The Florida Rookie League (FRL) has wrapped up it’s inaugural season, and though all teams move on to the abbreviated playoffs, it has been a great experience for all of the clubs, according to GMs.
The Winter Rookie League-level FRL was created during the winter meetings late last year, as a way of getting younger baseball prospects and recent draft signings into the swing of things prior to the big league spring training start.
In that regard, the FRL was a great success. Some high-potential prospects were immediately identified and will no doubt be nurtured into a higher level of play for the remainder of the year.
Some of the top players to surface after 62 rookie games included Nick Barteaux (Anchorage Aces B), who hit .347 and had 43 RBIs, Justin Cusimano (New York Minutemen B), who led in home runs and RBIs with 23 and 51 respectively, and pitching ace Ken Mendelson (Battle Creek Attack B), who led in ERA with 1.15 and notched up 8 wins.
The FRL also demonstrated how some teams who have been weaker lately at the top level have a lot to look forward to in their lower-level minor prospects. Norfolk Sharks finished #2 in the Gulf Coast Division (35-27) just 4 games behind Dallas. Both parent teams were 2012 expansion additions and have struggled to rise above 4th place in their five-team divisions in the Bull League.
The final standings for the 2017 FRL season: