Prospect Notes From All Four Class A All-Star Games

Wrapping up the four Class A all-star games, three of which took place on Tuesday night, with an emphasis on prospect performance.

California-Carolina League

Carolina League 12, California League 2
Tuesday, June 18
San Jose (Giants)

Robby Hefflinger, lf, Braves. The 23-year-old breakout prospect capped an astonishing first half—he leads the Carolina League in home runs (18), slugging percentage (.580) and extra-base hits (36)—by winning the California-Carolina League all-star game home run derby and subsequent game MVP award. The Carolina League cleanup hitter smacked a pair of doubles and scored a run as part of a 3-for-5 day at the plate.

• Carolina League lineup. Each member of the Carolina League starting nine collected at least one hit, save for, ironically, midseason batting champ Garin Cecchini, the Red Sox third baseman who hit .350 in the first half with a league-leading .469 on-base percentage. Making good for the Carolinians were Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor (1-for-2, two RBIs, double, stolen base, walk) and his substitute Luis Sardinas of the Rangers (1-for-2, two RBIs), Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor (1-for-5, two runs) and Red Sox catcher Blake Swihart (1-for-3, one RBI, one run).

Tyler Naquin, cf, Indians. The 2012 first-rounder chipped in with a 2-for-5 day that included two runs and two strikeouts. He leads the Carolina League with 83 hits and trails only Cecchini in the batting race (.311).

Danny Winkler, rhp, Rockies. The midseason Cal League pitching triple crown winner (9-2, 2.15 with 98 strikeouts) did what he does best during the the all-star game, notching two strikeouts and completing a clean third inning. In a game in which the Cal League recorded just seven hits and committed four errors, the 23-year-old Central Florida product stood far above the field. Winkler has been nearly untouchable in his past four starts, going 3-0, 1.01 with a 32-to-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 26 2/3 innings. That hot stretch has vaulted the Modesto righty to the top of the minor league leaderboards for strikeouts (98) and WHIP (0.81). He ranks second in the minors with a .163 opponent average.

Max Muncy, 1b, Athletics. In a game in which five Cal League batters struck doubles, Muncy did something even more remarkable. The starting first baseman and three-hole hitter drew three walks in his four trips to the plate. This for the man who leads the Cal League with 18 home runs and ranks second with 145 total bases. To be fair, Muncy also leads the circuit with 49 walks.

Midwest League

Eastern Division 6, Western Division 5
Tuesday, June 18
Dayton, Ohio (Reds)

Dalton Pompey, cf, Blue Jays. The native Ontarian and Toronto 16th-round pick in 2010 drove in the winning run for the Eastern Division with a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth inning. He went 1-for-2 in the game as the substitute for center-field starter Andrew Toles of the Rays.

Brandon Drury, 3b, Diamondbacks. For a game that featured 19 hits, just three of them went for extra bases. Drury collected one of those three, a double, as part of a 1-for-2 day in which he scored a run and struck out once. The performance was fitting seeing that he led the MWL in isolated power during the first half (10 homers, 27 doubles, three triples).

Dan Vogelbach, dh, Cubs. Batting fifth for the Western Division, Vogelbach smacked the squad’s lone extra-base hit, a double, and went 2-for-2 with an RBI, a walk and a run scored.

Carlos Correa, ss, Astros. The top pick in the 2012 draft went 2-for-3 with a strikeout, getting the better of  Twins center fielder Byron Buxton (0-for-3) if only for one night. Buxton batted first and Correa second for the Western Division, going the plate in reverse order of their draft selection a year ago.

Lance McCullers Jr., rhp, Astros. The Astros’ other stud prospect in the MWL all-star game started for Western Division and struck out two in a clean first inning of work.

South Atlantic League

Northern Division 2, Southern Division 1 (seven innings)
Tuesday, June 18
Lakewood, N.J. (Phillies)
See also: Correspondent Everett Merrill’s game story

Micah Johnson, 2b, White Sox. Johnson stole second and third base on consecutive pitches in the third inning—victimizing Giants righty Chris Stratton and Mets catcher Kevin Plawecki—then scored the deciding run on a fielder’s choice. The minor league stolen-base leader (with 54 in 70 attempts for Kannapolis) went 1-for-2 at the plate and won the game’s MVP award.

Southern Division shortstops. The rain-delayed and rain-shortened all-star game may not have featured many runs, but that wasn’t for a lack of effort by the visiting shortstops, the Rockies’ Rosell Herrera and the Royals’ Raul Adalberto Mondesi. Batting out of the leadoff position, Herrera (1-for-2) and Mondesi (2-for-2) accounted for three of the Southern Division’s eight hits.

Northern Division pitching staff. Though they worked around at least one baserunner in all seven innings, the Northern Division pitchers allowed only one to cross home plate. Orioles lefty Josh Hader (one inning, one walk) and Phillies lefty Yoel Mecias (2/3 inning, one hit) each recorded two strikeouts.

Florida State League

Southern Division 8, Northern Division 1
Saturday, June 15
Dunedin, Fla. (Blue Jays)

Alen Hanson, ss, Pirates. The all-star game’s MVP delivered the biggest hit of the Southern Division’s five-run fifth inning, driving a three-run home run to right field. He went 1-for-5 with three RBIs and a run scored but also two strikeouts. Hanson recovered from a slow April to hit .299/.370/.479 with 15 extra-base hits and 12 stolen bases in 38 games since May 1.

Richie Shaffer, 3b, Rays. The 2012 first-rounder hit just .237 with a poor .640 OPS in 58 first-half games, but he earned some measure of redemption by going 1-for-2, drawing a walk and driving in a run via a sac fly in the all-star game.

Javier Baez, ss, Cubs, and Gary Sanchez, c, Yankees. Baez (2-for-4 with a double) and Sanchez (1-for-1 with a double) accounted for three of the Northern Division’s four hits. Sanchez scored his team’s lone run in the fourth inning.

Noah Syndergaard, rhp, Mets, and Justin Nicolino, lhp, Marlins. The Southern Division teammates pitched the third and fourth innings, but the FSL all-star game wasn’t the first time they had teamed up as professionals. Both pitched for low Class A Lansing in the Blue Jays system in 2012 prior to offseason trades that sent Syndergaard to the Mets (for R.A. Dickey) and Nicolino to the Marlins (for Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle).