MLB top prospects show off in winter leagues

SURPRISE, AZ - NOVEMBER 03: AFL West All-Star, Vladimir Guerrero Jr #27 of the Toronto Blue Jays bats during the Arizona Fall League All Star Game at Surprise Stadium on November 3, 2018 in Surprise, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
SURPRISE, AZ - NOVEMBER 03: AFL West All-Star, Vladimir Guerrero Jr #27 of the Toronto Blue Jays bats during the Arizona Fall League All Star Game at Surprise Stadium on November 3, 2018 in Surprise, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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MLB top prospects
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO – AUGUST 04: Ramon Urias of Diablos Rojos throws the ball to first base during the match between Vaqueros Laguna and Diablos Rojos as part of the Liga Mexicana de Beisbol 2017 at Fray Nano Stadium on August 04, 2017 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Hector Vivas/LatinContent/Getty Images) /

Mexican Winter League

Signed as an older free agent, Cristian Castillo has been working in the Royals system as a starter until this season, when the lefty was moved to the bullpen, and he could move quickly to the major leagues in the role. He’s been dominating the Mexican Winter League this year, with a 0.68 ERA and 0.60 WHIP over 13 1/3 relief innings, posting a 1/14 BB/K ratio.

In his first season in the Cardinals organization, Ramon Urias hit very well in AA/AAA, combining for a .300/.356/.516 line with 28 doubles and 13 home runs. The 24 y/o second baseman returned to his native Mexico for the winter, and he’s been hitting all winter so far, posting a .354/.469/.512 line with 5 doubles, 5 home runs, and 5 stolen bases over 37 games.

Puerto Rico Winter League

After a rough first full season marred by injury and struggles with strikeouts, Heliot Ramos has opened his winter league work in the PRWL with a bang. He’s hitting .333/.360/.625 with 4 doubles and a home run over 7 games.

Venezuelan Winter League

The Atlanta Braves have plenty of MLB top prospects in their farm system, but they saw Johan Camargo go from a defensive specialist without a lot of bat to an impact major leaguer with a winter league transition in his swing. Defensive specialist Alejandro Salazar seems to be undergoing a similar thing, hitting .433/.455/.633 in 9 games in the Venezuelan League thus far with 6 doubles.

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Houston Astros starter

Akeem Bostick

has all the “stuff” to be among MLB top prospects, but he’s simply dealt with a multitude of injuries and issues that have not allowed him to have a full season of dominance. He’s having an excellent winter in Venezuela, with 6 starts, tossing 24 2/3 innings, with a 2.92 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, and a 8/22 BB/K ratio.

The Los Angeles Angels are looking to figure out their second base or third base situation (depending on where they put Zack Cozart), and they desperately need left-handed hitting. They may have both solved in Jose Rojas, who was originally a 36th round draft pick in 2016 out of Vanguard. Rojas has played first, second, third, and the corner outfield in the minors. After clubbing 17 homers and stealing 10 bases in 103 games in AA/AAA in 2018, Rojas is hitting .325/.369/.575 with 10 doubles, 4 triples, 4 home runs, and 2 stolen bases.

Sometimes lost in the depth of talent in the Milwaukee Brewers outfield prospects, Troy Stokes, Jr. is putting on a show so far in the Venezuelan Winter League, hitting .298/.391/.447 with 4 home runs and 7 stolen bases in 28 games.

In an organization with Yadier Molina at the MLB level and two excellent young backstops on deck in the upper minors, it takes quite a bit for a young catcher to get attention in the Cardinals org. Jose Godoy is doing everything he can this winter to turn some heads. The Venezuelan native is in his home country for the winter, and he’s hit .400/.444/.560 with a double and a home run over 17 games this winter so far.

Next. Colon to pitch in DWL. dark

While MLB top prospects often don’t see a ton of value change from their performance in an offseason league, a big performance can do just that, and these players are on their way to changing some minds.