2017 Pioneer League Top 20 Prospects


(Photo by Bill Mitchell)

Championship Series:
Ogden (Dodgers) 2
Great Falls (White Sox) 1
Best Record:
Orem (Angels), 49-26 (.653)
Most Valuable Player:
Anthony Villa, 3B/1B, Great Falls (White Sox)
Pitcher of the year:
Elvin Rodriguez, RHP, Orem (Angels)
Did Not Qualify:
Hunter Greene, RHP, Billings (Reds)

SEE ALSO: Arizona/Pioneer Top 20 Chat

To qualify for a Minor League Top 20 Prospects list, a position player must have one plate appearance per team game, a starting pitcher must have one-third of an inning per team game and a reliever must have 20 relief appearances.

It was all about the offense in the eight-team Rookie-level Pioneer League this year, with 16 of the top 20 prospects being position players. The league with the most favorable hitting conditions in affiliated ball was even crazier this year and finished with a line of .293/.370/.457. Ogden hit .319 and slugged .513 as a team.

Despite the gaudy hitting totals, the overall level of talent was down this year. The only 2017 first-round picks to appear were righthander Hunter Greene (Billings), outfielder Jeren Kendall (Ogden) and outfielder Jo Adell (Orem), and Adell was the only of the trio to qualify for this list.

After beginning his pro career in the Rookie-level Arizona League, where he ranks as the No. 2 prospect, Adell arrived in Orem in mid-August and got enough plate appearances to qualify as the PL's top prospect. Orem teammates Chris Rodriguez and Brandon Marsh rank right behind Adell, with Owlz shortstop Leonardo Rivas also ranking in the top ten.

1. Jo Adell, OF, Orem (Angels) |📹
Age: 18. B-T R-R. Ht: 6-2. Wt: 195. Drafted: HS—Louisville, 2017 (1).

After making his pro debut with 31 games in the Rookie-level Arizona League where he ranked as the second best prospect, Adell arrived in Orem on Aug. 17, getting into 18 games with the Owlz and giving them a late-season boost on their way to the playoffs.

Just like in the AZL, Adell was limited to DH duties because of a minor shoulder issue. He's a five-tool athlete who receives multiple plus grades. He makes hard contact and has the strength and plus bat speed to drive balls, giving him a chance to hit for average in addition to showing plus power.

Adell is an impressive baserunner with plus speed, with scouts projecting that he'll keep his speed even as he grows. While PL observers didn't get to see him play the outfield, he's expected to be capable of staying in center field, though his plus-plus arm could also play in right field.

It didn't take long for Adell to make an impression with the Orem coaching staff. "He’s made some adjustments and the ball comes off his bat like a grown man," Orem manager Tom Nieto said, "and of course he runs like the wind . . . He's something special."

85 25 32 5 2 1 9 4 17 3 2 .376 .411 .518

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