Baseball America released its minor league All-Star teams across all minor league levels on Monday and four prospects from the Cleveland Indians farm system claimed spots on the annual rosters.
The biggest winner was 19-year-old right-hander Triston McKenzie, who was not only named as one of the five starting pitchers selected to the roster, but was announced as the Baseball America Short-Season Pitcher of the Year for his 4-3 record in nine starts while with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers.
McKenzie worked 49 1/3 innings in the New York-Penn League before a promotion the day after his 19th birthday in early August. He allowed just three earned runs (seven in total) for a 0.55 ERA while holding opposing batters to a .180 mark at the plate. He struck out 55 batters in his starts while walking only 16.
McKenzie spent the remainder of his season pitching with the Class-A Lake County Captains, where he went 2-2 in six starts with a 3.18 ERA and 0.97 WHIP.
Bradley was already named the Carolina League’s Most Valuable Player in their voting, but was named to his second consecutive Baseball American Minor League All-Star team with a strong season for the Lynchburg Hillcats.
Bradley hit .235 in his first full season at the High-A level (131 games played for Lynchburg after appearing in nine plate appearances in two games in 2015) with 23 doubles while leading the league with 29 homers and 102 RBI. He made up for a lighter batting average with a .344 on-base percentage and .466 slugging percentage at the plate.
The 20-year-old and third round draft pick in the 2014 draft by the Indians set new professional career highs in games played, at bats, runs, hits, total bases, doubles, homers, RBI, walks, and strikeouts.
Santander stayed healthy all season and showed just what the 21-year-old Venezuelan outfielder could do if given enough time on the field. He set new career highs in many offensive categories in his first season above Lake County in the Indians’ minor league system and was at the top of the Carolina League leaderboard in a handful of statistics.
He hit .290 on the year in 128 games with a .368 OBP and .494 slugging. He hit 42 doubles and 20 homers while driving in 95 runs. The switch-hitting outfielder and first baseman appeared in 56 more games than his previous single season best after spending parts of the last three years with the Captains, playing no more than 64 games in Lake County during any of those seasons.
Columbus’ Yandy Diaz had the interesting placement in the Triple-A voting at third base, despite playing nearly as many games in left and right field as he did at the hot corner as he expanded on his defensive versatility on the diamond.
Diaz had a stellar year as a whole, including parts of the first two months of the season while at Double-A Akron, where he hit .286 with a .445 OBP in 26 games. He hit .325 with the Clippers with a .399 OBP after his promotion with 22 doubles, three triples, seven homers, and 44 RBI and was at the top of the league’s batting title race for much of the season. He put together noteworthy hitting streaks throughout the season, was a Triple-A All-Star in his second season playing at the level, and was selected for Major League Baseball’s All-Star Futures Game in July, held during the All-Star weekend in San Diego, California.
Like McKenzie and Santander, the Baseball America Minor League All-Star team selection is his first honor by the site in Diaz’s career.
Photo: Lathan Goumas/The News and Advance