50. Shane Carrier, OF, Elizabethton/Cedar Rapids
2017 Stats: .283/.309/.454, 12 HR, 3 SB, 8/85 BB/K
Info: Drafted out of Fullerton Junior College in the 8th round of the 2016 draft, Carrier hit well in his first exposure at Elizabethton in 2016, but his 2017 was even better. Carrier has an extremely aggressive approach at the plate, as evidenced by his BB/K rate. Carrier has legit power, though his arm likely plays best defensively in left field. Carrier has an impressive power swing, but he will have to improve his ability to take a pitch in order to truly tap into all that power.
49. Charlie Barnes, LHP, Elizabethton/Cedar Rapids
2017 Stats: 48 1/3 IP, 2.61 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 18/46 BB/K
Info: One of the best college starters at Clemson in his time there, Barnes was taken in the 4th round this season and paid a solid bonus to sign. Barnes is not a guy who will light up a radar gun, but he works with three velocity points, using a fastball that he throws in the low-90s with good low movement in the zone along with a slider that ticked up to mid-80s as a pro, along with his curve and change that both work in the mid- to upper-70s. Barnes excels with command due to an easy delivery and trust in all four pitches, willing to use any pitch in any matchup, and he has done well generating plenty of weak contact along with adequate swing and miss to this point. Barnes has a lower ceiling than you might like, but his floor is quite high as a starter that has a very good likelihood to make it.
48. Mason Melotakis, LHP, Chattanooga/Rochester
2017 Stats: 50 1/3 IP, 3.22 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 21/54 BB/K
Info: Originally drafted in the 2nd round in 2012, Melotakis shifted to the bullpen full-time in 2014 after struggling as a starter. He missed all of 2015 with surgery and returned in 2016 to throw a half season of effective pitching. The results in 2017 were a bit less certain as he struggled with consistency in his velocity, experiencing a “dead arm” period in the early season that corrected by the end of the year. When he’s right, his fastball can run to 96-97 with good movement and deception due to his arm action. He has a hard curve as his primary off speed pitch, and when he’s on, that combo is near-impossible for hitters from either side to hit, but especially lefties. As he’s gained back his health this season, he has been more consistent with his velocity and, more importantly, his command. He could be a factor in the 2018 major league pen.
47. Wander Valdez, 3B, DSL
2017 Stats: .263/.347/.401, 1 HR, 4 SB, 21/37 BB/K
Info: Valdez was the Twins’ top international signee in 2016, and he played well in 2017 in his first pro season. Valdez was a shortstop when signed, but immediately moved to third, and he could handle the hot corner well if he keeps his build in check as he has a fairly narrow build, so his 6’2″, 200 pound listing now is really as big as he should probably get. That said, the reports on his raw power from the DSL were impressive, and he did tally 12 doubles and 4 triples in his season. He should come stateside in 2018.
46. Jordan Balazovic, RHP, GCL
2017 Stats: 40 1/3 IP, 4.91 ERA, 1.66 WHIP, 20/29 BB/K
Info: Balazovic was drafted in the 5th round of the 2016 draft and signed to a well-above-slot bonus of $515K as arguably the top Canadian high schooler in his draft class. His first season was very good, though he worked heavy on creating weak contact and did not miss a ton of bats. His stuff is quite good, but his deceptive delivery seemed to even throw him off in 2017 as he struggled to get swing and miss but also struggled to keep the ball in the zone. When he can get on, he has a low-90s fastball that can touch 93-94. His change is a plus to even double-plus pitch at its best due to its movement and arm deception. His curve has very good shape at its best as well. There’s plenty of room for Balazovic to grow into his 6’4″ frame still, and he’s younger than some of the guys who were drafted in the 2017 class, so he’s got time to develop, but 2017 was not a year in the direction you’d want.