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July 5, 2010

Future Shock

Monday Ten Pack

by Kevin Goldstein

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J.P. Arencibia, C, Blue Jays (Triple-A Las Vegas)
And the hits just keep on coming. Arencibia went 6-for-13 over the weekend with two doubles and a pair of home runs, but that's nothing new, as he's reeled off eight straight multi-hit games with a total of five home runs and 18 RBI. Then again, that's nothing new either; since the calendar flipped to June, he's hitting .407 (44-for-108) with an .870 slugging percentage, including 12 home runs in 108 at-bats. Toronto has an All-Star catcher in John Buck, and that's the only reason Arencibia is still at Triple-A.

Engel Beltre, OF, Rangers (Double-A Frisco)
The term here is 'blossoming'. After hitting .331/.376/.460 for High-A Bakersfield, the best position prospect in the Rangers' system got his Double-A career off to a rousing start with a weekend that saw him go 6-for-10 with a home run. Just 20 years old, Beltre has no one massive tool, but his power, speed, defensive skills, and arm all rate as above average. Other than an impatient approach, there are no real weaknesses in his game.

Peter Bourjos, OF, Angels (Triple-A Salt Lake)
Bourjos has been a disappointment this year, but he's coming on strong of late. After blasting a pair of home runs on Friday, he smacked a pair of triples on Saturday and followed that up with two more hits on Sunday. Just that three-game stretch raised his OPS 62 points with a .273/.326/.427 line, and his nine triples and 22 stolen bases in 25 attempts speak to his speed. He still needs to work on his approach to profile as a leadoff hitter in the big leagues, but all of the other skills are there.

Kyle Drabek, RHP, Blue Jays (Double-A New Hampshire)
The big name in the Roy Halladay deal during the offseason, Drabek has rarely performed well enough to earn a mention in this year's reports, but that hardly means he's having a bad year. He's been nearly always good, but rarely great, holding Eastern League hitters to a .219 average along the way. Sunday was a different story, however, as he fired a no-hitter to lower his ERA to 3.20. With only three strikeouts, the achievement was a bit fluky, but he's still on target to play a role in the big leagues at some point in 2011, if not earlier.

Harold Garcia, 2B, Phillies (High-A Clearwater)
A 23-year-old from Venezuela, Garcia wasn't on a lot of teams' radars entering the year. He has some hitting ability to go with occasional gap power and above-average speed, but little about him got scouts too worked up. He's changed all of that this year, as with a first-inning single on Sunday, he tied the Florida State League record (held by former big-league manager Joe Altobelli) by extending his hitting streak to 38 games and increasing his season line to .341/.400/.500. Garcia is a bit old for the level, and nothing about his game screams future star, but the guy can really hit, and that should get him to the big leagues.

Eric Hosmer, 1B, Royals (High-A Wilmington)
The only knock against Hosmer's breakout season for Wilmington has been a lack of power, but the third overall pick in the 2008 draft is starting to address that. With a home run on Friday and two more Sunday, he's now hitting .353/.430/.553 while playing in a home park where such numbers are almost inconceivable. He's gone from a massive disappointment to one of the best hitting prospects in the game, and is just a small part of why the Royals have the best minor-league system in the game.

Ryan Kalish, OF, Red Sox (Triple-A Pawtucket)
One of the best hitters in the Eastern League during the second half of the 2009 season, it was surprising to see Kalish back at Double-A to begin the year, but after a slow start he quickly earned a promotion with a .345/.430/.586 May. After another slow start, this time with the PawSox, he's recovered with five straight multi-hit games (11-for-19), much of it coming with a move to the leadoff spot, and suddenly his Triple-A line sits at a healthy .317/.406/.467. With average-to-plus tools across the board, he has passed the struggling Josh Reddick for some on the list of Red Sox outfield prospects, and could be a line for a big-league call when the next need arises.

John Lamb, LHP, Royals (High-A Wilmington)
Lamb has been the talk of the Carolina League since a late-May promotion, and he delivered his best start on Sunday, striking out a season-high 10 over 6 2/3 shutout innings. With a fastball that's been up to 95 mph, a plus curveball, and rapidly improving changeup, Lamb has whiffed 26 over 17 1/3 frames in his last three outings, and deserves to be mentioned among the best left-handed prospects in the game as the Royals continue to give their fans some reason for optimism.

Michael Pineda, RHP, Mariners (Triple-A Tacoma)
The fact that Pineda is still listed at 180 pounds is almost laughable, as the 6-foot-5, Dominican has put on somewhere in the area of 50 pounds since those days. Not that he's overweight mind you, as much as he's taken the shape of a classic power righty, with a mid-to-upper 90s fastball that's been blowing away hitters all year. With 26 strikeouts over 19 innings in three Triple-A starts, the 21-year-old has the potential to be the surprise selection to the big leagues when the Cliff Lee deal goes down.

Jerry Sands, OF, Dodgers (Double-A Chattanooga)
Sands provided more fireworks over the weekend, going deep on Saturday and Sunday to raise his Double-A batting line to .326/.383/.767 in 11 games and extend his minor-league leading home-run total to 24 in just 286 at-bats. Scouts are warming up to him, although some see him as a mistake hitter who crushes poor breaking balls while not always catching up to big-league heat. Still, for a guy who seemed more like a novelty act than anything else while pummeling much younger Midwest League pitching, he's proving himself on some level.  

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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