It’s All-Star time around the minors, a time for scouts and fans alike to head out and see firsthand a collection of the minors’ top prospects. This morning I want to look at players who waived bye-bye to their prospect status a long time ago. While there is no Quad-A level, there players with the Quad-A label, and this is my collection of this year’s Quad-A All Stars. The qualifications are straightforward: the player must be at least 27, in AAA and must be one of the leagues top performers.
Some of these players may be current call-ups, which doesn’t disqualify them from the list, because let’s face it, it won’t be long before they’re on the next bus back to the minors.
Eliezer Alfonzo, 30 years old, Padres, .306/.323/.565. Alfonzo actually filled in somewhat admirably as the Giants every day catcher after Mike Matheny went down with a concussion in 2006, but he’s been doing his thing in the minors ever since. Alfonzo has always shown some decent pop in the minors, but is as free of a swinger as they come. Over his 12 year minor league career, he’s walked in just 4% of his plate appearances.
Oscar Salazar, 31, Orioles, .372/.417/.542. Salazar is someone who might just shed his Quad-A label this year. The Venezuelan born player was tucked away in the Mexican League for awhile before coming back to affiliated baseball, and is currently hitting well for Baltimore, in albeit a couple dozen at-bats. His ZiPS projection calls for a respectable .351 wOBA for the season. Contact is the name of his game.
Mike McCoy, 28, Rockies, .343/.443/.453, 25 steals in 28 attempts. McCoy came up through the Cardinal organization before being signed by Baltimore as a minor league free agent. He was released mid-season last year, and hit .343/.391/.507 in 140 at-bats for Colorado Springs. McCoy evidently enjoys the thin air, it’s not only helped him put up some gaudy batting numbers, but rejuvenated his legs. McCoy stole a career high 30 bases in 129 games in 2006, and looks to be well on his way to beat his own personal mark.
Hector Luna, 29, Dodgers, .353/.420/.657. Luna was plucked from the Cleveland organization before being selected in the Rule 5 draft by the Cardinals in 2004. St. Louis sent him back to Cleveland in 2006 for Ronnie Belliard, a player who was just a weird fit in St. Louis. Luna’s been more of a defense-first player coming up through the minors, but he never lived up to his rep. He’s never hit over 11 home-runs in his career, minors or majors, but now he’s hitting 13. Albuquerque can help a player out like that.
Ryan Langerhans, 29, Mariners, .278/.371/.488. Recently traded for Mike Morse. Langerhans seems to be a favorite in the stat-head community for his decent walk rates and most of all, his nifty UZR numbers in left field. Langerhans is sort of a poor man’s Nyjer Morgan, if there is such a thing.
Dee Brown, 31, Dodgers, .303/.364/.567. Dee Brown can dunk a basketball with his eyes covered. No, wait. Once upon a time, Dee Brown looked like a superstar in the making. He was a first round draft pick of the Royals and was absolutely crushing the minors at a very young age. He never adjusted to the majors leagues for some reason or another and has been a journeyman ever since. It would be a nice story if he ever did hit his way into a regular gig, even if it were for a season or two.
There are other names I debated on putting on the team, but these are the players who made my final cut. Who would be on your Quad-A All-Star team?
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