Dominican Winter League
THe DWL now has a little over a week's worth of games to work with and we're seeing some high-tier prospects rise to the top. The Dominican League typically gives prospects the best chance to play compared to the other international winter leagues, and this winter is no exception.
Jurickson Profar may not be a prospect any more, but after a season in which he was in and out of the lineup, he's playing every day and taking full advantage. Through eight games, Profar is hitting .448/.528/.621 with six walks to three strikeouts.
Profar is doing a good job of controlling the strike zone, but he's not showing off his power like Gregory Polanco. The Pirates outfield prospect has already connected on four doubles and three home runs in seven games. Polanco's power manifested itself more as doubles power this season, so it's a good sign to see some of these balls going over the fence.
Balls sailing over the fence is what helped elevate the prospect status of Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco this season, but through seven DWL games, he's been effective just hitting singles. Franco has just two doubles to his name this winter, but he's hitting .370 (10-for-27) thus far.
Venezuelan Winter League
The VWL got started a few weeks before they did in the Dominican so we have a bigger sample size to work with.
Perhaps no prospect is hotter in any winter league than Jesus Aguilar. The Indians first base prospect is hitting .391 through 16 games, but he's doing so with power, having connected on six home runs. Aguilar has always had plus raw power, but there have been questions about whether or not his hit tool would be good enough to allow it to play. The Indians will have to protect him on the 40-man roster becuase a hot winter like this may be too much for him to sneak through the Rule V draft again.
Ender Inciarte couldn't be a more different player than Aguilar and has stayed hot in a much different way. Speed is Inciarte's game, and he's done a good job of getting on base this fall, walking as many times as he's struck out. That's a good sign for the development of his game, and could be enough for the Diamondbacks to protect him on their 40-man roster this fall, since he was selected and returned to them once already.
The most bizarre performance of the winter is coming from Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson. He's always been a hitter whose offensive performances revolve around power and patience, but he's taking it to a new extreme this winter. Pederson has four home runs already, but what really stands out is that he's drawn 26 walks in 69 plate appearances for a .543 on-base percentage.
Other VWL prospects of note: