Four players ranked by Baseball America among the top 30 Arizona Diamondbacks prospects are assigned to the Kane County Cougars for the start of the 2015 season: shortstop Sergio Alcantara (No. 20), outfielder/catcher Stryker Trahan (No. 21), RHP Jeferson Mejia (No. 23) and RHP Brent Jones (No. 25).
Alcantara is an 18-year-old switch-hitter from the Dominican Republic. In its 2015 Prospect Handbook, Baseball America lauds Alcantara’s fielding ability: “He’s already a plus defender at shortstop with a double-plus arm, and he drew raves from opposing managers at Rookie-level Missoula for his defensive play in 2014.” In 70 games last year, he batted .244 with 1 HR, 18 RBI, 48 walks and 62 strikeouts.
Trahan spent much of the 2014 season in the Midwest League, with the South Bend Silver Hawks (who were Arizona’s MWL affiliate last year). He hit 13 homers and drove in 52 runs, but otherwise struggled offensively (.198 BA, 30 BB, 146 Ks in 95 games). The Diamondbacks eventually sent him down to short-season Hillsboro, where he hit .257 with 6 HR and 22 RBI in 30 games. He will turn 21 later this month.
This will be Mejia’s first full season and his first in the Diamondbacks organization after Arizona acquired him and former Cougars RHP Zack Godley from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for catcher Miguel Montero this past offseason. Baseball America calls Mejia, 19, “an intriguing but raw prospect … a big-bodied kid who delivers a mid- to high-90s fastball using an over-the-top delivery with downward plane and hard sink.” In 12 rookie-level games last year, Mejia went 2-4 with a 2.48 ERA, 17 walks and 45 strikeouts in 40 IP.
Jones, 22, enters his first full season after pitching 63 innings split between Hillsboro and South Bend last year. He cumulatively went 7-3 with a 3.29 ERA, 22 walks and 45 strikeouts.
Some other former Silver Hawks returning to the Midwest League as Cougars this year are infielders Marty Herum (.273 BA, 4 HR, 38 RBI in 83 games) and Joe Munoz (.246 BA, 9 HR, 44 RBI in 81 games), outfielder Chuck Taylor (.285 BA, 3 HR, 50 RBI in 109 games), and RHP Markus Solbach (2-3, 3.96 ERA, 20 Ks, 4 BB in 36.1 IP).
Reliever Zac Curtis led the Northwest League with 14 saves last season, and outfielder Grant Heyman’s .315 batting average was seventh-best in the short-season league.