I always like it when this list is hard to put together because I feel like there are a decent number of players I could talk about here. That was the case this month, so here are my picks for April, in no particular order.
Peter O’Brien (C, Tampa):
O’Brien had a solid first full season in professional baseball last year, splitting time between Charleston and Tampa. He has picked up right where he left off this month, crushing the ball with a .330/.361/.703 line. He had eight homers, eight doubles and a triple, alone with sixteen RBIs. Despite crushing the ball, O’Brien has only taken four walks over 24 games, striking out 22 times. If he keeps swinging like this he may be taking at bats in Trenton by the break.
Luis Severino (RHP, Charleston):
The Dominican righty got his first taste of baseball stateside last season and has started his first full season very strong. Despite a rough first outing, where he gave up three runs in just two innings, Severino turned around and threw seventeen innings with only one earned run over the rest of the month of April (four starts). He racked up 22 Ks, including one game where he struck out eight batters in 5.2 innings, and walked just six. The 20-year old hurler is definitely a prospect to be excited about, but he is still very raw and needs to work on keeping batters guessing with his delivery.
Aaron Judge (OF, Charleston):
The tall (6’7) outfielder that the Yankees drafted out of Fresno State in the first round of last year’s draft, made his professional debut this April and so far has lived up to the hype. In 23 games, he has a .369/.449/.473 line, along with eleven RBIs. He has struck out eighteen times, but has drawn sixteen walks. Judge has been an integral part of the RiverDogs’ offense, but has yet to showcase his power potential.
Gary Sanchez (C, Trenton):
Sanchez continues to be one of the most highly ranked Yankee prospects and he is off to another strong season. Still just 21, the Thunder backstop hit .316/.388/.487 with a couple homers and eight doubles. Part of the tough top half of the Trenton lineup, Sanchez has eighteen RBIs. Austin Romine has already seen John Ryan Murphy seemingly move ahead of him, at least for the time being. If Sanchez keeps this up, Romine will have another catcher to worry about, especially since the Yankees haven’t shown signs of moving Sanchez to a different position.
Dante Bichette, Jr. (3B, Tampa):
The last couple years it has been tough watching Bichette struggle at the plate for the RiverDogs, but a change of scenery may have done the trick, as the Florida native is tearing it up in the Florida State League. While Bichette hit an unprecedented eleven homers last season, his average stayed below .250 for the second year in a row, dropping to .214. During the month of April, Bichette hit .321/.442/.440 with a homer, seven doubles and seven RBIs. His average isn’t the only positive change in Bichette’s performance at the plate. His eighteen walks have him on pace to fly past his previous season high of 48 bases on balls.
Mark Montgomery (RP, Scranton):
Montgomery had flown through the minors in his first couple seasons in the Yankees’ system, however, injuries got him off track last season. It looks like he is returning to form this year, giving up just two runs over ten appearances (twelve innings), striking out twelve and walking just six.
Michael O’Neill (OF, Charleston):
O’Neill didn’t hit any homers in his 64 games in Staten Island last year, though he did hit seventeen doubles. Despite hitting only .219 for the Yankees, O’Neill started 2013 with Charleston, and while his average was still low (.233), he has been a major part of the RiverDogs’ offense, hitting five homers, two triples and a double for a .465 slugging percentage.