With the Minor League season officially over, it’s time to hand out the hardware, albeit it unofficially. It was a great year for top prospects, with a number of young players shooting up the ranks.
Next season should be another exciting year on the farm, but let’s take this opportunity to look at the top performers from 2015.
Hitter of the Year – Cody Bellinger
The lanky lefty was given an aggressive assignment to High-A as a 19 year old and responded with an outstanding campaign. He hit 30 home runs in the regular season, then added three more in the Quakes championship run, after totaling just four longballs in his first 98 games as a pro.
Bellinger also showed off his athleticism by playing some center field and he’s already a very good defensive first baseman. Once he learns to control the strike zone, he’s going to be unstoppable.
Pitcher of the Year – Jose De Leon
De Leon really broke out last season and quickly showed it wasn’t a fluke in 2015. He dominated the California League for seven starts before a promotion to Double-A Tulsa.
He led the organization in strikeouts with 163 in 114.1 innings and walked just 37. The 23-year-old right-hander should make his Major-League debut sometime in 2016.
Rookie of the Year – Willie Calhoun
A fourth-rounder out of Yavapai College, Calhoun spent the spring hitting with a wood bat and had no trouble adjusting to pro pitching. The 20-year-old second baseman batted .316 at three levels, OPSing .909 overall.
His defense is a work in progress, but he’s on the fast track and could reach Double-A next season.
Most Improved Player – Angel German
Two years ago, the Dodgers signed the-17-year old Dominican for $75,000. He spent his first two pro seasons in the Dominican Summer League, producing ERAs of 6.10 and 8.63. Despite his lack of production, the Dodgers brought him stateside this year and he ended up posting solid numbers across the board.
However, it’s his stuff that has taken leaps forward. Throwing 88-90 mph when he signed, German now sits in the mid-90s and flirts with triple digits. He also flashes a plus breaking ball. Obviously there’s still room for improvement, but Los Angeles may have found a diamond in the rough.
CONTINUE READING: Comeback Player Of The Year, And More