Baseball America (BA), one of the leading baseball publications in the US, is in the process of releasing their annual “Best Tools” series. These lists are constructed through surveys conducted by BA to managers in all leagues in professional baseball. Some of the tools recognized include; best hitting prospect, best fastball, best baserunner, etc.
In the 2015 series, there have been four DPL alumnus recognized for their advanced tools in their respective leagues:
Low-A Mid-West League:
SS Yairo Muñoz | Beloit Snappers | OAK
Yairo Muñoz, who did not make BA’s OAK top ten prospects list, was recognized in this years Best Tools publication for having the best infield arm in the Mid-west league. Muñoz’s arm has always been a strong suit, even as an amateur when he played in the Dominican Prospect League.
In 2012 the Oakland A’s signed Muñoz for $280,000. At the time, he was scouted as a defensive shortstop, but has developed an advanced offensive approach, producing excellent results. Muñoz was recently promoted to Hi-A, where he is slashing .308/.318/.477 over 65 AB’s including 2 home runs. The 20 year-old SS should move up the prospect list if he can continue to produce offensively, and continue developing his already advanced defensive tool set.
Hi-A California League | Florida State League
SS Domingo Leyba | Visalia Rawhide | ARI
Domingo Leyba, D-backs #9 prospect according to BA, was recognized in the Best Tools publication as the best defensive shortstop in the California League. In 1,260 minor league innings at SS, Leyba has committed just 24 errors.
The D-Backs signed the sure-handed shortstop for $400,000 on July 2, 2012. Leyba was scouted as a speedy second baseman with good range and hands with a quick release. His plus defensive ability led the D-Backs to later move him to shortstop where he has been successful, scaling the the D-backs minor league system up to Hi-A in just three seasons. As one of the younger Hi-A players, at just 19 years old, Leyba has held his ground offensively. In 2015 he is slashing .249/.285/.322.
SS Willy Adames | Charlotte Stone Crabs | TB
Willy Adames, #1 prospect on BA’s Tampa Bay Ray’s top 10 prospect list, earns most exciting player and best infield arm in the Florida State League BA’s Best Tools publication. Adames is one of the most exiting players to watch in all of the minor leagues. He’s an electric player, with excellent range and hands, who has the potential to be an above average SS in the MLB.
Adames originally signed with the Detroit Tigers for a singing bonus worth $420,000. In a block-buster three team trade before the 2014 trade deadline, the Tigers traded Adames in a deal that sent Cy-Young winner David Price to Detroit. The Rays have been pleased in their return, as Adames has established himself as one of the elite middle infield prospects in all of baseball. Adames is just 19 years-old playing in the Florida State League.
RHP Alex Reyes | Palm Beach Cardinals | STL
St. Louis Cardinals’ top prospect, Alex Reyes was recognized in three different categories in the Best Tools publication: best pitching prospect, best breaking pitch, and best fastball in the Florida State League. Reyes is the 14th pitcher to earn the “pitchers triple crown”, since BA began compiling and publishing the Best Tools lists.
In 2012, the Cardinals signed the American-born righty for $950,000. At the time, Reyes topped out 91-92 on his FB. In 2015, there are reports of Reyes clocked at 101 mph. Many scouts believe Reyes has the upside to become a 1 or 2 starter at the MLB level. He is still developing his command, which is expected from a 20 year-old flame thrower. In just three seasons, Reyes has climbed the Cardinals farm system up to Double-A.