Two of those bats were on the West roster at the Fall Stars Game on Saturday night, and they showed just what all the fuss was about. Cody Bellinger is the system's top prospect, No. 31 overall. He only had one base hit, but he made it count -- and in a left-on-left confrontation no less. The first baseman worked a 3-2 count against D-backs reliever Jared Miller, who has been lights out so far this fall. Then Miller hung a slider on the inner half of the plate. Bellinger brought his hands in beautifully and sent the ball out deep to right for a two-run shot. This should surprise no one, considering he hit 26 homers during the 2016 regular season.
Nor was it shocking to see what his organization-mate Willie Calhoun did. The system's No. 4 prospect had 27 home runs of his own with Double-A Tulsa this past season. Calhoun is the type of hitter who creates a different sound when he makes contact. It's consistent and loud, as it was in his first three at-bats.
Calhoun started with a line-drive single to center that was hit too hard to score the Royals' Ryan O'Hearn. He continued with a hard single to right field in the third inning off of a 95-mph fastball, the eighth pitch of that at-bat. That brought in two of the West's four runs in that frame.
Calhoun finished off his MVP performance in the fifth, when he turned on a Sam Bragg 93-mph fastball and crushed it out to right-center, a solo shot.
The Dodgers were far from the only prospects who stood out at the Fall Stars Game. Here are seven more prospects who represented themselves well:
Harrison Bader, OF and Carson Kelly, C, Cardinals
The Dodgers duo certainly stood out, but this pair of Cardinals also shone. Bader went 2-for-5, starting off the West's four-run second with a one-out double deep to left. It was Kelly who drove him in with a sharp single to center, and his sacrifice fly the next inning gave him his second RBI of the night.
Brent Honeywell, RHP, Rays
Drawing the start for the West, Honeywell was about as lights out as a pitcher can be, retiring all six batters he faced on just 31 pitches. Five of those outs were strikeouts. He struck out the side in the first, getting the A's Franklin Barreto on a screwball, then got the Brewers' Brett Phillips and Gleyber Torres of the Yankees with fastballs that topped 95 mph. Two more K's came in the second, one on another mid-90s fastball to the Indians' Bradley Zimmer and a screwball that got Blue Jays outfielder Anthony Alford.
Michael Kopech, RHP, Red Sox
Kopech came in in back of Honeywell and put up two perfect innings of his own, striking out three in the process. Known for his ability to hit triple digits consistently, he largely sat in the upper 90s, but was still extremely effective. More impressive is that 14 of Kopech's 20 pitches were for strikes, a continuation of a stretch in the AFL that has seen him command the ball better (one walk in 14 innings) than he has previously (career 4.6 BB/9 ratio).
Ryan McMahon, 1B, Rockies
Working to refine his approach and not swing at pitchers' pitches, McMahon did not have much to show for his efforts for the first couple of weeks here in Arizona. On Friday, though, he had a three-hit game and drove in the go-ahead run for Salt River in the 10th inning. The East had gone hitless through four before breaking through in the fifth. McMahon's long homer to right plated two runs and showcased the effortless power he is capable of when his swing is on time.
Jacob Nottingham, C, Brewers
It was Nottingham who got the East on the board ahead of McMahon's homer. After the Marlins' Brian Anderson picked up his team's first hit, Nottingham showed off his power with a double to left that scored Miami's third-base prospect. Nottingham has also worked very hard on his defensive craft and nearly threw out Tyler O'Neill trying to steal with a quick release time.
David Paulino, RHP, Astros
Paulino's organization-mate Francis Martes got knocked around in the fifth, giving up the extra-base hits to Nottingham and McMahon, but he came in and shut the door. After yielding a leadoff double to the Phillies' Scott Kingery, the tall right-hander got Cubs outfielder Eloy Jimenez to ground out to shortstop. Paulino went fastball-slider-fastball to freeze Torres and then threw an array of secondary stuff to strikeout the D-backs' Dawel Lugo to end the inning.