Francisco Lindor, SS, Cleveland Indians
.362/.422/.517, 42 H, 12 XBH, 7 SB, 13/11 K/BB (30 G)
Like Byron Buxton, Lindor is already making a strong case for a top-10 overall thanks a ridiculously good start to the season at High-A Carolina. Beyond his obvious defensive virtues, the 19-year-old’s consistency at the plate could have him on the fast track to the major leagues by midseason. Last 10 games: .487/.524/.692, 19 H, 5 XBH, 7 RBI.
Jake Lamb, 3B, Arizona Diamondbacks
.396/.500/.708, 9 XBH (3 HR), 16/11 K/BB (15 G)
Drafted in the sixth round last June, Lamb is an above-average defender at the hot corner with consistent gap power from the left side and steadily improving power frequency. Last 10 games: .412/.487/.676, 6 2B, 7 RBI.
Nolan Fontana, SS, Houston Astros
.353/.487/.543, 29 R, 13 XBH (3 HR), 23 RBI, 24/30 K/BB (31 G)
Fontana continues to be an on-base machine at High-A Lancaster, as the 21-year-old has recorded more walks (30) than strikeouts (24) this season. While he has some pop, don’t expect Fontana to post anything close to a .543 slugging percentage outside the California League.
Sean Coyle, 2B, Boston Red Sox
.300/.345/.725, 22 R, 15 XBH (9 HR), 6 SB, 20/6 K/BB (19 G)
Coyle showcased an intriguing blend of power and speed in each of the last two seasons between both Class-A levels, though his overaggressive approach and propensity to swing and miss has prevented his hit tool from developing.
Assigned to High-A Salem for the second consecutive season, the 20-year-old is currently pacing the Carolina League with nine home runs and a .725 slugging percentage.
Miguel Sano, 3B, Minnesota Twins
.387/.465/.757, 27 R, 20 XBH (10 HR), 31 RBI, 34/14 K/BB (30 G)
Most prospect evaluators—myself included—expected Sano to struggle in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League. Well, we couldn’t have been more wrong about that one. The soon-to-be 20-year-old is currently leading the league with 10 home runs, 31 RBI and a 1.222 OPS.
Gregory Polanco, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates
.322/.389/.504, 37 H, 13 XBH (4 HR), 12 SB, 19/12 K/BB (31 G)
After a breakout campaign last year for Low-A West Virginia, Polanco, 21, has had no problem adjusting to the Florida State League. More importantly, he’s thriving in the face of more advanced competition.
Garin Cecchini, 3B, Boston Red Sox
.379/.467/.670, 22 R, 18 XBH (4 HR), 10 SB, 16/17 K/BB (27 G)
Coming off an impressive full-season debut in 2012, Cecchini’s prospect stock is on the rise thanks to a red-hot start at High-A Salem; in fact, it’s reached the point where one could even say he’s mastered the level. Last 10 games: .436/.511/.872, 10 R, 17 H, 10 XBH, 11 RBI, 3 SB, 5/6 K/BB.
Eddie Rosario, 2B, Minnesota Twins
.347/.380/.532, 25 R, 14 XBH (3 HR), 22/8 K/BB (30 G)
Apparently, hitting is contagious among the Twins’ Class-A prospects—even if they aren’t all on the same team. Rosario, 21, has hit for average at every minor league stop thus far and has the potential for a plus hit tool at maturity.
Cameron Perkins, OF, Philadelphia Phillies
.352/.379/.576, 44 H, 19 XBH (13 2B), 16/5 K/BB (30 G)
After an impressive professional debut last summer in the Short-Season New York-Penn League, the Phillies bumped Perkins directly to High-A Clearwater for his full-season debut. The 6’5” outfielder has surpassed all expectations with a .352/.379/.576 triple-slash line through 30 Florida State League games.
Chris Taylor, SS, Seattle Mariners
.320/.430/.472, 13 XBH, 9 SB, 36/23 K/BB (31 G)
One of the more underrated shortstops in the 2012 draft class, Taylor is an offense-minded shortstop with advanced plate discipline and a knack for making consistent contact. The 22-year-old has the chops, arm strength and instincts to remain at the position for the foreseeable future and, in my opinion, will surprise everyone with his consistency on both sides of the ball.
Trevor Story, SS, Colorado Rockies
.167/.244/.259, 7 XBH, 4 SB, 42/9 K/BB (29 G)
I still love Trevor Story and consider him a top-50 prospect, but this is getting ridiculous. That said, he’s shown signs of life over the last three games by going 4-for-12 with three RBI and two stolen bases.
Addison Russell, SS, Oakland Athletics
.177/.333/.291, 6 XBH, 30/19 K/BB (21 G)
Don’t get me wrong; there’s nothing discouraging about Russell’s start to the season with a .333 on-base percentage and 12 runs scored through 21 games. But after dealing with a few mild muscle strains in early April, the 19-year-old has struggled to find his rhythm at the plate.
Jason Esposito, 3B, Baltimore Orioles
.206/.254/.299, 6 XBH, 33/5 K/BB (28 G)
A second-round pick out of Vanderbilt in 2011, Esposito is a solid defender at the hot corner but lacks projection in his hit tool.
Richie Shaffer, 3B, Tampa Bay Rays
.232/.268/.393, 10 XBH (4 HR), 31/5 K/BB (30 G)
The Rays’ first-round draft pick last June, Shaffer, like Cameron Perkins, is making the jump from the Short-Season level to High-A for his full-season debut. However, the 22-year-old hasn’t fared nearly as well with a 29/5 K/BB through 29 games.
Brandon Jacobs, OF, Boston Red Sox
.180/.270/.320, 10 XBH (2 HR), 31/10 K/BB (27 G)
Jacobs is once again off to a rough start at High-A Salem this season, which is also his third consecutive campaign at a Class-A affiliate. Unless the 22-year-old figures things out sometime soon, he may never even make it to Double-A.