Minor League Baseball 2017 League Top 10 Prospects: South Atlantic League

MIAMI, FL - JULY 09: Ronald Acuna
MIAMI, FL - JULY 09: Ronald Acuna /
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2. Leody Taveras, OF, Texas Rangers

Tools everywhere is a very apt description of the Rangers top prospect. Taveras was the toast of last offseason after really impressing in his first stateside exposure and having a very loud fall instructs.

His first season of full season ball didn’t exactly set the world on fire, but Taveras certainly flashed all of his raw tools, with 20 doubles, 7 triples, 8 home runs, and 20 stolen bases. He also showed his strike zone judgement by keeping his strikeout rate low at 15.9%.

Taveras struggled with his pitch recognition more than anything on the season, and while he could contact much of the pitches, even the ones he was fooled on, he struggled to get quality contact that could unleash his raw plus power.

Taveras did show very well in the outfield, and his plus speed played well with his instincts in center field. His arm surprised me in its strength, showing plus strength, when I’d heard more average and above-average grades given to his arm strength, but his accuracy on throws was not impressive at all to my views.

Taveras does have legit tools, and while his play in 2017 wasn’t elite, he certainly didn’t take any major steps backward. He’ll move up to the Carolina League in 2017.

1. Estevan Florial, OF, New York Yankees

When I placed Florial 10th overall on the Yankees preseason top 10 prospect list, I had some comments from folks about how off that was and how I was missing on this prospect or that prospect by putting him at such a high position.

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Needless to say, after 2017, I feel quite vindicated in that positioning if even still a little light! Florial showed incredible growth in 2017 with Charleston before moving up to Tampa for a 19-game run at the end of the season.

There is still swing and miss in Florial’s game, but he still walked enough to post a .372 OBP between two levels on the year, and his impressive power/speed combination brought out 43 extra base hits and 23 stolen bases on the season over 110 games.

Florial is really best suited for right field with his powerful double-plus arm, but he has the plus speed and good glove work to handle center as needed until he outgrows the position. His power is such that will truly blossom as he moves up in the Yankee system, with incredible pull power from the left side that will work very well in Yankee Stadium.

Florial will likely return to Tampa to open 2017, but don’t be surprised if he finishes at AA Trenton.

Next: 2017 Minor League Awards team

Some of the top prospects who didn’t make the minimum time in the league this season included Sixto Sanchez, Alec Hansen, Ian Anderson, Carter Kieboom, Colton Welker, Daniel Johnson, Riley Pint, Jake Burger, Sheldon Neuse, Brian Miller, Juan Soto, Adam Haseley, Kyle Cody, Ranger Suarez, JoJo Romero, Jordan Humphreys, Jay Groome, and Dane Dunning. All of those players would have merited consideration for this list, but none had the requisite time for the list.