Right field; where the worst player on your Little League team got put for the one inning he played. Was I that kid? Maybe. Either way, at this level, playing right field is still as good as every other position. You can pick by who performed best, who is the best prospect, or who has the coolest-sounding name; up to you, really.
Boog Powell easily took the center field award, with Dayron Varona coming in at second and Zacrey Law close behind in third.
In the spirit of this, do try to vote only once. It helps give a better picture of who you guys like the most.
Taylor Motter (127 games, .292 batting average/.366 on-base percentage/.471 slugging percentage, 142 hits (58 XBH), 14 home runs, 74 runs, 72 runs batted in, 26 for 34 in stolen base attempts, 10.2% walk rate, 17.0% strikeout rate in 558 plate appearances for Triple-A Durham)
Motter has performed above average by wRC+ standards every season of his minor league career. He hit 14 home runs, his second-highest total only to last year, when he hit 16. His ISO was his highest for a full season at .179. There are a lot of guys who could all make their case for an outfield spot next year, and Motter is one of them. However, he is Rule 5 eligible this offseason and isn't on the 40-man roster, but he wasn't picked last year when he was eligible either.
Mikie Mahtook (98 games, .249/.304/.366, 96 hits (34 XBH), 4 home runs, 35 runs, 45 RBI, 10 for 11 in stolen base attempts, 5.3% walk rate, 23.4% strikeout rate in 418 plate appearances for Triple-A Durham)
Mahtook came into this season as the No. 13 prospect in the system according to Kiley McDaniels of Fangraphs. He bounced between Tampa Bay and Durham, but oddly enough his numbers with the big club are strikingly better. He hit nine home runs in just 41 games, compared to four in 98 games in Triple A. He hit for power extremely well in the majors, but the high strikeout rate that he had in 2014 carried over into 2015.
Johnny Field (116 games, .255/.329/.447, 110 hits (51 XBH), 14 home runs, 68 runs, 66 RBI, 18 for 21 in stolen bases, 7.3% walk rate, 22.2% strikeout rate in 491 plate appearances for Double-A Montgomery)
Field earned a promotion to Montgomery after absolutely tearing up Class-A Advanced Charlotte to end last year. This season he couldn't keep up his torrid pace, but in fairness, that would've been hard to do. Field stole a fair amount of bases and did pop an extra two home runs relative to 2014. While the power numbers were similar, Field increased his strikeouts and didn't get on base as much. Double A is always a big step for hitters, so it's understandable why he regressed to an extent.
Yoel Araujo (100 games, .216/.267/.317, 75 hits, (22 XBH), 5 home runs, 32 runs, 38 RBI, 7 for 11 in stolen base attempts, 6.1% walk rate, 34.5% walk rate in 377 plate appearances for Class-A Advanced Charlotte)
Araujo got promoted to Charlotte over the offseason even though his strikeout rate remains astronomical. While it's true it improved from last season, that isn't saying a whole lot at this point. Meanwhile, both his ability to get on base and hit for power degraded. This was Araujo's worst season by far and he is still far off from transitioning what Drew Jenkins of Rays Colored Glasses called possibly the best raw power in the system into any consistent game power.
Justin Williams (128 games, .283/.304/.398, 140 hits (40 XBH), 7 home runs, 53 runs, 50 RBI, 7 for 9 in stolen base attempts, 2.9% walk rate, 18.6% strikeout rate in 516 plate appearances for Class-A Bowling Green and Class-A Advanced Charlotte)
Williams was part of the deal that sent Jeremy Hellickson to the Diamondbacks last offseason. His walk rate had always been low, but this year was by far the lowest. While Williams didn't get the free pass a lot, he didn't get himself out too much either. While at Bowling Green, Williams hit all seven of his home runs and put up a .721 OPS. After he got promoted to Charlotte he didn't land on his feet, hitting .241 and having just a 1.2% walk rate. Williams has plus raw power, but the game power is still developing.
Manny Sanchez (57 games, .273/.342/.426, 57 hits (21 XBH), 5 home runs, 28 runs, 22 RBI, 5 for 5 in stolen base attempts, 9.0% walk rate, 29.1% strikeout rate in 234 plate appearances for short-season Hudson Valley)
Sanchez has been moving up the chain from the Dominican Summer League to the New York-Penn League and took a step forward compared to his showing in the Appalachian League. While his strikeouts remained an issue, his ability to get on base improved as well as his power. He turned 20 Oct. 6, so he still has years left to develop his approach and harness some more power.
Angel Perez (58 games, .290/.338/.420, 40 hits (20 XBH), 1 home run, 26 runs, 23 RBI, 5 for 11 in stolen base attempts, 4.9% walk rate, 23.3% strikeout rate in 223 plate appearances for rookie-level Princeton)
Perez's hits went for extra bases far more often even if he didn't hit many home runs. His gap power was strong, but it remains to be seen if he can get the ball out of the park more often. However, his walk rate was far below average and he struck out more than you would like for a guy that doesn't hit a lot of home runs. Perez has shown enough to be moved up to Hudson Valley, but it remains to be seen what the team wants to do with him.
Oscar Rojas (50 games, .278/.340/.411, 50 hits (17 XBH), 2 home runs, 23 runs, 22 RBI, 16 for 22 in stolen base attempts, 6.9% walk rate, 17.3% strikeout rate in 202 plate appearances for the GCL Rays)
Rojas made it through the gauntlet of the Venezuelan Summer League and got his chance to debut stateside. By wOBA, this was his best season by a small margin, which is a good sign considering the increase of competition. He performed well enough to be named the MVP for the GCL Rays. He got on base and stole bases a good amount of the time as well as getting a decent amount of extra base hits. Rojas has already shown he can handle the GCL; can he handle the NYPL next?
- Catcher: Justin O'Conner
- First base: Jake Bauers
- Second base: Kean Wong
- Shortstop: Daniel Robertson
- Third base: Richie Shaffer
- Left field: Joey Rickard
- Center field: Boog Powell