The Minors' Best At Midseason

BA's midseason All-Star and All-Surprise teams




MIDSEASON MINOR LEAGUE ALL-STAR TEAM
Pos PLAYER AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS
C #Carlos Santana, Akron (Indians) .269 .403 .498 227 50 61 17 1 11 47 53 38 0 1
Santana remains a steady defender and polished hitter who has adjusted to the attention he's getting from opposing pitchers.
1B Jake Fox, Iowa (Cubs) .409 .495 .841 164 44 67 14 3 17 53 21 31 2 1
Fox was the minors' hottest hitter before a big league trial during interleague play, and he's filling in at third in Chicago.
2B Scott Sizemore, Erie/Toledo (Tigers) .308 .396 .536 289 47 89 23 5 11 47 39 54 8 4
Consistent production at the upper levels of the minor leagues has put Sizemore in position to help the big league club sooner than later.
3B *Lonnie Chisenhall, Kinston (Indians) .283 .355 .504 276 42 78 18 2 13 55 26 60 0 0
In his first full pro season, the 2008 first-round pick ranks among the Carolina League leaders in homers, RBIs and hits.
SS *Dee Gordon, Great Lakes (Dodgers) .311 .373 .405 299 57 93 9 8 1 19 22 52 41
Tom Gordon's son has proved to be a flash on the basepaths, with dynamic speed and an emerging bat.
CF Chris Heisey, Carolina/Louisville (Reds) .350 .423 .584 286 59 100 21 2 14 44 33 35 14 1
While injuries ravaged Double-A Carolina, Heisey kept showing all five tools and earned a promotion to Triple-A. Not bad for a 17th-round pick.
OF Thomas Neal, San Jose (Giants) .349 .427 .612 255 53 89 22 3 13 47 27 53 0 0
Injuries slowed Neal's development, but he's started tapping into his hitting potential while staying healthy.
OF Michael Taylor, Reading (Phillies) .350 .414 .606 274 53 96 17 4 15 58 26 44 14 4
Three years ago, scouts liked to criticize Taylor as just another Stanford hitter with an inside-out swing. Now he's a masher with surprising speed and star potential.
DH *Cody Johnson, Myrtle Beach (Braves) .275 .366 .574 251 35 69 15 0 20 53 36 94 6 4
Yes, he strikes out a lot. He's also just 20, already has 20 homers this season and is doing it at Myrtle Beach, a notorious pitcher's park.
Pos Player W L ERA G GS SV IP H HR BB SO G/F WHIP AVG
SP *Madison Bumgarner, S.J./Conn. (Giants) 8 2 1.79 13 12 0 70.1 55 1 16 61 0.72 1.01 .215
The best pitching prospect left in the minors does it in textbook fashion, pounding opponents into submission one fastball at a time.
SP Tommy Hanson, Gwinnett (Braves) 3 3 1.49 11 11 0 66.1 40 5 17 90 0.73 0.86 .169
Throwing four pitches for strikes, at times all of them plus, made Hanson a Triple-A ace and now he's Atlanta's best starter.
SP Casey Kelly, Greenville/Salem (Red Sox) 7 3 1.50 15 15 0 84 53 2 12 67 0.77 0.77 .176
The two-way debate seems settled—Kelly can pitch. He's also used his athletic ability to show polished command.
SP Mat Latos, Fort Wayne/S.A. (Padres) 7 1 1.28 11 9 0 63.1 37 1 12 65 1.69 0.77 .169
One of the minors' most electric arms, Latos already has jumped to Double-A in his first year in full-season ball.
SP Brian Matusz, Fred./Bowie (Orioles) 6 2 1.96 13 13 0 78 62 5 25 90 1.52 1.12 .215
The highest-drafted pitcher in 2008 has made his amateur scouting reports (extreme polish, varied repertoire) look prescient, as he's already in Double-A.
RP Pat Venditte, Charles./Tampa (Yankees) 2 2 1.42 29 0 20 31.2 24 1 2 40 1.52 0.82 .207
The stuff isn't premium, but the results are. Venditte doesn't walk anybody, gets groundball outs and famously switch-pitches, minimizing platoon advantages.

MIDSEASON MINOR LEAGUE ALL-SURPRISE TEAM
Pos PLAYER AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS
C Mark Wagner, Portland/Paw. (Red Sox) .291 .402 .462 158 22 46 18 0 3 23 29 28 1 0
Wagner's development stalled last year as he endured a miserable season, hitting .219 in Double-A. But he rediscovered his plate discipline this year, earning a recent promotion to Triple-A.
1B *Mitch Moreland, Bake./Frisco (Rangers) .338 .402 .541 305 56 103 28 2 10 46 30 42 1 1
A two-way standout in college, Moreland's path the majors as a hitter is blocked by Justin Smoak. The Rangers let Moreland pitch some last year, and while he showed some promise, he's back to hitting in 2009 and his numbers are too loud to ignore.
2B #Lance Zawadzki, Lake Els./S.A. (Padres) .316 .402 .548 250 40 79 15 2 13 55 35 47 6 1
A switch-hitter with the fine plate discipline typical of a Padres prospect, Zawadzki has hit .371/.459/.543 since being promoted to San Antonio in late May.
3B Alex Liddi, High Desert (Mariners) .347 .396 .646 294 66 102 25 3 19 68 24 71 7 2
After two modest seasons in the Midwest League, Liddi has broken out at offensive High Desert, where he leads the California League in hits, home runs and RBIs. The Italian Futures Gamer has been awesome at home (1.210 OPS) and solid on the road (.832 OPS).
SS *Brandon Crawford, S.J./Conn. (Giants) .301 .359 .448 279 39 84 11 3 8 27 20 78 8 8
Crawford had a serious case of draftitis in his junior at UCLA. That's in the past now, as the UCLA product hit .371 for San Jose before earning a promotion to Double-A.
CF Chris Heisey, Car./Louisville (Reds) .350 .423 .584 286 59 100 21 2 14 44 33 35 14 1
The only player to appear on both these lists, Heisey's all-around abilities have propelled him to the cusp of the big leagues.
OF Chris Pettit, Salt Lake (Angels) .367 .411 .556 196 36 72 21 2 4 34 10 30 14 2
Pettit's hitting ability may be his only plus tool, but he's made the most of it. Pettit was the PCL's leading hitter until a hand injury sidelined him, bouncing back nicely from a 2008 season in which he hit only .248 in Double-A.
OF *Tim Smith, Bake./Frisco (Rangers) .352 .410 .479 213 27 75 12 0 5 42 16 31 11 2
The Toronto native has done nothing but hit since entering the pro ranks as a seventh rounder out of Arizona State in 2007. His numbers have gone up at each level, and he's hitting a whopping .376 in 93 at-bats since moving up to Double-A.
DH *Jon Gaston, Lancaster (Astros) .312 .394 .649 279 65 87 22 9 18 57 38 73 10 2
Gaston has shown both power and speed, ranking second in the Cal League in home runs and leading the league in triples. He's not just a product of hitter-friendly Lancaster either, as he's slugging .519 on the road.
Pos Player W L ERA G GS SV IP H HR BB SO G/F WHIP AVG
SP Zach Stewart, Sara./Car./Lou. (Reds) 4 1 1.79 15 14 0 80 78 2 18 65 2.15 1.20 .257
Stewart has rocketed from high Class A to Triple-A all in on half of a season. After working out of the bullpen last year in his pro debut, Stewart has gone back to starting and succeeded thanks to a hard, sinking fastball that induces groundballs by the bushel.
SP *Travis Wood, Carolina (Reds) 8 3 1.36 16 16 0 99 67 1 35 82 0.87 1.03 .194
The third Red on the All-Surprise team, Wood has been the ace of Double-A Carolina's pitching staff, leading the Mudcats in both innings and strikeouts.
SP Evan Anundsen, Brevard County (Brewers) 7 4 2.03 13 13 0 75 57 0 21 74 1.55 1.04 .215
Anundsen put himself on the radar after throwing a no-hitter April 28, but he hasn't slowed down since. He's not overpowering, but keeps the ball on the ground. He hasn't allowed more than three earned runs in any start all season.
SP *Rudy Owens, West Virginia (Pirates) 9 1 1.90 15 15 0 81 58 7 11 75 0.73 0.86 .199
A member of the final class of draft-and-follows, Owens has demonstrated both control and an ability to miss bats, and he leads the South Atlantic League in both ERA and wins.
SP *Cory Luebke, Lake Els./S.A. (Padres) 9 2 2.31 15 15 0 93 77 3 18 84 1.82 1.02 .226
The Padres tried to put Luebke on the fast track after drafting him in the supplemental first round in 2007 out of Ohio State. He wasn't ready, and had to go back to the Midwest League last year, but he's returned to form this year, earning his way to Double-A after going 8-2, 2.34 in the Cal League.
RP Rob Wooten, Brevard Cty./Huntsville (Brewers) 1 1 1.13 28 0 19 32 23 0 13 47 0.84 1.13 .193
Wooten anchored the back of the bullpen for the FSL's best team in the first-half, going 18-for-19 in saves before a recent promotion. His 18 saves were nearly double his nearest competitor's total.

*Lefthanded hitter/pitcher
#Switch-hitter