Baseball America compiled a list of the best tools in the majors. The results were compiled by polling major league managers, coaches, scouts, and executives. Each category includes a top three that is split by league.
Alex Cobb wins the award for “Best Pickoff Move” in the American League. Cobb graduated from the James Shields School of Pickoffs. He has a reputation for a quick move with an accurate arm.
Kevin Kiermaier sits atop the “Best Defensive OF” rankings and ranks second in the “Best Outfield Arm” category in the American League behind Aaron Hicks. This isn’t that surprising since Kiermaier has won two consecutive Gold Glove Awards and has won the Platinum Glove Award.
Chris Archer comes in second in the “Best Slider” category behind Chris Sale. It is Archer’s primary weapon of choice. Over the last few years Archer has thrown it between 40-45% of the time and has consistently held a whiff rate over 20%.
Evan Longoria ranks third in the “Best Defensive 3B” category behind Manny Machado and Adrian Beltre. This year Longoria has a +11 DRS and +2.8 UZR.
Logan Morrison ranks as the third “Best Defensive 1B” behind Eric Hosmer and Mitch Moreland. This season he has put up -1 DRS and +2.4 UZR.
Most of these rankings are to be expected since it is based on reputation and the players have had a track record of success. The last Ray to make the list comes in somewhat surprising.
Kevin Cash ranks as the third “Best Manager” behind Terry Francona and Joe Girardi.
Best Skills in the International League
Baseball America also released their 2017 International League Best Skills list. For the minor league best skills list they source full-season managers and their coaching staffs.
Brent Honeywell owns the “Best Changeup,” and it’s not surprising for a pitcher in the Rays organization to stake claim to having the best changeup.
Willy Adames notably takes home “Best Defensive SS” and “Best Infield Arm.” These are huge votes of confidence in the Rays’ likely shortstop of the future.
Additionally, Durham Bulls manager Jared Sandberg is named “Best Manager Prospect.”