In my last post (which you can read here), I took a look at the top prospects assigned to the eight teams in the Midwest League’s Eastern Division. This post is about the top prospects on the Opening Day rosters of the eight Western Division teams.
One of the most notable prospects on a Western Division team is a returnee to the Midwest League. Third baseman Nolan Gorman, a top St. Louis Cardinals prospect, returns to the Peoria Chiefs after hitting .202 with 6 HR and 16 RBI in 25 MWL games at the end of the regular season last year. (The 18-year-old also saw postseason action with the Chiefs, who reached the MWL Championship Series.) The 2018 first-rounder has above-average power and arm strength, and should hit for better average in his first full pro season. (Fun fact about Gorman: He was the first player in Chiefs history who was born in 2000 — the year Albert Pujols played for Peoria.)
The Marlins’ top pick in last year’s draft, Connor Scott, is assigned to the LumberKings in the first year of Clinton’s affiliation with Miami. The 19-year-old outfielder has five-tool potential, and looks to improve at the plate in his first full season as a pro.
Another first-round pick from last year’s draft is a player to watch on the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. Milwaukee Brewers prospect Brice Turang, a shortstop who turned 19 in November, is considered an advanced hitter for his age, and has plus-speed. He doesn’t have much power potential, but he does show plate discipline, drawing 31 walks in 42 rookie-level games last season.
Arizona Diamondbacks prospect Geraldo Perdomo, a 19-year-old shortstop from the Dominican Republic, is assigned to the Kane County Cougars. Baseball America calls him “one of the Diamondbacks’ most intriguing young prospects,” noting his advanced plate discipline and some offensive impact that emerged last year. BA says scouts see Perdomo as “a talented, instinctual, smart player in the mold of Tony Fernandez,” a former infielder (and fellow Dominican) who played 17 seasons in the major leagues, most notably with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Another notable prospect on the Cougars roster is Alek Thomas, a left-handed outfielder who batted .333 with 22 extra-base hits, 27 RBI, 24 walks and 12 stolen bases in 56 rookie-level games last season. He turns 19 later this month.
Another standout outfield prospect assigned to the Midwest League is Los Angeles Angels farmhand Jordyn Adams, who begins the season with the Burlington Bees. A two-sport star in high school (baseball and football), Adams shows great bat speed and quick feet, and has power potential. His first pro season was cut short by a broken jaw, but he still moves up from rookie-level to low-A to start this year.
The top Minnesota Twins prospect assigned to the Cedar Rapids Kernels is a returnee. RHP Blayne Enlow, who turned 20 last month, posted a 3.26 ERA in 94 innings with the Kernels last season, but also gave up 94 hits and 35 walks. He likely will be moved up to high-A sometime this season, assuming he finds more command consistency with Cedar Rapids first.
The Beloit Snappers lost out when Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray chose football over baseball — there was a good chance he would have played in the Midwest League — so instead they get second baseman Marcos Brito as the top Oakland Athletics prospect assigned to their roster. Brito is a speedy switch-hitter who turned 19 last month. He is very good on defense, but needs to improve on the .241 batting average he posted in 54 games in the New York-Penn League last season.
The starting shortstop for the Quad Cities River Bandits is 19-year-old Jeremy Pena, son of former St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Geronimo Pena. A third-round draft pick of the Houston Astros last year, Pena is above average defensively, but needs to improve at the plate. He batted .250 in 36 games in the NYPL last season, and is not a power threat.
To read about more of the prospects assigned to the Western Division teams, here are links to each club’s team preview and my posts about their coaching staffs: