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May 6, 2010

Future Shock Blog

Minor League Update: Games of May 5

by Kevin Goldstein

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Here Comes The Power

Domonic Brown, OF, Phillies (Double-A Reading) 

Wednesday's  stats: 2-for-4, 2B, HR (4), 2 R, RBI 

Unquestionably the top prospect in the Phillies system, scouts were universal in believing that the 6-foot-5, 200 pound Brown would eventually hit for power, but it had yet to really manifest itself in games on a consistent basis. Brown spent the first month of the year doing his usual act: hitting for average, hitting doubles, and running well, but with May has finally come the power that's been anticipated for years, as he has three home runs in his last five games. Brown is up to a whopping .358/.416/.701 for Reading, and the Phillies will likely find a way to play him everyday in 2011. 

The Most Dominant Pitcher In The Minors?

Julio Teheran, RHP, Braves (Low-A Rome) 

Wednesday's  stats: 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 10 K

While he doesn't have anywhere near the publicity of Stephen Strasburg, and understandably so, Teheran is the best pitching prospect in the Atlanta system, and he's making his case as one of the better ones in all of the minors, putting up a 0.81 ERA in his first six starts with 40 strikeouts in just 33 1/3 innings with 17 hits allowed. Signed out of Colombia in 2007, the 19-year-old has the stuff to match the stats, with a 94-96 mph fastball and two secondary pitches in a slow curve and classic changeup that project as above average. He's still a long way off, but he's one of the few pitching prospects in baseball with true ace potential. 

A Little Bit Of Power, A Little Bit Of Speed

Jemile Weeks, 2B, Athletics (Double-A Midland) 

Wednesday's  stats: 2-for-5, HR (2), 2 R, 2 RBI, K, SB

Oakland's first-round pick in 2008, the only thing keeping Weeks from really stepping forward as a prospect has been his health, as a series of minor injuries limited him to just 99 career games entering the season. He's a better all-around athlete than big brother Rickie, with above-average speed and solid-average power, and now that he's healthy, he's showing what he's capable of with a .307/.372/.495 line for the Rockhounds. How he performs for the remainder of the year will play a big role in deciding whether or not the A's pick up Mark Ellis' 2011 option. 

Finally Getting The Hang Of It

Zack Wheeler, RHP, Giants (Low-A Augusta) 

Wednesday's  stats: 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 9 K

The sixth overall pick in the 2009 draft, Wheeler was one of the best high school arms available with a low-to-mid-90s fastball and two good secondary pitches with a curve and changeup. However, his initial exposure to professional baseball had been a rough one, as he entered yesterday's start with a 6.23 ERA--although to his credit, he'd missed plenty of bats. The ability to miss bats continued on Wednesday, as he now has 24 whiffs in 18 innings, but he finally dominated beyond the peripherals as well. With his size and stuff, his ceiling is considerable, and more starts like this are in the forecast.   

A Risky Investment Paying Off (So Far)

Ryan Berry, RHP, Orioles (Low-A Delmarva) 

Wednesday's  stats: 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 10 K

A ninth-round pick last June, the Orioles paid Berry early-third round money (just north of $400K) to sign, as he fell due to injury concerns. Unlike most pitchers out of Rice who get  injured after turning pro, Berry got hurt during last spring, and his effort-filled delivery doesn't do him any favors either. Still, when healthy, he's got very good stuff with a low-90s fastball and outstanding curve, and so far he's put up a 2.23 ERA in six starts for the Shorebirds while striking out nearly a batter per inning. 

Sleeper Alert!

Graham Stoneburner, RHP, Yankees (Low-A Charleston) 

Wednesday's  stats: 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 11 K

Needless to say, it's was a remarkable day for pitching in South Atlantic League, as this is our fourth entry from last night's mound men. It's hard to find sleepers as it is, but even more so in the Yankees system. Fears of bonus demands dropped Stoneburner to the 14th round last June, but the Yankees and their deep pockets happily coughed up $675,000 for the right-hander out of Clemson. His bread-and-butter pitch is an outstanding fastball, as notable for its movement as its plus velocity, but he's broken out a much-improved slider this year, along with well-above average command. Currently limiting Sally League hitters to a .191 batting average with a groundball ratio of 2.3 to 1, the 22-year-old is too good for this league, and could see High-A Tampa soon. 

Others Of Note:

  • Darwin Barney, SS, Cubs (Triple-A Iowa): 3-for-5, 2B, K, SB.  Fifth straight multi-hit game for personal favorite; ceiling ends at utility player but he's hard not to like.
  • Brian Bogusevic, OF, Astros (Triple-A Round Rock): 4-for-5, 2 2B, K, SB. Having a nice bounce back year at .337/.400/.516; still could get their as nice bench outfielder/occasional starter.
  • Starlin Castro, SS, Cubs (Double-A Tennessee): 3-for-5.  7-for-14 in last three games, .368/.415/.547 overall; just keeps hitting.
  • Tyler Chatwood, RHP, Angels (High-A Rancho Cucamonga): 5 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 9 K. Undersized righty has explosive fastball to go with a 2.25 ERA and 33 strikeouts in 32 innings.
  • Shooter Hunt, RHP, Twins (High-A Fort Myers): 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K. Figuring something out in relief with just one walk in last six appearances.
  • Michael Kirkman, LHP, Rangers (Triple-A Oklahoma City): 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 7 K.  19 2/3 scoreless in last three starts; no huge ceiling but four pitches that rate as at least average.
  • Ian Krol, LHP, Athletics (Low-A Kane County): 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 K. Second straight six inning/zero run outing, has already shown more velocity than last spring while limiting Midwest League to .216 average.
  • Will Middlebrooks, 3B, Red Sox (High-A Salem): 2-for-4, 2B, HR (3), 2 R, 2 RBI, BB, K. Nine-game hitting streak and up to .366/.453/.585; finally living up to expectations?
  • Mike Montgomery, LHP, Royals (Double-A Northwest Arkansas): 5.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 4 BB, 8 K. Double-A debut delayed a bit due to weather; new level did little to repress dominance.
  • Bryan Morris, RHP, Pirates (High-A Bradenton): 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K:  20 innings and zero earned runs in last three starts; 32-to-4 K/BB ratio overall.
  • Mike Moustakas, 3B, Royals (Double-A Northwest Arkansas): 1-for-2, HR (6), R, RBI, 2 BB. Absolutely locked in at .420/.508/.960; one of the fastest bats in the minors has potential for year-long breakout.
  • Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Red Sox (High-A Salem): 1-for-3, HR (5), 2 R, 2 RBIs, 2 BB, K. Three home runs in last two games and slugging .505 overall; on pace to shatter previous season-high of 12.
  • Miguel Velazquez, OF, Rangers (Low-A Hickory): 2-for-3, HR (6), R, 3 RBI, BB. Five home runs in last ten games; up to .320/.402/.608.

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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