2018 Pioneer League Top 20 Prospects
The Pioneer League is always a tough place to evaluate prospects, in part to the age disparity in the league as well as the large number of extreme hitting environments among the eight ballparks. The growing trend of organizations adding a third short-season affiliate tends to thin out the prospect talent, this year reducing the number of top prospects early in the Pioneer League season. But a mid-season influx of players from the rookie-level Arizona League and some surprising pitching performances resulted in a respectable group of prospects in 2018.
Brice Turang (Helena) and Ryan Rolison (Grand Junction) were the only 2018 first round picks to accrue enough playing time to rank on the league prospect list. Among the other first rounders who appeared in the league but did not get enough plate appearances to qualify was Cincinnati’s fifth overall pick Jonathan India, who made a circuitous stopover for a long weekend in Billings between stints in the Appalachian and Midwest leagues.
Jordyn Adams, the Angels top choice, got into nine games with Orem before his season ended after an outfield collision resulted in a broken jaw. In addition, 17-year-old Missoula outfielder Kristian Robinson, Arizona’s top international signing last year, finished one plate appearance short of qualifying for the list.
The Great Falls Voyagers swept both best-of-three series to capture its 13th championship, the first for the White Sox affiliate since 2011. Last year’s league champs Ogden posted the best regular season record at 46-30 but were knocked out by Grand Junction in this year’s South division semi-final playoff round. Grand Junction infielder Coco Montes was named league MVP while Idaho Falls southpaw J.C. Cloney earned Pitcher of the Year honors.
The 2018 season marked the final year for the Helena, Montana franchise, a member of the Pioneer League since 2003, moving next year to Colorado Springs, Colorado to replace the Brewers former Triple-A affiliate.