Winning is of secondary importance in the Minor Leagues. However, there is clearly an added intensity to the playoffs.
For Low A, High A and AA there are best of five playoff games for each of the three leagues at each level.
The MiLB Playoffs started on Tuesday and they are free to watch on MiLB.tv. Some of the camera angles may not be perfect but it is fun to watch!
2021 MiLB Prospect Notes 9-23-21
Young International Position Prospects
Back on the July 15th edition of the MiLB Prospect Notes we looked at international players who were playing in full-season ball for the first time.
I believe that this is a particularly important step for these prospects as they are exposed to more experienced and better pitching than they see in the Dominican Summer and the Complex League.
With the season winding down, I wanted to take another look at how these prospects are doing.
Luisangel Acuna (TEX 19 SS)
Acuna spent the entire year at Low A Down East and continued to have a solid year after struggling in May. Acuna stole 44 bases and showed a bit of pop with 12 homers. Acuna split the year between shortstop and second base and had a respectable strikeout rate at 23.3 percent and a walk rate at 10.4 percent.
Francisco Alvarez (NYM 19 C)
Álvarez spent most of the year in High A and proved he is an advanced offensive player. Álvarez finished strong with six homers in his final 13 games.
Mets top prospect Francisco Álvarez now has his 24th home run of the season in only 99 games.
— Michael Mayer (@mikemayer22) September 18, 2021
Benyamin Bailey (CHW 20 OF)
A physical specimen who had some hype coming into the year, but Bailey proved to not be ready for Low A and was sent down to the Complex League after 21 games.
Aaron Bracho (CLE 20 2B)
An offensive first player who never got going and finished with a 58 wRC+. Bracho missed most of August with a thumb injury.
Brayan Buelvas (OAK 19 OF)
Perhaps my favorite prospect from this list to breakout in 2022. While Buelvas was not great (88 wRC+), he show some skills (16 homers and 17 steals) and does not have any red flags (respectable 24.2 percent strikeout rate and 9.2 percent walk rate.).
Antonio Cabello (TEX 20 OF)
Acquired in the Rougned Odor trade in April, Cabello was overmatched in Low A and was sent down to the Complex League at the end of July.
Sergio Campana (PIT 19 OF)
The Low A assignment was too aggressive for Campana who hit no homers and struck out 25.6 percent of the time before being sent down after 51 games.
Diego Cartaya (LAD 20 C)
After an impressive start, Cartaya missed the last two months with a hamstring injury.
Darryl Collins (KC 20 OF)
Collins' calling card is an advanced hit tool. He walked 55 times and only stuck out 52 times. Collins is probably a corner outfielder so he likely needs to develop power to be an everyday player. His best month was in May and he was out for a few weeks in July and August but really struggled before and after missing the time so I am sure if an injury was a factor.
Alex De Jesus (LAD 19 SS)
Here is a prospect that got much better as the year went on. Through June 3oth, De Jesus had a 88 wRC+ and a 37.4 percent strikeout rate. After June 30th, the strikeout rate was 24.9 percent with a wRC+ of 149. De Jesus walked 16.4 percent of the time on the year.
It is unlikely that De Jesus remains at shortstop but I think his improvement in 2021 largely went under the radar.
Jeremy De La Rosa (WAS 19 OF)
Washington does not have a deep farm system and they can be aggressive with their prospects. De La Rosa struggled at Low A but he did show improvement with a 127 wRC+ in September. Look for De La Rosa to repeat Low A in 2022 and he has a chance to be much better next year.
Jasson Dominguez (NYY 18 OF)
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When I wrote the original article, Dominguez has just been promoted to Low A Tampa. He ended up playing 49 games in Low A and did fine (105 wRC+). However, given all the hype, Dominguez was not the instant star some expected.
Maikol Escotto (PIT 19 SS)
After a nice start to the year, Escotto struggled badly at the end. In the last 32 games of the year, Escotto had a .186./.276 /.246 with no homers. Escotto did homer in the first game of the playoffs.
Heriberto Hernandez (TB 21 OF)
It is a nice combination of power and patience. Between July 17th and August 10th, Hernandez hit .333/.424/.708 with eight home runs in 17 games. However, Hernandez has not played since.
The Rays did not use Hernandez as a catcher. He mostly played leftfield but all his value is going to be with the bat.
D'Shawn Knowles (LAA 20 OF)
There was an unbelievable amount of hype for Knowles in 2018 based on his performance in the Arizona League (AZL) and Pioneer League. He finally made his full-season debut in 2021 and had a .280 on base percentage.
Knowles is very fast but there does not seem to be much else here.
Marco Luciano (SF 20 SS)
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Luciano was promoted to High A Eugene on August 4th. For the first time in his career, Luciano struggled. In 36 games, Luciano struck out 37.2 percent of the time, only hitting one home run with a 59 wRC+.
Kevin Made (CHC 19 SS)
One of the younger players in Low A, Made hit for a decent average (.272), but hit for little power (.094 ISO), and rarely walked (2.5 percent walk rate). Made will likely repeat Low A and look to improve his on-base skills and counting stats (one homer and two steals).
Noelvi Marte (SEA 19 SS)
Marte had a solid season but did fade down the stretch. Marte closed the season with a 30 game homerless stretch. He spent most of the year with Low A Modesto, but was promoted to High A Everett for the last eight games of the year.
Angel Martinez (CLE 19 2B/SS)
Martinez got off to a promising start with a .903 OPS in his first 43 games but over the final 36 games of the year, Martinez has an OPS of just .507 with six extra-base hits.
Orelvis Martinez (TOR 19 SS)
As I was writing the first article in mid-July, Martinez was having a huge week. Beginning on July 13th he had a five-game stretch where he hit six homers. Martinez was promoted to High A Vancouver on August 2nd after a 29 game stretch where he had a 198 wRC+ with 13 homers.
Martinez hit seven more homers in 27 High A games and reduced his strikeout percent from 26.1 percent in Low A to 22.4 in High A.
There is little doubt that Martinez will hit but where he will play is more in question. Bo Bichette appears to be the Jays shortstop for the foreseeable future. Martinez will likely outgrow shortstop anyway with third base being his most likely position.
Luis Matos (SF 19 OF)
Matos spent the entire year at Low A San Jose and was remarkably consistent. Matos had a 12.4 percent strikeout rate with 51 extra-base hits and 21 steals. He is an advanced player for his with a high floor.
Victor Mesa Jr. (MIA 20 OF)
Mesa did improve as the year went on but I am not sure what his standout skills are.
Alexander Mojica (PIT 19 3B)
In hindsight, Mojica who was 18 for most of the year may have been better off waiting to make his full-season debut until 2022. Mojica became more aggressive (5.6 percent walk rate) after July 15th but it did not result in better batted ball numbers. His walk rate through June 30th was 16.6 percent.
Keithron Moss (TEX 20 OF)
Moss had some hype in 2019 from the Rangers' strong AZL team but was exposed at Low A with a 43 percent strike-out rate in 61 games before being sent down the Complex League.
Jhonkensy Noel (CLE 20 1B/3B)
A power hitter with limited defensive value. Noel hit all year despite missing time with injuries. Noel was promoted to High A Lake County for the last 26 games and continued to hit well. Noel's walk rate was better in High A (8.1 percent versus 4.7 percent) but his strikeout rate did spike (27.9 percent versus 16.7).
The Cleveland baseball team will be dealing with a 40 man roster crunch this winter and Noel could be available in the Rule V draft.
Andy Pages (LAD 20 OF)
The Dodgers had Pages skip Low A and begin the year at High A Great Lakes where he spent the entire year. With 31 home runs, Pages tied Ryan McBroom and Dermis Garcia for the most homers in 2021 at a single level.
Pages lowered his strike-out rate (24.5 percent versus 28.3 percent) and increased his walk rate (14.3 percent versus 9.3 perfect) from 2019. Pages, who also has a great arm, firmly established himself as the Dodgers future rightfielder.
Here's how the stage was set for Andy Pages' 30th homer:
6th - hit a tape measure homer
8th - grazed by a pitch up near his head, tempers flared
9th - came up with two outs, two on, and down by two runs
— Josh Thomas (@jokeylocomotive) September 13, 2021
Wilderd Patino (ARI 20 OF)
Patino missed much of the season with a quad strain. He played ten games in May before the injury and did not return to Low A Visalia until August 26th.
Yohendrick Pinango (CHC 19 OF)
There are good contact skills here but I am not sure what else. Pinango only hit two homers in his last 69 games. After stealing 27 bases in the Dominican Summer League in 2019, Pinango only stole eight bases in 2021.
Alexfri Planez (CLE 20 OF)
Planez finished the year strong with seven homers and a .316 average in his last 38 games but he only walked four times during this stretch. Cleveland has Oscar Gonzalez in its organization and he continues to find success in the upper minor without walking but the odds are not good for Planez without a major approach change.
Jairo Pomares (SF 21 OF)
Pomares has hit at every level and will have to continue because defensively he is likely limited to left field, first base or DH. Pomares was promoted to High A on August 17th and got off to a great start although he did slump a bit towards the end. Pomares finished the year with 48 extra-base hits in 77 games.
Robert Puason (OAK 19 SS)
The only prospect from the 2019 international free agent class to spend the entire season in full-season ball. With a 41.7 percent strikeout rate and a .076 ISO clearly he was not ready. It took a .383 BABAP for Puason to hit .215.
The question is whether Puason's confidence is strong enough to overcome the struggles and whether the skills that caused the Athletics to use approximately 88 percent of their international free agent pool in 2019 to sign Puason develops.
Bryan Ramos (CHW 19 2B/3B)
Ramos spent the entire year with Low A Kannapolis. Of his 13 homers and 13 steals, eights homers and nine steals were in May and June. After DHing a lot early in the year, Ramos did play third base more in the second half of the season.
While Ramos held his own in 2021, he also did not show any standout skills but he is still very young.
Brayan Rocchio (CLE 20 SS)
There are several prospects that have taken their game to the next level since the article on July 15th, none were more impressive than Brayan Rocchio. Rocchio skipped Low A and was solid in high A Lake County. He was promoted to AA Akron on July 30th and has a 135 wRC+ in 44 games.
Given his age and lack of experience (he was stuck in Venezuela so he did not participate in the alternate training site and instructional league in 2020) Rocchio having success at AA is impressive. However, I believe he will be a better real life player than fantasy asset.
Bryan Rocchio launches his 13th homer of the year off of Cade Cavalli pic.twitter.com/a7tDjib2vW
— Justin L. (@JL_Baseball) August 18, 2021
Gabriel Rodriguez (CLE 19 SS/3B)
Rodriguez hit a little better in August and Sepember but in 39 games had two home runs and one steal.
Jose Rodriguez (CHW 20 SS)
When Rodriguez got promoted to High A Winston Salem on August 10th his play really took off. In 29 games in High A Rodriguez hit .361/.381/.538 with five homers and 10 steals earning a promotion to AA. Birmingham for the last few games of the year.
Rodriguez has been very productive but there is some question regarding how both the power and speed will play at higher levels. He does not walk much and there is a question of whether he will stick at shortstop.
— White Sox Daily (@dailywhitesox) September 11, 2021
Johan Rojas (PHI 21 OF)
Rojas is very skilled but was mediocre for most of the year in 78 games for low A Clearwater (86 wRC+). He was promoted to High A Jersey Shore on September 2nd and finished the year with an incredible 17 game stretch.
At High A Rojas was 22 for 64 with three homers and eight steals. He only struck out eight times and walked seven times.
Misael Urbina (MIN 19 OF)
In the previous article, I mentioned Urbina's poor ISO and on base percentage. Since then the ISO went from .101 to .095 and the OBP from .315 to .299.
George Valera (CLE 20 OF)
Valera has finally been healthy for an extended period and went on a huge hot steak for High A Lake County. Valera combines power with big walk rates. He was promoted to AA Akron on August 25th and it has been more of a challenge with BB/K of 0.37 compared to 0.95 at High A. However, Valera still has 22 RBIs in 23 AA games.
Recent Full International Full Season Position Player Call Ups
Aeverson Arteaga (SF 18 SS)
The Giants signed Arteaga for a million-dollar signing bonus in 2019. Arteaga is considered a strong defensive shortstop. He got off to a great start in the Arizona Complex League this year and tied for the league lead with 22 extra-base hits.
The Giants called Arteaga up to Low A San Jolse for the final regular season game and the playoffs. He got his first two hits in game one of the playoffs.
Antonio Gomez (NYY 19 C)
The first thing you hear about with Gomez is that he is a catcher with an 80 grading throwing arm.
Gomez played well in 29 games in Florida Complex League and was promoted to Low A Tampa on August 24th. In 19 games, Gomez has not hit for a high average but he displayed good patience. Gomez starred in game one of the playoffs with two hits including a homer and three RBIs.
— Eric_Birdland (@Eric_Birdland) September 22, 2021
Everson Pereira (NYY 20 OF)
The Yankees signed Pereira to a 1.5 million dollar bonus in 2017. In 2019 he struggled with injuries and did not play well in 18 games in the NY Penn League.
In 2021 it took three games in the Florida Complex league for Pereira to be promoted to Low A Tampa. Pereira has a slash line of .361/.446/.667 with five homers in 19 Low A games before getting promoted to High A. Pereira has 14 homers in 27 games for High A Hudson Valley. No one in the minors in 2021 has reached 20 homers in less at-bats than Pereira.
The Yankees will have a 40 man roster crunch this winter but it is hard to believe that they would not find room for Pereira.
Arol Vera (LAA 19 SS)
Vera just turned 19 and after a solid year in the Arizona Complex League he was called up to Low A Inland Empire on August 25th. The Angels had signed Vera to a two million dollar bonus in 2019.
In 19 games at Low A, Vera has 23 hits and nine steals. All his hits have been singles.
Comings And Goings
Prospects Changing Levels
There were a ton of prospects in AA that got called up to AAA to get a couple of more weeks of games in.
Símon Muzziotti who missed most of the year due to visa issues, has have played at all five levels of the Phillies minor league organization since August 31.
|9-17||Rays||Curtis Mead||AAA||High A|
|9-17||Rays||Alika Williams||AAA||High A|
|9-19||Rays||Ian Seymour||AAA||High A|
|9-19||Giants||Aeverson Arteaga||Complex||Low A|
|9-20||Red Sox||Ronaldo Hernández||AA||AAA|
|9-21||White Sox||Romy Gonzalez||MLB||AAA|
|9-22||Red Sox||Triston Casas||AA||AAA|
|9-22||White Sox||Carlos Perez||AA||AAA|
Prospects Who Went On the IL
Prospects Who Came Off the IL
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