There were several impressive performances across each of the minor league levels this season. Today, we’ll take a look at three of the more impressive Arizona Rookie League performances. It’s worth noting that age plays a major factor, as an older player dominating the level is far less impressive than an extremely young one even holding his own at the same level. The players mentioned are in no particular order.
CF Robert “Gumption” Sumption, Traverse City Organization
“Gumption”as he’s known to his teammates, Robert Sumption was very impressive in his debut season. The 18-year-old Norwegian played in 46 games in the 50 game regular season and hit .357/.450/.671 with 11 HRs, and went 5-5 on stolen base attempts. Sumption finished second in several categories behind 21-year-old Hector Espinoza, a player 3 years older.
His outstanding performance resulted in a promotion to the Midwest league. His .701 OPS and 3 HR in 18 games in single A as an 18-year-old was also impressive in context.
Traverse City has a very good young prospect in Sumption, with the potential to grow into a true 5-tool player. Look for “Gumption” to be on a lot of top prospect lists heading into next season, and rightfully so.
CF Kurt Olsen, Savannah Organization
The former 4th overall pick, Olsen has had an eventful and travel-filled first few seasons in professional baseball. Originally drafted by Bowling Green, he was shipped to Richardson City this past May. His stay was short, though, as he headlined a major package used to acquire Gioncarlo Stanton from Savannah.
Olsen produced in a major way, and has done so in each of his two minor league seasons now. In 39 games, Olsen hit .340/.399/.626, added 7 long balls and 5 stolen bases. Much like Sumption, Olsen was promoted to the Midwest League following his great rookie ball performance. His .863 OPS in the Midwest league in just a 10-game sample was even more impressive. Look for Olsen to be in the middle of someone’s lineup in the next few years, and for his sake let’s hope it’s in Savannah. Nobody should be traded that much.
SP Pete Evans, Syracuse Organization
It would be difficult to be more impressive as an 18-year-old than Pete Evans was this season. In 11 starts, Evans averaged nearly 7 innings per game, which is remarkable for this level. He struck out 75 batters in 73 1/3 innings, and walked just 15. As a 17-year-old last season Evans posted an ERA of 6.32 in nearly the same innings, although bad luck really didn’t show how impressive he had been last season too.
Scouts insist his changeup will need to improve in the next few years to give him a third pitch to allow him to be a starter in the CBL. After an impressive season, he’s worth watching next season as he’ll undoubtedly be challenged at a higher level. Two years in rookie ball is certainly enough.