NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 26: 2011 first round draft pick Brandon Nimmo of the New York Mets poses for a photo before a game between the Cincinnati Reds and the New York Mets at Citi Field on September 26, 2011 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
This update will probably be the last level review for either the Low-A or Rookie levels during the minor league season, but that doesn't mean that the minor league coverage stops. Throughout the month of September, I will be taking a look at some of the top performances and the top prospects in each league, including brief notes like these level reviews have given throughout the season. But we are also looking for your input! What do you want to see from our minor league coverage through the offseason? Are there specific things you would like to hear about? I'll be asking for the rest of the month, so let us know in the comments if you have something or someone you specifically want to read about.
For each of the players, I will note what level I believe they will start the 2013 season at, and whether or not they could move quickly.
Carlos Correa (HOU) - 'Correa was moved to the Appy League after posting what appear to be down numbers with the Astros' GCL affiliate. However, since arriving in Greeneville, Correa has been on a tear, hitting .407/.484/.667 with a home run and a stolen base in 8 games. ANTICIPATED 2013 START: I would look for Correa to start the 2013 season with the Astros' full season Low-A affiliate, and I wonder if he could end up finishing the season in High-A.
Bubba Starling (KC) - Starling is currently 6th in the Appy League in OPS, has clubbed 10 home runs, and stolen 9 bases in 45 games with Burlington. I'd feel a lot more confident in ranking him for next season if the Royals would give him at least a week or two at Low-A, but at this point in the season that seems pretty unlikely. ANTICIPATED 2013 START: Based on his age, I would believe the Royals would have to start him at full season Low-A, but unless he destroys the level he'll probably stay there all year long.
Dorssys Paulino (CLE) - One of the top IFA signings last year, Paulino was sent to the Arizona League despite being just 17 years old. A shortstop from the Dominican Republic, Paulino has hit well in Arizona to the tune of .355/.404/.610 with 6 homers and 9 stolen bases in 41 games. ANTICIPATED 2013 START: I would not be surprised if the Indians moved Paulino to their full season Low-A affiliate for 2013, and see if he can follow the same path that top prospect Francisco Lindor does.
Joey Gallo (TEX) - Gallo was recently promoted to the Northwest League after setting the AZL record for home runs in a season with 18. Gallo is known for having top level power potential, but with the potential for a ton of strikeouts. After striking out 52 times in 150 at bats in the AZL, Gallo has one of the most ridiculous lines you've ever seen in the NWL: 6 for 19 with 12 strikeouts, 2 home runs, and an OPS of 1.093 through 5 games. ANTICIPATED 2013 START: The Rangers really should send him to their Full-Season Low-A affiliate, as it really appears that other than the strikeouts he has very little else to work on at the plate. It seems like he is just going to need more and more at bats and chances at 3B.
Byron Buxton (MIN) - The #2 overall pick this year has shown flashes of what made him that pick, and the performance overall is a bit of a mixed bag. The Twins promoted Buxton to their Appy League affiliate after 27 games in the GCL, where he hit a very promising 4 homers but hit just .216 with 26 strikeouts in 88 at bats. ANTICIPATED 2013 START: Don't ask me why, but for some reason I just think Buxton will be back with either a Rookie league team or maybe the Twins short season Low-A affiliate rather than a full season assignment.
Jorge Soler (CHC) - Soler has only played 8 games at the Low-A level so far, but has hit two home runs and two doubles in that time. Soler won't turn 21 until next February, but I could see the Cubs giving him a challenge for 2013. ANTICIPATED 2013 START: I think they will give him that challenge and send him to High-A Daytona.
Austin Hedges (SD) - Hedges was already known for his defense, so much so that there had been speculation that his glove might already be major league ready. But with a solid offensive performance, he's likely to jump up prospect rankings with his .269/.327/.449 line in the Midwest League. ANTICIPATED 2013 START: High-A
Miguel Sano (MIN) - Sano has basically won the home run title in the Midwest League already, as he is nine ahead of the next closest person on the leaderboard with his 26 so far. The power will play no matter what position he ends up at, but Keith Law wrote earlier in the week of his "obvious disdain" for playing defense at all. ANTICIPATED 2013 START: I would be extremely surprised if Sano did not start the 2013 season at High-A.
Brandon Nimmo (NYM) - Nimmo has had solid performance in the New York Penn League so far, and the reports I've read seem to indicate that the tools that made him a top pick are still a work in progress. Remember: Nimmo came out of the state of Wyoming, and was the first player drafted in the first round from that state. He's going to be a bit raw, but it sounds like the Mets could have a solid prospect on their hands. ANTICIPATED 2013 START: Low-A full season.
Addison Russell (OAK) - Russell is now at his third level since signing, as he was promoted again from Vermont to the Low-A Burlington Bees. He seems likely to play every day now that the Athletics have traded away SS Sean Jamieson, the guy who had been the everyday shortstop there. Russell finished in Vermont with a home run and two stolen bases in 13 games. ANTICIPATED 2013 START: He'll continue on at Low-A I would imagine.
- Javier Baez of the Cubs was promoted to High-A Daytona back on the 4th of the month, and I would expect him to be there to start 2013.
- I love the performance so far out of Rockies' top draft pick David Dahl and I am really interested to read more reports on him and what he can do for the team. It's a bit hard to judge his performance in Grand Junction due to the elevation, but he is still just 18 years old and could be in line for a full season assignment next year.
- A name that hadn't been getting a lot of publicity in prospect ranks previously was Pirates' OF prospect Gregory Polanco. He is hitting .328/.393./.520 with 15 home runs and 40 stolen bases in Low-A, but is on the disabled list currently.
- It looks like the Giants have more pitching on the way again, as Clayton Blackburn has been one of the top pitchers in Low-A this year. Pitching for August, Blackburn has 137 strikeouts against 18 walks in 123 1/3 innings pitched. The other big number I like seeing from Blackburn is the 2.30 GO/AO rate. He has also been going deep into games, as he has gone 6 or more innings in 9 of his last 10 starts.