Baseball America will announce the 2017 Minor League Player of the Year on Friday. Today Baseball America announced its five finalists for the award they are listed in alphabetical order. We discussed all five on the Baseball America Podcast/Facebook Live, brought to you by Baseballism.
Ronald Acuna, OF, Braves
The Case For Acuna: Acuna hit .325/.374/.522 between high Class A Florida, Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett while leading the minors with 181 hits. With 21 home runs and 44 stolen bases, he showed power and speed and above-average defense in center and right field.
Bo Bichette, SS, Blue Jays
The Case For Bichette: Bichette is the minors' batting leader. He flirted with hitting .400 for half the season and finished with a .362 average. He hit .362/.423/.565 overall and finished second in the minors in on-base percentage, 14th in slugging and 10th in hits (162). He did it all as a 19-year-old shortstop playing in the difficult hitting environments of the Midwest and the Florida State leagues.
Jon Duplantier, RHP, Diamondbacks
The Case For Duplantier: Duplantier went 12-3, 1.39. His ERA was the second-best in the minors in the past 25 years, bested only by Justin Verlander's 1.29 ERA in 2005. His .192 opponent average ranked third-best in the minors.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B, Blue Jays
The Case For Guerrero: Guerrero was one of the youngest players in full-season ball, but you wouldn't know it from his performance. He led the minors in on-base percentage (.425), making him the first teenager to lead the minors in OBP in at least the past 25 years. Guerrero's batting average never dipped below .300 after April 22 as he finished .323/.425/.485. He did it all while walking more (76) than he struck out (62).
Austin Hays, OF, Orioles
The Case For Hays: Hays finished second in the minors with 32 home runs. A 2016 third-round pick, he hit .329/.365/.593 and finished in the top 15 in the minors in batting average, home runs, RBIs (95), hits (172) and slugging.