Eugene (Cubs), 54-22 (.711)
|Most Valuable Player
Eric Filia, of, Everett (Mariners)
|Pitcher OF The Year
Manuel Rondon, lhp, Eugene (Cubs)
|Did Not Qualify
Cal Quantrill, rhp, Tri-City (Padres)
See Also: 2016 League Top 20 Index
See Also: League Top 20 Prospects Historical Index
A year ago, No. 1 overall pick Dansby Swanson helped Hillsboro win its second straight Northwest League championship en route to earning top prospect honors. He’s already a big leaguer after being traded to the Braves.
A similarly quick rise to the majors isn’t likely for the top three prospects in the NWL in 2016. A pair of toolsy Rangers teenagers—outfielder Leody Taveras and shortstop Anderson Tejeda—impressed managers and scouts in a less than half a season. Everett outfielder Kyle Lewis, the BA College Player of the Year who slipped to the Mariners at No. 11 overall in this year’s draft, also opened eyes before a grisly knee injury cut short his season.
Eugene, which had the league’s best regular-season record, won its first outright league championship since 1975 thanks to the league’s top pitching staff (3.24 ERA), led by hard-throwing righthander Dylan Cease. Everett outfielder Eric Filia, 24, led the league in batting and on-base percentage in a .362/.450/.496 campaign to win the league’s MVP award.
A quartet of talented Padres from Tri-City—2016 first-round righthander Cal Quantrill, lefthander Eric Lauer and shortstop Hudson Potts, plus big league progeny Fernando Tatis Jr.—fell shy of qualifying for the list.
1. Leody Taveras, of, Spokane (Rangers) |
Age: 18. B-T: B-R. Ht: 6-1. Wt: 170. Signed: Dominican Republic, 2015.
Signed for $2.1 million in 2015, Taveras started his first pro season in the Dominican Summer League, then moved to the Rookie-level Arizona League and on Aug. 4 was promoted to Spokane for his final stop. There, despite modest production, he showed managers and scouts a well-balanced set of tools. He’s got above-average range to his left and right and possesses a plus arm in center field.
Long and lean at 6-foot-1, 170 pounds, Taveras has yet to grow into his man’s body. Scouts expect power to develop from both sides of the plate once he packs on more muscle. For now, he’s a line-drive, gap-to-gap type of hitter with plus speed.
Taveras has some swing-and-miss to his game that should improve with more reps. He’s a long way off, but he projects as a center fielder with value on both sides of the ball.