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Down on the Farm: Checking in on AAA

Down on the Farm: Checking in on AAA

As we enter the final weeks of this long season, it might be a good idea to take a deeper look into the minor leagues of this wonderful CBL. Today, I’ll take a look at some of the top prospects at the AAA level, and over the next week or two I’ll work my way through each minor league level. Anyone who’s been promoted to the big leagues, even just recently, wasn’t eligible for the AAA list.

Eric Pogue, Left Fielder, Traverse City Bullet Club Organization

As the #1 overall draft pick just over a year ago, Pogue has proven the Traverse City organization made a great selection atop the draft. Last season, Pogue played 62 games at the High A level after being drafted, and he hit a very impressive .333/.386/.502. That performance and his work ethic over the winter led to Pogue beginning this season all the way up in AAA, skipping AA entirely.

The former top pick is having a very impressive season in AAA, hitting .348/.398/.583 in 101 games, and should make his major league debut sometime between now and next May. His bat looks like it should help lead the Bullet Club back into contention, and because he’s excelled every time he’s been promoted, nobody would be surprised if he’s an instant star in the CBL.

The future looks to be bright for the formerly great TC organization.

Clint Helgren, Shortstop, Austin Bats Organization

Arguably the most impressive season from anyone at the AAA level this season came from Mr. Helgren. The 23-year-old defensive whiz kid finished second in WAR, but was considerably younger than most regulars in AAA this season.

Most scouts believe Helgren’s defense at shortstop would be gold glove caliber at the CBL level right now, and while most of the praise he’s garnered over the years has been for his defense, the kid can hit as well. He hit a very impressive .294/.338/.510 in 140 games, with 19 home runs and 49 doubles.

Helgren will almost certainly be Austin’s opening day shortstop or second baseman next season, and with so many great young shortstops in the CBL, don’t be surprised if this kid ends up near the top.

Juan Silva, Starting Pitcher, Manchester Marauders Organization

Acquired from the Austin Bats three years ago as part of the package that sent Andy Ramsey to Austin, Juan Silva has emerged as one of the game’s top young arms and looks like a force to be reckoned with for years to come.

Silva combines the modern game with a bit of the flair of the old timers, with a fastball that can reach 98 MPH and a ridiculous screwball that leaves hitters looking foolish. With an already elite curveball and potentially elite knuckle curve, it’s scary to think Silva’s stuff could get even better.

He made 28 starts in AAA this past season, going 15-8 with a 2.62 ERA, and a ridiculous 227 strikeouts in 203 innings. Even more impressively, after walking 71 batters in just over 150 innings a year ago, Silva walked 69 batters in more than 200 innings this season. Manchester boasts a very good and deep pitching staff, so there’s no rush to bring Silva up, but he’s nearing his CBL debut to be sure. That’s a day AAA hitters are looking forward too.

Angelo Soto, Starting Pitcher, Connecticut Colonials Organization

Signed way back in August of 2023 out of the Dominican Republic as a small and skinny 17-year-old, Soto remains a small and skinny 23-year-old. At 5’11, 165 pounds, Soto doesn’t look the part of a professional baseball player. With a fastball that rarely even reaches 90 MPH, it’s easy to see why he’s been relatively under the radar for so many years.

However, despite his slender frame, Soto has impressed at almost every stop since being promoted stateside in 2026. He made 28 starts this season in AAA, throwing an impressive 214 innings. He struck out 208 batters while walking 66, and finished with a 3.07 ERA. A poor AAA team led to a poor 10-16 record, but nobody really cares about his wins and losses.

Over his final four starts, Soto through 33 total innings of a possible 36. He projects as at least a reliable innings eater at the next level, but if he continues to defy the odds, don’t be surprised if he ends up anchoring a rotation some day. Like the others on the list, he doesn’t appear to be too far from his CBL debut, so we’ll find out soon if he can get by in the big leagues with an 89 MPH fastball.

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