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Baseball Factory Alumni on Baseball America’s 2018 Top 10 Prospect List: NL Central

This week, we focus on Baseball Factory alums who make up Baseball America’s 2018 Top 10 Prospect List in the National League Central. Rankings are prioritized by Baseball America and numbered 1 through 10 for each team. This week, there are 19 Baseball Factory alums on the NL Central Top 10 Prospect Countdown.

Alex Lange

Alex Lange

Chicago Cubs

Alex Lange, RHP (BA’s Rank #5)

Lange was the 30th overall pick by the Cubs in 2017 after a full season at LSU. He made four starts at Class-A Eugene, pitching 9 1/3 innings and striking out 13 hitters. Prior to his starts in pro ball, Lange dominated for the LSU Tigers, going 10-5 with a 2.97 ERA and 150 strikeouts in 124.0 innings pitched. Lange participated in the 2013 Under Armour Baseball Factory All-America Game.

Brendon Little, LHP (BA’s Rank #7)

The Cubs made Little the 27th overall pick in last year’s draft out of State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota. He saw action after signing, making six starts, not fairing as well as he would have liked but, the lefty is on this list for a reason, and that is his ability to strike hitters out. In his one season at State College of Florida in 2017, Little struck out 133 hitters in only 85 innings, posting a 2.53 ERA.

Little participated in the 2013 Under Armour Southwest Championships.

Thomas Hatch, RHP (BA’s Rank #8)

Yet another top pitching prospect in the Cubs organization, Hatch spent the 2017 season at High-A Myrtle Beach, collecting a 4.04 ERA with 126 strikeouts in 124 2/3 innings in his first season of pro ball. The Cubs love his stuff as the third round pick out of Oklahoma State pitched extremely well there in 2016, posting a 9-3 record with a 2.14 ERA over 130.0 innings.

Baseball Factory coaches first saw Hatch at an Edmond (Oklahoma City) Under Armour Baseball Factory National Tryout in 2011. Hatch also attended a 2012 Under Armour Baseball Factory College PREP event and was part of the 2012 Under Armour All-America Game.

Nelson Velazquez, OF (BA’s Rank #10)

Native to Carolina, Puerto Rico, Velazquez was the Cubs fifth round selection in 2017 out of PJ Education School on the island. In limited action as an 18-year old, Velazquez slugged eight home runs in 32 games for the Cubs’ Arizona Rookie-level team.

Nelson participated in the 2015 UA Fall Classic and the 2016 UA Memorial Day Classic.

Hunter Greene

Cincinnati Reds

Hunter Greene, RHP (BA’s Rank #2)

The phenomenal right-hander is eager to get the 2018 season going and show off the electric arm that we saw in the 2016 Under Armour All-America Game. He pitched in just three games with Rookie-level Billings after signing his contract, striking out six hitters in 4 1/3 innings.

Taylor Trammell, OF (BA’s Rank #3)

Taylor climbs two spots in this year’s rankings (#5 according to BA last season) after spending the entire season with the Dayton Dragons (Class-A) as a 19-year old in 2017. Trammell shined, hitting .281 with 24 doubles, 10 triples, 13 homers, 77 RBI and 41 stolen bases in 129 games. The Reds can take their time as the dynamic outfielder continues developing, but the future is certainly bright for the 2015 Under Armour Baseball Factory All-American.

Jesse Winker, OF (BA’s Rank #5)

Winker cracked the major league roster last April and in 23 games with the Reds, hit .298 with seven home runs and 15 RBI, providing a glimpse of what’s to come. He’ll be on the Reds Opening Day roster in 2018, but the question remains how will they continue to keep his talented bat and glove in the lineup, with an outfield group that is one of the most talented in baseball.

Winker attended the Team One Futures East Showcase in 2010, where it was no surprise he was one of the top outfielders, both offensively and defensively during the event.

Shed Long, 2B (BA’s Rank #8)

Shed, short for Shedrick, was the Reds twelfth round selection in 2013 out of Jacksonville HS in Alabama and in his fourth pro season, put it all together to be placed on BA’s Top Prospects list. Long split his season between High-A Daytona and AA-Pensacola, hitting a combined .281 with 22 doubles, 16 home runs and 50 RBI in 439 plate appearances. Long participated in an Under Armour Baseball Factory National Tryout in Hoover, AL back in the fall of 2011.

Pittsburgh Pirates

Shane Baz

Austin Meadows, OF (BA’s Rank #2)

This could be the year Meadows finally gets the opportunity to make an impact in the majors, healthy and off to a fine start this spring. He spent the offseason in Atlanta getting in shape for the upcoming season, according to an article on triblive.com’s website recently. Attempting to overcome a hamstring injury in ’17, Meadows played just 81 games, working his way back to Triple-A Indianapolis where he hit .250 (.261 overall between AAA, A- and Rookie levels).

Meadows was one of the top amateur players in the country when he played in the 2012 Under Armour Baseball Factory All-America Game.

Shane Baz, RHP (BA’s Rank #3)

The Pirates selected Baz twelfth overall in last year’s draft out of Concordia Lutheran HS in Tomball, TX and made 12 starts for the GCL Pirates, posting a 3.80 ERA in 23 2/3 innings pitched. Baz performed in the 2016 Under Armour Baseball Factory All-America Game.

Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B (BA’s Rank #4)

Hayes, the 32nd overall selection by the Pirates in 2015, hit .278 at High-A Bradenton last season, blending power (25 extra-base hits) with speed (27 stolen bases) in 108 games. His defense at third base has also been stellar, and could keep him at the hot corner in the majors. Ke’Bryan performed in numerous Baseball Factory events, culminating in the Under Armour All-America Game in 2014.

Nick Kingham

Bryan Reynolds, OF (BA’s Rank #5)

The switch-hitter who was drafted by the Giants in the second round out of Vanderbilt in ’16, was involved in the trade sending Andrew McCutchen to the Bay Area and so far in his pro career, has shown the ability to hit for average, posting a .312 mark in 177 games. Reynolds attended a 2011 Under Armour Baseball Factory College PREP event and in 2012 was an Under Armour Baseball Factory Pre-Season All-American and played in the Team One South Showcase.

Nick Kingham, RHP (BA’s Rank #10)

Fourth-round draft pick in 2010 out of Sierra Vista HS in Las Vegas, it’s been a long journey for Kingham, who enters his ninth season in the Pirates organization. He’ll likely begin the season at Indianapolis, but he’s close to getting his shot at making the majors. Last season, the right-hander went 10-6 overall with a 3.95 ERA in 118 1/3 innings pitched.

Kingham participated in an Under Armour Baseball Factory National Tryout in 2008 and was a UA BF Pre-Season All-American in 2009.

Brandon Woodruff

Milwaukee Brewers

#1 Brandon Woodruff, RHP (BA’s Rank #1)

In just one year, Woodruff has climbed his way to Milwaukee’s top prospect ranking (after being the seventh-ranked prospect in ’17), bolstered by a season where he made 16 starts for Triple-A Colorado Springs and making his major league debut in early August with the Brewers. In eight starts down the stretch, Woodruff broke through pitching to a 4.81 ERA with 32 strikeouts in 43.0 innings pitched. He will be competing for a spot in the Brewers rotation in 2018.

Woodruff was a participant in the 2010 Under Armour Baseball Factory All-America Game.

#3 Keston Hiura, 2B (BA’s Rank #3)

Hiura, who was drafted last year ninth overall, is already participating in his first big league camp, earning the invite after a very solid 2017 season at two different levels, hitting .371 BA with 14 doubles, seven triples and 33 RBI in 42 games. Keston played college ball at UC-Irvine and participated in the 2012 and 2013 Under Armour SoCal Classic.

#5 Brett Phillips, OF (BA’s Rank #5)

After making his major league debut on June 5, 2017 Phillips played in 37 games, hitting .267 with 11 doubles, a triple, four homers, 12 RBI with the Brewers. He participated in an Under Armour Baseball Factory College PREP event and the Arizona Freshman/Sophomore Fall Classic in 2009.

#7 Corey Ray, OF (BA’s Rank #7)

Corey is confident in his abilities to have a major bounce back 2018 season and show the potential that was the Brewers fifth overall selection in 2016. In his first full season in 2017, Ray struggled to get the bat going, hitting just .238 with seven homers and 48 RBI in 112 games. He’s talked of pressing and working through the growing pains. Now, his focus is quieting the noise and playing ball like he’s capable of in being the premier five-tool athlete that was drafted out of the University of Louisville.

Ray started as an participant at an Under Armour National Tryout and was selected to the 2012 Under Armour All America Game where he was one of the best defensive outfielders.

Carson Kelly

St. Louis Cardinals

Carson Kelly, C (BA’s Rank #3)

Carson has seen limited time the last two seasons with the Cardinals as he looks to break camp with the ballclub in ’18, backing up longtime starting catcher Yadier Molina. As a 22-year old playing at Triple-A Memphis last season, Kelly batted .283 with 10 homers, 41 RBI and almost as many walks (33) as strikeouts (40) in 68 games. The Cardinals view Kelly as the catcher of the future and can definitely grow, sitting under the learning tree of Molina. Kelly holds the rare distinction of being a four-time Under Armour Baseball Factory Pre-Season All-American (2009-2012).

Dakota Hudson, RHP (BA’s Rank #7)

Hudson was the Cardinals 34th overall pick in 2016 out of Mississippi State and was fantastic in 2017 pitching at Double-A Springfield, where he went 9-4 with a 2.53 ERA in 18 starts. Dakota was part of the 2012 Team One South Showcase.

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