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June 17, 2010

Future Shock Blog

Minor League Update: Games of June 16th

by Kevin Goldstein

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Mark Cohoon, LHP, Mets(Low-A Savannah): 9 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K

That's three straight nine-inning shutouts for the 22-year-old southpaw and achievement that is all but unheard of in Low-A.  With a 1.30 ERA, he's been getting the job done all year, but it's still hard for scouts to warm up to him.  He's a lefty finesse pitcher whose fastball never gets out of the 80's, but he spots it well, adds cutting or sinking action to it, and mixes in a good curveball and even better changeup to keep hitters off balance.  It's a formula that allows very little margin for error, but clearly, no such errors have been made by Cahoon during his remarkable run.

Eric Hosmer, 1B, Royals(High-A Wilmington): 2-for-4, HR (3), R, 2 RBI

So what's the stranger development: Hosmer hitting .354, or Hosmer hitting just three home runs in 243 at-bats?  Obviously, the ballpark doesn't help in the slightest, and with 23 doubles, there are certainly signs of power, but he, like many Royals prospects, has seemingly transformed into something different than what was anticipated, making him one of the more challenging prospects to figure out.

Trey McNutt, RHP, Cubs(Low-A Peoria): 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 10 K

One of the biggest surprises in the Midwest League, McNutt was a 32nd round pick last year who signed for just over $100,000, yet he's been one of the best pitchers in the Midwest League, with a 1.51 ERA and 70 strikeouts in 59 2/3 innings.  The good news is that the scouting reports back up the numbers, as he parks a heavy fastball at 93-95 mph and has a quality power breaking ball.  His mechanics are a bit unwieldy, and his command can come and go, but this is a quality arm and a great find for scouting directorTim Wilkin.

Graham Stoneburner, RHP, Yankees(High-A Tampa): 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K

It what I'm guessing is a Minor League Update first, this is the third straight day to feature a starting pitcher from the same team.  A 14th-round pick last June who got second-round money to sign, Stoneburner's fastball and slider both rate as plus, and after dominating in Low A to begin the year, the Florida State is doing nothing to slow him down, as in his last three starts, he's fired 21 scoreless innings. 

Julio Teheran, RHP, Braves(High-A Myrtle Beach): 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 12 K

Teheran spent his last two starts proving to the world that he is slightly human, but last night, he once again looked like some alien from another planet ready to conquer the world.  Again, this is a 19-year-old in High-A, and he's whiffed 49 in 39 innings while walking just seven.  Next week, I'm going to work on a list of the best prospects still in the minor leagues, and on my spreadsheet filled with numbers and scout notes, this guy keeps moving closer to the top.

Others Of Note:

  • Nolan Arenado, 3B, Rockies (Low-A Asheville): 2-for-4, 2B, HR (2), R, 4 RBI, K; 1-for-2, BB.  At least one hit in 21 of 23 games and overall line of .347/.381/.558.  Questions about the power ceiling, approach and defense are there, but he sure can hit.
  • Joe Benson, OF, Twins (Double-A New Britain): 3-for-4, 2B, HR (6), 2 R, RBI.  I say the Twins might not like him and he goes back to Double-A.  
  • Ivan DeJesus, 2B, Dodgers (Triple-A Albuquerque): 3-for-5, 2B, 2 RBI, K.  All but forgotten about after last year's lost season; got off to poor start but 18-for-37 (.486) in last ten games and suddenly up to .291/.335/.395.
  • Rashun Dixon, OF, Athletics (Low-A Kane County): 2-for-5, 2 2B, R, 3 RBI, 2 K.  Locked in at the plate as the tools start to turn into skills; .360/.448/.640 in June as the power begins to manifest. 
  • Danny Espinosa, SS, Nationals (Double-A Harrisburg): 3-for-4, 2B, HR (7), R, 3 RBI, SB; 2-for-3, HR (8), R, 2 RBI, BB, CS.  Finally showing signs of life after a slow two months; home runs in three straight games move averages up to .236/.325/.413, so you see there are secondary skills there.
  • Wilmer Flores, SS, Mets (Low-A Savannah): 0-for-5, K.  In a bit of a tailspin; 14-for-81 (.173) in last 20 games.
  • Kyle Gibson, RHP, Twins (Double-A New Britain): 4 IP, 10 H, 7 R, 2 BB, 2 K.  Has allowed 25 hits and 18 runs over 14 2/3 innings in his last three starts; we can all calm down now.
  • Grant Green, SS, Athletics (High-A Stockton): 2-for-3, 3B, HR (5), 2 R, 3 RBI, BB.  DH-ing for the last week but keeping up his end of the bargain by going 30-for-69 (.435) in last 17 games with 52 total bases.
  • Slade Heathcott, OF, Yankees (Low-A Charleston): 2-for-6, 2 2B, 4 RBI.  2009 first-round pick continues to impress with .333/.407/.431 line in 12 games since joining Charleston.
  • Gorkys Hernandez, OF, Pirates (Double-A Altoona): 2-for-4, 2B, 2 R, RBI, 2 BB, K.  Finally coming to life?  .327/.429/.500 in June and still among the best defensive center fielders out there.
  • Brett Jackson, OF, Cubs (High-A Daytona): 2-for-5, 2 2B, R, RBI, 2 K. 16 hits in last eight games, including half of them for extra bases.  Up to .296/.404/.457 and should finish the year in Double-A.
  • Wynn Pelzer, RHP, Padres (Double-A San Antonio): 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 4 BB, 10 K.  63 strikeouts in 61 innings but other peripherals not as impressive as command has wavered.
  • Kyle Russell, OF, Dodgers (Double-A Chattanooga): 2-for-4, 2B, HR (1), 2 R, RBI, K; 1-for-3, 2B, R, BB, K.  First signs of life since promotion; 14 Ks in 30 ABs.
  • Giovanni Soto, LHP, Tigers (Low-A West Michigan): 9 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K.  Doesn't get out of the upper-80s (yet), but young, projectable and has quality secondary pitches and command.
  • Josh Vitters, 3B, Cubs (Double-A Tennessee): 2-for-4, HR (2), 2 R, 3 RBI, BB.  Best game in over a month; just .233/.275/.330 in 32 games since promotion.

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

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