May 21, 2010
Future Shock Blog
Minor League Update: Games of May 20
Jake Arrieta, RHP, Orioles (Triple-A Norfolk): 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 10 K.
I was recently having a discussion with a scout who had recently seen the Norfolk team, and I asked him who should be up in the big leagues first, Arrieta or Chris Tillman. His answer? Both. While unfortunately there's some service time management issues here, Arrieta, who now has a 1.93 ERA, and Tillman both make the big league team better. I'm still very optimistic about the Orioles' pitching staff of the future, I just don't know where the runs are going to come from.
Engel Beltre, OF, Rangers (High-A Bakersfield): 5-for-5, 3B, 2 R, 2 RBI
Beltre's stock took a big hit last year after a bad year and a bit of bad behavior, but while he's repeating the Cal League, at 20 he's still one of the youngest players in the league, and the tools remain very impressive. More importantly, there have been some clear adjustments, as he's walking more, striking out less, and as a result, finding more pitches to drive. Batting .351/.393/.494 in May, there's some real progress here in a pitching-heavy system that could use some good news from the bats.
Ernesto Frieri, RHP, Padres (Triple-A Portland): SV (9), 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K
It might be too early to call for a sleeper alert, but keep an eye on this one. Frieri has always had one of the better arsenals in the system, but as a starter he was effective, but highly inefficient, rarely getting into the late innings without racking up a high pitch count. Converted to a closer role this year, he's low-90s fastball has ticked up a bit in shorter stints, and his power curve gives him a second true plus pitch. He's still walking too many batters, with 12 in 18 innings, but the just six hits allowed and 27 strikeouts could land him in the big leagues this year.
Mike Moustakas, 3B, Royals (Double-A Northwest Arkansas): 3-for-4, 2 HR (10), 2 R, 4 RBI.
Arguably the hottest bat in the minors, Moustakas is 11-for-20 with four home runs in his last five games, and batting .394/.468/.779 overall. A revamped Top 101 prospects list would move him up considerably, as the scouts have always believed. The Royals system overall is having a great year, and scouting was always seen as general manager Dayton Moore's strength, so give him some more time? Maybe?
Others Of Note:
Lars Anderson, 1B, Red Sox (Triple-A Pawtucket): 2-for-4, HR (2), R, RBI, K. Had has some slumps since promotion, but power and patience are still there.
Darwin Barney, SS, Cubs (Triple-A Iowa): 3-for-5, 2 R. Batting .402 in May and .313/.333/.406 overall, with Starlin Castro around, he has no chance of starting with the Cubs.
Reymond Fuentes, OF, Red Sox (Low-A Greenville): Definitely a successful first-full year for '09 first-rounder; batting .279/.333/.442, showing improvements throughout the year and has 13 stolen bases without getting caught.
Chris Johnson, 3B, Astros (Triple-A Round Rock): 4-for-4, 3B, HR (2), 2 R, 4 RBI. Just because he's not a gold glove defender doesn't mean he's not a better big league option than Pedro Feliz.
Ian Krol, LHP, Athletics (Low-A Kane County): 7 IP, 3 H, 2 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 7 K. Featured in Monday's Ten Pack; was perfect through five.
Rudy Owens, LHP, Pirates (Double-A Altoona): 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K. Scouts continue to come around on him as a future No. 4 or 5 big league starter.
Neil Ramirez, RHP, Rangers (Low-A Hickory): 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 8 K. You want inconsistent? He's had three starts of six innings and zero or one run allowed. In his other five starts, he has a 9.64 ERA.
Ben Revere, OF, Twins (Double-A New Britain): 2-for-3, 2 R, 2 BB, 2 SB. 7-for-14 in last three games and .301/.374/.368 overall. More walks, and a bit of power.
Jerry Sands, OF/1B, Dodgers (Low-A Great Lakes): 2-for-3, HR (14), 2 R, RBI, K. Now just one behind Mike Stanton for the overall home run lead, but also two years older and two levels lower.
Max Scherzer, RHP, Tigers (Triple-A Toledo): 8 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 10 K. Still think he'll be fine in the end, but still not convinced that his best value might come out of the bullpen.
Kyle Skipworth, C, Marlins (Low-A Greensboro): 3-for-4, 2B, 2 R, RBI. The significant steps forward continue.
Josh Vitters, 3B, Cubs (Double-A Tennessee): 2-for-4, 2B, R, RBI, K. On-base percentage is still the same of the batting average, but when that number is .361, it doesn't bother you so much.
Kevin Goldstein is an author of Baseball Prospectus.
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