The guys over at Baseball America released the Florida State League Top 20 Prospects this morning. The Daytona Tortugas had their share of quality prospects, but the Cincinnati Reds affiliate only had one prospect make the list. Nick Senzel came in ranked as the leagues 4th best prospect.

In the first half of the season with the Tortugas, Nick Senzel hit .305/.371/.476. In those 246 at-bats he had 26 doubles, two triples, four home runs and 23 walks. The #2 overall pick in the 2016 draft also showed off good defense, earning a promotion to Double-A at the midseason point. Once he arrived in Pensacola his offense took another big step forward as he got away from all of the pitcher friendly ballparks in the Florida State League.

It wasn’t surprising at all to see Nick Senzel on the list. In the 12 team league that would mean between one and two players per team to fill out a Top 20 list. What was a bit surprising is that Shed Long and Gavin LaValley weren’t on the list.

Shed Long spent the first half of the season in Daytona. The 21-year-old went out and hit .312/.380/.543 in 62 games. Over 279 plate appearances he had 16 doubles, a triple and 13 home runs. That earned him a promotion to Double-A for the second half. His .922 OPS was the 4th best OPS in the league among hitters with at least 134 plate appearances. It’s a tough sell to me that a 21-year-old middle infielder with the 4th best OPS in the league (and among the top 14, only Vladimir Guerrero Jr was younger than he was) isn’t a Top 20 prospect in the league.

Gavin LaValley showed off big power for the Tortugas in the first half. He hit .288/.332/.538 over 259 plate appearances. That came along with 14 doubles and 15 home runs. His .870 OPS ranked 8th best in the league. The 22-year-old first baseman was probably hurt in the rankings because of his defensive position being at the bottom of the spectrum.

On the pitching side of things having Vladimir Gutierrez miss the Top 20 is also a bit of a surprise. His ERA wasn’t great, coming in at 4.46 in 103.0 innings pitched. Still, he’s got the kind of stuff that you really want to see, walked just 19 batters and had 94 strikeouts during the season. The league deemed deep on prospects this season, but he seemed like a guy who could be in the back part of the Top 20 in past seasons.

11 Responses

  1. Andy B

    Shed Long didn’t make the list! Smh. Senzel deserved it, but Long was better in Daytona.

    • Deywane

      From the Chat:

      Deywane (Memphis): Was Shed Long close to making the list? He was outstanding this year in the FSL.

      John Manuel: In the first iteration, he was on the list, but a couple of the scouts that I talked to also saw him in Double-A and had backed off him, as he struggled with spin and soft stuff early in counts. He’s a decent enough defender and has a chance to be an offense-first second baseman, and he passes an important test, hitting velocity. He’s shown he can hit the fastball. The lack of second-half adjustments kept him off the list.

      • DaveCT

        I saw that also and find the reasoning very questionable to say the least. She’d was taken off the top 20 list because if his performance in another league, one that is higher?

      • Doug Gray

        This is such a weird response given that it’s supposed to be more about what they did in that league – it’s why they favor what the coaches in the league say rather than scouts.

      • greg

        The oddity of the criteria aside, was the analysis of these struggles John mentioned accurate?

      • Doug Gray

        Long walked more and struck out less in Double-A than he did in Advanced-A. So, he wasn’t being fooled THAT much. He struggled, particularly early on in Double-A with Pensacola. He finished well. I think there are things Shed needs to work on at the plate, but you can say that for almost every 21-year-old in the history of baseball.

  2. Mark

    Big loss by the reds today helping their top 4 chance took a big hit last night though with the win

    • Matthew O'Neal

      Obviously it sucks seeing the Reds lose, but if they can get swept by the Cubs, and the Chi Sox win just one of their last three, the Reds will slide into the 4 spot. So it could happen! 3 could happen in theory if the Reds get swept, CHI Sox win one, and the Phillies sweep the Mets. Will be fun to watch it unfold!

  3. redleggingfordayz

    I just actually looked at Vlad’s stats up close. 4.4 BB%?? Count me in. Just needs to work on getting softer contact it seems. Great first year in a tough league.

    • Bill

      Agreed. Also, this was really his first year starting and followed a lengthy layoff as well.