Image credit: Joey Bart (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
The Northwest League was given a treat this season. Usually top college draftees briefly stop by before moving up to higher levels, but Joey Bart, the second pick in the 2018 draft, stayed with Salem-Keizer through the end of the season. As expected, he was one of the dominant players in the league and an easy choice as the league’s top prospect.
While Bart was the league’s best prospect, the rest of the Northwest League Top Prospects list included a mix of hard-throwing, young pitchers (Hans Crouse and Brailyn Marquez) and a large-number of talented up-the-middle teenage position players.
Some of the best college players in the league–righthander Sean Hjelle (Giants), lefthander Michael Plassmeyer (Mariners) and shortstop Nico Hoerner (Cubs)–did not have enough innings or at-bats to qualify.
Eugene won the league title in wild fashion. The Emeralds had the worst record in the league during the regular season (31-45), but managed to sneak into the playoffs when Hillsboro won both halves of the season. They then cruised through the playoffs, sweeping Spokane in the championship series. They won the Game 3 on an odd walk-off balk as Spokane’s Emmanuel Clase balked with a runner on third in the ninth inning.