With the minor leagues' regular seasons over, it's time to present our annual Prospect of the Year award, given to the prospect who showed the best performance in the minor leagues in 2018.
While the process of selecting the top prospects was ultimately subjective, I focused primarily on legitimate prospects who performed well relative to their age, level and experience in pro ball. In short, the younger a player was relative to the other players in his league -- especially when compared just to the players in his league with a chance to have some impact in the majors -- the more impressed I was with a strong performance.
The primary criterion here is performance as prospects while still in the minors, especially because so many top prospects ended up in the majors this summer -- performance I didn't count toward this list.
With that, here is my overall Prospect of the Year for 2018, as well as several other players who had outstanding seasons and deserved notice. I also gave a separate award to the 2018 draftee who had the best pro debut, as well as noted a handful of runners-up in that category.
Prospect of the Year
Vlad Guerrero, Jr., '3B,' Toronto Blue Jays
Midseason rank: 2
This wasn't exactly a hard call, and it's now the second year in a row I've given this award to Guerrero, Jr. Baby Vlad hit .381 to lead all of the minors, slugged .636 to finish second in the minors to 28-year-old Jabari Blash and did so in Double-A and Triple-A at the age of 19, the equivalent of a college freshman. His plate coverage is exceptional, and his approach is well beyond his years and beyond anything his father ever developed.