Hagerstown (Nationals), 83-57 (.593)
|Most Valuable Player
Brian Mundell, 1b, Asheville (Rockies)
|Pitcher of The Year
Mitch Keller, rhp, West Virginia (Pirates)
|Did Not Qualify
Domingo Acevedo, rhp, Charleston (Yankees)
See Also: 2016 League Top 20 Index
See Also: League Top 20 Prospects Historical Index
A team loaded with prospects is not guaranteed success. But in 2016, the low Class A South Atlantic League championship series fittingly matched up the league's most prospect-laden team (Rome) with its second-best group of prospects (Lakewood).
Rome's combination of young, high-ceiling talent was most notable. The Braves had the youngest position players and pitching staff in the league, but they also had the deepest rotation the league has seen in recent years. In the second half of the season Rome fielded a six-man rotation where all six pitchers were legitimate prospects. That ended when Patrick Weigel was promoted.
Lakewood wasn't far behind with a pitching staff that was filled with pitchers with big fastballs and solid secondary pitches.
1. Victor Robles, of, Hagerstown (Nationals) |
Age: 19. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 185. Signed: Dominican Republic, 2013
Robles hit .352 in his U.S. debut in 2015 and continued his hot hitting this season at Hagerstown to rank as the near unanimous pick as the top position prospect in the SAL.
Robles' stance is balanced, but he crowds the plate, giving him coverage of the outer half and daring pitchers to throw inside. They do and he often ends up jogging to first base with a bruise. Only one minor league player was hit by more pitches than Robles (34), and he had more HBPs than walks. He missed three weeks in late July with a hand injury after one of his plunkings.
Robles uses his above-average bat speed to good effect, though he can get a little big in his swing and greedy in his attempts to drive the ball with impact. His combination of bat speed and strength gives him a shot at above-average power potential with a plus hit tool.
Robles is a 70 runner on the 20-80 scouting scale and puts that speed to good use in center field, where he tracks balls well and is the rare young outfielder who is comfortable running to a spot and reacquiring the ball on the run.