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May 18, 2010

Future Shock Blog

Minor League Update: Games of May 17

by Kevin Goldstein

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Madison Bumgarner, LHP, Giants (Triple-A Fresno): 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 8 K

Things continue to look up for Bumgarner, as the velocity is starting to return to his game. He's not quite where he was during his breakout 2008 campaign, but upper 80s has been replaced with consistent low-90s, and if anything his previous struggles taught him how to pitch without his best stuff, and he's coming out of it as a better overall pitcher. His stuff is above-average now, and if he gets all the velocity back and starts lighting up radar guns by touching the mid-90s again, he could be back in the big leagues.

Mike Moustakas, 3B, Royals (Double-A Northwest Arkansas): 2-for-4, HR (8), R, 3 RBI, K

At what point does one trust a hot start? Well, it depends on the player, and in Moustakas' case, I'm ready to fire up the bandwagon. The other-wordly bat speed was always there, and now has come the improved approach, and for the first time in three years, he's finally playing in a park and league that doesn't totally crush hitters. His .370/.450/.728 line is not only one of the most pleasant surprises in the minors this year; it's one of the easiest to believe in as well.

Carlos Santana, C, Indians (Triple-A Columbus): 2-for-2, 2 HR (9), 2 R, 5 RBI, 2 BB

Lou Marson has a sub-.300 on-base percentage and slugging for Cleveland, meanwhile Carlos Santana is taking acting classes. I kid you not, as the Indians' top prospect is re-enacting mound meetings and discussions with umpires in order to improve his English and overall communication skills. As far as baseball goes, he's simply stopped making outs, as in his last two games, the Dominican has gone 3-for-3 with three home runs and four walks. Now at .333/.461/.626, I don't care if Santana is studying with Lee Strasberg, it's pretty much time to get him up.

Dayan Viciedo, 3B, White Sox (Triple-A Charlotte): 3-for-4, HR (9), 2 R, 2 RBI

One scout who recently saw Viciedo said he liked him better than last year, saying, "the more I see him, the more convinced I am that he's going to be a good big leaguer." There are still plenty of holes in his game, as he's walked a grand total of four times this year, and yes, he's still fat, but he's also just 21 years old and batting .288/.322/.511 in Triple-A. There's something here, but it's not without its warts.

Josh Vitters, 3B, Cubs (Double-A Tennessee): 2-for-3, HR (1), 2 R, RBI; 2-for-4, R, 2 RBI, SB

It was around this time last year when Vitters went a bit crazy at Low-A Peoria, hitting home runs in eight of ten games. While nobody is predicting another run of that nature, the point here is that Vitters continues to hit since taking Starlin Castro's roster spot at Double-A, batting .393/.393/.607 in eight game since the move. That's not a typo on the on-base percentage, as he's yet to draw a walk, but don't automatically make the assumption that no walks = no prospect. It's a true weakness in his game, and one that needs to be addressed on some level, but it's not going to keep a bit this good from advancing.

Others Of Note:

  • Brandon Belt, OF, Giants (High-A San Jose): 2-for-4, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, K. Mini-slump pulled him under .400, but he's now 10-for-19 in his last five games and back up to .392.
  • Adron Chambers, OF, Cardians (Double-A Springfield): 2-for-3, 2B, HR (2), R, RBI, 2 BB, K. Despite the fact that I put him in the Cardinals Top 11, he's still a bit of a sleeper. Six runs and nine hits in his last five games and up to .281/.374/.421.
  • Adieny Hechavarria, SS, Blue Jays (High-A Dunedin): 2-for-5, R, 2 RBI, 2 E. Despite the pair of miscues, early reports are that the glove is legitimately outstanding.
  • Brad Lincoln, RHP, Pirates (Triple-A Indianapolis): 7 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 10 K. Three straight very good starts, and very good overall in six of eight outings while on the same schedule as Charlie Morton . . . I'm just sayin'.
  • Jesus Montero, C, Yankees (Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre): 1-for-2, HR (3), R, 4 RBI, BB, K.  Will grand slam get his bat going?  One has to wonder if he'd be the Yankees designated hitter right now if he got off to a better start.
  • Juan Oramas, LHP, Padres (High-A Lake Elsinore): 8.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 9 K. Took perfect game into ninth inning. Short Mexican lefty with great control and ability to spin it; could have future relief possibilities.
  • Carlos Peguero, OF, Mariners (Double-A West Tenn): 3-for-5, HR (12), 3 R, 2 RBI, K.  First home run in ten days, but still batting .333/.420/.638. A bit of a bat-only prospect, but he's proving that everything he did last year wasn't solely a product of High Desert.
  • Adam Warren, RHP, Yankees (High-A Tampa): 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 0 K. 18 ground ball outs in a seven inning shutout is remarkable, but zero whiffs? As a big league exec put it to me on Monday, "groundball rates are a secondary characteristic, guys who miss bats get you rings."

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

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

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Wade

hey Kevin -- what's been the problem with Montero this year? Looking at his stats, it appears that he has been scuffling so far.

May 18, 2010 09:47 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

I'm not a massive BABIP guy, but Montero's is very low, so there's some bad luck here. I've yet to find anyone who's concerned.

May 18, 2010 09:52 AM
 
Gregjitsu

In an milb.com interview with Bumgarner, he said he'd been working on a cutter, and has thrown it in the last two games.

May 18, 2010 09:50 AM
rating: 0
 
dduncan

Kevin, I think you write exactly what will get Bumgarner to the majors. Learning to pitch at a velocity that will consistently get hitters out and miss bats. The consistent low-90s should be just fine for a promotion, rather than having to prove he can get to mid-90s.

May 18, 2010 10:22 AM
rating: -1
 
rweiler

The concern that everybody has is that he used to throw in the mid 90s, apparently without much effort, and was missing a lot more bats. Of course, that was in low-A and advance-A ball. It's really easy to forget that Bumgarrner is only 20.

May 18, 2010 10:28 AM
rating: 0
 
dtung

I'm more concerned about the development of his offspeed stuff. He's clearly shown he can pitch off his fastball and I think the drop in Ks has more to do with better competition and a lack of other weapons.

May 18, 2010 13:07 PM
rating: 0
 
tommybones

Re: Carlos Santana still in minors

How much of it is the usual Super-2 nonsense and how much is his communication skills a legitimate concern? In other words, will he suddenly improve enough in the latter by early June to miraculously warrant a call-up? With the way the Tribe is going, why not let him learn on the job for 4 months?

May 18, 2010 10:43 AM
rating: 1
 
JoshT

Josh Vitters, in those seven ABs last night, saw 13 pitches. Two called strikes, four balls and seven balls put into play. Not even a foul ball. What does that say about him? He's clearly got no patience, but he's also not swinging at pitches he can't put into play. Is there anyone else out there who could put up a line like that?

May 18, 2010 11:11 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

He's definitely a unique player in terms of hand-eye coordination and plate coverage. I'm sticking with my Howie Kendrick with power projection.

May 18, 2010 11:44 AM
 
DGBL
Other readers have rated this comment below the viewing threshold. Click here to view anyway.

Blah. Seems like a couple of these things are nothing more than cuts and pastes from Twitter last night.

May 18, 2010 11:19 AM
rating: -31
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

Fine, I'll stop twittering while I work.

May 18, 2010 11:45 AM
 
Brian24

Not all of us follow twitter regularly, so I for one appreciate Kevin putting together this summary every day.

May 18, 2010 18:58 PM
rating: 4
 
makewayhomer

hey Kevin,

Brett Wallace is killing it, and this week a report came out that he won't be up anytime soon. is this just lip service, or will Wallace be up if he keeps hitting?

May 18, 2010 11:48 AM
rating: 1
 
Aaron/YYZ

I wonder how much of it is a park-effect since he's playing in the Vegas launching pad.

May 18, 2010 12:26 PM
rating: 0
 
TLivingston

Wallace's splits:

Home: .326/.396/.628, 6 HR
Away: .290/.338/.597, 5 HR

Looks like except for that OBP dip that he's doing just fine away from the launching pad.

May 18, 2010 12:45 PM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

You might want to dig a bit deeper here. Of his five road home runs, FOUR were at Colorado Springs or Salt Lake, bigger offensive parks than even Vegas.

May 18, 2010 14:50 PM
 
GrinnellSteve

You list Viciedo as a 3B, but I've also seen him listed as 1B. Is he splitting time between the two? If he's seeing action at 3B, does he have a shot at staying there and getting to the bigs as a third baseman? Thanks.

May 18, 2010 12:47 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

He's seeing time at both, but mostly first. I can't see him staying at third unless he loses weight. The good news is the tools are there at least. But he's frankly, just plain fat.

May 18, 2010 14:50 PM
 
alangreene

On Juan Oramas, I get that he's relatively unknown and 5'10" or whatever, but he's only 20, pitched very well everywhere he's been and I've heard his fastball does about 88-91.

What makes him only a relief prospect? He's not a 24-year old college pitcher in high A.

May 18, 2010 13:53 PM
rating: 0
 
swhedges

I can see if Warren hadn't been striking out batters at a rate somewhere close to what he had *last* year, but before this start he was at 32/39.1 innings. I don't see where that's a big deal.

May 18, 2010 14:15 PM
rating: 0
 
Sharky

Kevin, any word on Tyler Matzek? He isn't in any box scores and can't be found on milb.com. When will he pitch?

May 19, 2010 03:58 AM
rating: 0
 
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