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May 19, 2010

Future Shock Blog

Minor League Update: Games of May 18

by Kevin Goldstein

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Chris Archer, RHP, Cubs (High-A Daytona): 6 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 10 K

Not a guy who gets a lot of attention, Archer had a very good year at Low-A Peoria last year after arriving in Chicago as part of the Mark DeRosa deal, and High-A has yet to slow him down, as over his last four starts, he's giving up one earned run in 20 2/3 innings while striking out 24 and allowing just seven hits. He pitches primarily off his 92-94 mph fastball, but he'll flash a plus breaking ball as well, and his projectable frame could lead to better stuff down the road. He's an intriguing arm who deserves more attention.

Robbie Erlin, LHP, Rangers (Low-A Hickory): 5 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 9 K

A third-round pick last June, the only knock against Erlin is his size, as at six-foot and 175 pounds he's a bit on the small side. Again, that's the only knock against him. It's hard to find a 19-year-old without a big weakness in his game, but Erlin sits at 90-92 with his fastball that features good movement, he'll flash a well above-average breaking ball, and even a surprisingly polished changeup for his age.  Throw in clean arm action and the ability to pound the strike zone and you have a formula for domination Low-A hitters, and Erlin did just that in his first start of the year after starting off in the bullpen (and allowing one run in 20 1/3 innings) in order to monitor his workload.

Jordan Lyles, RHP, Astros (Double-A Corpus Christi): 9 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 K

There's not a whole lot of good things to talk about when it comes to the Astros, at either and major or minor league level. The one player generating excitement in the system is Lyles, who had a fantastic pro debut last year, and is now at Double-A at 19. Houston just hoped he could hold his own here while avoiding pitching at High-A Lancaster, but he's done much more than that, with a 2.29 ERA after his first career complete game last night. He's not a stuff monster, but his fastball, curve and change all rates as average-to-plus, while his command is another attribute in his favor. He might be young, but he has more polish than most pitchers at this level.

Donald Veal, LHP, Pirates (Triple-A Indianapolis): 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 7 K

A Rule 5 pick in 2008, the Pirates hid Veal on their big league roster last year, but scouts saw some real progress out of Veal in the Arizona Fall League, as he began to throw more strikes and show progress with his secondary offerings. His Triple-A season hasn't exactly been remarkable (until last night), but his peripherals (44 IP, 38 H, 19 BB, 35 K) are solid and his stuff remains above-average. I might be alone here, but I still believe Veal has a big league future ahead of him in a role yet to be determined.

Others Of Note:

  • Yonder Alonso, 1B, Reds (Triple-A Louisville): 2-for-6, HR (1), R, RBI, BB. 9-for-19 in last four games; hitting much better than he did at Double-A.
  • Thomas Diamond, RHP, Cubs (Triple-A Iowa): 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 6 K. Former Rangers' first-round pick has 2.08 ERA in eight starts; stuff isn't at pre-injury levels, but there's still some life in his arm.
  • Alex Gordon, OF, Royals (Triple-A Omaha): 3-for-5, R, 2 RBI, SB. I wonder if Ned Yost is hoping for Scott Podsednik to tank so he can get Gordon up without hurting anybody's feelings.
  • Chris Ianetta, C, Rockies (Triple-A Colorado Springs): 2-for-4, 2B, HR (5), 2 R, 4 RBI. Now batting .375/.438/.768; the Alex Gordon of catchers in that nobody has a good explanation as to why he's not better in the big leagues.
  • Chin-Lung Hu, SS, Dodgers (Triple-A Albuquerque): 3-for-5. I don't know if it's alright to still believe in the 26-year-old, but I still see a plus defender with some bat. 14-for-30 in his last eight games to raise his average to .294, but very little walks or power.
  • Mike Moustakas, 3B, Royals (Double-A Northwest Arkansas): 2-for-4, 2B. Third straight multi-hit game; wouldn't be surprised to see him get a handful of big league at-bats come September.
  • Mike Trout, OF, Angels (Low-A Cedar Rapids): 2-for-4, 3B, R, 3 RBI. 18-for-39 in his last ten games and .376/.450/.584 overall; Ability to show this kind of power and speed in game at this age, and at this level is remarkable.
  • Dayan Viciedo, 1B, White Sox (Triple-A Charlotte): 4-for-6, 3 2B, R, RBI, K. Another repeat performance from yesterday, up to .303/.336/.538.
  • Arodys Vizcaino, RHP, Braves (Low-A Rome): 8 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K. Has been a bit inconsistent during full-season debut, but when he's on, he looks like a future ace, including last night's best start of the season.
  • Zack Wheeler, RHP, Giants (Low-A Augusta): 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K. Like Vizcaino, he looks great one day and so-so the next, but he's 19 years old with massive stuff.
  • Travis Wood, LHP, Reds (Triple-A Louisville): 8 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 11 K. First great start for last year's breakout performer; had 5.10 ERA coming into the game.

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:  Triple-A

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

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jesse.burkhart

I've never seen Erlin throw in person, but from what you're writing here, it sounds like he's the un-Pillsbury version of Robbie Ross: somewhat polished prep lefthander with average velo who lacks the ideal build. For you, are Erlin and Ross starters or relievers in the big leagues?

May 19, 2010 09:58 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

I think they both have very good chances to remain starters, despite the size.

May 19, 2010 10:16 AM
 
Dan

Do you think Lyles has 2 starter upside, or is he more of a 3-4?

May 19, 2010 10:22 AM
rating: 0
 
Cromulent

I can't argue that Iannetta should have been better the past two years but this season he was demoted on the strength of 34 at bats, during which he had a BABIP of 118. It's beginning to feel like Jim Tracy has made up his mind about Iannetta.

May 19, 2010 10:43 AM
rating: 2
 
Jim Humdingding

If recent games are much of an indication, he's making up his mind on Fowler, too. Tracy feels like another Hurdle who got lucky to catch the team post-early slump and just before their seemingly perennial second half runs. The strange new reality for us Rockie observers is there's enough talent around that youngsters need to deliver or depart/ride pine. Not sure how that will effect the ability of Fowler and Iannetta to develop as major leaguers.

May 19, 2010 11:53 AM
rating: 0
 
chriscaroy

love your work, and not to nitpick, but are veal's peripherals actually solid? 3.8 bb/9 and 7.1 k/9 seem pretty blah to me, especially for a 25 year old. minor league splits has his BABIP at .280 too, which seems likely to increase...

May 19, 2010 10:53 AM
rating: 0
 
Cloochmere

The Angels are generally pretty conservative when it comes to promoting their prospects, but when you look at what Trout has done in the MWL combined with how he did in ST(2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR in 11 AB) doesn't a jump to High A seem warranted?

May 19, 2010 11:29 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

Like you said, the Angels can go slowly at times. I could see a second half move however.

May 19, 2010 14:28 PM
 
RedsManRick

Re: Alonso, its amazing the difference a healthy wrist makes. He played the 2nd half of last year recovering from broken hamate bones. He lost a good deal of power and is starting to get it back. The patience and contact rates have always been there.

May 19, 2010 13:05 PM
rating: 0
 
andyfoy

These are sad days as a Brewers fan when I think I've seen one prospect(Wily Peralta) pop up on these blogs and the Ten Pack all year, and we're currently 5th in the NL Central. I'm scared.

May 19, 2010 14:44 PM
rating: 0
 
JHaugJr
(332)

Donnie Veal breaks Bradenton camp in 2011 as the fifth starter for the Pirates.

May 19, 2010 15:01 PM
rating: 0
 
matt2d

All may not be lost. I just checked on a kid in the Brewers system from my hometown, Jacob Odorizzi. He is a LONG way away, but he was super good in high school. Maybe you will see his name here soon.

May 19, 2010 18:57 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

You probably will. Very good prospect.

May 19, 2010 21:07 PM
 
BurrRutledge

Iannetta had a TAv of .274 in 2009, in 350 PAs. That was the 9th best of the 29 catchers who had 300 or more PAs.

They simply need to give him a chance to play! Give him 450 PAs or trade him to a team that will!



May 19, 2010 18:59 PM
rating: 1
 
jocampbell
(148)

And Iannetta was even better in 2008, TAv of .301 in 400+ PAs. I don't know why Kevin thinks he's been disappointing in the majors, he's been good, a very long way from being the Alex Gordon of catchers. Given that 2008-09 was good for 750+ PAs, the mystery is why he was demoted this year on the basis of a slow start amounting to about 35 PAs.

May 20, 2010 00:12 AM
rating: 1
 
PeterBNYC

I don't know what's not to like about Ianetta either. Tracy has well known habitys from his previous stints- if he had his way, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier would still be PCL organizational guys. Ianetta: hmm, memo to Omar Minaya....

May 20, 2010 08:47 AM
rating: 0
 
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