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July 8, 2010

Future Shock Blog

Minor League Update: Games of July 7

by Kevin Goldstein

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Brandon Belt, 1B, Giants (Double-A): 2-for-3, RBI

It's only five games, so let's not get too wacky yet, but I think we should all be pretty clear at this point that this guy can really hit, as he's now 8-for-17 at Double-A after putting up 1121 OPS in the Cal League.  How far am I from calling this guy an elite, top-of-the line prospect? Pretty far.  How far am I from calling him a Top 100 type?  Already there.

Dellin Betances, RHP, Yankees (High-A Tampa): 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K

Few pitchers in the minors are generating the kind of buzz that Betances is, as a finally healthy version of the high-ceiling arm is showing "massively improved mechanics: according to one scout while touching 98 mph.  The numbers speak for themselves: 34 innings, 13 hits, 2 runs, 6 walks, 39 strikeouts.

Aroldis Chapman, LHP, Reds (Triple-A Louisville): 0.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 2 K.

Moved temporarily to the bullpen with the hope that he could help the Reds in their playoff chase, Chapman has whiffed 14 in just 8 1/3 innings as a reliever, but that's all the good that there is to talk about.  Shorter stints have led to Chapman really letting in fly, and when Chapman lets it fly, he doesn't really know where it's going anymore, as in those innings he's walked five, hit three batters and uncorked four wild pitches.  Clearly, there's still some harnessing to do.

Miguel Velazquez, OF, Rangers (High-A Bakersfield): 2-for-3, 2 HR (2), 2 R, 3 RBI, BB, K

With the Rangers have an outstanding minor league system, it's also a highly imbalanced one, as the amount of pitching talent far outweighs the position players.  That said, they've found a bit of a breakthrough player in Velasquez, a 2006 draftee whose career got off to slow start because personal issues (including some disturbing brushes with the law) kept him off the field.  A good hitter with average-to-plus power, the 22-year-old Puerto Rico native was one of the best hitters in the Sally League during the first half, and with last night's outburst, he's now hitting .323/.382/.548 in seven High-A games. 

Others of Note:

  • Yonder Alonso, 1B, Reds (Triple-A Louisville): 2-for-2, 2 BB, 2 SB.  That's a whole lot of twos. Putting on a good show if scouts are eyeing him for the trade market; hitting .419/.471/.839 in eight July games.
  • Oswaldo Arcia, OF, Twins (Rookie-level Elizabethton): 4-for-5, R, RBI. .409/.466/.773 in 16 games, including ten multi-hit efforts.
  • Lucas Duda, OF, Mets (Triple-A Buffalo): 2-for-4, HR (8), R, RBI.  Seven home runs in last ten games and .329/.395/.750 overall; he can certainly hit, but this is a bit fluky.
  • Greg Halman, OF, Mariners (Triple-A Tacoma): 1-for-2, HR (19), R, 2 RBI, BB, SB.  12 home runs in last 28 games; has struck out 83 times in 200 at-bats, but still has .961 OPS and there's something here of real value.
  • Gorkys Hernandez, OF, Pirates (Double-A Altoona): 3-for-6, 2B, R.  Signs of life?  Just .261/.334/.330 overall but 19-for-50 (.380) during ten-game hitting streak.
  • Ryan LaMarre, OF, Reds (Low-A Dayton): 2-for-3, 2B, R, RBI, BB, K.  '10 second-rounder hitting .303/.404/.395; big athlete with speed, and some think power down the road.
  • Will Middlebrooks, 3B, Red Sox (High-A Salem): 2-for-4, 2 HR (7), 2 R, 3 RBI.  Three of his seven home runs have come in last two games; has been a doubles machine all year so the potential is there.
  • Kirk Nieuwenhuis, OF, Mets (Double-A Binghamton): 3-for-5, 2 2B, 2 R, BB, K. Yesterday's feature player stays hot; 15-for-23 in last five games with nine doubles and .301/.347/.524 overall.
  • Scott Sizemore, 2B, Tigers (Triple-A Toledo): 2-for-4, 2B, HR (4), 2 R, RBI, BB, K.  Up to .331/.399/.507 but no room in the big leagues for now.
  • Eric Surkamp, LHP, Giants (High-A San Jose): 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 14 K.  Incredible number of strikeouts for a pitcher who rarely gets into the 90s with his fastball; deceptive lefty with location, movement and a good breaking ball, the kind of combination that kind put up big numbers at the lower levels.
  • Donanvan Tate, OF, Padres (Rookie-level AZL Padres): 0-for-4, RBI, BB, 2 K.  Top prospect has whiffed 21 times in 43 at-bats, reportedly has looked more raw than even anticipated.

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

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

BP Comment Quick Links

BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

Hey guys, Just wanted to note than I just got the to later comments from yesterday update, and honestly, I am truly touched. Don't worry about the length on this one, lots of leagues off, and frankly, not a lot of big numbers in box scores . . . it happens.

Jul 08, 2010 08:26 AM
 
JD Sussman

Honestly, as everyone mentioned yesterday, I really look forward to this (and you on twitter) everyday.

Jul 08, 2010 08:35 AM
rating: 1
 
Wade

thanks for the update on Chapman...are scouts still high on him? or is he just another LHP who throws hard but can't consistently throw strikes?

Jul 08, 2010 08:32 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

Oh, don't get me wrong, scouts are still very high on him. I thought Triple-A was too high an assignment in the first place. No long-term worries for me.

Jul 08, 2010 08:39 AM
 
Matt Kory

If AAA is too high an assignment I guess it goes without saying (yet I'm saying it anyway) that you aren't optimistic about him helping out in the Reds bullpen. Am I correct in that?

Jul 08, 2010 10:22 AM
rating: 0
 
Mr. Cthulhu

So, do you think it would be better for his long-term development if the Reds were not in contention and he could work on his control in the minors?

Jul 09, 2010 00:50 AM
rating: 0
 
CRP13

Wade? Wade, as in ED Wade? Ed, you don't have the prospects to trade for Chapman, so don't even worry about it. :)

Jul 08, 2010 11:16 AM
rating: -1
 
DGBL

Is it a fair argument to call Betances the best pitching prospect the Yanks have?

Jul 08, 2010 08:40 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

I'm not so sure. Need to see it more.

Jul 08, 2010 08:50 AM
 
Matt Kory

Isn't 22 kinda old for A ball?

Jul 08, 2010 10:23 AM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

just a slew of injuries, it's not like he's been stuck there because he's been failing.

Jul 08, 2010 10:29 AM
 
DGBL

At this rate, you won't need to worry about him being in High A for long

Jul 08, 2010 11:18 AM
rating: 0
 
Ben Jedlovec

Halman "has struck out 83 times in 2000 at-bats". That's pretty impressive, no?

;)

Jul 08, 2010 08:46 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

Pure contact hitter with plus-plus power! Yeah, let's make that 200.

Jul 08, 2010 08:50 AM
 
rweiler

It's worth mentioning that Brandon Belt's 2 hits were the only hits that Richmond managed in the game.

Jul 08, 2010 09:02 AM
rating: 0
 
HankScorpio

What, no Royals? Blasphemy!

Jul 08, 2010 09:22 AM
rating: 2
 
Gregjitsu

Charlie Culberson. Former sandwich pick is putting up an impressive season at A+. BABIP is a bit high, but LD rate is improved, and he has already hit more homers this season than his entire minors career before this year...Should I believe?

Jul 08, 2010 10:22 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

Mildly.

Jul 08, 2010 10:29 AM
 
Gregjitsu

Back to Belt for a moment-how is his defense at first? Because if he is an excellent defender on top of his hitting/OBP skills, I think I could live without much power...

Jul 08, 2010 14:50 PM
rating: 0
 
dwinning

So are the Tigers the anti-Royals this year in terms of minor league development? Seems like every one of your top 15 Tiger prospects is struggling, hurt, or just not that impressive at all. I guess the tigers are also at the other end of the standings, so there's that at least.

Jul 08, 2010 10:55 AM
rating: 0
 
rweiler

FWIW, baseball-reference has him at a .991 fielding percentage with a 10.0 RF/G. How that compares with other Cal league 1st basemen, I have no idea. One thing I read is that he used to pitch some, so apparently he has a decent arm, and apparently he at least owns an outfielders glove. He was 18/7 in SB attempts which suggests he has at least average speed. That suggests to me that he could play an outfield corner for a few years if there isn't room at first base.

Jul 08, 2010 16:52 PM
rating: 0
 
rweiler

Him meaning 'Brandon Belt'.

Jul 08, 2010 16:52 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

He is a plus defender. Not gold glove, but certainly good, and the speed is average.

Jul 08, 2010 18:50 PM
 
Clooch14

So, at this point, is there anything not to like about this guy? The only real question coming out of college was power. The reports seem to say that he reworked his swing and the power has been there all year. He's got the body of a first baseman but is evidently more athletic and better defensively than most people than man the position. He's got elite plate discipline and has always had good contact skills.

Is it nothing more than just a healthy skepticism for a 5th round draft pick doing most of his damage in the Cal league?

I guess its hard to say right now, given that he's had a 1/2 season of unsustainable performance in the pros, but do you have a comp in mind for him?

Jul 09, 2010 07:02 AM
rating: 0
 
Paul Gardner

In the 2008 BP annual tome, 20% of your top 100 prospect were comprised of Rays, Yanks and Red Sox. The Rays and Yanks are still at that level, but the Sox (due in part to bad fortune with Ryan Westmoreland's brain surgery) seem to have fallen off a cliff.
Is there something inherently wrong in the org. or did they lose their brains to SD when Jed Hoyer (who appears to be off to a great start)left?

Jul 10, 2010 08:53 AM
rating: 0
 
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