Minor League All-Star Team 2014

Selected by Baseball America staff

C Blake Swihart • Red Sox
Double-A Portland (Eastern) • Triple-A Pawtucket (International)

Blake SwihartIn a season in which the Brewers’ Clint Coulter (Midwest) and the Orioles’ Chance Sisco (South Atlantic) led the low Class A leagues in on-base percentage, Swihart turned in perhaps the best all-around season by a catcher in the high minors. The 22-year-old hit for both average and power, batting .293/.341/.469 with 13 homers in 110 games, mostly at Portland. Other backstops surpassed Swihart’s offensive production, but his work behind the plate separated him from the field. He threw out 46 percent of basestealers and didn’t allow a passed ball all season.

AVG OBP SLG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
.293 .341 .469 110 416 53 122 26 4 13 64 31 80 8

1B Matt Olson • Athletics
High Class A Stockton (California)

Matt Olson (Photo by Bill MItchell).A sandwich pick out of high school in 2012, Olson’s power fully manifested this season with a third-place finish in the minor league home run race. He led the high Class A California League in five major categories, including homers (37), extra-base hits (69), runs (111) and walks (117). Though he hit .262—compared to the Cal League average of .270—Olson dramatically improved his strikeout-to-walk ratio in 2014, a strong indicator for his overall development.

AVG OBP SLG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
.262 .404 .543 138 512 111 134 31 1 37 97 117 137 2

2B Mookie Betts • Red Sox
Double-A Portland (Eastern) • Triple-A Pawtucket (International)

Mookie BettsBetts reached base in the first 36 games of the season at Portland, extending an on-base streak that began the year before to 66 games. He kept hitting after a June promotion to Pawtucket, where he learned to play center field on the fly, then made his big league debut at the end of the month. Betts hit .346 at two levels of the high minors to rank third in the overall batting race, while just four batters had a higher on-base percentage than his .431. With solid wheels, plus athleticism and elite strike-zone awareness, expect those offensive skills to transfer to the majors.

AVG OBP SLG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
.346 .431 .529 99 399 87 138 30 5 11 65 61 50 33

3B Kris Bryant • Cubs
Triple-A Iowa (Pacific Coast) • Double-A Tennessee (Southern)

kris-bryant-2014-mugThe minor league leader for home runs (43), extra-base hits (78), slugging (.661) and OPS (1.098), Bryant more than justified his selection as the No. 2 overall pick in the 2013 draft. That he impressed evaluators with better-than-advertised defensive play at third base suggests he can be a force in the majors for many years to come. Here’s a scary thought: Bryant could be the focal point of a future Cubs’ lineup that also will include top prospects Albert Almora, Javier Baez, Jorge Soler and Addison Russell.

AVG OBP SLG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
.325 .438 .661 138 492 118 160 34 1 43 110 86 162 15

SS Corey Seager • Dodgers
High Class A Rancho Cucamonga (California) • Double-A Chattanooga (Southern)

corey seagerBecause he doesn’t hit home runs like Kris Bryant or Joey Gallo, or reach base as often as Mookie Betts, Seager may actually be somewhat underrated. Don’t expect that to last, though, not after the 6-foot-4, lefty-hitting shortstop hit .349 with 50 doubles to lead the minors in both categories. He played all season at age 20, reaching Double-A in mid-July and not missing a beat. With plus feel to hit and plus power, Seager finished just three extra-base hits behind Bryant for the minor league lead.

AVG OBP SLG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
.349 .402 .602 118 475 89 166 50 5 20 97 40 115 6

CF Joc Pederson • Dodgers
Triple-A Albuquerque (Pacific Coast)

Joc Pederson

The first 30/30 player in the modern history of the Pacific Coast League, Pederson led the Triple-A circuit with 33 homers, a .435 on-base percentage, 106 runs and 100 walks. He offers the rare combination of power for the middle of the order and speed to handle center field in the big leagues. Pederson’s strikeout rate, while high, came down by six percentage points in the second half to a more manageable 23 percent.

AVG OBP SLG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
.303 .435 .582 121 445 106 135 17 4 33 78 100 149 30

OF Steven Souza • Nationals
Triple-A Syracuse (International)

Steven SouzaSouza rededicated himself to the game in 2012 after bottoming out the year before, and a slow, steady climb since then has reinvigorated his prospects status. The 25-year-old hit .350/.432/.590 in 96 games at Syracuse this season to lead the International League in all three triple-slash categories. A new middle-field approach has made Souza a threat to go deep or hit to the opposite field if he falls behind in the count. Mix in good wheels, a strong arm and solid range, and he could hold down a corner-outfield post in the majors for many seasons.

AVG OBP SLG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
.345 .427 .577 100 357 62 123 25 2 18 77 52 80 28

OF Michael Taylor • Nationals
Double-A Harrisburg (Eastern) • Triple-A Syracuse (International)

michael-taylor-2014-mugTaylor excites scouts with a complete tool set, including plus speed, range and arm strength that could make the center fielder one of the better all-around players in the majors if he can continue to rein in his strikeout rate. Even with a strikeout rate hovering near 30 percent at Harrisburg, he already makes enough hard contact for scouts to buy into his potential to hit for average, while his power output grows each season. In fact, Taylor and Joc Pederson were the only minor leaguers to hit at least 20 homers and steal at least 30 bases this season.

AVG OBP SLG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
.304 .390 .526 110 428 81 130 20 3 23 64 57 144 37

DH Joey Gallo • Rangers
Double-A Frisco (Texas) • High Class A Myrtle Beach (Carolina)

joey-gallo-2014-mug

Gallo completed his second straight 40-homer season, this time bashing 42 between stops in the Carolina and Texas leagues. He led the minors with a .344 isolated slugging percentage, nearly matched Kris Bryant for the overall home run lead, went deep three times in a game twice while at Myrtle Beach and wowed observers with mammoth blasts during BP at the Futures Game. However, the 6-foot-5 third baseman’s strikeout rate increased by 15 percentage points in the second half—one of the steepest jumps in the minors—ballooning to an untenable 40 percent of plate appearances.

AVG OBP SLG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
.271 .394 .615 126 439 97 119 19 3 42 106 87 179 7

SP Tyler Glasnow • Pirates
High Class A Bradenton (Florida State)

Tyler GlasnowThe 6-foot-7 righty dramatically sharpened his control in the second half, chopping his walk rate from 5.4 per nine innings through mid-June to 3.2 the rest of the way. The quality of Glasnow’s stuff—which includes a double-plus fastball, a plus curve and an average changeup—was evident on the end-of-season leaderboards. He led the minors in opponent average (.174), ranked third in ERA (1.74) and finished eighth in strikeouts (157) despite missing all of April with a lower-back strain.

W L ERA G GS SV IP H R HR BB SO WHIP AVG
12 5 1.74 23 23 0 124 74 29 3 57 157 1.05 .174

SP Kendall Graveman • Blue Jays
High Class A Dunedin (Florida State) • Triple-A Buffalo (International)
Low Class A Lansing (Midwest) • Double-A New Hampshire (Eastern)

Kendall GravemanSigned for just $5,000 as an eighth-round senior from Mississippi State in 2013, Graveman pitched at all four full-season levels this year, walking 1.7 batters per nine innings and allowing just two home runs in 27 starts. The sinkerball righty pitches at 90-92 mph and added a cutter this season to notch 14 wins (to rank third in the minors) and log a 1.83 ERA (fourth) and 1.03 WHIP (12th).

W L ERA G GS SV IP H R HR BB SO WHIP AVG
14 6 1.83 27 27 0 167 142 40 2 31 115 1.03 .231

SP Jimmy Nelson • Brewers
Triple-A Nashville (Pacific Coast)

Jimmy Nelson

The 25-year-old righthander rode a career-best 3.6 SO/BB ratio at Nashville to a permanent place in the big league rotation in mid-July. Prior to his callup, Nelson made the most of his time in the Pacific Coast League, leading the minors in ERA (1.46) and WHIP (0.92) with a big-time power fastball/slider combo. He allowed just three homers in 17 minor league games (16 starts), while staying in his delivery better than ever and walking just 2.6 batters per nine innings.

W L ERA G GS SV IP H R HR BB SO WHIP AVG
10 2 1.46 17 16 0 111 70 23 3 32 114 0.92 .179

SP Daniel Norris • Blue Jays
High Class A Dunedin (Florida State) • Double-A New Hampshire (Eastern)
Triple-A Buffalo (International)

daniel-norris-2014-mugThe 2011 second-rounder appeared destined to be a $2 million bust at midseason 2013—when through 25 pro starts he had logged a 7.08 ERA and 1.77 WHIP—but the power-armed southpaw got his delivery in sync at that point, and he hasn’t looked back. Norris dominated the minors at three stops this season with an electric three-pitch mix, climbing from Dunedin to Buffalo and ranking first in the minors with 11.8 strikeouts per nine innings along the way. The Blue Jays rewarded him with a September callup.

W L ERA G GS SV IP H R HR BB SO WHIP AVG
12 2 2.53 26 26 0 125 96 37 6 43 163 1.13 .208

SP Henry Owens • Red Sox
Double-A Portland (Eastern) • Triple-A Pawtucket (International)

henry-owens-2014-mug

Batters continued to have a tough time seeing the ball out of the 22-year-old southpaw’s hand. Owens went 17-5, 2.94 in 26 starts, mostly at Portland, dramatically improving his control to walk a career-low 3.3 per nine innings. The 6-foot-6 lefthander relied on a firm fastball and plus changeup to rank first in the minors with 17 wins, fourth with 170 strikeouts and 10th with a .208 opponent average. No minor league pitcher has struck out more batters (339) than Owens the past two seasons.

W L ERA G GS SV IP H R HR BB SO WHIP AVG
17 5 2.94 26 26 0 159 121 53 10 59 170 1.13 .208

RP Cam Bedrosian • Angels
Triple-A Salt Lake (Pacific Coast)

Cam Bedrosian

The 2010 first-rounder suffered an elbow injury during his first pro summer that eventually required Tommy John surgery. After dabbling unsuccessfully as a starter in 2012 upon his return to health, Bedrosian shifted to the bullpen in 2013 and his career took off immediately. This season, the 22-year-old struck out nearly half of the batters he faced in the minors—48.5 percent—while notching 18 saves and allowing only one home run in 43 appearances on his way to making his big league debut with the Angels.

 

W L ERA G GS SV IP H R HR BB SO WHIP AVG
2 1 2.00 43 0 18 45 16 11 1 18 82 0.76 .109

Second-Team All-Stars

J.T. Realmuto • Marlins
Double-A Jacksonville (Southern)

1B Christian Walker • Orioles
Double-A Bowie (Eastern) • Triple-A Norfolk (International)

2B Dilson Herrera • Mets
Double-A Binghamton (Eastern) • High Class A St. Lucie (Florida State)

3B Jake Lamb • Diamondbacks
Double-A Mobile (Southern) • Triple-A Reno (Pacific Coast)

SS J.P. Crawford • Phillies
High Class A Clearwater (Florida State) • Low Class A Lakewood (South Atlantic)

CF Dalton Pompey • Blue Jays
High Class A Dunedin (Florida State) • Double-A New Hampshire (Eastern) • Triple-A Buffalo (International)

OF Scott Schebler • Dodgers
Double-A Chattanooga (Southern)

OF Brett Phillips • Astros
Low Class A Quad Cities (Midwest) • High Class A Lancaster (California)

DH Aaron Judge • Yankees
High Class A Tampa (Florida State) • Low Class A Charleston (South Atlantic)

SP Jose Berrios • Twins
High Class A Fort Myers (Florida State) • Double-A New Britain (Eastern) • Triple-A Rochester (International)

SP Josh Hader • Astros
High Class A Lancaster (California) • Double-A Corpus Christi (Texas)

SP Brian Johnson • Red Sox
Double-A Portland (Eastern) • High Class A Salem (Carolina)

SP Steve Matz • Mets
Double-A Binghamton (Eastern) • High Class A St. Lucie (Florida State)

SP Luis Severino • Yankees
Low Class A Charleston (South Atlantic) • Double-A Trenton (Eastern) • High Class A Tampa (Florida State)

RP Enrique Burgos • Diamondbacks
High Class A Visalia (California)