Baseball Factory Alumni On Baseball America’s 2017 Top 10 Prospects List: A.L. Central
Baseball America has released their 2017 Top 10 Prospects Index which ranks each major league team’s top players as well as the team’s farm system overall. Several Baseball Factory alumni are included in among the top talents heading into the season. Many players from across the nation have attended Baseball Factory events, ranging from the Under Amour Baseball Factory National Tryouts to the Under Amour All-America Game.
Every Thursday, we’ll take a look at where our alumni stand according to Baseball America’s rankings, looking back at their Baseball Factory experience and what they’ve done so far during their professional careers.
Rankings are ordered 1 through 10 for each team by Baseball America. Here we take a look at Baseball Factory’s alumni from the American League Central, where a total of 14 players land on this week’s list.
Chicago White Sox
Zack Collins – C (BA: Rank #1)
Collins was drafted in the first round (10th overall) in last year’s draft. He was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the 27th round of 2013 but did not sign. Instead, the 6’3” 220-pound Florida native attended the University of Miami where he played ball for the Hurricanes.
As a freshman at Miami in 2014, Collins played in 61 games and hit .298/.427/.556 with 11 home runs and 54 RBIs. He was named the ACC Freshman of the Year and was Baseball America’s Freshman of the Year. In his sophomore season, he played in 66 games, hitting .302/.445/.587 with 15 home runs and 70 RBIs. In his junior year, Collins batted .363 with 16 home runs and 59 RBIs, and 78 walks, which happened to be the most walks in college baseball. That same year he won the Johnny Bench Award.
After three games played with the Rookie-Arizona League, Collins was promoted to High-A Winston Salem. Collins ended his first professional season with a .244 batting average with 6 home runs and 18 RBI’s.
Collins participated in Baseball Factory’s Team One Showcase events in 2010, 2011 and 2012 and was named an Under Armour All-American his junior year in high school. He is sure for a bright future as he was also invited to the White Sox spring training this year.
Spencer Adams – RHP (BA: Rank #4)
Adams was drafted in the second round (44th overall) out of White County High School in Cleveland, GA. In his second professional year 6’3” 171-pounder pitched an impressive 2.99 ERA in a combined 129 1/3 innings pitched between Low-A Kannapolis and High-A Winston-Salem. The 19 year- old 1.3-walk rate per nine innings ranked within the Top 15 among qualified minor league starters according to Baseball America.
Last season, the right-hander was even more impressive when he pitched a combined 3.98 ERA with 100 strikeouts in 27 games between High-A Salem and Double-A Montgomery.
Adams attended the September 2012 Team One Futures Series East event, showing a good low 90’s fastball with good run. Along with Collins, Adams was also invited to the White Sox spring training.
Trey Michalczewski – 3B (BA: Rank #7)
Michalczewski was drafted in the seventh round of the 2013 out of Jenks High School. Before he was drafted, the Oklahoma native was verbally committed to the University of Oklahoma.
Trey finished his 2014 season hitting .262/.340/.403 in 135 games between Low-A Kannapolis and High-A Winston Salem. He also had 10 home runs and stuck out in 25.2% of his plate appearances. He played the entire 2015 season with High-A Winston Salem hitting .259/.335/ .395 in 127 games and reduced the number of strike outs wit just 24% of his plate appearances. He also finished with 35 doubles.
Spending his 2016 season with Double-A Birmingham, Michalczewski batted just .226, but set a career high with 11 homers, while driving in 59 runs.
Michalczewski attended our College PREP event in Oklahoma City OK in March 2012 and impressed scouts and coaches with his ability to spray the ball to all fields.
Triston McKenzie – RHP (BA: Rank #3)
Selected in Lottery round A (42nd overall) in 2015 out of Royal Palm Beach High School in Florida. Five spots up from last year’s rankings, McKenzie has risen as the organization’s top pitching prospect.
Only pitching in four games in 2015 in the Rookie Arizona League he struck out 17 batters in 12 innings with an 0.75 ERA. McKenzie had a very impressive beginning to the season, dominating his way to a 0.55 ERA in 49.1 innings with Short-Season Mahoning Valley. Finishing 2016 with Low-A Lake County, he managed a 3.18 ERA with 49 strikeouts in 34 innings. The 6-foot-5 right-hander McKenzie sports a good curveball, a changeup in the works, and a low-90s fastball that should improve as he matures.
McKenzie showed that explosive fastball at the Under Armour Fall Classic in 2013, the Under Armour Memorial Day Classic in 2013 and ’14 and the 2015 Under Armour Southeast Championships.
Brady Aiken – LHP (BA: Rank #4)
Selected in first round (17th overall) in 2015 out of IMG Academy in Florida. Before being drafted the California native was verbally committed to UCLA. Aiken underwent Tommy John surgery and missed the entire 2015 season.
Last year, Aiken finished with a combined 57 strikeouts over 46.1 innings between the Arizona League Indians and Short Season Mahoning Valley in his first taste of action in nearly two years.
Pitching in the 2012 Under Armour All-America Game, Aiken touched the low 90s and featured a useful breaking ball that sat low 70s that he was able to throw for strikes in any count. Now, his full repertoire of pitches: mid 90s fastball, changeup, slider and a plus curveball that is his second-best pitch.
Eager for a healthy 2017 season, Aiken is healthy and excited to make an impact on the organization.
William Benson – OF (BA: Rank #7)
Selected in the first round (14th overall) out of The Westminster Schools in Georgia in last year’s draft. Before being drafted Benson was verbally committed to Duke University.
The 6’5” 225-pounder was a standout athlete in high school in the Atlanta area where he played both baseball and basketball. In his senior season he hit .369/.486/.750 with six home runs and struck out only 10 time while collecting 18 walks.
In his first professional season in the Rookie Arizona League, Benson played in 44 games, with a slash line of .215/.326/.430 and six homers. The power-hitting left-hander participated in the 2015 Under Armour All-America Game and the 2014 Under Armour Futures South Showcase.
Beau Burrows – RHP (BA: Rank #3)
Burrows made the move to Low-A West Michigan in 2016, making 20 starts (21 games overall), posting a 6-4 record with a 3.15 ERA in his first full pro season.
Burrows attended an Under Armour Baseball Factory National Tryout in Carrollton, TX in August 2012 and it was clear his skill-set would play well against high competition. In November of that year, he attended the highly-competitive Team One Futures Texas event where he pitched well with a fastball that sat low 90s. In August 2014, he was selected to the Under Armour All-America Game where he dazzled scouts with a mid-90s fastball who aggressively attacked hitters, also featuring a downer curve and quality change that he threw for strikes.
JaCoby Jones – OF/3B (BA: Rank #6)
At the No. 6 spot, the right-hander out of Richton High School in Mississippi, was selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the third round of the 2013 MLB Draft. Jones was traded to Detroit in the deal involving Joakim Soria near the trade deadline in 2015.
Jones was a 2009 Under Armour All-American. The LSU standout received multiple awards in his freshman year and as a junior was a 2013 Second Team All-SEC selection.
Jones began 2016 at Double-A Erie and hit .312 with 12 extra-base hits in 20 games before being promoted to Triple-A Toledo where he played in 79 games.
Getting his first taste of the majors, Jones appeared in 13 games for the Tigers last season, providing a clutch base hit in his first game against the White Sox on August 30th. The 24 year-old has a chance to show the organization he’s ready to take on a bigger role with the big league club in 2017.
Kansas City Royals
Hunter Dozier – 3B/OF (BA: Rank #3)
Drafted in the first round (8th overall) in 2013 out of Stephen F. Austin State, Dozier was named First Team All-South Central Region as a sophomore, the first in school’s history. As a junior he hit .396/.282/.755 with 17 homers and 35 stolen bases in 55 games.
2016 was his breakout year, after hitting eight homers in his first 26 games with Double-A Northwest Arkansas, Dozier hit .294/.357/.506 with 15 homers and 54 RBIs in 103 games with Triple-A Omaha. Between the two levels, the 25-year-old batted .296 with 23 home runs and 75 RBI. Dozier made his Major League debut for the Royals on September 12th and hit .211 with one double and one RBI in eight games.
The Texas native attended a Baseball Factory National Tryout in Dallas, TX in 2009.
A.J. Puckett – RHP (BA: Rank #5)
Puckett was drafted by the Royals in the second round (67th overall) out of Pepperdine University in last year’s draft.
His junior collegiate season was one for the record books as he recorded a streak of 45.2 consecutive scoreless innings, the third longest such streak in NCAA history. Going 9-3 with a 1.27 ERA in his 14 starts and 99.1 innings pitched. His 1.27 ERA was tied for the third best mark in both Pepperdine and WCC history, and was the fourth best in the NCAA that year.
In his first professional season, the 21 year-old split time between the Arizona League Royals before being assigned to Low-A Lexington. He finished a combined 2-4 with a 3.68 ERA with 45 strikeouts in 58.2 innings pitched.
The right-hander was invited to spring training this spring. In 2012, Puckett participated the Under Armour Southwest Championships in Azusa, CA.
Chase Vallot – C (BA: Rank #7)
Drafted 4oth overall out of St. Thomas More High School in Lafayette, Louisiana in 2014, Vallot was rated 11th among Appalachian League prospects by Baseball America in 2014.
After playing with Burlington in the Rookie League after signing, Vallot moved to Low-A Lexington in 2015 where he batted .219 with 13 homers, ranking third on the team. In 80 games, he had 13 doubles, three triples and 40 RBI.
Due to injuries, Vallot played 2016 with Rookie-Arizona League and Low-A Lexington where he batted a .235 average with 15 homers and 46 RBI.
Along with Puckett (above), the 2013 All-American was invited to spring training.
Nick Gordon – SS (BA: Rank #1)
The Twins No.1 prospect has risen fast in the organization and will be attending his first big league camp this spring, as the 20-year old is a non-roster invitee, getting his first taste of big league life.
Gordon’s stats improved with a full-season at High-A Fort Myers against better pitching, hitting .291 with 23 doubles, six triples, three homers, 52 RBI and 19 stolen bases last season.
Gordon played very well in the 2013 Under Armour All-America Game and also participated in high-level Team One events in Florida during his high school days.
Alex Kirilloff – OF/1B (BA: Rank #3)
After being selected 15th overall in last year’s Draft out of Plum High School, the Pittsburgh, PA native looked very impressive in his first professional stint, hitting .306 with seven homers, 33 RBI and 33 runs scored for Elizabethton in the Appalachian League, named Player of the Year.
Kirilloff participated in the 2013 Kelly Kulina Classic.
Kohl Stewart – RHP (BA’s Rank: #8)
Stewart was the Twins first round selection (4th overall) in 2013 and spent the 2015 season in Fort Myers where he made 22 starts, going 7-8 with a 3.20 ERA in 129.0 innings.
Making the jump two levels in 2016, Stewart looked very impressive, going 12-8 with a 2.88 ERA in 143.2 innings pitched between Fort Myers and Double-A Chattanooga.
Stewart attended an Under Armour Baseball Factory College PREP event in Houston, TX in February, 2012.