A's Ravelo among top prospects making noise in Winter Leagues

A's Ravelo among top prospects making noise in Winter Leagues

When the Oakland Athletics acquired Rangel Ravelo last offseason from the White Sox as part of the Jeff Samardzija trade, all signs pointed to the 23-year-old first baseman carving out a role with his new team at some point during the 2015 season.

At the time of the trade, Ravelo was coming off an impressive 2014 campaign at Double-A Birmingham -- his first taste of the Double-A level -- in which he batted .309/.386/.473 in 133 games. While he had always hit for average and exhibited strong on-base skills, the 6-foot-2, 220-pound right-handed hitter finally showed the consistent power that made him a sixth-round Draft pick out of high school in 2010, establishing career highs in home runs (11), doubles (37) and RBIs (66).

The A's No. 17 prospect's chances of making the Opening Day roster took a hit when he was forced to undergo surgery on his wrist for an injury sustained during Spring Training. When he finally returned to action in late June, Ravelo was unable to replicate the power numbers that played a major part in his breakout campaign the previous year.

However, hitting for power hasn't been an issue for Ravelo this offseason in the Venezuela Winter League, where he ranks among the league leaders in most offensive categories including average (.510), on-base percentage (.636), slugging (.902), walks (21) and RBIs (21) through 19 games for Cardenales de Lara. On top of that, he's also tied for the league lead in home runs (five) and total bases (46).

Here's a look at some of the other top prospects currently making waves in the offseason winter leagues.

Dominican Republic

Rafael Bautista, OF, Nationals - A broken finger during the opening week of the regular season cost the Nats' No. 15 prospect most of the first half, although he did return to bat .291/.332/.352 in 45 games at Class A Advanced Potomac after the All-Star break. The 22-year-old outfielder has been making up for the lost time in a big way this offseason in the Dominican Winter League, batting a robust .450/.488/.600 with nine runs scored in 11 games for Leones del Escogido.

Socrates Brito, OF, Diamondbacks - Brito, Arizona's No. 15 prospect, made developmental strides this past season at Double-A Mobile before batting .303 in 18 games with the Diamondbacks as a September callup. He's continued to swing a consistent bat this offseason in the Dominican Republic, batting .256 with an .801 OPS and three home runs in 10 games for Estrellas de Oriente.

Rafael Devers, 3B, Red Sox - One of the more exciting young hitters in the Minor Leagues, Devers, Boston's No. 2 prospect and No. 13 overall, is hitting .280 with a pair of doubles in eight games for Leones del Escogido. During the regular season, the 19-year-old third baseman posted a .288/.329/.443 batting line with 11 home runs, 38 doubles and 70 RBIs in 115 games for Class A Greenville.

Jandel Gustave, RHP, Astros - After a breakout year as Double-A Corpus Christi's closer (20 saves, 2.15 ERA in 58 2/3 IP), the Astros' No. 28 prospect has not allowed a run in 5 2/3 innings (five appearances) for Gigantes del Cibao.

Jorge Polanco, SS, Twins - After spending most of the regular season between the Double- and Triple-A levels -- though he did appear in four big league games -- the Twins' No. 4 prospect (No. 75 overall) is off to a hot start this offseason, batting .289/.396/.444 through 12 games for Leones del Escogido.

Tyler White, 3B/1B, Astros - The Astros' No. 30 prospect mashed his way up the ladder this year, batting .325/.442/.496 with 40 extra-base hits and 99 RBIs in 116 games between Corpus Christi and Triple-A Fresno. The 25-year-old hasn't skipped a beat this offseason, evidenced by his 1.057 OPS, eight extra-base hits and 10 RBIs in 12 games for Estrellas de Oriente.


Dixon Machado, SS, Tigers - After getting his feet wet in the Major Leagues this past season, the Tigers' No. 14 prospect ranks among the offensive leaders in the Venezuela Winter League with a .361/.471/.625 batting line, four home runs, seven doubles and more walks (14) than strikeouts (eight) through 20 games.

Carlos Tocci, OF, Phillies - The Phillies' No. 20 prospect scuffled for two straight seasons as one of the youngest players in the South Atlantic League before breaking out to hit .287/.339/.363 this past season in 127 games between Class A Lakewood and Class A Advanced Clearwater. Meanwhile, the 20-year-old outfielder is continuing to make strides this offseason, batting .333 through 11 games for Tigres de Aragua.


Justin Williams, OF, Rays - The Rays' No. 22 prospect showed more consistent power this past season, tallying a career-best seven home runs and 30 doubles in 122 games between Class A Bowling Green and Class A Advanced Charlotte. In his seven games for the Brisbane Bandits, Williams, 20, is batting .423 with a pair of home runs and doubles.

Travis Demeritte, 2B, Rangers - Demeritte, the Rangers' No. 14 prospect, played 48 games at Class-A Hickory before receiving an 80-game suspension for testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance. However, the 21-year-old is making up for the lost time this offseason in Australia, batting .313 with a 1.093 OPS, two home runs and six doubles through 32 at-bats (eight games).

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.