Through 48 of 120 games, the Double-A Northeast League has emerged as one of the more prospect-loaded Minor League Baseball levels during the 2021 season. Notable names currently in the league include Spencer Torkelson, Riley Greene, Austin Martin, Triston Casas, Simeon Woods-Richardson, Cade Cavalli, Adley Rutschman, and Grayson Rodriguez.
The list below spotlights one player from each of the twelve teams who is making a statement with their performance thus far. To qualify, a player must be active on a Northeast League team’s roster and have been with the team for a majority of the season.
Somerset Patriots (New York Yankees)
Diego Castillo, INF
35 G, .338, 45 H, 8 HR, 24 RBI
A 2014 international signing by the Yankees, Castillo has swung one of the hottest bats in the Northeast League, hitting .366 with 7 home runs over the last three weeks. The eight home runs he’s hit through 35 games this season is double his previous single season record, when he hit four homers over 114 games in 2019.
The 23-year-old’s versatility in the field can be a big boost to his major league ambitions, as Castillo has played second, short, and third. He puts the ball in play and is patient at the plate as well, with his .938 OPS ranking fourth in the Northeast League.
Here’s Diego Castillo’s two-run bomb💣
He’s 3-4 with four RBI’s so far today. pic.twitter.com/kjYFbOrUXf
— Eli Fishman (@elijfishman) June 16, 2021
New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Toronto Blue Jays)
An international signing by the Blue Jays in 2016, Moreno has hit .308 through his four minor league seasons. He has quickly climbed through the Jays’ farm system, skipping Advanced-A and starting 2021 with Double-A after only two professional seasons in the United States.
The 21-year-old backstop has showcased his defensive skills as well, throwing out 14 of 32 attempted base stealers for a caught stealing percentage of 43%, which would qualify as the third-best in Major League Baseball this year.
Another day, another Gabriel Moreno homer.
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) June 20, 2021
Altoona Curve (Pittsburgh Pirates)
Roansy Contreras, RHP
8G, 45 IP, 2.00 ERA, 64 K
One of the prized Yankees prospects traded to the Pirates as part of the Jameson Taillon deal this past offseason, Contreras has been one of the best pitchers in the Northeast League so far this year. He is second in the league in WHIP (0.80), strikeouts, ERA, wins (3), and opponent batting average (.163). The 21-year-old righty has broken out this season much thanks to an improved repertoire featuring an upper 90’s fastball with late-life that he combines with a nasty 12-6 curveball to keep hitters off-balanced.
You could say that Roansy Contreras is nasty. pic.twitter.com/DVZJmBk0DJ
— Pirates (@Pirates) March 23, 2021
Erie Seawolves (Detroit Tigers)
Riley Greene, OF
44 G, .269, 46 H, 8 HR, 27 RBI
The fifth overall selection in the 2019 Draft, Greene has showcased his all-around talents this season, hitting eight homers while sporting a .365 OBP and stealing eight bags with only two errors in the field.
You know it’s crushed when the outfielders don’t even move.
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) June 17, 2021
Portland Sea Dogs (Boston Red Sox)
Triston Casas, 1B
34 G, .266, 34 H, 4 HR, 22 RBI
A left-handed power hitter, Casas is proving why he is our #1 Red Sox prospect, slashing .266/.354/.414 so far in 2021. The Red Sox first-round pick in 2018, Casas played only two games above Low-A before this season but has quickly adjusted to the challenges of Double-A. He has also demonstrated significant improvement in the plate discipline category, walking 17 times through 34 games.
Triston Casas absolutely destroys his first Double-A home run pic.twitter.com/9HZpVV0daH
— Red Sox Stats (@redsoxstats) May 13, 2021
Akron RubberDucks (Cleveland Indians)
Tyler Freeman, IF
36 G, .327, 48 H, 2 HR, 19 RBI
Tyler Freeman is one of the most consistent hitters in all of baseball, not dipping below .300 since the second week of the season. A career .319 hitter through his four seasons with the Indians organization, Freeman is slashing .327/.377/.469 on the season. Additionally, he has an above-average glove with the ability to play third base, shortstop, and second base.
— Indians Prospective (@indiansPro) June 20, 2021
Reading Fightin’ Phils (Philadelphia Phillies)
Taylor Lehman, LHP
5 G (3 starts), 15.1 IP, 3.52 ERA, 20 K
Signed as an undrafted free agent out of Penn State in 2018, Lehman has broken out during the 2021 season. Coming into this year, he had only thrown 66 professional innings between rookie ball and Low-A. The 6’7” southpaw has pitched to a phenomenal ground ball percentage of 92% in 2021 and is yet to allow a home run on the season.
Hitting is Hard
Taylor Lehman Edition pic.twitter.com/LehXwsFbeX
— PVS Baseball (@PVSbaseball) January 19, 2021
Hartford Yard Goats (Colorado Rockies)
Julian Fernandez, RHP
22 G, 21.2 IP, 2.49 ERA, .200 OBA
A two-time Rule 5 draft pick, Fernandez is beginning to display the potential the Rockies saw when they signed him as an International free agent in 2012. The 25-year-old underwent Tommy John Surgery in the spring of 2018, and before this season had not thrown a pitch in a minor league game since 2017. Fernandez has a 1.25 WHIP and struck out 18 batters over 22.2 innings of work this season.
#Rockies prospect to watch: RHP Julian Fernández (85). He hit 103-104 mph a few years back, was taken in Rule 5 by the #SFGiants but had Tommy John surgery. His heater velocity. He is working on a changeup that could accelerate his path to the big-league ‘pen. pic.twitter.com/7oZcqrAWia
— Thomas Harding (@harding_at_mlb) February 23, 2021
Richmond Flying Squirrels (San Francisco Giants)
Joey Marciano, LHP
17 G, 19.2 IP, 2.75 ERA, 30 K
The Giants 36th round pick in 2017, Marciano is having a breakout season as a reliever for Richmond, with opponents hitting .186 against him. The southpaw began his career as a starter, occasionally pitching in long relief, but has transformed into a late-inning role in 2021.
Joey Marciano has brought the 🔥 for @GoSquirrels this season. 1.08 ERA and 24 K’s through 16.2 innings of relief 😳@promadejoe773 @Prospects1500 @giantsprospects @rog61 @sfgiantfutures @giantprospectiv pic.twitter.com/5os2kgSESX
— Eli Fishman (@elijfishman) June 21, 2021
Harrisburg Senators (Washington Nationals)
Cole Freeman, UT
40 G, .260, 40 H, 4 HR, 14 RBI
Freeman is the definition of a pure hitter. He uses the whole field and puts the ball in play every at-bat, striking out only 17 times in his 172 plate appearances so far this season. The Nationals fourth-round pick out of LSU in 2017, Freeman has played six different positions in his minor league career. With a strong glove, he has solid potential to be an everyday utility player in the big leagues. The 5’9” 175 lbs right-handed hitter has also shown flashes of power this season, with a career-high four homers through only 40 games.
Here’s the Cole Freeman HR an on 0-2 pitch pic.twitter.com/4EuowKnbnA
— Mick Reinhard (@Mayflies) May 7, 2021
Bowie Baysox (Baltimore Orioles)
DL Hall, LHP
7 G, 31.2 IP, 3.13 ERA, 56 K
It was a tough decision between Hall and our #1 Orioles prospect Adley Rutschman, but there is no denying the boost DL Hall has provided to the Baysox pitching staff this season. With 56 strikeouts he ranks third in the Northeast League, and his 15.92 K/9 is first among qualified players. The Orioles first-round selection in 2017 has held opponents to a .155 batting average against him this season and has posted a 1.01 WHIP.
DL Hall’s Double-A debut was an absolute dandy. Fastball was up at 99 🔥🔥🔥 and the breaking ball was FILTHY.
4.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 10 K, 2 BB, 1 HBP
All 10 strikeouts from Hall’s first start of 2021: pic.twitter.com/uTDQGbXCQz
— Locked On Orioles (@LockedOnOrioles) May 4, 2021
Binghamton Rumble Ponies (New York Mets)
Carlos Cortes, OF
42 G, .297, 49 H, 8 HR, 29 RBI
The Mets third-round pick in 2018, switch-hitting outfielder Carlos Cortes is having a career year with Binghamton. He’s slashing .297/.364/.564 with a .927 OPS and leads his team in all offensive categories. The Mets moved Cortes to the outfield in 2019 after playing the middle infield for the majority of his career. He is yet to make an error in the field this season.
Carlos Cortes continues to rake for Binghamton, two hits and his sixth homer last night.
— Jacob Resnick (@Jacob_Resnick) June 11, 2021
Janson Junk, RHP – Somerset Patriots
9 G, 42 IP, 1.07 ERA, 46 K
Glenn Otto Jr., RHP – Somerset Patriots
9 G, 52.1 IP, 3.96 ERA, 83 K
Adley Rutschman, C – Bowie Baysox
46 G, .284, 48 H, 11 HR, 32 RBI
Taylor Snyder, IF – Hartford Yard Goats
43 G, .264, 42 H, 14 HR, 37 RBI
Frank Duncan, RHP– Hartford Yard Goats
8 G, 42.1 IP, 2.76 ERA, 33 K
Joey Meneses, 1B – Portland Sea Dogs
38 G, .302, 45 H, 7 HR, 36 RBI
Samad Taylor, IF/OF – New Hampshire Fisher Cats
44 G, .311, 51 H, 12 HR, 31 RBI
Otto Lopez, IF – New Hampshire Fisher Cats
45 G, .350, 64 H, 2 HR, 25 RBI
Oneil Cruz, OF – Altoona Curve
42 G, .290, 49 H, 8 HR, 26 RBI