Hey guys, we’re nearing the end of the 2016 regular season in the SAL, it’s been a fun ride. A lot of talent came through the league this year and I had a blast trying to chase everybody down that I wanted to see (that pesky job really does get in the way some times).
It’s time to start transitioning into Fall here at Notes which means lots of end of season prospect lists. But first, I thought I would get things rolling today by recognizing some outstanding statistical performances in the 2016 SAL. This started as a 1st and 2nd team all SAL but it’s getting really long so I’m going to release the top performing infielders today, and outfield and pitching tomorrow. So instead of 1st and 2nd team all SAL the new name will be top performers in the 2016 SAL infield edition.
Some positions are deeper than others, there are some names I wanted to include on this list that just got squeezed out. I’ll list a few of them at the bottom of some of the deeper positions.
1st team: Yermin Mercedes – Delmarva Shorebirds (Orioles) Mercedes had a very productive year for the Shorebirds hitting .353/.411/.579 in 340 at bats and he will likely be on a short list for MVP consideration. I got one look at Mercedes this year and he looked very good in the batters box. I do have concerns defensively though.
2nd team: Xavier Fernandez – Lexington Legends (Royals) There was a big drop off offensively at catcher after Mercedes. Fernandez had a solid year offensively .264/.329/.414 in 280 at bats. He narrowly edged Jonathan Morales of Rome for this spot mostly because of his .150 ISO. I don’t recall seeing Fernandez this year.
1st team: Brian Mundell – Asheville Tourists (Rockies) Mundell has had an excellent 2016 in Asheville leading the circuit with 52 doubles and putting up a line of .320/.388/.519. I think the league MVP will either be Mundell or Yermin Mercedes. I saw a lot of Mundell and the Tourists this year I like him but being 1B only and right handed that’s a lot of pressure on the bat. Well see.
2nd team: Chris Gittens – Charleston Riverdogs (Yankees) Gittens has had a solid year offensively in Charleston at .255/.363/.474 and his .219 ISO is really impressive. Gittens is a strong young man and as of 1 month ago he had the record for the hardest hit ball in Greenville this year at 117 MPH exit velocity. There are questions about whether or not he will hit enough but the power is real.
1st team: Andy Ibanez – Hickory Crawdads (Rangers) The high profile Cuban import destroyed the level for 49 games before being promoted. He hit .324/.413/.546. I got a couple of looks at Ibanez he’s a good young hitter but I don’t think the .222 ISO is sustainable.
2nd team: Max Schrock – Hagerstown Suns (Nationals) Shrock had a very good year in Hagerstown hitting .326/.381/.459. I got a couple of looks he makes a lot of contact and handles the bat very well. Not a super toolsy player, average power and good speed.
2nd base was deep. I was hoping to include Luis Alejandro Basabe of Greenville here. He had an excellent 1st half hitting for average and showing decent pop. He was traded at the deadline to Arizona. Vinny Siena (Columbia) deserves a mention he was lighting up the SAL in the 1st half before being promoted to St Lucie. Also Josh Tobias of Lakewood was having a strong year with the bat and earned a promotion to Clearwater.
1st team: David Thompson – Columbia Fireflies (Mets) Thompson had a strong 1st half with Columbia hitting .294/.344/.474 over 61 games earning a promotion to St Lucie. Thompson got dinged up right before I was due to get my 2nd and 3rd look at him. So I don’t have a lot to work with but he put on a pretty good show in BP. Bat speed was more average/above average than plus though.
2nd team: Miguel Gomez – Augusta Greenjackets (Giants) Gomez is listed as a catcher but he converted to utility infield played everything but SS. 3rd is where he saw the most time so I figured I’d add him here. He had a really strong 1st half with Augusta hitting .371/.401/.532 over 66 games. I only got one early look at Augusta and I didn’t make a note of Gomez.
I would have liked to gotten Austin Riley on here now that he’s catching up to fastballs, but the others are more deserving. Kelvin Gutierrez from Hagerstown and Ke’Bryan Hayes from West Virginia are also worthy of shoutout
1st team: Brendan Rodgers – Asheville Tourists (Rockies) Rodgers has had a bit of an up down year in 2016. He got off to a torrid start hitting .328/.392/.513 over the 1st 32 games. With 12 doubles and 7 HR. Injuries and inconsistencies followed but he seems to have rediscovered it lately and is closing strong. He was #1 on my SAL mid season prospect list 1st annual mid season top 20 Sal league prospects list. I think he has the potential to be an above average regular or better at a premium defensive position
2nd team: Ryan Mountcastle – Delmarva Shorebirds (Orioles) Mountcastle had a pretty good season offensively hitting .284/.324/.424 which is pretty solid as a 19 year old in his 1st full season. I only got one look at Mountcastle but he flashed some really quick wrists, he should develop as least medium power. Unfortunately the game I saw he DH’d but I have heard from a source that he doesn’t have a SS arm which clouds the picture a bit and applies more pressure on the bat.
Last year was the year of the shortstop in the Sally. You had Ozzie Albies, Jorge Mateo, Javier Guerra, Cole Tucker, Michael De Leon, Malquin Canelo and Luis Guillorme etc…..
This year we had some talent too Yeyson Yrizarri, Lucius Fox, Marten Gasparini, Johan Cruz, Milton Ramos, Anfernee Seymour, Kyle Holder and Hoy Yun Park. But none of them really stepped forward with the bat.
This concludes part one of the top performers. I’ll be back tomorrow with a look at the top outfield and pitching performers. Cheers