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May 18, 2001

The Daily Prospectus

Around the Minors, Pt. 2

by Joe Sheehan

Completing the extended tour of performances to date, here's a glance at Double-A and below.

  • The Erie SeaWolves are giving Tigers fans a lot of reasons for hope. They're tearing apart the Eastern League, leading it in runs, BA, walks, and OBP, and are in middle of the pack in ERA.

    Shortstop prospect Omar Infante, just 19, is hitting .350/.415/.413 with a walk every nine or so plate appearances. Center fielder Andres Torres has a .429 OBP, and most important for him, 12 extra-base hits and a .450 slugging average. Power has been the big question for Torres. Mike Rivera didn't hit in his first tour of Double-A, but is now at .320/.380/.680, great for a catching prospect, even a 24-year-old one.

    Some teams don't have three prospects like this in their entire organization, and while Infante sticks out for his youth, the other two players are legitimate B prospects as well.

  • On the heels of news that Ken Griffey could possibly be out for the season, take a look at Adam Dunn's performance. The Reds' top prospect (he and Austin Kearns are 1 and 1A) leads the Southern League in OBP and slugging average. Once Jim Bowden gets tired of a center fielder who doesn't hit in two sports, Dunn should be a Red.

    Kearns, by the way, is off to a terrible start: .226/.329/.331.

  • In Baseball Prospectus 2001, I spoke highly of the Braves' pitching staff at single-A Myrtle Beach last season, with the caveat that the Pelicans' ballpark is one of the better pitchers' parks in the minors. Well, the best pitchers on that staff are scuffling a bit at Greenville:

                        ERA      IP    H     BB    SO
    Nathan Kent        4.89    42.1   56      6    39
    Horacio Ramirez    4.91    14.2   17      8    17
    Christian Parra    7.41    34.0   47     23    35
    

  • Tim Redding hasn't gotten the exposure that Josh Beckett had, but the right-hander's performance isn't too far behind that of the Marlins' ace-in-waiting. Pitching for the Astros' Double-A affiliate, Round Rock, Redding has posted 1.17 ERA in nine starts, striking out 73 hitters and allowing just 33 hits and 17 walks in 61 1/3 innings.

    Within the organization, Roy Oswalt and maybe even Brad Lidge have higher profiles, so Redding should stay a stealth prospect for a bit longer.

  • Ten months ago, the Red Sox absolutely had to have the collection of tissue and bone known as Ed Sprague, and paid dearly for their desire. They sent the Padres a right-hander named Dennis Tankersley, who has done nothing but get people out this year at Lake Elsinore: a 0.39 ERA in 46 1/3 innings, with 60 strikeouts against just ten walks.

Joe Sheehan is an author of Baseball Prospectus. Contact him by clicking here.

Joe Sheehan is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Joe's other articles. You can contact Joe by clicking here

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