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August 5, 2010

Future Shock Blog

Minor League Update: Games of August 4

by Kevin Goldstein

Jose Ceda, RHP, Marlins(Double-A Jacksonville): 0.2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 BB, 1 K

It seems like eons since the Marlins acquired Ceda in return for Kevin Gregg just prior to the 2008 winter meetings, but after missing all of the 2009 season recovering from shoulder surgery, the 275-pound right is back with a vengeance, as is hit mid-to-upper 90s heat.  In 16 appearances for the Suns, the 23-year-old Dominican has recording 32 strikeouts over 21 1/3 innings while allowing just 13 hits, and he should compete for a big league job next spring.

Danny Espinosa, SS, Nationals(Double-A Harrisburg): 3-for-5, 3 HR (18), 3 R, 4 RBI.

When doing an overall prospect ranking, the last spot is usually reserved for a personal favorite. Five months ago, that favorite was Espinosa, who clocked in at position No. 101 on my rankings.  Now, he's making me look good by rebounded from a slow start this year to lift his averages to .262/.334/.464.  While he'll likely never hit for a high average, he's a legitimate 20/20 candidate who can just as importantly legitimately stay at shortstop.

Nick Franklin, SS, Mariners(Low-A Clinton): 3-for-6, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, SB

A first-round pick last June, nobody saw Franklin turning into a power hitter, but the 170 pound Franklin has done just that, leading the Midwest League with 19 home runs, placing second in total bases and sitting with an overall line of .286/.349/.517 after last night's outburst.  He's a steady defender with above-average speed as well, and one of the most impressive players in what has been a star-studded Midwest League.

Cody Scarpetta, RHP, Brewers(High-A Brevard County): 5 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 6 K.

With a 3.42 ERA and 120 strikeouts in just 102 2/3 innings, Scarpetta's season-long numbers are impressive enough, but it's the run he's on lately that's really getting notice.  A big, beefy right-hander with a good fastball and even better curve, Scarpetta has been one of the league's best pitchers since July, putting up a 1.22 ERA in seven starts with 53 strikeouts in 37 innings and just 23 hits allowed.  The Brewers are desperate for pitching, and while Scarpetta can't provide immediate assistance, it's good to at least know that help could be on the way.

Others Of Note:

  • Brandon Allen, 1B, Diamondbacks (Triple-A Reno): 2-for-4, HR (20), 2 R, 3 RBI, K.  Heavy on secondary skills; overall line of .264/.407/.549 shows the power and patience, but it's hard to figure out if Arizona still likes him.
  • Jesse Biddle, LHP, Phillies (Rookie-level GCL Phillies); 5 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 10 K.  Best start yet for first-round pick in June; 36 Ks in 27.1 innings thanks to plus velocity and command of fastball.
  • Bobby Borchering, 3B, Diamondbacks (Low-A South Bend): 3-for-5, 2B, HR (10), 2 R, 3 RBI, K.  Hottest streak of season; 12-for-20 in last four games with 20 total bases; SLG up 31 point in four days with overall line of .274/.336/.413.
  • Ryan Brett, SS, Rays (Rookie-level GCL Rays): 2-for-4, 2B.  Five-foot-nine third-round pick stays at .500; now 15-for-30 in first ten pro games.
  • Drake Britton, LHP, Red Sox (Low-A Greenville): 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 7 K.  Season-high K total; lefty has been up to 95 mph since return from Tommy John surgery.
  • Chris Carter, 1B, Athletics (Triple-A Sacramento): 3-for-5, 2B, HR (25), R, 3 RBI, K.  Batting .358/.447/.667 since the All-Star break; next spring should be interesting in Oakland when it comes to the first base and designated hitter jobs.
  • Dan Cortes, RHP, Mariners (Double-A West Tenn): 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K.  Once highly-regarded arm struggled as a starter but found new lease on life in bullpen; 12 Ks over 7.2 relief innings with just four hits allowed.
  • Jaff Decker, OF, Padres (High-A Lake Elsinore): 2-for-5, 2 HR (11), 2 R, 3 RBI, K.  Most expected huge Cal League numbers after explosive full-season debut in '09; .241/.346/.442 isn't exactly meeting expectations.
  • Eduardo Escobar, SS, White Sox (Double-A Birmingham): 2-for-3, HR (2), R, 3 RBI, BB.  20-year-old Venezuelan glove whiz is started to find swing at upper levels; just .238/.274/.363 in 20 games, but 9-for-25 during six-game hitting streak.
  • Todd Frazier, 3B/OF, Reds (Triple-A Louisville): 3-for-4, 2B, HR (14), 2 R, 4 RBI, BB, SB.  Disappointing year overall, but up to .241/.301/.432 with recent surge.
  • Johnny Giavotella, 2B, Royals (Double-A Northwest Arkansas): 3-for-3, 3B, RBI, BB.  Up to .306/.379/.422; not the sexiest player in the system, but has a big league future.
  • Anthony Gose, OF, Blue Jays (High-A Dunedin): 3-for-4, 2 3B, R, BB, CS.  Showing off the big time speed with two triples; still can't steal bases as he gets caught for the 28th time.
  • Adieny Hechavarria, SS, Blue Jays (Double-A New Hampshire): 3-for-5, 2B, 2 R, RBI.  Questions about bat getting answered in a big way; hitting .340 in last 25 games and .306/.340/.410 overall to go with crazy-great defense.
  • T.J. House, LHP, Indians (High-A Kinston): 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K.  Over-slot 2008 draftee has been on a roll with one run and six hits allowed over last 19 innings; sinker/slider/change combo with all three pitches average or a tick above.
  • Jeremy Jeffress, RHP, Brewers (Double-A Huntsville): 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K.  Five shutout innings in three Southern League appearances; across three levels he's whiffed 33 in 23 innings while allowing just 13 hits.
  • Max Kepler, OF, Twins (Rookie-level GCL Twins): 3-for-4, 2 R, BB. 12-for-22 during six game hitting streak and .288/.351/.356 overall; doesn't turn 18 until next February.
  • Jason Kipnis, 2B, Indians (Double-A Akron): 2-for-4, 3B, HR (7), R, RBI.  Officially entering super-hot mode by going 9-for-18 with double, two triples and home run in last five games and batting .337/.413/.554 overall at Double-A; passing Chisenhall on Indians prospect lists?
  • Zach Lutz, 3B, Mets (Double-A Binghamton): 2-for-4, 2 HR (15), 2 R, 2 RBI.  On the kind of power streak rarely seen at any level; 13-for-30 with seven home runs in last seven games and .297/.417/.645 overall in 42 Eastern League games.
  • J.D. Martinez, OF, Astros (Double-A Corpus Christi): 3-for-3, 2B, 3 RBI, BB.  Sally League monster starting to prove he might be the real deal; 5-for-5 with three walks in last two games raises 20-game Texas League OPS over 130 points to .296/.390/.394.
  • Cameron Maybin, OF, Marlins (Triple-A New Orleans): 3-for-5, 2 R, RBI.  6-for-10 in last pair of games and .338/.408/.456 in 18 games; getting yet another look late in the season?
  • Mike McKenry, C, Rockies (Triple-A Colorado Springs): 2-for-4, 2 HR (7), 2 R, 5 RBI, 2 K.  Tough system to be a good, but not great catching prospect in; .286/.349/.432 line is bolstered heavily by home park.
  • Mike Montgomery, LHP, Royals (Double-A Northwest Arkansas): 3.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 5 K.  First Double-A start in nearly two months; on limited pitch count but stuff looked good.
  • Wil Myers, C, Royals (High-A Wilmington): 3-for-5, R, RBI, 2 K.  9-for-13 in last three games and up to .381/.492/.495 in 29 Carolina League games; scouts are absolutely raving about the bat.
  • Rudy Owens, LHP, Pirates (Double-A Altoona): 6 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 4 K.  Only hit was the Kipnis home run; 2.85 ERA and 103/20 K/BB ratio in 123 innings.
  • Jose Ramirez, RHP, Yankees (Low-A Charleston): 6 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 5 K.  19-year-old Dominican has easy plus velocity and developing secondary stuff; 3.12 ERA with 96 Ks in 106.2 innings.
  • Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Red Sox (Double-A Portland): 3-for-4, 2B, 2 HR (13), 2 R, 3 RBI, K.  9-for-15 with seven extra-base hits in last three games and .272/.326/.487 overall; is he passing Lars Anderson on Boston's internal depth charts?
  • Blake Tekotte, OF, Padres (Double-A San Antonio): 2-for-5, 2B, HR (6), 2 R, 3 RBI, K.  Future fourth-outfielder, maybe second division starter is up to .265/.317/.477 in 37 Texas League games; has good speed and a bit of power.
  • Sebastian Valle, C, Phillies (Low-A Lakewood): 1-for-5, HR (14), R, RBI, 2 K.  Home runs in three straight games; slugging up to .432, but OBP still under .300 (.293).

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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