The 2012 Minor League All-Star Team, as selected by Baseball America staff.
C Gary Sanchez • Yankees
High Class A Tampa (Florida State)
The Blue Jays' Travis d'Arnaud had slugged 16 home runs and hit .333/.380/.595 through 279 at-bats for Triple-A Las Vegas when he tore up his knee in late June. Other hard-hitting catchers such as the Rockies' Will Swanner and the Braves' Evan Gattis also missed chunks of the season with injuries, clearing the way for Sanchez to lead all minor league catchers with 18 home runs. The 19-year-old smacked 13 of those homers with low Class A Charleston, though he did hit a respectable .279/.330/.436 with five homers in 172 at-bats following a promotion to the Florida State League. Best of all, Sanchez dramatically reduced the rate of passed balls charged to him. That total dropped from 26 PBs in 60 games behind the plate in 2011 to 18 in 91 games this year.
1B Jonathan Singleton • Astros
Double-A Corpus Christi (Texas)
All Singleton has done since joining the Astros organization at the 2011 trade deadline is hit .295/.398/.500 with 25 homers in 590 at-bats. Scouts figure the 20-year-old will grow into more power as he matures because of his plate approach (his 88 walks ranked seventh in the minors) and leveraged swing. With the graduation of Cubs prospect Anthony Rizzo, Singleton ascends to the top of the prospect heap at first base.
2B Delino DeShields Jr. • Astros
High Class A Lancaster (California)
DeShields picked the wrong year to steal 101 bases. Had the 2010 first-rounder done it last year, then he'd be mentioned today in the same breath as Billy Hamilton. Regardless, the Astros have to be encouraged by DeShields' growth at the plate. His OPS jumped from .627 last year to .840 this year as he repeated the low Class A level with Lexington. A .237/.336/.381 batting line in 97 at-bats for Lancaster in August suggests that DeShields still needs more time to iron out his offensive approach, though his pure speed and baserunning instincts will ensure he remains a prospect.
3B Mike Olt • Rangers
Double-A Frisco (Texas)
Olt mashed 28 homers for Frisco prior to his big league callup on Aug. 1, and that total held up over the final month to give him the Texas League lead for longballs and slugging (.579). Though he scuffled in the big leagues while playing sporadically, Olt has the type of power, defensive proficiency and arm strength that teams covet at the hot corner. Look for him to join the ranks of the game's premier young third basemen, a group that includes past BA minor league all-stars like Brett Lawrie, Mike Moustakas, Pedro Alvarez and Evan Longoria.
SS Jurickson Profar • Rangers
Double-A Frisco (Texas)
The reigning MVP of the low Class A South Atlantic League advanced straight to Double-A, put up an .820 OPS as the Texas League's youngest regular and earned a September callup to Arlington, whereupon he homered in his first plate appearance. Profar does everything well—you might identify average power as his weakest tool—and his broad range of abilities ought to translate into a long, illustrious career as a first-division shortstop. He made 4.35 plays (assists plus putouts) per game with Frisco, more than all but four Double-A shortstops with 70 games at the position this year.
CF Adam Eaton • Diamondbacks
Triple-A Reno (Pacific Coast)
A 19th-round pick out of Miami (Ohio) in 2010, Eaton has outplayed his draft position at every stop on his journey. The 5-foot-8 sparkplug reached Double-A last July, about a year after signing, and ascended to Reno this April. Eaton's rapid rise culminated with a callup to Arizona this September after he led the minors with a .375 average, 47 doubles and 198 hits. Perhaps the toughest out in the minors, his .456 on-base percentage trailed only Cardinals walk machine Mike O'Neill (by two points). The 23-year-old Eaton led the Triple-A Pacific Coast League in six categories, including average (.381), doubles (46), stolen bases (38) and OBP (.456).
OF Wil Myers • Royals
Triple-A Omaha (Pacific Coast)
The Minor League Player of the Year had a bead on the home run title before Double-A Reading first baseman Darin Ruf lost his mind and hit .371 with 20 homers in August. Thus the 26-year-old Ruf out-homered Myers by a 38-37 count, despite the fact that Myers entered August with a 33-18 advantage. The 21-year-old Myers did manage to lead the minors with 313 total bases while finishing second in homers, third in slugging (.600), fourth in extra-base hits (69) and RBIs (109) and fifth in OPS (.987) and isolated slugging (.285). In other words, Myers stands poised to join Alex Gordon, Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas in the Royals' 2013 lineup.
OF Oscar Taveras • Cardinals
Double-A Springfield (Texas)
Taveras skipped a level but didn't skip a beat in 2012. In fact, the 20-year-old won his second straight batting title, capturing the Double-A Texas League championship at .321, one year after leading the low Class A Midwest League at .351. Taveras also led the TL with 37 doubles and 67 extra-base hits (compared with just 56 strikeouts) to capture the league's MVP award. He proved to be a capable center fielder, but most see his future in right, meaning he could be in line to succeed Carlos Beltran in St. Louis.
DH Billy Hamilton • Reds
Double-A Pensacola (Southern)
One could not tell the story of the 2012 minor league season without Hamilton, but he plays the same position (shortstop) as the top prospect in the game. So to bestow all-star honors on both Hamilton and Jurickson Profar we elected to fit in the former as perhaps the most unconventional DH ever. That's OK, because Hamilton might be the most unique player we've ever seen. Not only did he establish a new professional baseball record with 155 stolen bases—breezing past Vince Coleman's standard of 145 for the 1983 Macon Redbirds—but he led both the California (104) and Southern (51) leagues in steals while making an unfathomable 192 steal attempts in 132 games.
SP Trevor Bauer • Diamondbacks
Triple-A Reno (Pacific Coast)
The third pick in the 2011 draft, Bauer raced to Triple-A in mid-May and made his much-anticipated big league debut this year on June 28. He pitched through a groin strain with Arizona—and pitched ineffectively—before returning to the Pacific Coast League with a 6.06 ERA after four starts. Once Bauer recovered his health, however, he closed August with five effective starts for Reno (2.78 ERA, 37-10 K-BB in 32 innings). He struck out 10.8 batters per nine innings while at Double-A Mobile and Reno, giving him the fourth-highest rate among qualified minor league starters, while his 2.42 ERA ranked ninth.
SP Dylan Bundy • Orioles
Double-A Bowie (Eastern)
Taken one pick after Bauer in last year's draft, Bundy spent most of the season with high Class A Frederick, where he served as the Carolina League's youngest pitcher. Bookending that stint, he dealt 30 innings for low Class A Delmarva in which he allowed five hits and zero earned runs and then finished the year with three fine starts at Double-A. Bundy fell about eight innings short of qualifying for the minor league ERA title—he averaged 4.5 innings per start—but had he kept up the pace he would have ranked among the top 10 in ERA (2.08), WHIP (0.92) and strikeout rate (10.3 per nine innings).
SP Tony Cingrani • Reds
Double-A Pensacola (Southern)
Cingrani struggled so much at Rice that he pitched his way out of the rotation as a junior before redeeming himself as a reliever the following year. He landed with the Reds in the third round of the 2011 draft, reverted back to a starting role and promptly won the minor league ERA title (1.73) this season while finishing second with 172 strikeouts. Cingrani breezed through the high Class A California League before a June promotion to Pensacola, where he struck out 15 batters in his fifth Double-A start. The Reds called up Cingrani in September, and he joined fellow college pitchers Cody Allen, Trevor Bauer, Carter Capps and Nick Maronde as 2011 drat picks to make their big league debuts a year later.
SP Jose Fernandez • Marlins
High Class A Jupiter (Florida State)
The Marlins may have gotten the steal of the 2011 draft when they selected Fernandez with the 14th pick. The 20-year-old native of Cuba decimated low-level competition in stops with low Class A Greensboro and Jupiter this year, going 14-1, 1.75 with just two home runs allowed in 25 starts. He led the minors with a 0.93 WHIP and collected 158 strikeouts against 35 walks in 134 innings. Only Tony Cingrani finished with a lower ERA.
SP Dan Straily • Athletics
Triple-A Sacramento (Pacific Coast)
Straily had trouble latching on with his Oregon high school team and then struggled to generate interest from Division I college programs until Marshall took a chance on him. He dropped 25 pounds after the Athletics made him a 24th-round pick in 2009, and after acing Double-A and Triple-A this season and leading the minors with 190 strikeouts, many teams would surely take a chance on Straily.
RP Carter Capps • Mariners
Triple-A Tacoma (Pacific Coast)
Capps averaged 13.2 strikeouts and 2.1 walks per nine innings and converted 19 of 21 saves in the high minors on his way to Seattle this August. But perhaps the most impressive number associated with the 22-year-old's meteoric rise is his fastball velocity, a steady 98 mph with life to both sides of the plate. The Mariners drafted Capps from Division II Mount Olive (N.C.) last year, signing him only after he tore up the Cape Cod League. Time has proven the wisdom of that decision. Capps required just 50 innings with Double-A Jackson this season—plus one appearance for Tacoma—prior to his callup.
|2B||Delino DeShields Jr.||.287||.389||.428||135||537||113||154||24||8||12||61||101|