The 2013 Minor League All-Star Team, as selected by Baseball America staff. See past winners with our BA All-Stars retrospective.
C Josmil Pinto • Twins
Triple-A Rochester (International)
Tom Murphy of the Rockies mashed 22 homers and slugged .571, while the Mets’ Kevin Plawecki hit .305 with a .390 on-base percentage, yet those 2012 college draft picks did the majority of their damage at Class A. Pinto showed those attributes—power, feel for the barrel, on-base skills—while mastering the upper minors and earning a September callup to Minneapolis, where the Twins see similarities between him and Venezuelan countryman Wilson Ramos. Pinto ranked among the Double-A Eastern League leaders in average (.308) and OBP (.411) this season.
1B Chris Colabello • Twins
Triple-A Rochester (International)
Having spent the first seven years of his professional career with Worcester of the independent Can-Am League, Colabello opened eyes by belting 19 homers at Double-A New Britain in 2012. He didn’t capture the industry’s full attention, however, until this season when the 29-year-old won the minor league batting (.352), slugging (.639) and OPS (1.066) titles while also earning Triple-A International League MVP honors. He got a chance to play every day in the big leagues after the Twins’ trade of Justin Morneau to the Pirates in August.
2B Marcus Semien • White Sox
Triple-A Charlotte (International)
Semien led the minors in runs scored (110), the Double-A Southern League in on-base percentage (.420), walked more than he struck out and fell one home run shy of going 20-20. That all-around performance combined with his defensive versatility—he also plays shortstop and third base—put the 2011 sixth-rounder on the prospect radar as a super-utility candidate with offensive upside. Second base was a particularly deep position in the minors this year, with standout seasons from Semien, Mookie Betts (Red Sox), Devon Travis (Tigers), minors stolen-base champ Micah Johnson (White Sox), Rougned Odor (Rangers) and Alex Yarbrough (Angels).
3B Miguel Sano • Twins
Double-A New Britain (Eastern)
After annihilating the high Class A Florida State League for two months with 16 homers and a 1.079 OPS, Sano scuffled along at Double-A before beginning to find his footing in August, when he batted .255/.364/.649 with nine homers in 25 games. He needed that extra boost to outpace the Phillies’ Maikel Franco and the Rangers’ Joey Gallo in a three-way race of hot-corner prospects with elite raw power. Only Chris Colabello and the Angels’ Zach Borenstein had a higher slugging percentage than Sano (.610) this season, and only Javier Baez had more extra-base hits than Sano’s 70.
SS Xander Bogaerts • Red Sox
Triple-A Pawtucket (International)
Bogaerts mastered two levels of the high minors and didn’t blink when thrust into the heat of the American League pennant race as a 20-year-old shortstop/third baseman for Boston. If this general plotline sounds familiar it’s because the Orioles’ Manny Machado charted a similar course in 2012. The Red Sox tasked Bogaerts with improving his strike-zone judgment this season and he accepted the challenge by boosting his walks and reducing his strikeouts to rates he hadn’t seen since Rookie ball.
CF Byron Buxton • Twins
High Class A Fort Myers (Florida State)
From No. 2 pick in the 2012 draft to No. 1 prospect in the game in one season flat, Buxton blended tools and production like few minor leaguers before him to win the BA Minor League Player of the Year award in a crowded prospect field. (Just look at this all-star team!) A 19-year-old Buxton ranked sixth in the minor league batting race at .334, seventh with a .424 on-base percentage, second with 109 runs and first with 18 triples, evoking lofty comparisons with Andrew McCutchen and Mike Trout.
OF Joc Pederson • Dodgers
Double-A Chattanooga (Southern)
Just what the Dodgers need: another talented outfielder. While Pederson won’t make a Yasiel Puig-like impact in his big league debut, he’s plenty talented enough to be a first-division regular in Los Angeles for a long time. Batting mostly first or second in the order at Chattanooga, Pederson hit 22 homers and stole 31 bases in 39 tries, contributing one of the great overlooked power-speed seasons and earning Most Exciting Player honors from Southern League managers. The center fielder’s name litters the SL leaderboards, where he ranked No. 1 with a .497 slugging percentage.
OF George Springer • Astros
Triple-A Oklahoma City (Pacific Coast)
Springer came tantalizingly close to becoming the first 40-40 player in the history of the modern minor leagues—which we trace back half a century—but he finished at 37 home runs after an eight-game power drought at the end of the Triple-A season. No cause for alarm. Springer swiped 45 bases in 53 tries and ranked among the minor league elite in all the traditional power categories, including homers (second), slugging (.600, fifth), extra-base hits (68, sixth) and isolated power (.297, third). Look for him to kick the Astros’ rebuild into high gear at some point in 2014.
DH Javier Baez • Cubs
Double-A Tennessee (Southern)
Baez slammed 20 homers in 54 Double-A games to catch and tie George Springer for second place in the minors with 37 bombs. Baez stands all by himself, however, with minor league-leading totals for extra-base hits (75) and RBIs (111). The 20-year-old stepped up his game with runners on base this season, hitting .325/.384/.654 with 19 homers in 231 at-bats at Tennessee and high Class A Daytona. While Baez possesses the raw tools to play a big league shortstop, he needs to clean up his fundamentals and improve his efficiency after committing 44 errors in 123 games, a performance good for a .932 fielding average.
SP Archie Bradley • Diamondbacks
Double-A Mobile (Southern)
Marlins rookie sensation Jose Fernandez may have raced to an early head start, but the identity of the top prep pitcher from the 2011 draft remains open to debate. Tommy John surgery felled the Orioles’ Dylan Bundy (No. 4 overall) and the Rays’ Taylor Guerrieri (No. 25) this year—at least temporarily—but Bradley (No. 7), Fernandez (No. 14) and the Reds’ Robert Stephenson (No. 27) finished the year in good standing. Bradley did more than that, actually. The 21-year-old ranked third in the minors with a 1.84 ERA and fifth with 162 strikeouts all while allowing six homers in 26 starts.
SP Eddie Butler • Rockies
Double-A Tulsa (Texas)
Though Butler lasted until the 46th pick in the 2012 draft, the Radford product would go much higher in a re-draft after rocketing from low Class A in April to Double-A in August. Along the way, he ranked second in the minors in ERA (1.80), third in WHIP (0.99) and second in opponent average (.180). Armed with a nasty four-pitch mix he showed off at the Futures Game, Butler’s performance was no fluke and he could be ready to tackle Coors Field in short order.
SP C.J. Edwards • Cubs
High Class A Daytona (Florida State)
A 48th-round pick by the Rangers out of high school in Prosperity, S.C., two years ago, Edwards is the scouting and player development success story in the minors. He quickly refined his mechanics and added velocity during his 2012 debut before utterly dominating low Class A competition for the first half of 2013. Edwards didn’t allow a home run in 18 starts for Hickory prior to his July 22 trade to the Cubs as part of the bounty for Matt Garza. He breezed through another six starts afterward, finishing with a minor league-best 12 strikeouts per nine innings and ranking fourth in the ERA race at 1.86. He then added 10 shutout, one-hit innings as Daytona won the Florida State League championship.
SP Erik Johnson • White Sox
Triple-A Charlotte (International)
Johnson sharpened his control in 2013 and stands positioned as a mid-rotation option for Chicago after breezing through the upper minors and earning a September callup. He locates, he throws four pitches and he’s ready now after finishing fifth in the minors in ERA (1.96) and third in WHIP (0.99). Like all-star second baseman Marcus Semien, Johnson is a 2011 White Sox pick signed by scout Adam Virchis from the University of California.
SP Rafael Montero • Mets
Triple-A Las Vegas (Pacific Coast)
Miniscule rates for walks (35 in 155 innings) and home runs (six in 27 starts) allowed Montero to survive a second half spent pitching in the hostile environs of Las Vegas, where he managed to go 3-2, 2.87 in nine home starts. Signed out of the Dominican Republic at age 20, Montero mastered all four levels of the full-season minors in two years and struck out more batters this season (150) than more-heralded Mets pitching prospects Noah Syndergaard this year or Zack Wheeler in 2012.
RP C.J. Riefenhauser • Rays
Triple-A Durham (International)
Shifted to the bullpen full-time this season, Riefenhauser responded by climbing to Triple-A and pitching a perfect eighth inning at the Futures Game. Just four qualified minor league relievers allowed fewer baserunners per inning than Riefenhauser (0.83 WHIP), a southpaw who gives same-sided batters fits with a 91-93 mph fastball and an 82 mph slider. Lefthanders hit just .122/.182/.171 in 88 matchups this season, with strikeouts 42 percent of the time.