Because I don't want to think about the big league club right now, and since BA will come out with it's top 20 in the South Atlantic League later today (only Dexter Fowler seems to have enough buzz over there, I don't expect anybody else to make the cut as it's a very large league) I thought I'd look into this past season's Tourists a little more.
For starters, it's usually good to understand the environment the players were working at, so here are some of the important offensive team splits to consider:
Anyhow, here are the players I'm excited about that should be moving up to Modesto or Tulsa next season:
Dexter Fowler - His abilities are just beginning to pop out. This could be a huge year for him if he's able to adjust smoothly to the more advanced pitching. He sandwiched three mediocre months between two brilliant ones in April and September, I'm hoping for more consistency next season.
Eric Young Jr - He's more than just one dimension now, and that's what really excites me. 50/38! That was his BB/K ratio after June 1. With his speed, to be able to draw the free pass will rack the nerves of opposing pitchers at any level.
Phillip Cuadrado - Like Young, he turned around in the second half in a big way. He was about a year too old for the league so he'll be flying under the radar, but his batting in July and August made it seem like he was too advanced for the SAL, anyway.
Chris Nelson - He had a July swoon that hurt his overall numbers but there's still a lot to be impressed with. I think a lot of people are going to write Chris off as a prospect to watch after this past season, I'm going to hold off on that call still.
Jason Van Kooten -Again, I'm not sure what happened in June and July, but Van Kooten's one to find out and correct himself. I'm expecting him to bounce back strongly at Modesto next season.
Cole Garner - Cole was very much helped playing at home, which is kind of odd since he's a pull happy right handed hitter (McCormick usually greatly favors pull-happy left handers). But like Cuadrado and Young he made some adjustments during the second half that helped him make much better contact. Like Nelson, he really needs to work on plate discipline in Hawaii, as those high K rates will hurt him higher up the ladder.
Falling off my radar this year after struggling a little too much to make me secure that they are going to be able to advance much further were Travis Becktel and Michael Paulk. A real sleeper to me is Daniel Carte, his season was kind of blah, he too benefitted a lot from McCormick Field, but kind of like Nelson, he's still got enough tools that it's not so easy to ignore him.
For pitchers, I'll let you look up the links yourself, but while there's no Franklin Morales this season to get super excited about, the composite depth of pitching this year in Asheville is enough to make me eager to see what's next. There are three outstanding young arms in Xavier Cedeno, Chaz Roe and Shane Lindsay who could take it to the next level next season in Modesto. Lindsay seems the most ready to make a move, but Roe's road stats tell me that he might be very close as well. Brandon Durden and Alan Johnson just seemed to get results, and both have intriguing enough stuff to make me interested to see what they can do at the next level as well. Pedro Strop is still my sleeper pick for next season, as he's learning quickly as a pitcher.