AAA Toledo - OF Daniel Fields
64 AB | .344 AVG | 1.087 OPS | 5 2B | 5 3B | 1 HR | 4 SB
Now 24-years old and in the midst of his sixth professional season; all at the full-season level, Fields has started the year by turning in one of the most impressive months of his career. In 18 games last month, Fields ripped the cover off the ball to the tune of a .344 batting average, five doubles, five triples, and one home run. The numbers are promising, particularly for a player scouts have long believed would have trouble hitting upper level pitching. Fields continued to complement his bat with strong outfield defense. Despite the rousing early season success, Fields will need to maintain his performance in an effort to turn his detractors into believers of his big league potential.
Runner-Up: SS Dixon Machado
AA Erie - 1B Dean Green
34 AB | .412 AVG | 1.159 OPS | 2 2B | 0 3B | 2 HR |
An 11th round pick in 2011, Green bounced between a couple of schools during his amateur career, but during that time, nobody ever questioned his ability to hit. Green doesn’t project well defensively and will be limited to designated hitter, but when you compile a .315/.379/.482 slash line across five minor league seasons, people will overlook your defensive misgivings. During the first month of the 2015 season, Green pummeled Eastern League pitching with a .412 average, more walks than strikeouts, and two bombs. Green’s 1.159 April OPS sets him as the Seawolves offensive leader and positions him for a potential promotion to Triple-A later this year.
Runner-Up: IF Corey Jones
A+ Lakeland - OF Ben Verlander
48 AB | .313 AVG | .857 OPS | 2 2B | 0 3B | 2 HR | 2 SB
While many fans may know Ben Verlander simply as the younger brother of Tigers starter Justin Verlander, Ben offers his own set of skills as a baseball player and has a chance to become a viable prospect. Despite struggling mightily in Low-A in 2014, the Tigers pushed the 6-foot-4, 200 pound athlete to High-A where he came out guns blazing and posted a .313/.377/.479 line in 14 games last month. Verlander popped two doubles and two home runs, while also swiping two bases in just 14 games to help reinvigorate his sliding prospect status. Verlander must sustain his improved command of the strike zone to keep up his hot hitting, but the early season progress is certainly encouraging.
Runner-Up: IF Curt Powell
A West Michigan - OF Michael Gerber
75 AB | .333 AVG | .796 OPS | 2 2B | 1 3B | 1 HR | 3 SB
The Tigers 14th round pick out of Creighton last summer, Gerber 16 doubles and seven home runs in 57 games during his debut with the Connecticut Tigers. After hitting .387 in a limited trial with the Whitecaps last summer, Gerber returned to Grand Rapids and picked up right where he left off, smoking two doubles, a triple and a home run in the season’s first 21 games. All told, Gerber hit .333 while stealing three bases in three attempts and he has scored ten runs. Playing primarily right field and designated hitter for the Whitecaps, Gerber could find himself in Lakeland during the season’s second half.
Runner-Up: OF Ross Kivett