Monday, June 20, 2016

Florida State League (A+) Mid-Season Review

ABSTRACT: MiLB Correspondent Peyton Wesner highlights the Florida State League's top performers and top prospects heading into the second half of the season. 

Always the first to bring the circuit's best together for the All-Star Game and its festivities, the talented Florida State League once again has prospects shinning brighter than the sun in 2016. Thus, let's take a look at the top performers of the 1st half

Top Hitter: 
Amed Rosario (STL)
***71st Prospect in MLB
***2nd Prospect in New York Mets' Organization
***2016 FSL All-Star
---.310/.361/.448, 78 H, 8 3B, 3 HR, 38 RBI, & 13 SB.

His uncharacteristic 0-for-4 All-Star Game performance aside, New York Mets' prospect Amed Rosario has one upped his FSL production from last season in all offensive categories. Furthermore, the 20-year old has made a more concerted effort to cause havoc on the base paths and not settle for doubles as he has the same amount of steals as in 2015 while leading the circuit in triples. And, one cannot forget about his pop! After hitting zero home runs in 105 games, Rosario has three in 63. Skills, not already mentioned, that will add to his longevity at shortstop include his cannon of an arm as well as his quick hands and footwork.

Other Top Performers:
2. Miguel Andujar (TAM)
***15th Prospect in New York Yankees' Organization
***2016 FSL All-Star
***Promoted to Double-A Trenton
---.283/.343/.474, 65 H, 10 HR, 41 & RBI.

3. Kevin Newman (BRA)
***11th Prospect in Pittsburgh Pirates' Organization
***2015 1st Round Pick
***2016 FSL All-Star
***Promoted to Double-A Altoona
---.366/.428/.494, 3 HR, 24 RBI, & 4 SB.

4. Jorge Mateo (TAM)
***26th Prospect in MLB
***Top Prospect in New York Yankees' Organization
***10th Shortstop Prospect in MLB
***2016 FSL All-Star
---.281/.345/.440, 44 R, 70 H, 8 3B, 5 HR, 32 RBI, & 24 SB.

Aaron Judge or Jorge Mateo: Who should be the New York Yankees' top prospect?

Who cares! Both will be stars in the Bronx once they arrive.

Similar to the aforementioned up and coming shortstop of the Mets, the Yankees have slowly and gradually moved Jorge Mateo station to station from affiliate to affiliate. However, the pace may be quickening for the 20-year old as he was promoted mid-season to Tampa last year. While his statistics are down to a certain degree in 2016, New York's long term replacement at shortstop is displaying more power with 5 home runs and 32 RBIs in 61 games (it took him 96 contests to collect 2 HRs and 33 RBIs in 2015). A minor concern for fans of the Bombers' lies in the fact that Mateo has just 24 stolen bases, which puts him on pace for a considerably fewer amount than last year's MiLB leading total of 82. Nevertheless, he is tied with Rosario in triples and should also be in store for a taste of Double-A Eastern League action as the season grows older.

5. Christin Stewart (LAK)
***3rd Prospect in Detroit Tigers' Organization
***2015 1st Round Pick
***2016 FSL All-Star
---.239/.389/.509, 37 R, 16 HR, 39 RBI, & 48 BB.

Gaining comparisons to Steven Moya ( of his tremendous power, 2015 Detroit Tigers compensation pick Christin Stewart has definitely silenced the pre-season chatter and speculation that he would not have the same success as in his first professional season. How? He already has 16 home runs in 6 less games than he had 10 long bombs in 2015. While the 22-year old's batting average has slid under .250, his keen eye has drawn him an FSL leading 48 walks. Sure, his strikeouts have heightened, but a power hitter who knows how to draw a walk is a great commodity to any organization.

Top Pitcher:
Tyler Mahle (DAY)
***11th Prospect in Cincinnati Reds' Organization
---8-3 record, 2.50 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, & 76 SO in 79.1 IP/13 appearances.

While the road to Cincinnati has been long and monotonous for Reds' 2013 draft pick Tyler Mahle, the time should be coming for a promotion. In his last start (June 13), the California native stayed on the mound and no-hit the Jupiter Hammerheads in 9 innings of 6 strikeout baseball. The performance was truly the best of his career; however, Mahle has been dominating the FSL since his second High-A start. The 21-year old, utilizing his 6'4" frame to his advantage, attacks hitters with a lively fastball that can touch 95-96 as well as three secondary pitches, which he is confident to throw in any count. Currently possessing a 16 inning scoreless streak, Tyler Mahle doesn't have much to prove in the Florida State League. Hence, his move to Double-A Pensacola should occur by the Major League All-Star break, at the latest.

Other Top Performers:
2. A.J. Ladwig (LAK)
***2016 FSL All-Star
---8-4 record, 2.36 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, & 51 SO in 72.1 IP/12 appearances.

Despite the Detroit Tigers' not having the strongest farm system anymore, players like A.J. Ladwig are giving the city of Motown hope in the future. The former Wichita State Shocker has picked up right where he left off last season, while taking it up a notch, by being the definition of a work horse for Lakeland. Thus far, he is averaging more than 6 innings per with 3 starts of the 7 inning variety. Although the 23-year old is not winning games as much as the beginning of the season, his last three trips to the mound have been quality starts. 

3. Yonny Chirinos (CHA)
---6-0 record, 1.62 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, & 27 SO in 44.1 IP/10 appearances.

Don't let his statistics fool you, Yonny Chirinos' 2016 season has been an odd one. From starting in Port Charlotte as a reliever to being demoted to Low-A Bowling Green for a transition to the starter role, the Tampa Bay Rays' pitching prospect has used his frequent flyer/bus miles this season. The previous aside, the 22-year old Venezuelan has made a seamless switch and has had quality starts in all six of his performances in the rotation. Chirinos won't strikeout a high number as some; however, he has the precision of a surgeon, shown in just 1 walk in his last 38 innings. Expect this young man to have a Blake Snell-ish breakout year in 2016.

4. Joe Jimenez (LAK)
***8th Prospect in Detroit Tigers' Organization
***2016 FSL All-Star
***Promoted to Double-A Erie
---0-0 record, 10 saves, 0.00 ERA, 0.58 WHIP, & 28 SO in 17.1 IP/17 appearances.

5. Jimmy Herget (DAY)
***2016 FSL All-Star
---2-2 record, 11 saves, 1.53 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, & 41 SO in 29.1 IP/26 appearances.

FSL Eastern
1. 41-25 Tampa
***1st Half Champions/Playoff Berth
2. 37-28 Clearwater
3. 34-32 Daytona
4. 33-32 Lakeland
5. 30-36 Dunedin
6. 23-42 Brevard County

FSL Western
1. 36-29 Bradenton
2. 33-31 St. Lucie
3. 33-33 Charlotte
4. 31-34 Palm Beach
5. 31-35 Fort Myers
6. 30-35 Jupiter Top 100 Prospects
#26 Jorge Mateo (TAM)
***2016 FSL All-Star
---.281/.345/.440, 44 R, 70 H, 8 3B, 5 HR, 32 RBI, & 24 SB.

#37 Anthony Alford (DUN)
***7-Day DL
---.205/.277/.262, HR, 11 RBI, & 4 SB.

#38 Brent Honeywell (CHA)
***2016 FSL All-Star
***7-Day DL
---4-0 record, 1.30 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, & 46 SO in 41.2 IP/7 appearances.

#54 Tyler Jay (FTM)
***2016 FSL All-Star
---5-5 record, 2.97 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, & 61 SO in 60.2 IP/11 appearances.

#71 Amed Rosario (STL)
***2016 FSL All-Star
---.310/.361/.448, 78 H, 8 3B, 3 HR, 38 RBI, & 13 SB.

#72 Jack Flaherty (PB)
---2-4 record, 3.86 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, & 61 SO in 58.1 IP/11 appearances.

#83 Nick Gordon (FTM)
***2016 FSL All-Star
---.288/.341/.410, 4 3B, 2 HR, 19 RBI, & 9 SB.

#100 Stephen Gonsalves (FTM)
***2016 FSL All-Star
---5-4 record, 2.33 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, & 66 SO in 65.2 IP/11 appearances.

***Photo Courtesy of Mark LoMoglio/

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