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After spending 16 seasons as the Aeros, Akron changed their nickname to the RubberDucks, a tribute to the city's history as a tire hub. The Ducks reside in the Eastern League, traditionally one of the most prospect-heavy leagues in the minors. Because the jump from AA to AAA isn't that big, some prospects, once they succeed in AA,, skip AAA entirely.
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This season, the Ducks had at various points a starting lineup entirely filled with prospects. Francisco Lindor, and Giovanny Urshela, and Tyler Holt started the season in Akron, and Erik Gonzalez ended his season there. Tyler Naquin, and Joe Wendle both missed large chunks of the season with injuries. Jake Lowery, who had a breakout season in 2013, struggled in 2014 and spent most of the campaign at first base rather than behind the plate. Tony Wolters, who moved from second to catcher the previous season, also regressed the plate.
He's not what you'd traditionally consider a prospect, but 26-year-old Anthony Gallas, a NE Ohio native and graduate of Kent State, had an outstanding season, earning an everyday spot towards the end of the season, and another Alex Lavisky, another local product got regular playing time.
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The Ducks weren't deep in high-level pitching prospects, and Cody Anderson, who going into the season was considered the best prospect on the pitching staff, had a very disappointing season. Joseph Colon, who has been in the organization since 2009, had a fine AA debut season, and could be seen as a major-league depth as soon as next year.
The bullpen had a better season. Shawn Armstrong cut down on his walks, and that led to a very nice season as the Ducks' closer. Kyle Crockett briefly appeared in Akron before continuing his rapid ascent to the majors. Enosil Tejeda continued to impress.
Mid-Season Prospects That Matter: C Tony Wolters, RHP Bryan Price, 3B Giovanny Urshela, LHP Kyle Crockett, 2B Joe Wendle, LHP Shawn Morimando, C/1B Jake Lowery, OF Tyler Naquin, SS Erik Gonzalez, C Tony Wolters, SS Francisco Lindor
Prospects of Interest: LHP Nick Maronde, RHP Cody Anderson, RHP Shawn Armstrong, LHP Elvis Araujo, RHP Joseph Colon, RHP Enosil Tejeda
Rule 5 Eligibles: RHP Will Roberts, C Tony Wolters, 3B Justin Toole, OF Anthony Gallas, C Alex Lavisky, OF Jordan Smith, 3B Giovanny Urshela, C/1B Jake Lowery, 1B/OF Jerrud Sabourin, C Tony Wolters, RHP Cody Anderson, RHP Joseph Colon, RHP Enosil Tejeda, LHP Giovanni Soto, LHP Elvis Araujo, RHP Tyler Sturdevant, RHP Jordan Cooper, LHP Toru Murata, RHP Shawn Armstrong
Lots of eligibles, but I'd only classify Giovanny Urshela as a no-brainer to add to the 40-man roster. Tony Wolters, Shawn Armstrong, and Cody Anderson have compelling cases because of their upsides.
Minor-league free agents: 1B Bryan LaHair, OF Ollie Linton, OF Tim Fedroff, IF Adam Abraham, IF Jaime Pedroza, RHP Gabriel Arias, RHP Adam Miller, RHP Trey Haley