An all-star team comprised of prospects, based on their performance in the month of April.
C Kevin Plawecki • Mets
Low Class A Savannah (South Atlantic)
The 35th pick in last year’s draft slammed seven homers in the New York-Penn League after signing and has made a fine full-season debut for Savannah, leading the SAL with a .391 average, .667 slugging percentage, 12 doubles and 16 extra-base hits through April.
1B Stetson Allie • Pirates
Low Class A West Virginia (South Atlantic)
“He does have some of the best raw power in the draft,” we wrote of Allie the pitcher prior to the 2010 draft. The Pirates tried to no avail to coax some pitchability from the stout righthander, but after running up a 7.76 ERA and issuing 37 walks in 26 2/3 innings, Allie the hitter was born. So far, so good--he leads the SAL with eight homers and 64 total bases through April.
2B Nick Franklin • Mariners
Triple-A Tacoma (Pacific Coast)
Franklin won’t qualify for a May all-prospect team if the Mariners continue to receive such anemic production from middle infielders Brendan Ryan (15 OPS+) and Dustin Ackley (65 OPS+). That’s because Franklin, with twice as many walks as strikeouts and a minor league-leading .538 on-base percentage, will be receiving playing time in Seattle.
3B Miguel Sano • Twins
High Class A Fort Myers (Florida State)
While you wouldn’t want to bet the house on Sano continuing to hit .441 on balls in play, he could make a run at the FSL record for home runs in a season--Jim Fuller with 31 in '71--and he led the circuit with a .368 average, nine homers, a .747 slugging percentage and 17 extra-base hits in April.
SS Francisco Lindor • Indians
High Class A Carolina (Carolina)
Any slick-fielding shortstop who can hit .300/.400/.500 for a month in the Carolina League at age 19 has to taken seriously as a prospect, and Lindor is no exception. He led the CL with 31 hits in April and contributes all sorts of secondary goodies, such as seven steals in nine tries and 10 walks in 24 games.
OF Byron Buxton • Twins
Low Class A Cedar Rapids (Midwest)
Not often do elite raw tools turn into elite production this quickly for teenagers in the MWL--Justin Upton put up a .757 OPS for South Bend in '06, for example--but Buxton led the circuit with a .392 average, .684 slugging percentage and 25 runs scored in April.
OF Robby Hefflinger • Braves
High Class A Lynchburg (Carolina)
The third time has proven to be the charm for Hefflinger at Lynchburg. He led all Carolina Leaguers with eight homers, 20 RBIs and 15 extra-base hits in April, putting those reps in the Panamanian League last winter to good use. The 23-year-old could be a late-blooming righty power bat, a la Tyler Moore, according to one front-office executive.
OF George Springer • Astros
Double-A Corpus Christi (Texas)
Springer’s power (he led the TL with eight homers in April) and patience (his 15 walks ranked third) will get him to the big leagues, but his speed and range in center field will keep him there to learn the finer points of hitting.
LHP Alex Wood • Braves
Double-A Mississippi (Southern)
A second-rounder last year, Wood didn’t flinch at an assignment to Double-A to begin his full-season debut, and he could surface in Atlanta sooner than expected. He led the SL with an 0.67 ERA and ranked second with 31 whiffs in April.
RHP Rafael Montero • Mets
Double-A Binghamton (Eastern)
Montero boasts a strikeout-to-walk ratio of nearly 12-to-1 in the Double-A proving grounds, and with a firm fastball and two solid secondary offerings he’s not exactly getting by on deception. Only Reading lefty Jesse Biddle has more strikeouts.
RHP Anthony Ranaudo • Red Sox
Double-A Portland (Eastern)
Scouts remark that Ranaudo looks like a new animal this spring as he appears recovered from the groin trouble that struck at inopportune times last season. He ranked second in the EL with a 0.83 ERA and 0.74 WHIP in April.
RHP C.J. Edwards • Rangers
Low Class A Hickory (South Atlantic)
From 48th-round pick in 2011 to short-season breakout prospect in '12 to Opening Day starter for Hickory this season, Edwards has come a long way in two years. He ranked third in the SAL with 29 strikeouts in April, while holding opponents to a .176 average.
LHP Jesse Biddle • Phillies
Double-A Reading (Eastern)
Biddle’s 16-strikeout, one-hit-in-seven-innings performance on April 22 was one of the finest pitching performances we’ve seen in the minors these past seven seasons, and he led the EL with 40 strikeouts and a .114 opponent average in April.