The pitching staff in West Virginia got a lot of attention, although the offense didn’t see the same hype. That was mostly because there wasn’t really a standout hitting prospect for the majority of the year, with the best hitter leaving when Matt Curry was promoted to Altoona. The Power had some promising hitting prospects, although a lot of them were younger and on the raw side, which led to some poor offensive results. Here is a recap of how each player did at the level this year, broken down by age group.
If there’s one common trait that this group has, it’s that they’re all raw. Elias Diaz and Eric Avila were given a somewhat aggressive push to low-A, a year after playing in the GCL. Both players struggled at the plate, and had some struggles defensively, although you could see some potential there. That was especially true defensively at the end of the season with both players. I wouldn’t be surprised if they both return to West Virginia next year.
Mel Rojas Jr. may be the top hitting prospect out of all of the guys on the team all year, although he has been inconsistent at the plate, lacking the aggressive approach he would take in batting practice. At times he showed flashes of his power in games, and he also displayed some nice speed and some excellent defense in center field.
Wes Freeman only played for the final week of the season, while Gift Ngoepe was injured for most of the year after a strong start to the season.
Matt Curry dominated the South Atlantic League in the short time he was at the level, to the point where he tied for the team lead in home runs, despite only 155 at-bats. He was moved up to Altoona in an aggressive push, where he struggled a bit in the second half of his first full pro season.
Dan Grovatt had one of the best offensive years on the team out of the full season players. He didn’t do anything flashy, but was consistent all year, and showed some nice base running skills, along with a bit of power.
Drew Maggi has some nice raw skills, and plus speed, along with improving defense at the shortstop position. There would be times where he would go 10-for-12 at the plate in a three game stretch, only to follow it up by going 0-for-15 in his next four games. Consistently will definitely be an issue, although he’s got the raw tools to potentially be a starting shortstop in the majors next year.
Andy Vasquez was impressive with his speed, not only stealing 24 bases, but hitting a franchise record 13 triples on the season. He profiles more as a utility player than a starter. Kawika Emsley-Pai showed some good defense behind the plate, with good receiving skills. He started off hot at the plate, but cooled down in the second half of the season.
Justin Howard showed some power at this level, with a lot of extra base hits. He was a little old for the level, coming out of college as a senior, so putting things in perspective he didn’t have a huge season. Cole White had some good numbers before being promoted to Bradenton for the remainder of the year. He’s on the old side, but that’s because he was serving in the US Army for two years. It’s unlikely that either player makes the majors as a starter.