I’ve attended a few Midwest League games this year featuring the Lansing Lugnuts and West Michigan Whitecaps. Both teams have some promising prospects on them.
Lansing plays their games in the beautiful and interesting Cooley Law School Stadium. This year they had Mitch Nay and DJ Davis headlines their team, but Davis has been disappointing this year. Hitting around .215 right now, his average has continued to drop. He may have to repeat with Lansing next year, and mature, as he was only 19 on Opening Day. You can definitely see he has raw all-around talent, but he’s an easy out most at-bats. The one good thing is that he’s leading the team in homers, but he only has 6. He just needs to improve his game after a nightmarish season. He still has a good chance. Mitch Nay doesn’t have numbers that pop out, but he has talent that is really good. He looks like a mature hitter. He should develop some more power, and looks like he could be a good RBI guy in a few years. The one thing he needs to work on is his defense and making some routine and range plays a little better, but he’s the guy on Lansing that could really wow at the big league level looking at all the players. Dawel Lugo hasn’t done anything that pops out in the games I’ve seen, but he more than holds his own in the Midwest League, and has good numbers, which is pretty impressive at his age. He has a good future. I’ve seen Chase De Jong pitch twice and both outings ended shaky, but with some bright spots. If he doesn’t have his stuff working, he’s going to struggle and he’s still a ways away from the majors. Matt Dean is doing well, but he needs to pump up his power numbers to become a big corner infield prospect in Toronto’s system. Also, Frank Iola III is making his first stop in Lansing. He’s 30, but what makes him interesting is that he throws the knuckleball, and so far it’s been working well. He could be with Toronto and helping in a few years, especially with help from RA Dickey. Toronto was wise to sign him. I also like Dickie Joe Thon as a guy who could surprise some people and make it to the MLB and be a good utility guy.
On the West Michigan side we have Javier Betancourt as the top position player, and he has been impressive and looks like a good hitting middle infielder. He’s still young so he could improve and be a good hitter at the major league level, but he’s still behind Devon Travis on the depth chart. Grayson Greiner was drafted in the third round, and he’s a 6’5 catcher. He looks like he could rival Avila in a few years. He has power and looks good behind the plate. He seems like he can hit a decent amount of homers and he’s just a really solid hitter. Wynton Bernard has had a surprise season after being released by San Diego, but he needs to keep hitting at every level to climb his way to the majors. The whole starting rotation has a chance to contribute in the majors. Jonathan Crawford and Kevin Ziomek have a chance to be back of the rotation starters and Austin Kubitza and Buck Farmer could fit in somewhere in a staff. Farmer has the potential to grow a lot as a starter. Raph Rhymes will be old for each level he goes up, but he’s got a good hitting ability and he’s worth keeping your eye on. Austin Schotts continues to disappoint though. All of West Michigan’s relievers are doing pretty good too, and with Detroit’s bullpen they could always be in the majors sooner rather later. Out of the pitchers, I would rank them Crawford, Ziomek, Farmer, and then Kubitza.