Since doing team reviews will take up too much time and will end up being irrelevant, I decided that I would just do a “Top Prospect” list for both batters and pitchers. In this post we will look at the best batters in the Northwest League. These posts are not rankings, just a big list of players you should be following. I might do a couple of these posts per position, we’ll see. Also, the year that I listed(ex.So,Jr) are from the prior season and not the upcoming season.
3B Alex Howard(Jr.-Arkansas St)-Battle Creek Bombers
Howard caught my eye for the first time when I saw that he attended the New Mexico Military Institute, which sounds like a bootcamp rather than a school with a baseball team. He transferred to Arkansas St where he started 53 games and hit .273. This season with the Bombers, he has hit .379 with 4 homers and 8 stolen bases. He does have 7 errors this season which is concerning, but his bat has made up for it. Howard wasn’t drafted this year, but look for him to be a quality senior sign in the 2018 draft.
1B/3B Ryan Stekl(Jr.-Canisius College)-Wisconsin Rapids Rafters
Stekl has had an excellent season so far with the Rafters, batting .340/.376/.451 with 3 homers. He has had experience with collegiate summer ball, when he played for the Winnipesaukee Muskrats of the New England Collegiate League(not to be confused with the Cape Cod League). With the Muskrats he slashed .298/.356/.447 with 6 homers and a 25 K/13 BB ratio. Stekl is a 3 year starter at Canisius where he’s slashed .294/.375/.396. Here is another solid senior sign for next years draft, make sure to put him on your follow list.
3B/OF Stevie Mangrum(So.-Virginia Tech)-Wisconsin Woodchucks
Stevie Mangrum is an outfielder/third baseman who has already hit 11 homeruns this season while batting .329/.411/.609. Mangrum also has had 6 stolen bases which is a bit surprising since he has average speed and did not have a stolen base last season for the Hokies. This is Mangrum’s second season with the Woodchucks; in his first season he batted .308 with 7 homers. It will be interesting to see if Mangrum gets drafted this season, he only started in 8 games last year for the Hokies but he had a solid season batting .284/.376/.527 3HR 32 K/10BB
OF Marcus Still(Jr.-New Mexico St)-Willmar Stingers
Still is leading the league in stolen bases by a considerable margin with 27 stolen bases in 37 games. Speed is Still’s best attribute, but he does have some pop in his bat. His K/BB rate is very impressive at 20/15 with 139 at bats. Still is slashing .266/.364/.374 and is a player to watch for this upcoming year. He did get drafted in the 31st round by the Blue Jays in 2016, but got passed over this year.
3B Ryan Mantle(So.-Jefferson CC/Creighton)-La Crosse Loggers
Mantle has had a crazy journey in college ball, going from Missouri State to Jefferson CC and is committed to playing at Creighton next year. Mantle leads the league in walks(39) and has had more walks than strikeouts(37). He has only hit .200 this year, but his OBP is .400 and his SLG is .336 and has hit 3 home runs. Look for him to have a better second half, he hit .370 with 11 homers at Jefferson CC. Definitely keep tabs on him for the draft next year, it will be interesting to see what happens with him.
Hopefully everyone enjoyed this, and make sure to add all of these players to your watch lists for the 2018 draft. I’ll make another part to this and then I’ll do a couple parts for pitchers too. For all the Cape Cod League fans, expect something like this for the Cape Cod League next week.