7) Jett Bandy, 25, C. 2.8 WAR. .291/.347/.466 with 11 HR
Key Number: .500/.500/2.000 Career MLB slash line
Bandy has steadily ascended through the system since the Halos took him in the 31st round of the 2011 draft. We pegged him as a potential sleeper after his first summer with the organization, because even then he was clearly on the depth chart due to defensive acumen. He played more than most scrubs in his first spring training, even catching some of the first-string arms, which clarified further his favored status among the club's decision makers.
The most promising marker about Bandy's advance is that his bat has improved in three of the past four years: he notched an RC+ of 83 in 2012, then 91 in 2013, and then 121 in 2014. He treaded water with the bat in 2015, but contributed his usual solid defense and earned a big league cameo, where he did this:
He's no middle of the order hitter, but hits enough to be the third string catcher for most clubs. Give him another year, and he might make second string.
6) Taylor Ward, 21, C. 3.3 WAR. .348/.457/.438 with 3 HR and 6 SB
Key Number(s): 9% k-rate/16% bb-rate
Remember, Ward produced these results in just half a season, or 244 PA's. Yet here is, ahead of a whole lot of full-season mediocrity, and he deserves his props. The Halos took all sorts of shit for making him their number one pick, and maybe in the end it's warranted, but jeezy-peets did Ward live up to his end in 2015. Sure, the swing looks funky with a weak back leg and too many moving parts, but the contact rate, patience, and occasional pop look good. This was a guy who was just supposed to pull for a little pop and nothing else, according to the experts; he then completely rewrote the book on himself post-draft, and may keep folks revising for a long time to come.
You guys have read the snark on him. For a contrarian take on his selection, read here. In the meantime, with Newcombs' exile, he's my top prospect in the system. If he walks like a duck, talks like a duck, etc...