2017 Midwest League Top 20 Prospects

LEAGUE SUPERLATIVES

Champions Series
Quad Cities (Astros) 3
Fort Wayne (Padres) 0

Best Record
West Michigan(Tigers), 91-45 (.669)

Most Valuable Player
Bo Bichette, SS, Lansing (Blue Jays)

SEE ALSO:Midwest League Top 20 Chat

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To qualify for a Minor League Top 20 Prospects list, a position player must have one plate appearance per team game, a starting pitcher must have one-third of an inning per team game and a reliever must have 20 relief appearances.

Pitching usually dominates in the low Class A Midwest League thanks to a mix of young hitters and cold Midwestern weather. Though league batters hit just .250/.324/.379, for the third year in a row, position players held sway on this prospect ranking.

Lansing had the most prominent prospects in the league, and the two brightest in the Blue Jays system. Third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. led the minors with a .425 on-base percentage, while shortstop Bo Bichette led the minors with a .362 average. After Guerrero and Bichette were promoted to high Class A, another baseball scion, Fort Wyane shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., took center stage by hitting .311/.458/.650 in the second half.

While position players stood out, there was no lack of notable arms such as righthanders Michel Baez (Fort Wayne), Forrest Whitley (Quad Cities) and Dylan Cease (South Bend).

The Midwest League also got a jolt of star power late in the season from 2017 first-round picks Keston Hiura, a second baseman taken by the Brewers ninth overall, and Royce Lewis, a shortstop taken by the Twins first overall. Neither had the requisite plate appearances to qualify for this list.

1. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B, Lansing (Blue Jays) |📹
Age: 18. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 200. Signed: Dominican Republic, 2015.

In a testament to Guerrero's talent and aptitude, he exceeded expectations in his full-season debut. He ranked as the No. 1 international amateur in 2015, then as the top prospect in the Appalachian League in 2016 and, finally, as the No. 20 prospect in the game entering the 2017 season. He nearly led the minors in on-base percentage (.425).

Guerrero's bat-to-ball skills are without peer. He doesn't have his father's gangly physique and long arms but still shows the ability to cover the plate. Thanks to his plus bat speed and the strength from his stocky build, Guerrero has at least plus power, with some scouts not shying from plus-plus grades on that tool. His hit tool is a plus weapon, at least the equal of his power. He has been compared with Edwin Encarnacion for his potential offensive impact.

On defense, Guerrero has average to tick above arm strength, enough to play third base, but his thickening body has scouts projecting a move to first base. He has the soft hands, athleticism and footwork to be an average defender there. His one lacking tool is running, where his consistent 4.45 run times leave him a below-average runner.

AB
R
H
2B
3B
HR
RBI
BB
SO
SB
CS
AVG
OBP
SLG

269
53
84
21
1
7
45
40
34
6
2
.312
.406
.476

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