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Saturday 17th Feb 2018

During the off-season, my intention is to go through the minor leagues--at least through A-ball--and review eight players per league who might prove to be an interesting investment for the short, or long term. However, these pieces will not be continuous as I will also be looking at the AFL and Winter Meetings.

These lists are also separate from the Top 250, scheduled for release later this year.

So, to start off, here are some names from the Triple-A International League, which already gave us Rhys Hoskins and Yandy Diaz before the season ended.

Willy Adames (SS, Rays): A Dominican native, Adames has led a lot of top prospect lists over the past couple of years, hitting .277-10-62 at Durham as a 21-year-old (Adames turned 22 last month) with 11 steals and though he whiffed 132 times, Adames did walk 65, good for a .360 OBP. The fact that 45 of Adames' 140 hits went for extra bases is an encouraging sign for a youngster at that level as it suggests more power to come with age and experience.

Tyler Wade (SS, Yankees): The Pinstripes have done pretty well developing from within, and the 22-year-old Wade had a fine year at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, hitting .310-7-31, but with 68 runs scored to go with 26 steals over just 85 games before the Yanks promoted him (.155-0-2). Wade, a fourth-rounder in 2013, was making very good contact with just 75 whiffs over 339 plate appearances with 38 walks (.382 OBP).

Jake Bauers (OF, Rays): After going .274-14-78 at Montgomery in 2016 as a 20-year-old, Bauers, who turned 22 last week, went to Durham and hit .263-13-63 with 31 doubles and 78 walks to 112 strikeouts, good for a .368 OBP. With all the great young players they have, Tampa better be winning big time in the next couple of years.

Mitch Garver (C, Twins): Garver registered 88 games at Rochester in deference to some time on the DL, and then a stint with the Twins (.196-0-3), but he showed great plate discipline with a .291-17-45 line to go with 50 walks to 85 strikeouts and a .387 OBP. Garver hit 29 doubles, giving him 46 extra-base hits of his 93 total hits, meaning nearly 50% went for extra bases. 

Brent Honeywell (P, Rays): I've written about Honeywell before, starting with last year's Fall League where the right-hander, out of Walters State Community College, was the best arm I saw. I actually thought the 22-year-old would have been to the Show by now, so if there is room for this minor leaguer on your ultra roster, grab him. Honeywell began the season at Montgomery and after a 1-1, 2.08 line there moved on to Durham where he was 12-8, 3,68, striking out 152 over 123.6 innings.

Ryan Yarbrough (P, Rays): Tampa has become really good at developing young arms as you can see, and the thing I like about Yarbrough is he really has developed. At 25, the Southpaw, drafted in the fourth round by Seattle in 2014, jumped his strikeout numbers from 99 over 128.3 innings to 159 in 157.3 innings, walking just eight more batters while notching a 13-6, 3.43 record.

Yonny Chirinos (P, Rays): Don't ask me what is going on in the Tampa waters that facilitates pitching, but next we have Chirinos, 23, who hails from Venezuela. The righty was only in Double-A Montgomery over four starts (1-0, 2.63) before turning in 141 frames in Durham with a 12-5, 2.74 record that included 120 strikeouts and a wicked 0.98 WHIP.

Chance Adams (P, Yankees): A 23-year-old fifth-rounder from 2015, Adams began the season at Double-A Trenton. After posting a 4-0, 1.03 line over 36 innings and six starts, he moved up to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre where the right-hander was 11-5, 2.89 over 115.3 frames, giving him a 15-5, 2.45 mark over 150.3 innings with 135 strikeouts coupled with a 1.08 WHIP. Adams kept hits down to just 104, so he seems to have learned to move the ball around and keep it down.

Remember to tune into the Tout Wars Hour on the FNTSY network, hosted by me, with Justin Mason and featuring Lord Z every Thursday night at 9 PM ET. 

Follow me @lawrmichaels.

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