- Travis Demeritte – 3B, Braves
Atlanta Braves prospect Travis Demeritte, who was acquired from the Texas Rangers in the days leading up to the 2016 trade deadline, has struggled over the past 2 seasons. His batting averaged has hovered around .230 at AA and he is striking out at an alarming rate. With that being said, his upside is that of a power hitting 3B with a innate ability to get on base (his walk rate was 11% this past season). Demeritte finished the season strong, batting .293 with 5 HR and 11 BB over his last 87 PA. One can presume that several MLB organizations will be inclined to take a gamble on Demeritte, a former 1st round pick with some upside (potential starting 3B).
- Jhonathan Diaz – SP, Red Sox
Southpaw Jhonathan Diaz is a prime candidate to be taken in the earlier stages of the Rule 5 Draft. In 153 innings at A, Diaz had a 3.00 ERA, along with a 3.14 FIP and 3.41 xFIP. He walked less than 2 1/2 batters/9 IP and struck out over 8 1/2 batters/9 IP. With a plus curveball, Diaz is likely to carve out an MLB role of some sorts. His stat-line should be taken with a grain of salt — pitching in A vs AA is as different as night and day. Diaz’s plus curveball should warrant a selection in this year’s Rule 5 Draft though.
- Breiling Eusebio – SP, Rockies
Eusebio is another left-handed SP who could interest teams. He carries substantially more risk than Diaz, as he lost a year of developmental time due to TJ surgery. When healthy, he was able to rack up lots of strikeouts with a solid three pitch mix (changeup, fastball, and curveball) but his command remains a question mark. If he can return to health, he will likely begin to appear on top 100 prospect lists.
- Dom Nunez – C, Rockies
Dom Nunez, a former 6th round pick, has the profile of a left-handed-hitting backup catcher who could face RHP (get around 400 ABs). His walk rate was 12.2% at AA and he accrued 8 HRs over 377 PA. Nunez is not your typical catcher athlete — he has stolen around 8 bases every season. Nunez has a very high floor but a limited ceiling, which could prove to be the reason teams shy away from selecting him.
- Jonathan Arauz – INF, Astros
Jonathan Arauz, suspended in 2017 for use of an illegal substance, performed exceptionally well in A, hitting just under .300 with a .392 OBP; subsequently, he earned a promotion to A+, where he did not fare so well. The long season may have been wearing down on him. It is important to note that his PA total doubled that of the previous season (which was cut short because of the suspension). Arauz looks like he could be a productive utility infielder, having already received time at 3B, 2B, and SS.
- Drew Jackson – SS, Dodgers
Drew Jackson, a former Seattle Mariner 5th round pick, had a fairly strong year playing for the Tulsa Drillers (Dodger’s AA affiliate). In addition to playing adequate SS, Jackson hit for some power (15 HR) and stole 22 bases while managing to get on base at a .356 clip. It is important to note that his home stadium is very hitter-friendly, but his HR numbers are certainly an improvement over his small sample (1 HR over 130 PAs) in AA the year prior.
- Cristian Santana – 1B/3B, Dodgers
For the first time in his minor league career, Cristian Santana hit more than 8 HRs; in fact, he tripled his previous career high (he hit 24 big flies at A+). There are several white flags: his defense (could end up at 1B), his inability to get on base (3.4 BB%), and his propensity to chase (24.7 K%). With as much power as Santana has, you can expect a number of teams to look into drafting him.
- Cody Ponce – SP, Brewers
Although Ponce has a low ceiling (limited upside), there is a good chance he becomes a middle reliever or #5 starter in the next year or two. He utilizes a 4 pitch mix; Fangraphs deems his cutter and fastball as being his two best pitches. His WHIP was 1.28 and he struck out just over 8 batters/9 IP in AA. There is a good chance that at least a couple of teams will be willing to explore the possibility of selecting him to be one of their opening-day relievers.
- Max Schrock – UTL, Cardinals
Max Schrock is a very interesting prospect. He has stellar bat control, which enables him to frequently put the ball in play; however, it usually in the form of weak contact. Schrock’s 1st season at AAA after coming over from the Athletics as part of the Stephen Piscotty deal was a major disappointment. He hit a meager 4 HR and his OBP was below .300. Some teams may be more inclined to pick Schrock, as they highly value his defensive versatility (saw time at LF, 3B, and 2B).
- Richie Martin – SS, Athletics
Former 1st round pick out of the University of Florida, Richie Martin possesses an excellent glove at short. He has some extra base hit power (29 2Bs in AA), but you can only expect a handful of HRs every year (hit 6 this past season). He supplements his glove with very good speed (25 SB) and a high batting average (.300 on the dot). It seems to me like he’s got a good shot at developing into a glove-first every-day shortstop.