The fifth chapter of the 2023 Willie McCovey Memorial Community Prospect List is in the books, and we’ve once again encountered a problem that has plagued the lists in recent years: bots. An unreasonable flurry of late votes came in, suggesting something other than human voting, so we’re switching over to an old fashioned way of polling. Going forward, votes will be handled by me commenting the names of the players, and you voting by hitting the “rec” button.
But in the interim, we will respect the outcome of the funky polling, because at this point it’s engrained into every CPL. And in this case, if it changed the outcome, is was probably only by a single place, so it’s small potatoes.
And so, with that said, the community (and bots) have spoken, and the No. 5 prospect in the San Francisco Giants organization is outfielder Vaun Brown, who takes a monumental leap after not even being discussed for last year’s 44-player list.
To say Brown was a breakout player in 2022 would be an understatement. The 2021 10th-round pick started the year with Low-A San Jose, where he hit .346/.427/.636 with a 166 wRC+ and 14 home runs in 262 plate appearances. A promotion to High-A Eugene saw his numbers get even better: a .350/.454/.611 slash line with a 189 wRC+ with 9 home runs in 194 plate appearances. After Eugene’s season ended, Brown hopped over to AA for one regular season game.
It was, by pretty much any metric, the best offensive season in the Minor Leagues last year, for any player in any organization. The cold water is that Brown turned 24 halfway through the season. For comparison, he’s more than three and a half years older than Luis Matos, and more than a year older than Heliot Ramos, who we’ve abandoned here after he stalled out in AAA.
In other words, 2023 will be a big year for Brown. We’ll likely learn whether his 2022 was a flash in the pan born out of being very old for his level, or if it was a sign of him being an amazing hitter with exciting tools.
Now onward we march.
The list so far
Note: Clicking on the above names will link to the CPL where they were voted onto the list.
On to No. 6!
No. 6 prospect nominees
Aeverson Arteaga — 19.9 year old SS, 101 wRC+ in Low-A (565 PAs)|
Patrick Bailey — 23.6-year old C, 113 wRC+ in High-A (325 PAs)
Mason Black — 23.0-year old RHP, 4.52 FIP in High-A (77.2 IP), 2.66 FIP in Low-A (34.1 IP)
Grant McCray — 22.0-year old CF, 131 wRC+ in High-A (62 PAs), 130 wRC+ in Low-A (507 PAs)
Carson Whisenhunt — 22.2-year old LHP, 1.79 FIP in Low-A (4.2 IP), -0.41 FIP in ACL (3 IP)
Note: Each player’s first name links to their Baseball-Reference page, and their last name links to their Fangraphs page.
Reminder: voting is now in the comments!