With the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp’s season finally concluded, third baseman Brian Schales was deservedly named a Southern League Postseason All-Star. Teammate and Marlins No. 1 overall prospect Monte Harrison also received that honor.
But Schales is the focus of this article. The former fourth-round draft pick enjoyed a breakout year with Miami’s Double-A affiliate.
In 126 contests for the Jumbo Shrimp, Schales compiled a .258/.354/.403 slash line. The Southern League presents fairly difficult conditions for batters, so his production rated 16 percent above the league average, according to Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+). He only homered 11 total times from 2014-2017, but nearly doubled that output in 2018 alone. The 10 home runs, 39 extra-base hits and 49 runs batted in were all career highs.
Jacksonville experienced a lot of turnover during the summer. Schales was one of the few constants, starting 123 of their 137 games at third base.
The 22-year-old led the team with 57 walks. His plate discipline and “eye” at the plate will be critical if he is to have a successful big league career down the road.
Keep in mind that this is the same prospect who needed to repeat High-A in 2017 after an abysmal .194/.284./224 slash line the year before. He only has significant professional experience at third base and second base, positions where he’d be blocked from regular playing time at the major league level behind Brian Anderson and Isan Diaz, respectively. Schales committed 22 errors this past season.
That being said, Schales should be promoted to Triple-A New Orleans in 2019. There’s not much left for him to prove against Double-A pitching.
The expectations for Brian Schales moving forward will undoubtedly be higher than ever before. He was one of several overlooked prospects in Miami’s minor league system who performed well this season. With a few Marlins injuries or another uptick in production, Schales could be making his MLB debut by this date next year.