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May 12, 2010

Future Shock Blog

Minor League Update: Games of May 11

by Kevin Goldstein

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I Thought He Was A Glove Man

Jose Iglesias, SS, Red Sox (Double-A Portland) 

Tuesday's stats: 3-for-5, 3B, 5 RBI, K

When the Red Sox signed Iglesias last year to a four-year big league deal that included a bonus of over $6 million, it was primarily for his glove. Some believe he become the top defensive shortstop in the minors the moment he signed, and the hope was that he'd develop enough offensively to play every day and bat eighth or ninth. While he continues to impress with web-gem worthy plays on a near daily basis, his bat has been one of the most pleasant surprises in the system, as the 20-year-old Cuban is 10-for-17 in his last four games and batting .323/.365/.448 overall in a league he's exceptionally young for. There's a reason the Red Sox signed Marco Scutaro for only two years with an option, and this is it. 

Ok, We Can Be Optimistic At This Point

Devin Mesoraco, C, Reds (High-A Lynchburg) 

Tuesday's stats: 3-for-5, 3B, HR (7), 2 R, 4 RBI 

A first-round pick in 2007, Mesoraco did somewhere between little or nothing until this year, with scouts talking about his weight as much as his batting average. Be it better conditioning, some tweaks to his swing and approach, or just a wake-up call that he had to get moving, he's doing just that, as the 21-year-old is now batting a whopping .347/.435/.663 in 28 games for the Hillcats. He's already just two away from his career high in home runs, and these kind of numbers just can't be a total fluke. On at least some level, it's real progress. 

Surprising Power

Max Stassi, C, Kane County (Low-A Kane County) 

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

The Midwest is well-known for being brutal on young hitters, as between big baseball parks and brutal early-season weather, big offensive numbers become very hard to come by. Drafted in the fourth round last year but given first-round money as a good bat/great glove backstop, Stassi has suddenly slugged three home runs in his last seven games, and his six home runs places him fourth in the Midwest League, with the three players in front of him all old for the level while Stassi just turned 19 in March. Up to .274/.344/.496 in 29 games, the only big whole in his game so far is a whole lot of swing-and-miss, as he's had multi-strikeout games in more than half of his contest with 44 whiffs overall in just 117 at-bats. 

Help Is On The Way, Rangers Fans

Alexi Ogando, RHP, Rangers (Triple-A Oklahoma City) 

Tuesday's stats: SV, 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K

The Rangers certainly proved they needed some bullpen assistance on Tuesday, as in a 13-inning loss to the A's, it was a battling offense that kept the game going that long, with four of the six relievers used by Texas giving up runs. 2009 draftee Tanner Scheppers has been blowing away minor league hitters as is expected to be up by the break if not sooner, but don't for get about Ogando. Once exiled in his native Dominican Republic due to visa issues, the 26-year-old right-hander is making up for lost time by blowing hitters away with upper-90s smoke and a plus slider. He looked just fine in his Triple-A debut, and at his age, it's not like he's going to get much, if any, better, so he might not be far behind Scheppers on the 200+ mile trip south to Arlington. 

Really Good, Just Not What Was Expected

Mike Minor, LHP, Braves (Double-A Mississippi) 

Tuesday's stats: 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 8 K

The seventh overall pick in last year's draft, Minor was seen not as a high-ceiling talent, but at least one who could move quickly based on his combination of average-to-a-tick-above stuff and outstanding command and control. That pinpoint precision was on display when he didn't walk a batter in 14 innings last year, but it's been a different story in 2010, as he's handed out 22 free passes in just 36 2/3 innings, a shockingly high rate of 5.4 per nine innings. Just as shocking is his 54 strikeouts (13.3 K/9), as he hardly has the kind of stuff that one would expect so many whiffs from. For now, he's the hardest kind of prospect to evaluate, as he's not necessarily better or worse than expected, as much as he's seemingly morphed into a completely different pitcher.   

Sleeper Alert!

Austin Hyatt, RHP, Phillies (High-A Clearwater) 

Tuesday's stats: 8 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 14 K

Hyatt is a difficult pitcher to wrap one's head around.  There are all sorts of negatives here.  A 15th-round pick last year as a college senior, Hyatt is in his first full season, and he already turns 24 in two weeks. Then there's the stuff, as his fastball and slider rate as no more than average, while his changeup might be a tick above. So we have an advanced, polished strike thrower with no projection, but at the same time, he's totally dominating, limiting Florida State League batters to a .181 batting average while striking out 53 in 42 2/3 innings. As a 15th-round pick, if he even gets to the big leagues, that's quite an accomplishment, but some scouts are coming around and seeing Hyatt as having big league bullpen possibilities. 

Others Of Note:

  • Domonic Brown, OF, Phillies (Double-A Reading): 1-for-3, HR (6), R, RBI, 2 BB, 2 K, SB. That's five home runs in last ten games for those scoring at home, now up to .333/.398/.656.
  • Jason Castro, C, Astros (Triple-A Round Rock): 2-for-3, 3 R, 2 BB. Too early to call him 'hot' or anything, but a four-game hitting streak is better than nothing, and his batting line is now a still bizarre .244/.381/.279.
  • Alex Gordon, OF, Royals (Triple-A Omaha): 2-for-4, HR (3), 3 R, 2 RBI, BB, K. Scout quote of the week when asked about Gordon: "Hell, I don't know."
  • Eric Hosmer, 1B, Royals (High-A Wilmington): 2-for-5, 3 RBIs. Now at .409/.489/.574; the glass half empty guy would point out that 70% of his hits are singles, including just one home run in 115 at-bats.
  • Mike Stanton, OF, Marlins (Double-A Jacksonville): 3-for-4, 2B, R, 2 RBI, BB. Three hits and no home runs?  Actually, he the double missed clearing the fence by inches.
  • Josh Vitters, 3B, Cubs (Double-A Tennessee): 2-for-3, 2B, RBI, K. 4-for-9 since move up to Southern League.
  • Brett Wallace, 1B, Blue Jays (Triple-A Las Vegas): 4-for-6, 2 2B, R, 4 RBIs. Strange split of the day --  lefty hitter has .410 average against southpaws, but just .270 mark against righties.

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

Related Content:  A's

23 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

faithdies

If Dom Brown keeps this up are we looking at a top 5/10 prospect going into next year?

May 12, 2010 08:10 AM
rating: 0
 
W. Clark

he's already gone yard again this morning for what it's worth.

May 12, 2010 09:07 AM
rating: 0
 
Brian Kopec

Um...if he finishes .333/.398/.656 I think he will be the #1 prospect coming into 2011.

May 12, 2010 09:25 AM
rating: 0
 
Nall2323

Mike Stanton says hello (I'm assuming Strasburg/Chapman lose eligibilty).

May 12, 2010 09:59 AM
rating: 0
 
Brian Kopec

If Mike Stanton posts those numbers, he won't be eligible.

May 12, 2010 10:01 AM
rating: 0
 
RoastBeeph

Minor apparently went on a workout regimen this winter that has added velocity to his arm. His fastball is supposed to be up to 95mph this year.

May 12, 2010 08:27 AM
rating: -1
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

He's been 90-93.

May 12, 2010 08:37 AM
 
gilgamesh

Hate to bug you about guys not showing up, but any word on Michael Taylor and his un-awesome start @ AAA? Thanks.

May 12, 2010 08:32 AM
rating: -1
 
devine

Love the quote about Gordon. Neither does Moore or Hillman, evidently.

May 12, 2010 09:39 AM
rating: 0
 
PhillyFriar

Kevin, what has Hyatt's velo been out of the rotation this year?

(You had mentioned in a minor league update last year that out of the pen, he'd bumped it from high-80s to 94.)

May 12, 2010 09:57 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

The one start I know about had a scout buddy clocking him with average velocity at 88-91.

May 12, 2010 12:20 PM
 
HeavyHitter

Looking forward to top 101 (151?) 25-and-under article. And you need to do more chats. You're my secret weapon.

May 12, 2010 09:58 AM
rating: 5
 
amazins

I didn't want to pester KG about this as we get deeper into the season, but … I can't stress enough how useful that list would be for comparing the upside of current prospects with that of recent graduates.

May 13, 2010 00:37 AM
rating: 0
 
lemppi

I realize the info is vastly more important than form of these posts....but, my gosh, get a proof-reader KG! LOL

May 12, 2010 10:07 AM
rating: -1
 
fawcettb

Yeah, I've been going to mention that, too. It's distracting as hell.

May 13, 2010 02:41 AM
rating: 2
 
acmcdowell

Regarding Wallace, I think the answer to the weird split is in his BABIP. According to minor league splits (which is an amazing resource, for those who haven't discovered it), his BABIP against lefties is .476 and against righties it is .296. His batting average against lefties hasn't been inflated by a few extra singles dropping in though - his ISO against lefties is similar to his ISO against righties (an impressive .300+ for both) and his walk rates are similar as well.

May 12, 2010 10:25 AM
rating: 1
 
dtung

He's been better against lefties than righties throughout his career. Check: http://www.minorleaguesplits.com/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?pl=477165. One exception: His senior year of college.

May 12, 2010 10:44 AM
rating: 0
 
sgrcuts

Is it fair to say Mike Stanton is having a historic year at AA? Who can you compare it to?

May 12, 2010 10:25 AM
rating: 0
 
HeavyHitter

While we're at it, how many 18-year-olds have hit 39 homers in the minors, like Stanton did in 2008? I don't recall ever seeing that before.

May 12, 2010 10:31 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

His power is unreal. True 80, both raw and in-game. I'm not throwing 'historic' on anybody's season when my calendar says May 12.

May 12, 2010 12:21 PM
 
sgrcuts

The man is hitting a HR every 7.26 AB's and 9.3 PA's. His ISOP is .504. Insane. This is better then Heyward's AA run.

May 12, 2010 12:45 PM
rating: -1
 
mwashuc06

Where is Mike Trout?

May 12, 2010 14:45 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

He's should up at least twice this week, and had a big graph written on Monday.

May 12, 2010 14:47 PM
 
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