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June 1, 2010

Future Shock Blog

Minor League Update: Games of May 31

by Kevin Goldstein

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Jake Arrieta, RHP, Orioles (Triple-A Norfolk): 8 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 7 K

With Chris Tillman now in the big leagues, Arrieta can't be far behind, as with the lost season in Baltimore it's time to figure out what they have in the big righty.  With a 1.77 ERA and just 45 hits allowed in 71 innings, the International League isn't present much in the way of hurdles, and he's been even better than that of late, allowing two runs over 22 innings in his last three starts while striking out 23.  With a very good fastball and a breaking ball that scouts note as more consistent this year, the 24-year-old has made real progress, and should be a rotation fixture by next spring.

Grant Green, SS, Athletics (High-A Stockton): 5-for-6, 2 2B, 2 R, RBI, SB.  In my chat last week, I got a few questions about Green's struggles and if the A's made a mistake by drafting him.  What a difference four days can make, as Green is a remarkable 13-for-19 in his last four games, raising his OPS nearly 100 points in the process with a triple-slash line of .303/.352/.408.  You can all calm down now.

Brent Morel, 3B, White Sox (Double-A Birmingham): 2-for-5, 2B, 2 R, 3 RBI

After batting .352 in May, the White Sox moved Morel up to Charlotte this morning, hoping that the 23-year-old can be ready for a September audition in the big leagues.  He's an interesting prospect who takes a while for scouts to warm up to.  He's not loaded with tools, but he has a knack for hard contact, is fundamentally sound both in the field and on the base paths, and has make up that is truly off the charts, playing with a max effort that endears him to both managers and teammates.  Nothing about his screams future All-Star, but he's better than Mark Teahen.

Casey Kelly, RHP, Red Sox (Double-A): 4 IP, 10 H, 6 R, 0 BB, 1 K

I hate to sound any panic buttons here, but Kelly is clearly not the pitcher he was last year.  His pure stuff hasn't seen any degradation, so there's not an injury concern, but his command isn't nearly as precise as it was in 2009, and he's yet to deliver a quality start while getting battered around for a .305 batting average.  Again, no panic button, but certainly a bit of concern.

Julio Teheran, RHP, Braves (High-A Myrtle Beach): 8 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 14 K.

Quick quiz: When Stephen Strasburg arrives in the majors next week, who's the best pitching prospect in the minors.  You have a better candidate than Teheran?  He's 19 years old, he's giving up one run over 21 innings in three High-A starts with 28 strikeouts and four walks, and he's touching 97 mph with his fastball while showcasing a plus changeup and a curveball that rates even higher.  Add in a long, projectable frame and outstanding command, and nobody matches that combination.  Period.

Others Of Note:

  • Dustin Ackley, 2B, Mariners (Double-A West Tenn): 2-for-3, RBI, BB, K.  Finishes May at .303/.475/.447 thanks in part to 22 walks in 76 at-bats.
  • Yonder Alonso, 1B/LF, Reds (Triple-A Louisville): 2-for-4, 2 2B, R, 3 RBI, BB.  Snaps out of 4-for-26 slump; still just one home run in 78 at-bats and .359 slugging.
  • Pedro Beato, RHP, Orioles (Double-A Bowie): 3 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 3 K.  Re-born as a reliever, power arm is working way better in short stints; 1.00 ERA in 16 games.
  • Brandon Belt, 1B, Giants (High-A San Jose): 2-for-3, 2B, HR (4), R, 3 RBI, 2 BB.  You know who deserves a promotion? Guys hitting .374/.479/.573 in High-A, that's who.
  • Lorenzo Cain, OF, Brewers (Double-A Huntsville): 2-for-4, HR (3), R, RBI, BB, SB.  Rebounding well from injury plagued 2009 season; up to .354/.440/.492 in 33 games.
  • Chris Carter, 1B, Athletics (Triple-A Sacramento): 2-for-4, 2 HR (12), 3 R, 2 RBI, BB.  Power is there, but overall numbers (.237/.338/.474) are well below expectations.
  • Daniel Descalso, 2B, Cardinals (Triple-A Memphis): 3-for-4, 2B, 2 HR (3), 4 R, 4 RBI, BB.  First games in first base, and he suddenly hits like one; .275/.353/.409 overall.
  • Kyle Drabek, RHP, Blue Jays (Double-A New Hampshire): 8 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K.  Best start as a Jay, but just 14 Ks in last four starts (27.2 innings), as stuff seems to be off from 2009.
  • Nathan Eovaldi, RHP, Dodgers (High-A Inland Empire): 9 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K.  One of the better pure arms in the system; secondary stuff still needs work.
  • Wilmer Font, RHP, Rangers (High-A Bakersfield): 7 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 6 K.  One of youngest players in the Cal League at 19; big power arm has responded with back-to-back excellent starts; stock is surging.
  • Dexter Fowler, OF, Rockies (Triple-A Colorado Springs): 4-for-4, 2B, HR (1), 4 R, 3 RBI, 2 BB.  I guess he took his demotion well?
  • Nick Franklin, SS, Mariners (Low-A Clinton): 3-for-5, HR (9), R, RBI.  If it wasn't for Mike Trout, this guy would be the talk of the Midwest League; up to .322/.367/.568 and playing very good defense.
  • Desmond Jennings, OF, Rays (Triple-A Durham): 3-for-4, 2B, R, BB.  Dropped out of leadoff spot, and delivers first three-hit game since May 13.
  • Ryan Kalish, OF, Red Sox (Double-A Portland): 2-for-4, 2B, 3 R BB.  9-for-13 in last three games; a day after writing that he should be in Triple-A, the Red Sox agreed and moved him to Pawtucket this morning.
  • Garrett Richards, RHP, Angels (Low-A Cedar Rapids): 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 11 K.  Zero earned runs in last three starts; should be moving up soon.
  • Wilin Rosario, C, Rockies (Double-A Tulsa): 2-for-4, HR (6), 2 R, 2 RBI.  7-for-14 in last three games with two home runs; batting .271/.326/.496 and one of the better catching prospects nobody talks about.
  • Kyle Russell, OF, Dodgers (High-A Inland Empire): 3-for-5, 2 HR (14), 2 R, 5 RBI, K.  Finishes May with 10 home runs in 33 RBIs in 27 games; needs to be tested at upper levels.
  • Jonathan Singleton, 1B, Phillies (Low-A Lakewood): 3-for-6, 2 2B, R, RBI, K.  27-for-66 (.409) in 18 games; he's the talk of the Sally League and scouts are raving.
  • Max Stassi, C, Athletics (Low-A Kane County): 3-for-3, HR (7), 2 R, 2 RBI.  Snaps out of 3-for-33 slump.
  • Carlos Torres, RHP, White Sox (Triple-A Charlotte): 6.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 10 K.  Hard to get too excited about a 27-year-old, but Torres has big league quality stuff and his whiffed 69 in 66 innings.
  • Mark Trumbo, 1B, Angels (Triple-A Salt Lake): 2-for-4, HR (12), 2 R, RBI, K. Thought he might get a shot with the Morales injury; he'll get a look eventually this way he's hitting.

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

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

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dianagram

Great stuff .... just a minor quibble (no pun intended): Wouldn't it be better (and more accurate) to state in Ackley's blurb "22 walks in 98 PAs".

Jun 01, 2010 10:57 AM
rating: 1
 
pbconnection

That doesn't take into account sacrifices or sac flies. I agree, though.

Jun 01, 2010 11:03 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

I think about it EVERY TIME I write it, honestly, but it never seems right to me. For some reason, I always calculate BB rate vs. At-bats. For right or wrong. I trust you guys more than myself on this, so I'll try to change.

Jun 01, 2010 11:33 AM
 
Yarky1

It makes more sense to do PAs, but I like ABs because I have more of an automatic sense of the context for ABs than for PAs.

Jun 01, 2010 13:20 PM
rating: 0
 
jocampbell
(148)

If you want to compare BBs with ABs, perhaps say 22 BBs *with* 76 ABs. If you say 22 BBs *in* 76 ABs, I'll always wonder if there is a typo mixing up ABs with PAs.

Jun 01, 2010 15:07 PM
rating: 3
 
Dan

Are scouts concerned about Jesus Montero, or is this just part of the learning curve when you're in AAA at his age?

Jun 01, 2010 11:03 AM
rating: 3
 
smitty25039

Devin Mesoraco has homered in each of his first two games in Double-A.

Jun 01, 2010 11:15 AM
rating: 1
 
Peter Hood

I thought Kyle Russell was in the Dodger system?

Jun 01, 2010 11:15 AM
rating: 0
 
Jim Humdingding

KG, any insight into Ackley's OBP in terms of good and bad about it? Obviously, I don't want him chasing bad pitches, but it does makes me wonder if he's too passive. Are AA pitchers that wild? Are they not pitching to him b/c he's the only threat in their line-up or b/c of his reputation? I'm not alarmed by the number, just curious if you any additional scouting background on his approach and how opposing pitchers are pitching him. It would probably make more sense to me if his ISO Power was higher. To his credit, I'd certainly have no beef with a durable version of Nick Johnson's bat that could play 2B or CF.

Jun 01, 2010 11:16 AM
rating: 3
 
OTSgamer

Here's my question about Montero...

Can he really be a legitimate MLB catcher? My thinking is that if he cannot, where will he play? DH seems largely out of the question, to me, because that spot will probably be occupied by A-Rod and Jeter in years to come.

Jun 01, 2010 11:20 AM
rating: -1
 
rweiler

After a rough start, Madison Bumgarner hasn't given up an earned run in the last 3 starts, and while his peripherals aren't nearly as good as Teheran, he is a 20 year old pitching in AAA in a hitter's park in a hitter's league. He may not be better than Teheran in the long run, but there is a pretty good chance he is better than Todd Wellemeyer in the short run.

Jun 01, 2010 11:30 AM
rating: 0
 
AadikShekar

Yeah, but that's a very long list. I'm a MadBum / Giants fan, but right now he doesn't look like a no 1.

Jun 01, 2010 15:19 PM
rating: 0
 
harderj

Yes, but does Madison Bumgarner at least look like a #5 (cf. Todd Wellemeyer)? ;-)

Jun 02, 2010 07:02 AM
rating: 0
 
drimple

Should be Nick Franklin instead of Ryan Franklin.

Jun 01, 2010 12:46 PM
rating: 1
 
pobothecat

Good question on Trumbo. Why ISN'T he the call-up? Do we know?

Jun 01, 2010 12:56 PM
rating: 0
 
wonkothesane1

First name that comes to mind as best non-Strasburg pitching prospect would be Simon Castro. But, I do admit, I'm a Padres fan.

Jun 01, 2010 13:58 PM
rating: 0
 
iorg34

Does Kyle Gibson get into the new best pitching prospect team photo?

Jun 02, 2010 09:44 AM
rating: 0
 
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