With the minor league baseball season starting, who are some prospects not on top lists who people should be paying attention to?
The minor league baseball season kicked off on Thursday, and many have followed the top players and where they will start the year. However, there are plenty of players who deserve attention outside of the top 100 lists, so we are going to look at 10 players outside of top 100 lists who you should be tracking this season!
We’ll look at all 10 in alphabetical order:
Austin Allen, C, San Diego Padres
A Division II college catcher from Florida Tech, many thought that Allen’s bat would allow him to get selected but that his size (6’2″, almost 250 pounds at times in his draft season) would make him a first base candidate. Instead, Allen has really put the effort into trimming up his body and sits around 215-225.
Allen has seen his catching take a step forward over the last two seasons, and his fringe-plus arm gives him a chance to stick behind the plate. What caught the eye of evaluators in 2017 was a swing change Allen was working on throughout the season.
While some may dismiss his season due to it coming in the Cal League, Allen showed his swing changes to be significant throughout the year. In the first half of 2017, he hit .250/.338/.427 with 8 home runs, a 10.5% walk rate, and a 22.9% strikeout rate. In the second half, he hit .316/.368/.567 with 14 home runs, a 6.4% walk rate, and a 19.2% strikeout rate.
Allen could be making a push for one of the better catching prospects in the game by the end of the season.
Andrew Bechtold, 3B, Minnesota Twins
Chipola College won the 2017 Junior College National Championship, and Bechtold was a big reason why. Bechtold struggled to get playing time at Maryland his first two seasons, but when he got to Chipola, he exploded for a .419/.532/.676 line in the middle of the Chipola lineup.
Bechtold hit well in his pro debut in the Appy League, showing his good eye at the plate, hitting .299/.406/.424 with 10 doubles and 2 home runs, posting a 15.4% walk rate and a 22.9% strikeout rate.
While his game approach still is more gap power than home run power, showing excellent contact skills, Bechtold has put up incredible power displays in the batting cage and has plus raw power that he could tap into. Defensively, Bechtold could work at short in a pinch, and he should profile as a top-end defensive third baseman, with his plus arm being one of his absolute strengths as a player.
He will start 2018 in Cedar Rapids in full season ball for his first full professional season. He very well could end up moving up to high-A Fort Myers by the end of the 2018 season, putting him on the fast track to seeing the major leagues by the end of 2019.
Next: A Brave and a Ray