After focusing mostly on minor leaguers (with the rest of the minor league reviews coming in the next week) it seemed a good time to focus on some future stars that got their feet wet already this season in the big show. Today’s piece covers middle infielders.
2B Desi Kelly, Vancouver Canadiens
The kid looks to be the real deal. While he’s never put up eye-popping numbers at any minor league level, he’s been extremely young for each level.
As a 17-year-old, he played in the Winter League hitting .268/.305/.325. He then went to A ball, still as a 17-year-old, and hit .299/.330/.373 in 55 games. He then went back to the Winter League and hit .279/.327/.428 as an 18-year-old. He was squarely on the prospect radar at that point.
He continued to show high batting averages in AA and AAA as an 18-year-old, hitting .321 over 69 combined games. That led to a late-season call up to Vancouver.
He held his own in 10 games. This season, he got more than a cup of coffee.
He played in 36 games, hitting .288/.317/.460. His 6 home runs in 139 at-bats is about a 20-home run pace in 120 games. To do that as a 19-year-old suggests his power potential is immense. While he’ll be unable to stick at shortstop as he gets bigger, he should be at least an average second baseman defensively throughout his prime. If he’s the offensive force he looks to be and plays average defense at second, he’ll be a perennial MVP can(a)d(a)idate.
SS Nicholas Gordon, Bowling Green Hot Rods
Gordon continues to be a highly regarded player, despite struggling to hit in his first few big league seasons. The Hot Rods shortstop won’t turn 21 for another month, yet he’s already got over 800 at bats in the big leagues. He’s hit just .242/.299/.374 so far, but just holding his own has scouts impressed. His real value will come defensively, so if he can become even a .270/.320/.400 hitter with above average base running, he should be a great player. He projects to be an elite defender, although he’s yet to show that at this level. He has improved each season, and scouts insist next season he’s poised to make a major jump.
If his bat does indeed reach it’s potential, Gordon looks to be a possible .325/.360/.490 hitter with elite defense and what will likely be average base running. As soon as Gordon’s game improves to the next level, look for Bowling Green to follow his lead. They hope it’s sooner rather than later, I’d imagine.
Also Considered: SS Francisco Lindor, Daytona Cubs