot Stove and Top Prospect lists continues (you can indeed purchase my Top 250 Prospect List for a meager $6.95), and that means hitting the California League and then full season A-levels still await my scrutiny.
So, today we are back at it, looking at the Florida State League. (The next few weeks are subject to change, but we will roll on.)
Cornelius Randolph (20, OF, Phillies): I have written about Randolph before, particularly following the AFL, but the #1 pick of the Phils in 2015 comported himself well his first full year of professional baseball, hitting .250-13-58 with a modest 55 walks to 125 strikeouts, good for a .338 OBP. Randolph, who turns 21 in June, is likely ready for AA, though a couple of years there before any move to the big club is a reasonable expectation.
Shedrick Long (22, 2B, Reds): The irrepressibly named “Shed” was a 2013 high school selection who excelled at Daytona, hitting .312-13-36 before moving to Double-A Pensacola where he hit .227-3-14 over 42 games. Long, who turns 23 in August, should have a full season to settle and show if he can continue his minor league mean of .270-19-87 extrapolated over 162 games.
Tim Lynch (24, 2B, Yankees): A ninth-round selection of the Yankees from Southern Mississippi in 2016, at 24 Lynch is surely way older than most of his league mates, so his .310-13-40 season over 57 games should have been productive. That said, Lynch is ready for a serious challenge, like that of AA, and that will show where the bat hits the ball. For now it looks like Lynch should advance just fine, but his jump to the Show may prove more challenging than his younger compatriots on this list.
Brent Rooker (23, OF, Twins): A CBA pick last year from Mississippi State, Rooker hit .281-18-52 over 62 games after signing, including 11 doubles — 29 of his 64 hits went for extra bases. Rooker, who turned 22 in November, should start back at High-A but move quickly to Class-AA. He definitely could be an interesting power source for the Twins in the near future.
Taylor Widener (23, P, Yankees): A 12th rounder in 2016 from South Carolina, Widener had a solid first full season last year, going 7-6, 3.39 over 119.3 innings with 129 whiffs. Widener allowed just 87 hits and just five dingers, assembling a 1.05 WHIP, and the righty, who does not turn 24 until next October, should move up the chain quickly. He could even make a Pinstripe appearance in 2018.
Touki Toussaint (21, P, Braves): Arizona’s #1 selection in 2014, then swapped with Bronson Arroyo for Phillip Gosselin, the 6-foot-3 right-hander was 3-9, 5.04 over 105.3 frames with the Fire Toads, whiffing 123 and earning a promotion to Mississippi where he was 3-4, 3.18 over an additional 39.6 innings with 44 more strikeouts. That means 167 whiffs over 145 innings, but 67 walks led to a 1.34 WHIP, and that is where Toussaint needs to work next year to move up the ladder.
Ben Meyer (24, P, Marlins): A 29th rounder in 2015 from Minnesota, Meyer was 6-3, 2.02 over 111.3 High-A innings with 134 strikeouts and an 0.93 WHIP. Meyer, who turns 25 next month, really does have to show he has it at AA next year, but he certainly figured his way out of A.
Travis Ott (22, P, Rays): A 22nd rounder of the Nationals in 2013, Ott’s early claim-to-fame is being swapped with Steven Souza for Trey Turner just three years ago. Ott dominated A-ball, however, in 2017, going 10-3, 2.06 over 118 innings with 132 whiffs and a fine 1.12 WHIP. As with his pitching partners noted today, Ott needs to prove he can deliver even close to comparable numbers at AA next year, but the raw stuff looks to be there. Let’s see how he does against tougher hitters.
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