Melendez is a corner outfielder who does a bit of everything well, but nothing spectacularly. The 21-year old Dominican should be capable of driving plenty of balls to the gap particularly against righties. Currently penciled in as the Ripettoes leadoff hitter vs. righties, Melendez should be able to take advantage of his blend of power and baserunning ability to get himself into scoring position for Michael Snow and friends.
Chicago - Davey Hernandez - CF
Chicago, who acquired this Cuban import as an IFA in Season 5, will turn to Hernandez to patrol CF in S8. Hernandez has above-average range, but has been known to occasionally turn a routine flyball into high adventure. Hernandez will more than cover these missteps with his bat, which should produce more like that of a quality first baseman’s than a centerfielder’s.
Oakland - York Cornelius - RF
Cornelius garnered Season 7’s AAA MVP honors and has nothing left to prove in the minors and should make an appearance with the Dragons in Season 8. The RFer thrives against left-handed pitching, but could be neutralized somewhat by ML-level right-handers. Regardless of the handedness of the pitcher, Cornelius has a discerning eye and should hammer mistakes into the stands.
Fargo – Sherman Atchley - SS
Dealt to the NL Champs in S7 from surplus SS talent in Tacoma’s farm system (now Chicago), Atchley is another player who sacrifices a modicum of defense for a wealth of offense. The youngster from Tarpon Springs FL is capable of prodigious power displays and makes contact with most of what he swings at. Power like that would be valuable at a corner spot, but will provide a substantial advantage coming from the SS position.
San Antonio - Harry Pena – SP
San Antonio GM niss has been silent regarding whether this pitching prodigy will make an appearance with the big club in S8, but there is little doubt that Harry Pena is ready now. Pena features a four-pitch repertoire, including an excellent sinker/slider combo offset by and average change-up and a show-me curve. Hitters have difficulty punishing Pena’s rare mistakes, as the 6-1 lefty keeps the ball down in the zone. If promoted, Pena could be a legitimate Cy Young candidate.
Honolulu - Rico Andujar – SP
Arguably the prize of the S6 IFA class, Andujar dominated the minors in S7, posting a 1.02 WHIP across two levels. Andujar is in AAA now; some might contend that a full year in AAA would be prudent for his development, but it would be almost impossible for management to keep the talented righty in the minors if the Beach Bums find themselves in the pennant chase.