I decided to compile a list of some of the Low A prospects that are off the casual fans’ radar for the 2012 season.
Brian Goodwin OF Hagerstown Suns (Nationals Low A)
Brian Goodwin entered the draft as a first round talent with above average tools across the board and what was considered poor makeup. While his makeup is still an issue, I saw Goodwin in his first 2 Low A games this season and came away very impressed. Goodwin showed plus power and at least plus speed. To top it off, Goodwin also has plus range in center field and gunned a player running from first to third in one of the games I caught. The most impressive aspect of his game has been his plate discipline, which has been much better then I expected for a toolsy Low A batter. Goodwin constantly battled for counts and even drew a handful of walks in the games I saw him play. Brian Goodwin is a 5-tool player who is already starting to come into his own as a player and could shoot up prospect rankings list this season.
Alen Hanson SS West Virginia Power (Pirates Low A)
Alen Hanson was a prospect that I hadn’t heard too much about prior to seeing him play vs Hagerstown this past weekend. I came away extremely impressed with the 19 year old shortstop. Hanson has an above average to plus hit tool and a wide variety of other tools that are developing. When I saw him last year in batting practice, Hanson displayed average power with the projection for more if he can add strength to his currently slender frame. He couples that with plus speed, and good enough defensive actions that lead me to believe he can stick at shortstop. Also, like Goodwin, Hanson has shown plate discipline beyond his years during early season play. While he is extremely raw and far away from the major leagues, I really like Alen Hanson as a sleeper prospect that has the chance to be the rare multi-tooled true shortstop.
Christopher Hawkins 3B/2B Lansing Lugnuts (Toronto Low A)
Although I haven’t seen Hawkins this season, I was very impressed with the young infielder last season. Hawkins possesses a beautiful swing that is conducive to high contact rates as well as burgeoning power. Hawkins has strong wrists and excellent bat speed. He is also an average or slightly above runner who knows how to swipe bases and gets very good jumps. The one issue with Hawkins is his defense as he has a strong arm but will have trouble sticking at shortstop or even third base. I think there is a very decent chance that Hawkins is forced to move to the outfield but his bat could be good enough to play just about anywhere. Hawkins is yet another low level prospect in the Blue Jays system that has a chance to breakout in the coming year.
Angelo Gumbs SS/2B Charleston RiverDogs (Yankees Low A)
Angelo Gumbs is a personal favorite of mine as he posses one of the qualities I cherish the most– suburb bat speed. With that bat speed Gumbs has a good shot at hitting for a high average. If he can improve his physical strength and swing with more leverage he could develop into a player with at least above average power. Gumbs’ calling card, however, may be his superb athletic actions both offensively and defensively. While he may not be a shortstop due to his ever growing upper body, Gumbs does have good range and a plus throwing arm in the infield. Angelo Gumbs is one of my favorite prospects in the low minors who, right now, is a very raw and rangy athlete but who could develop into a true five tool infielder and future superstar for the Yankees.