TOP 20 PROSPECTS
|1. Trevor Story, ss/3b, Casper (Rockies)
2. Taylor Lindsey, 2b, Orem (Angels)
3. Joc Pederson, of, Ogden (Dodgers)
4. C.J. Cron, 1b, Orem (Angels)
5. Rosell Herrera, ss/3b, Casper (Rockies)
6. Kaleb Cowart, 3b, Orem (Angels)
7. Nick Maronde, lhp, Orem (Angels)
8. Tony Cingrani, lhp, Billings (Reds)
9. Will Swanner, c, Casper (Rockies)
10. Ryan Wright, 2b, Billings (Reds)
11. James Baldwin III, of, Ogden (Dodgers)
12. Sean Buckley, 3b, Billings (Reds)
13. Nick Mutz, rhp, Orem (Angels)
14. Scott Snodgress, lhp, Great Falls (White Sox)
15. David Goforth, rhp, Helena Brewers
16. Yadiel Rivera, ss, Helena Brewers
17. Kevan Smith, c, Great Falls (White Sox)
18. Danny Winkler, rhp, Casper (Rockies)
19. Kyle Waldrop, of, Billings (Reds)
20. Danny Mateo, 2b/3b, Idaho Falls (Royals)
Despite its Rookie-advanced classification, the Pioneer League plays more like the short-season New York-Penn or Northwest leagues than its sister Appalachian League. Whereas Appy Leaguers average about 20 years in age, the other three leagues come in just north of 21. To that end, half of this year’s PL Top 20 Prospects list consists of players with four-year college experience, including four of the top 10.
The Angels sent their top two picks from this year’s draft to the league (first-rounder C.J. Cron and third-rounder Nick Maronde, both collegians) as well as two of their top four prep picks from the 2010 draft (first-rounder Kaleb Cowart, supplemental first-rounder Taylor Lindsey). All four players performed well and ranked among the PL’s seven best prospects, with Maronde the best in an exceptionally shallow pool of pitching talent in the league.
While Cron was the top 2011 draftee to play in the league, supplemental first-rounder Trevor Story stands as the PL’s top prospect because he’s a potential five-tool shortstop who performed well against older competition. Fellow sandwich pick Keenyn Walker also made an impression, batting .333/.431/.483 while showing top-of-the-line speed in center field and on the bases during two weeks with league champion Great Falls. The White Sox rushed Walker to low Class A Kannapolis at the end of July, however, so he didn’t play enough to qualify for this list.