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Minors : : General

Published: Thursday, September 27, 2012

Contributing: Nick Kappel

Mike Trout served as the catalyst for last year's
PG Minor League All-Star Team much as he is for the Los Angeles Angels this year. That was the second year in a row that Trout served as the leadoff hitter on this postseason team recognizing the top performers and prospects from the recently completed minor league season. Over the years young stars such as Buster Posey, Jason Heyward, Madison Bumgarner and Jeremy Hellickson have also graced the roster.

Not surprising, nine of the 14 players named to the first team this year were former first-round picks. One (Hamilton) was taken in the second round, while another (Myers) was selected in the third. In addition, five of the players on the first team were named their respective organization's No. 1 prospects as part of Perfect Game's team-by-team top prospect rankings last winter.  The Astros, Marlins and Royals each have two players on the first team.

(Be sure to visit Perfect Game's Minor League page for access to these lists as well as other minor league features).

Similar to past years, with the help of PG intern Nick Kappel (@NickKappel), I have stacked up a team made up of players that have previously attended a Perfect Game event.  There are nine hitters listed, one at each position as well as a DH, in an order that easily could mirror a big-league All-Star lineup in years to come.

The starting staff has been expanded from three starters to four, and a short-relief closer specialist has also been named.


Starting Lineup

SS – Billy Hamilton (Reds)
This marks the second year in a row in which Hamilton has made PG's Minor League All-Star Team, last year serving as the shortstop while hitting ninth. Hamilton broke Vince Coleman's stolen base record with 155 swipes, and improved his ability to get on base from a year ago by reaching 41-percent of the time. He also hit .311 while legging out 22 doubles and 14 triples between the Reds' advanced-A and AA levels. Hamilton could find himself on this team once again a year from now as he's expected to spend more of 2013 at the AAA level, a quick phone call away from Cincinnati.

While Hamilton was the one obvious no-brainers to make this team, Addison Russell also received support for his impressive professional debut after being drafted 11th
 overall last June.

CF – George Springer (Astros)
Somewhat of an unknown coming out of high school in Connecticut, Springer had an impressive career at UConn, leading to him being taken 11th overall in last year's draft. After playing in only eight games after signing last summer, he made a mark during his first full professional season, playing most of the year at the Astros' high-A affiliate in the California League. There Springer hit .316/.398/557 while showing his exciting blend of speed (28 stolen bases) and power (18 doubles, 10 triples, 22 home runs). He didn't fare as well after a late-season call-up to AA, but should continue to post strong numbers at that level next year.

LF – Christian Yelich (Marlins)
After being named Perfect Game's No. 1 prospect in the Marlins system, Yelich, the Marlins first-round pick in 2010, continued to progress as a hitter in 2012. Spending almost the entire year at the team's advanced A-ball affiliate in the Florida State League, Yelich hit .330/.404/.519 in a league that favors pitching. A potential five-tool talent, he also hit 29 doubles, five triples and 12 home runs, with more power to come, while swiping 20 bases.

RF – Wil Myers (Royals)
Myers didn't have as strong of a season in 2011 after he was named to the 2010 PG Minor League All-Star team as a catcher. Now an outfielder, he quickly picked up where he left off two years ago in posting one of the most impressive seasons in the minors by hitting .314/.387/600 between the Royals' AA and AAA levels. Myers also hit 26 doubles and 37 home runs while driving in 109, and while the Royals have been patient with his progression, it looks as though he has nothing left to prove in the minors.

Outfield was a tough field to choose from, as David Dahl, Joc Pederson, Kyle Parker and Leon Landy were also considered.

1B – Hunter Morris (Brewers)
Morris was a PG/Aflac All-American in 2006, and turns 24 in early October, but it doesn't appear as though he needs much more seasoning in the minors before he makes an impact at the Major League level. He hit .303/.357/.563 with an incredible 74 extra base hits (40 doubles, six triples, 28 home runs) with 113 RBI on his way to being named the Southern League MVP.

If Anthony Rizzo, who made the team last year as a DH, or Chris Parmelee had spent more time in the minors either one likely would have gotten the nod over Morris. Jonathan Singleton, C.J. Cron and Daniel Vogelbach also posted impressive power numbers this season.

3B – Miles Head (Athletics)
Somewhat of an overlooked piece to the package that sent Andrew Bailey and Ryan Sweeney to the Red Sox, Head enjoyed a big year at the plate between the high-A and AA levels in the A's system. He hit 22 home runs between two levels in 2011, and 23 this year while hitting .333/.391/.577. Head may be best suited at first base long-term, but his impressive power production, and future potential, will make him a fit at any position.

Choosing the team's starting third baseman was far from a slam dunk, as Steven Proscia, Nick Castellanos and Matt Skole also received strong consideration.

C – Yasmani Grandal (Padres)
Catcher was the hardest position to choose from, but Grandal put up impressive numbers (.323/.432/.502) despite playing in only 58 games in the minors. He continued to hit the ball well in 48 games at the big-league level with a .280/.384/.465 slash line, and looks to be the team's backstop of the future. Grandal, the 12th overall pick in the 2010 draft, was one of the key cogs in the prospect package the Padres received from the Reds for Mat Latos.

Fellow former PG All-American Mike Zunino also posted big numbers in limited playing time, showing no problems making the transition to pro ball.

DH – David Dahl (Rockies)
As the 10th overall pick in the 2012 draft, Dahl's impressive professional debut made it impossible for him to be left off this team. He hit .379/.423/.625 with 22 doubles, 10 triples and nine home runs on his way to being named the Pioneer League's MVP. The Rockies have always shown interest in dynamic, well-rounded athletes, and Dahl definitely fits that mold, and as long as his production continues to match his promise he may find himself roaming the outfield in Coors Field in the next 2-3 years.

2B – Delino DeShields, Jr. (Astros)
More than a few eyebrows were raised when the Astros made DeShields the eighth overall pick in the 2010 draft, and after a difficult 2011 season in which he hit .220, he bounced back this year with a .287/.389/.428 line between two levels. He wasn't as productive after a late season call-up to the high-A level, but overall swung the bat well and proved to be a disturbance on the base-paths. DeShields' 100 stolen bases will serve as the perfect bookend for Hamiton's 155 swipes in this lineup.


Pitching Staff

SP – Jose Fernandez (Marlins)
Fernandez, like Hamilton and Myers, was one of the early locks to make this team thanks to a 14-1 season spent between the Marlins' low- and high-A affiliates. Teams may kick themselves in a few years, if they're not already, as to how Fernandez fell to the 14th overall pick with a large, sturdy frame and electric arm easily capable of producing mid- to upper-90s mph heat. He also throws a dominant breaking ball, leading to a 1.75 ERA in 25 starts this year, including a 158-to-35 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 134 innings of work.

SP – Trevor Bauer (Diamondbacks)
Most expected Bauer to make a quick study of the minor leagues after an impressive career at UCLA which led to him being taken third overall by the Diamondbacks in the 2011 draft. He lived up to those expectations, going 12-2 with a 2.42 ERA in 22 starts between the D-Backs AA and AAA levels. Bauer also continued to show the easy ability to miss bats, striking out 157 in 130 innings, although he did walk 61 batters. He also made six starts from late June to mid-July, and while he posted a 6.06 ERA during that time, Bauer should be a fixture in Arizona's starting staff starting next April.

SP – Dylan Bundy (Orioles)
After the Orioles took Bundy with the fourth overall pick in the 2011 draft, he appeared to have no problems adjusting to life in pro ball, soaring across three levels this summer prior to getting the late season call up to Baltimore. Collectively he went 9-3 with a 2.08 ERA in the minors, striking out 119 and walking only 28 in over 103 innings of work. Bundy appears as though he'll be a fixture in the Orioles starting staff for years to come, and will help the team prove their success this season at the big-league level was far from a fluke.

SP – Jake Odorizzi (Royals)
While Odorizzi was the youngest player included in the trade that sent Zack Greinke to the Brewers, Odorizzi appears to be the most important, and his progression may make Greinke's departure a distant memory in the not-so-distant future. Like Bundy, Odorizzi is finishing the season on the big-league staff with the Royals after going 15-5 with a 3.03 ERA between the AA and AAA levels.

Starting pitcher is the most difficult area to select from each and every year, as we went four teams deep when deciding who should be among the four-man rotation. Here are the other three staffs:

Staff 2:
Gerrit Cole, Danny Hultzen, Zack Wheeler, Michael Foltynewicz.
Staff 3: Alex Meyer, Jesse Biddle, Archie Bradley, Justin Nicolino.
Staff 4: Matt Magill, B.J. Hermsen, Nicholas Tropeano, Seth Maness.

CL – Kevin Quackenbush (Padres)
The Padres eighth-round pick from the 2011 draft, Quackenbush was stingy giving up runs during his first full professional season, posting a 0.94 ERA in the California League, a league that favors big offensive performances. He saved 27 games in 52 relief appearances, striking out 70 and allowing only 42 hits and 22 walks in 57.2 innings of work.

Jason Stoffel and Danny Barnes would form a fine set-up tandem after posting 27 and 34 saves respectively.

 
 
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