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May 4, 2010

Future Shock Blog

Minor League Update: Games of May 3

by Kevin Goldstein

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It's Now The Mike Stanton Rule

Mike Stanton, OF, Marlins (Double-A Jacksonville) 

Monday's stats: 2-for-4, HR (13), R, 3 RBI, K

Last year we had the Josh Vitters rule, which basically said that if the guy keeps hitting home runs, he'll keep showing up in this space. Vitters has just three bombs in the Florida State League, so we're renaming the rule for Stanton, who smacked No. 13 on Monday afternoon, giving him ten in his last ten games, a stretch during which he's amassed 52 total bases and driven in 22. If there's a better offensive prospect in the minors . . . there's really nothing to say here, as the question is moot. 

Unlike Strasburg, There Are No Mitigating Factors

Aroldis Chapman, LHP, Reds (Triple-A Louisville) 

Monday's stats: 5 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 1 BB, 8 K

The day after Stephen Strasburg had his worst career start, Chapman followed up with his version. Unlike Strasburg, Chapman wasn't dealing with a tiny strike zone and some cheap hits, he just wasn't on. The fastball was certainly there, as it missed plenty of bats, but his often inconsistent slider was flat all night, forcing him to rely on the fastball and often being forced to groove pitches when behind in the count. He's not nearly as big league ready as Strasburg, and Monday night proved once again that there is still work to be done. 

Fine, I'm Finally Concerned

Dustin Ackley, 2B, Mariners (Double-A West Tenn) 

Monday's stats: G1: 0-for-2, BB; G2: 0-for-2, BB, 2 K

The second overall pick in last year's draft, the one thing everyone thought they knew about Ackley was that he could hit. His month-long struggles in April were met by chants of small sample size, but at what point is it no longer a small sample size? At what point is there something wrong here? If he was hitting .225 or something, I'd accept it, but after yesterday's 0-for-doubleheader, he's down to .139/.292/.215, with zero hits in nine of his last ten games. Pure hitters can have slumps, but of this size? It's rare enough where we can assume that something, somewhere, somehow is wrong for now. 

Your Actual Yankee Catcher Of The Future?

Austin Romine, C, Yankees (Double-A Trenton) 

Monday's stats: 2-for-5, HR (2), 3 R, 2 RBI, BB, 3 K

While Jesus Montero is clearly the best prospect in the Yankee system, his defensive struggles would have some scouts telling you it's Romine who's the best catcher in the system. While his receiving skills are a bit rough around the edges, his overall tools are well above-average for a backstop and scouts project him as an above-average defender down the line. Offensively, he's also quite good, including a 12-for-24 mark in his last six games with home runs in his last two to raise his batting line to .351/.429/.554. 

It's Good To Feel Good

Everett Williams, OF, Padres (Low-A Fort Wayne) 

Monday's stats: 2-for-4, 2B, HR (1), 2 R, 4 RBI, BB, 2 K

A second-round pick with a lot of tools and an equal amount of rawness, Williams got off to a slow start this year, but it was more than the challenge of a pitcher's league in April, as he was dealing with a severe sinus infection that sapped him of his strength and stamina. Finally breathing right, the tools are on display, as the compactly built Williams has gone 7-for-14 in his last four games with eight RBIs. With 20 strikeouts in 58 at-bats, there are still plenty of holes in his swing, but his upside is well worth the risk. 

From The "Remember Me?" Files

Joe Borchard, OF, Giants (Triple-A Fresno) 

Monday's  stats: 5-for-6, 2B, 3B, HR (5), 3 R, 6 RBI 

It's now been nearly ten years since the White Sox drafted Borchard and paid him a then-record $5.3 million bonus to give up his Stanford football career. In return for that investment, they received 12 big league home runs and 93 strikeouts, but it kind of worked out in the end, as he was traded to Seattle in 2006 for lefty power reliever Matt Thornton. Still grinding away and now in his fifth organization, the 31-year-old is nothing more than an insurance policy at this point for the Giants, but Monday night he put himself in the record books with the cycle. Gotta love the lifers. 

Others Of Note:

  • Pedro Alvarez, 3B, Pirates (Triple-A Indianapolis): 2-for-3, 3B, 2 RBI, BB. 15 total bases in last four games after miserable April.
  • Brian Bogusevic, OF, Astros (Triple-A Round Rock): 3-for-3, HR (3), 2 R, 4 RBI, BB. A real live Astros prospect? Projects as more of a fourth outfielder for many, but converted pitcher is 8-for-13 in last three games and up to .326/.396/.500.
  • Brad Boxberger, RHP, Reds (High-A Lynchburg): 6 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K. Five starts for Hillcats, has yet to give up more than one earned run.
  • Domonic Brown, OF, Phillies (Double-A Reading): 2-for-3, R, RBI, BB, K, SB. Almost quietly having a great year at .349/.411/.651 with half of his hits going for extra bases.
  • Barry Enright, RHP, Diamondbacks (Double-A Mobile): 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K. Pure command and control guy has 6-to-1 K/BB ratio; could get there as 5th starter type.
  • Scott Gorgen, RHP, Cardinals (Double-A Springfield): 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 8 K. Undersized righty has miniscule 1.21 ERA in five Texas League starts; far more poise and polish than stuff.
  • Corban Joseph, 2B, Yankees (High-A Tampa): 4-for-6, 2 2B, 3 R, 3 RBI. Up to .330/.369/.511; aggressive approach could catch up to him at higher levels, but scouts love the swing.
  • Jesus Montero, C, Yankees (Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre): 2-for-5, 2 2B, 2 R, RBI. Finally getting going? .238/.304/.381 line is disappointing start.
  • Mike Moustakas, 3B, Royals (Double-A Northwest Arkansas): 2-for-3, 2B, 2 R, BB. Up to .395/.471/.860 in 11 games; first time in career he's played in anything close to a hitting friendly environment.
  • Jerry Sands, 1B, Dodgers (Low-A Great Lakes): 2-for-4, HR (10), R, 2 RBI, BB, SB. Three home runs in four games, 1.302 OPS overall; just doesn't belong in Low-A.
  • Brett Wallace, 1B, Blue Jays (Triple-A Las Vegas): 2-for-5, 2B, R, RBI, 2 K. 1.006 OPS; you'd think Jays might want to show off their shiny new toy soon.
  • Nick Weglarz, OF, Indians (Double-A Akron): 2-for-5, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 2 K. Third straight two-hit game, has reached based in all but two games and overall line of .324/.429/.568.

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

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