Baseball Factory Alumni On Baseball America’s 2017 Top 10 Prospects List: A.L. East
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 East, where a total of 16 players land on this week’s list.
Chance Sisco – C (BA Rank: #1)
Cisco moves up two spots from last year’s rankings as he continues to emerge as the association’s top catching prospect. Cisco, at 6’2″ 195 pounds, was drafted in the second round (61st overall) in 2013. In 2015 he began at High-A Frederick and ended the season with advancement to Double-A Bowie, seeing action in 20 games with a batting average of .257 with four doubles, two homers and eight RBI. Last season Sisco appeared in 111 games hitting .319 with 28 doubles, four homers and 44 RBI. Sisco ended the season playing four games for Triple-A Norfolk hitting .250 with 2 homers and seven RBI.
In 2010 Sisco participated in an Under Armour Baseball Factory College PREP event in Azusa, CA. The 21 year old has a bright future ahead of him and is one of 12 Oriole players who will join the major league camp as a non-roster invitee this spring.
Ryan Mountcastle – SS (BA Rank #3)
Mountcastle moves up five spots up from last year’s rankings. At 6’3″, 195 pounds, Mountcastle was drafted in the first round (36th overall) in 2015. In his first professional season, he finished with a combined .296 with seven doubles, four homers and 19 RBI in 53 games between the Rookie-Gulf Coast League Orioles and Short-Season Aberdeen. Last season he appeared in all 115 games for Low-A Delmarva hitting .281 with ten homers and 51 RBI.
Mountcastle attended numerous Baseball Factory events including June 2012 at the Under Armour Southeast Championships, 2013 Under Armour Memorial Day Classic and the Under Armour Futures Series East event in Florida in September 2013. Mountcastle, who played in the 2014 Under Armour All-America Game, was named MVP of the event, sure for a bright future as he approaches the upcoming season.
Hunter Harvey – RHP (BA Rank: #4)
For the third straight year Hunter Harvey lands at on Baseball America’s list of Top 10 O’s prospects. Unfortunately, Harvey’s career has been sidetracked by injuries. His 2015 season was disrupted due to shin and elbow issues. In 2016, he posted a 2.13 ERA striking out 18 batters at Short-Season Aberdeen.
Harvey was able to return to mound in June 2016 after surgery in May, and he managed to make it through only five games, with a 2.13 ERA striking out 18 batters at Short-Season Aberdeen, before being shut down yet again by injury. He commands a fastball that sat between 92-94 mph as well as a plus curveball that overmatched batters at times. Harvey is determined to bounce back this upcoming season with confidence.
Boston Red Sox
Andrew Benintendi – OF (BA Rank: #1)
Checking in at the No. 1 spot in the Red Sox system, Benintendi was drafted in the first round (7th overall) in 2015. The left hander is two spots up from last year’s rankings as he has risen quickly up the organizational ranking. He attended an Under Armour Baseball Factory National Tryout in Amelia, OH, close to his hometown of Cincinnati.
Shifting teams and classes last season, Benintendi has definitely made himself known to the organization. He started the 2016 season at High-A Salem where he played 34 games, then appeared in 63 games for Double-A Portland with a batting average of .295 with eight homers and a 44 RBI. Benintendi finished the rest of the season, 34 games, with Boston; getting his first taste of the majors as h hit .295 with two homers and 14 RBI. The future is bright High for the 21 year-old as he looks to be an impact in Boston in 2017.
New York Yankees
Clint Frazier – OF (BA Rank: #2)
Frazier was drafted in the first round (5th overall) in the 2013 by the Cleveland Indians then traded to the Yankees in late July 2016. Frazier finished his high school career hitting .485 with 17 home runs, 45 RBI and 22 stolen bases making him Baseball America’s 2013 High School Player of the Year.
He finished his rookie season hitting .297 with 5 homers and 21 RBI. Frazier played 89 games for Double-A Akron and five games with Triple-A Columbus before spending the last 25 games with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre after the trade, hitting a combined .263 with 16 homers and 55 RBI.
Invited to Yankees spring training this season, Frazier is looking to make an impact and break camp with the big league club. Frazier is a 2012 Under Armour All American.
Blake Rutherford – OF (BA Rank: #3)
Rutherford was drafted first round (18th overall) last year. In his high school career with averages of .438/.550/.630 with 39 stolen bases and 109 hits. According to Baseball America, the left-handed hitter has a mature approach at the plate and a clean swing. It is clear to see that he can hit, and he has some power with a reasonable chance to be plus in the future.
Playing just eight games Rookie-Gulf Coast League, Rutherford quickly moved to Rookie-Appalachian League with Pulaski before an injury ended his season. He finished a combined .351/.415/.570 in 114 at-bats and posting the highest average and OBP of any teenager in the Appalachian League.
Rutherford participated in numerous Baseball Factory events like the SoCal Classic, Southwest Championships and Futures Texas and West in 2013, ’14 and ’15.
James Kaprielian – RHP (BA Rank: #5)
Kaprielian slots in at the five spot heading into 2017, still one of the more intriguing Yankees pitching prospects, in what has quickly become a deep farm system.
James spent nearly the entire 2016 season rehabbing from a flexor tendon injury that occurred in April. At that time, he had made three starts for High-A Tampa, posting a 1.50 ERA with 22 strikeouts and just three walks in 18 innings pitched.
After his rehab, Kaprielian looked solid in his Arizona Fall League debut, working three innings, allowing one hit while striking out six hitters. Scouts noted that he was firing high-90s fastballs and working his location well, throwing 40 pitches, 29 of them for strikes during his outing.
Kaprielian attended the 2010 Ryan Lemmon Sophomore Showcase in June 2010 and seven months later, was an Under Armour Pre-Season All-American.
Justus Sheffield – LHP (BA Rank: #7)
Sheffield was drafted in the first round (31st overall) in 2014 by the Cleveland Indians. Sheffield was another key piece alongside Frazier in the trade to the Yankees. The left-hander nearly followed his older brother Jordan to Vanderbilt before the Indians selected the Tennessee high school product.
In 2015 with Single-A Lake County, Sheffield posted a 9-4 mark with a 3.31 ERA in 26 starts. His strikeouts ranked second in the Midwest League and he was named to the ML Mid-Season All-Star team. Sheffield went 7-5 with a 3.59 ERA in 19 starts for Single-A Lynchburg in 2016, named to the Carolina League Mid-Season All-Star Team.
Over three minor league seasons, he owns a 22-11 record with a 3.32 ERA in 59 games (55 starts). According to Baseball America, his fastball is an above-average pitch with an effortless release, and he complements it with a changeup he commands and which projects as above-average. Along with Frazier, Sheffield was invited to the Yankees spring training camp looking to continue building his resume.
Tampa Bay Rays
Brent Honeywell – RHP (BA Rank: #3)
Honeywell was selected in the second round (74th overall) in 2014 out of Walters State Community College in Morristown, TN. After a solid first season, Honeywell put together a strong sophomore season, spending 2016 between Single-A Advanced Charlotte and Double-A Montgomery. He went 7-3 with a 2.34 ERA across 20 starts, 10 starts each between Charlotte and Montgomery. Honeywell finished the season striking out 117 batters across nearly 116 innings and walking just 25.
In June 2011 Honeywell attended an Under Armour Baseball Factory National Tryout in Kennesaw, GA and was a 2013 Under Armour Pre-Season All-American. According to Baseball America, Honeywell’s repertoire of pitches is outstanding and the only known screwball pitcher in the minors, making him a special prospect who has quickly ascended the Rays’ organization.
Jake Bauers – OF/1B (BA Rank: #4)
Bauers was selected by the San Diego Padres in the seventh round (208th overall) in 2013 out of Marina High School in Huntington Beach, Calif., and has moved quickly in the organization. As part of a three team trade that sent him to Tampa, Bauers is a high on the organization’s radar after an impressive 2015 organization debut. As a teenager in 2015, he started with High-A Charlotte and a promotion to Double-A Montgomery where the left-hander hit .276 in 69 games. Finishing a full season at Double-A Montgomery in 2016, Bauers hit .274 with 14 homers and 78 RBI.
He participated in the 2013 Ryan Lemmon Invitational as a senior in high school and has handled the jump from Single to Double-A very well at a young age. After the advancement to Double-A, Bauers positively and enthusiastically moved from first base to the outfield showing his versatility. As a result, he began and finished last season in right field for Montgomery, with a continued plan to spend next season on the grass.
Joshua Lowe – 3B (BA Rank: #6)
Lowe was selected in the first round (13th overall) in last year’s draft and was the Gatorade Georgia player of the year at Pope High School in Marietta. The Rays feel there is a lot to like about the 6-foot-4, 200-pound Georgia Prep teenager. His older brother Nathaniel was Florida JUCO player of the year at St. John’s River State College, continued his career at Mississippi State and was drafted by the Rays in the thirteenth round. The bloodline for MLB talent comes from their father Dave Lowe, a former fifth round selection by the Seattle Mariners in 1986 who instead pursued a career in the Navy as a pilot and served 20 years.
The swinging lefty was Georgia’s Gatorade Player of the Year as a senior in 2016 after hitting .391 with 11 home runs and 39 RBIs. He also earned six saves with 33 strikeouts in 22 innings, but the Rays view him, initially anyway, as a position player. Lowe attended Under Amour Futures Event in Peachtree, GA. and a Under Amour Memorial Day Classic participant, both in 2014 as a sophomore. In his first professional season, he hit a combined .249/.374/.405 between the Rays’ Gulf Coast and Rookie-Princeton teams in 54 combined games.
Jacob Faria – RHP (BA Rank : #8)
Faria was selected in the tenth round in 2011 out of Gahr High School in Cerritos, CA. Faria had a stand out 2015, a season where the right-hander went a combined 17-4 with a 1.92 ERA with 159 strikeouts between Charlotte and Montgomery levels in 25 games. In 2016, Faria posted a 5-10 record with a 3.99 ERA, but had a nice bounce-back with the Durham Bulls after a unfortunate start. Faria’s arsenal consists of a fastball that can touch 95 MPH, a 12-6 curveball, and a above average changeup.
Faria attended an Under Armour Baseball Factory College PREP event in Costa Mesa, CA in July of 2010. He made a name for himself in 2015 and looks to bring that same mentality to make an impact in the 2017 season.
Justin Williams – OF (BA Rank: #9)
Williams was committed to LSU before being selected in the second round (52nd overall) by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2013 drafted from Terrebonne High School in Houma, LA. In his first season Williams posted a .351/.397/.452 in 51 games between Arizona’s two Rookie-level affiliates and a finish in the Midwest League. The next year, he split 74 games between the Pioneer League and the Silver Hawks, and batted .351/.403/.467, not long before he was traded to the Rays.
The 6-foot-3, 210 pound Williams was acquired from the Diamondbacks in November 2014 after a successful second stretch in the Midwest League that earned him a promotion to High Class A Charlotte. Williams traveled across the world to play for the Brisbane Bandits in the Australian Baseball League where he focused on his overall game.
Last season he hit a combined .295/.318/.447 between Charlotte and Double-A Montgomery. The 20-year-old has been labeled as a natural talent with the bat and the Rays want to see more of it. Williams participated the Under Amour All America Game in 2012. He has at least plus speed as a powerful, long-striding runner whose speed really plays underway and gives him the potential to remain in center field with closing speed into the gaps.
Toronto Blue Jays
Anthony Alford, Jr. – OF (BA Rank : #2)
This is the second consecutive year that Alford lands on Baseball America’s Top 10 for the Jays organization. The 2011 Under Amour All-American is definitely an athlete, nearly playing football at Ole Miss, deciding instead to stick with baseball and was drafted in the 3rd round in 2012 from Petal High School.
Alford had his breakout year in 2015 between Single-A Lansing and High-A Dunedin, hitting a combined .298 with 25 doubles, seven triples, 27 stolen bases and 67 walks in 107 games. Last season he suffered a knee injury early in the season, and also battled a concussion later on which was a slight set back. Alford hit .236/.344/.378 over 92 games at High-A Dunedin. He stole 18 bases in 2016, despite dealing with a knee injury that affected his explosiveness.
Sean Reid-Foley – RHP (BA Rank : #4)
Reid-Foley moves up one spot from last year’s rankings and the third consecutive year he lands on Baseball America’s Top 10 for the Jays organization. Reid-Foley was the second round selection (49th overall) in 2014 from Sandalwood High School in Jacksonville, FL. In 2015 between Lansing and Dunedin, Reid-Foley went a combined 4-10, but impressed with his strikeout totals; 90 in just 63 1/3 innings at Lansing.
Last season he finished a combined 10-5 with 130 strikeouts between Lansing and Dunedin. Since his season debut, no one in the minors has more strikeouts than Reid-Foley’s 54 in 43 innings.
The 6’3″, 220 pound right-hander attended the 2013 Under Armour Memorial Day Classic.
Bo Bitchette – SS (BA Rank : #8)
The Jays drafted Bichette in the second round (66th overall) of the 2016 draft out of Lakewood High School. He played most of his high school career at second base but he appears to be settling into shortstop.
Growing up in a household with four time All-Star Dante Bichette as a father, the 14-year MLB veteran has shown his two sons how to play the great game. Bo’s brother Dante Jr. was a first round pick in 2011 and currently plays for Double-A Trenton.
Through 22 games in his rookie season he showed that handling a bat was no issue, putting up an impressive .427 batting average in Gulf Coast League. His offensive game was truly impressive raking in 60 total bases which included nine doubles, two triples, and four home runs.
He has all the tools to become a very well rounded player. If Bichette continues to impress look for him to shoot up the ranks in the Jays organization quickly.