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August 24, 2010

Future Shock Blog

Minor League Update: Games of August 23

by Kevin Goldstein

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Chris Balcom-Miller, RHP, Rockies (Low-A Asheville): 7 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 11 K.

A 2009 fifth-round pick out of a California junior college, Balcom-Miller has quickly gone from a sleeper to one of the better pitching prospects in the Colorado system. Feature outstanding command of a plus fastball to go with a solid slider and changeup, the 21-year-old now has 108 strikeouts in 103 innings while allowing just 78 hits, 18 walks and featuring and excellent ground ball rate. What's not to like?

Kyle Drabek, RHP, Blue Jays (Double-A New Hampshire): 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 9 K

Drabek hasn't had a lot of nights like these, when he's dominating and missing bats, but the story of his season, if anything, has been consistency. While a 2.98 ERA and 123 strikeouts in 154 innings is good; it's not the kind of numbers one gets from an elite prospect, but a quick run through his game log shows no bad night. Drabek has gone at least five innings in all but one start, when he went four, and to find a pitcher like that is at times as hard as finding one with those elite numbers.

Brent Morel, 3B/SS, White Sox (Triple-A Charlotte): 2-for-4, HR (7), R, RBI

Splitting time between third base at shortstop due to Dayan Viciedo's promotion, Morel's positional switches have had no effect on his hitting, as he's gone 13-for-26 during his current seven-game hitting streak to raise his Triple-A averages to .321/.350/.498. He's been a surprisingly solid shortstop, although the hot corner is his more natural position, and one where he'll get a very long look next spring.

Mark Trumbo, 1B, Angels (Triple-A Salt Lake): 2-for-3, HR (30), R, 3 RBI, BB, K

Is it fair to say that the Angels might be a little closer to a playoff spot had they called up Trumbo when Kendry Morales went down? Now batting .347/.430/.612 since the All-Star break, Trumbo would have saved them from the constant lineup shuffling and putting players like Howie Kendrick, Robb Quinlan and Kevin Frandsen at first base.

Others Of Note:

  • Yonder Alonso, 1B, Reds (Triple-A Louisville): 3-for-5, 2B, HR (11), R, 2 RBI. Hitting .347/.427/.569 since the All-Star break; surprised he's not playing left field more, as Joey Votto certainly isn't going anywhere.
  • Oswaldo Arcia, OF, Twins (Rookie-level Elizabethton): 3-for-5, 2 R, RBI, 2 K, SB. 11-for-20 in last five games and .393/.440/.707 overall.
  • Junior Arias, SS, Reds (Rookie-level AZL Reds): 2-for-5, HR (6), 2 R, 4 RBI. Needs to work on approach and defense, but .303/.343/.508 line is hard to ignore.
  • Manny Banuelos, LHP, Yankees (Double-A Trenton): 5.2 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 3 BB, 6 K. So-so (at best) Double-A debut.
  • Bobby Borchering, 3B, Diamondbacks (Low-A South Bend): 2-for-4, HR (12), 2 R, RBI, 2 K. Season-long disappointment being mitigated by .325/.430/.554 line in 22 August games.
  • Matt Carpenter, 3B, Cardinals (Double-A Springfield): 2-for-4, 2B, 2 R, RBI, BB, K. Now batting .400/.515/.600 in 22 August games and .334/.436/.519 at Double-A, he's arguably the top position prospect in a system desperate for them.
  • Chris Carter, 1B/OF, Athletics (Triple-A Sacramento): 2-for-5, HR (30), R, RBI, 2 K. Home runs in back-to-back games after big league struggles; still lined up for a job in Oakland next year.
  • Aroldis Chapman, LHP, Reds (Triple-A Louisville): 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K. Coming soon to the big leagues; 12 Ks over 7 scoreless innings while giving up two hits in last seven appearances.
  • Michael Choice, OF, Athletics (Short-season Vancouver): 1-for-4, HR (5), 2 R, 3 RBI, BB, 2 K, SB. Too early to call him a power/speed demon, but five home run and five stolen bases in 15 games.
  • Randall Delgado, RHP, Braves (Double-A Mississippi): 6 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 7 K. First Double-A win in six tries; 5.81 ERA overall since promotion.
  • Lucas Duda, 1B/OF Mets (Triple-A Buffalo): 2-for-3, 2B, 2 R, RBI, 2 BB. It's impossible to call a .322/.394/.643 line fluky when it's over 249 plate appearances; scouts are warming up the hitting skills in a big way.
  • Danny Duffy, LHP, Royals (Double-A Northwest Arkansas): 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 5 K. Out of retirement and on to top prospect lists; 2.40 ERA in five Texas League starts while flashing mid-90s heat.
  • Freddie Freeman, 1B, Braves (Triple-A Gwinnett): 2-for-2, 2 2B, RBI, BB, SB. Easy to forget he's just 20 year old; batting .392/.440/.633 in August and .313/.375/.520 overall.
  • Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, Diamondbacks (High-A Visalia): 1-for-3, HR (33), R, 2 RBI, BB, 2 K. First home run in ten games ties him for overall minor league lead.
  • Derek Holland, LHP, Rangers (Triple-A Oklahoma City): 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 5 K. One has to think there will be some kind of big league role for him down the stretch.
  • Jose Iglesias, SS, Red Sox (Double-A Portland): 3-for-5, 3 R RBI, K, SB. Six hits in last two games and .303/.339/.389 overall; throw in the fantastic defense and he might be big league ready quicker than expected.
  • Jeff Locke, LHP, Pirates (Double-A Altoona): 5.2 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 7 K. Former Braves has had mostly ignored bounce-back season; 47 Ks in 46.2 Double-A innings with 2.89 ERA.
  • Jio Mier, SS, Astros (Low-A Lexington): 2-for-5, 2B, 2 R, RBI, K. 7-for-12 in last three games, but '09 first-round pick is batting just .235/.317/.315 on the year.
  • Marcel Ozuna, OF, Marlins (Short-season Jamestown): 1-for-4, HR (17), R, 2 RBI, 2 K. 17 home runs in 219 at-bats; huge power, but all-or-nothing approach won't work higher up.
  • Jurickson Profar, SS, Rangers (Short-season Spokane): 2-for-4, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB. 17-year-old is finally impressing with the bat; 9-for-17 in last five games.
  • Josh Reddick, OF, Red Sox (Triple-A Pawtucket): 3-for-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB. Saving prospect status with crazy late-season run; hitting .344/.375/.598 since All-Star break.
  • Trayvon Robinson, OF, Dodgers (Double-A Chattanooga): 3-for-3, 2B, R; 1-for-2, BB, 2 SB. Has turned into walking machine of late with 100 at-bats and 27 walks since All-Star break; .305/.406/.448 overall.
  • Nate Spears, SS, Red Sox (Double-A Portland): 3-for-6, 2 HR (17), 2 R, 6 RBI, 2 K. Strange prospect; 25-year-old former Orioles and Cub farmhand never hit more than seven home runs in a season, but is suddenly hits 17 with career highs in numerous offensive categories.
  • Trayce Thompson, OF, White Sox (Low-A Kannapolis): 2-for-4, RBI. Toolsy-but-raw prospect has 11 total bases in last three games; .244/.306/.476 line is actually a very pleasant surprise.
  • Carlos Villanueva, 3B, Rangers (Rookie-level AZL Rangers): 2-for-3, 4 RBI, BB, SB. 19-year-old Mexican import has pretty swing; .314/.366/.440 in 47 games.
  • Christian Yelich, OF, Marlins (Rookie-level GCL Marlins): 3-for-3, 3B, 2 R, 2 RBI. Outstanding pro debut for first-round pick who signed at the deadline.

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

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

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Ira

Its funny that you can say this: "17-year-old is finally impressing with the bat; 9-for-17 in last five games. "

Personally, the only thing I say finally about when it comes to 17 year olds is, "he finally can shave now".

He's 17 and in short season a ball (not a DSL or rookie league), that says something.

Aug 24, 2010 10:40 AM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

I wasn't trying to insult the guy at all; great prospect, just finally started hitting.

Aug 24, 2010 17:24 PM
 
tdees40

So what's Freeman's ceiling?

Aug 24, 2010 10:42 AM
rating: 1
 
gogotabata

In honor of KG's love of comps, I suggest folks throw down their own FF comps here.

Says I: Wally Joyner

Aug 24, 2010 12:02 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

Not the worst comp I've seen. He could develop real power.

Aug 24, 2010 17:25 PM
 
Shankweather

The Cubs could use some Yonder Alonso. Maybe the Reds will take Josh Vitters.

Aug 24, 2010 10:52 AM
rating: 0
 
asstarr1

How is Carpenter's defense? He can't bat worse than Pedro Feliz.

Aug 24, 2010 11:21 AM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

Solid but unspectacular at third.

Aug 24, 2010 17:25 PM
 
Dave Holgado

Kevin, I'd be interested to hear your current take on Freeman vs. Carter, as perhaps the two best 1B prospects remaining in the minors right now not named Hosmer. Despite roughly similar physical dimensions, it seems like their profiles and skill sets could not be more different. Carter is low contact (last year's AA line is starting to look a bit BABIP-fueled), high walk rate, prodigious power, and atrocious afield. Freeman is high contact (for a 1B, at least), low walk rate, middling (though emerging) pop, and a plus defender. Carter's a RHB, and Freeman a LHB. They have mostly played and will continue to play on opposite coasts in opposite leagues. Carter is a Jacob guy, whereas Freeman is strictly Team Edward. Seriously, don't differences like these make it difficult to compare the two?

Sickels says Freeman has now passed Carter as a prospect, and BA seems to agree (they were in a relative dead heat before this season, but Freeman made BA's mid-season top 25 and Carter missed the cut). You had Carter -- but not Freeman -- on a short list of candidates for the last spot on your mid-season top 11 remaining list, and a fairly wide gap between the two in the preseason (I recognize the rankings aren't an exact science, but there must be some daylight between 11 and 51).

Both your and BA's mid-season takes were before Freeman's red hot August, and before Carter's O-for-MLB cup of coffee (though Carter had a nice July/Aug in AAA in his own right). So I can only assume that Freeman will be comfortably ahead of Carter on BA's prospect list next spring. Would you give Freeman the edge over Carter now, too, given A/R/L, and Freddie's emerging power (May-Aug ISOs of .175, .193, .216, and .241)? Or is there no wrong answer here, in that Carter, as evidenced by his growth throughout the season at AAA, still has a shot to be an impact power bat in the show?

Aug 24, 2010 11:23 AM
rating: 1
 
MJ

Off topic, but maybe somebody can answer this for me: Does Will Carroll still write for BP? He hasn't posted a UTK in a week, but I haven't seen any announcement of any kind for a reason for the gap.

Aug 24, 2010 11:25 AM
rating: 6
 
Sparky's Pitch Fork

I was curious of the same thing because on his FB account he listed working for BP up to August 2010.

Aug 24, 2010 15:31 PM
rating: 1
 
fieldofdreams

nice catch on this. based on twitter/FB seems they fired him, there is a story that is leaking to some people (not subscribers), no official explanation. Will seems unable to talk about it due to "legal" issues.

Aug 24, 2010 20:43 PM
rating: 0
 
jrmayne

Things done immediately prior to disappearance:

1. Discussion of PED producers and links to MLB.

2. Statement that "sources" told him Strasburg was to see Andrews, then recantation (saying sources just said he was going to see a specialist, which he assumed was Andrews.).

Whether either of these is connected is unclear.

I'd like to know what happened, too. Carroll claims to be legally barred from talking about something that angers him, which implies an NDA.

I'd certainly not judge BP too harshly if there was a split and we got little information other than he was gone.

Carroll's a bit of a curious character, making some intriguing claims (he found Verducci effect before Verducci popularized - when pinned on numbers, backed off a bit; claiming Beltran's career was over then backing off that; the steroid implications then the disclaiming of same toward one well-known player; the claim that multiple clubs had 30-pitch limits for a single inning on all pitchers, which is researchable if you have the tools... there's more) and of course he was the primary source of BP's most embarrassingly wrong story, the Rose debacle. Of course, he's also a highly popular and prolific outputter of injury information.

Whether any of this is relevant to the instant situation is unknown by those on the outside, like me.

I have no inside information on any of this. I'd caution against confident conclusions based on limited data. I'd hope for some sort of announcement from BP. And I'd wish all parties the best.

--JRM

Aug 24, 2010 22:24 PM
rating: 5
 
fieldofdreams

Good post. "Curious character" is certainly an apt description, but he seems to have always been that way. I'm not asking for dirt, I'm simply asking for some kind of official notification. UTK was a BIG part of why many people subscribe. Yanking it w/o any explanation is unprofessional.

Aug 25, 2010 06:39 AM
rating: 6
 
Mr. Cthulhu

I think the fact that Kevin did not respond to the post, but did to others, suggests there is something going on.

Aug 24, 2010 18:14 PM
rating: 2
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

We simply can not comment at this time. We value our readers immensely and will have more for you the minute we can.

Aug 25, 2010 09:05 AM
 
PeterBNYC
Other readers have rated this comment below the viewing threshold. Click here to view anyway.

Kevin: Not good enough. This goes to BP's basic mission and appeal. If something is happening, we have a right to know. Let this simmer one more 24 hour cycle and you will have blown it with me. I hope this is not what I suspect. Oh and by the way, Love my BP.

Aug 25, 2010 11:31 AM
rating: -5
 
Nick Carter

I think I speak for most when I say "grow up".

Aug 26, 2010 15:55 PM
rating: 0
 
fieldofdreams

@MJ, i'm wondering the same thing. he's had funny posts on Twitter and FB that indicate something is amiss, but no references to BP.

I understand that personnel items are often confidential, but Kevin I think you owe it to subscribers to notify us about changes to a key component of the BP package.

Aug 24, 2010 11:28 AM
rating: 1
 
MJ

If you look at his tumblr blog he posted what looks like an UTK (though he didn't call it that) on August 20, 3 days after his last one at BP. That made me think the worst.

I agree we should be notified (not the "why" details obviously) if Will is no longer part of BP, as his articles are one of my main reasons for subscribing (along with Kevin's and the expanding fantasy coverage).

Aug 24, 2010 11:34 AM
rating: 0
 
elm
(41)

And that he called the section at the end "Speedy Nicks" instead of "Quick Cuts" suggests to that there's a copyright issue involved as well. This is all very troubling and I hope some sort of explanation is provided soon. (Including if we're imagining something nefarious that doesn't exist...)

Aug 24, 2010 16:05 PM
rating: 1
 
fieldofdreams

yes, that was very odd. I sort of gave BP a pass on the PECOTA fiasco, but to drop one of your most popular columns in the middle of the pennant race w/ no explanation is just amateur.

Aug 24, 2010 20:41 PM
rating: 0
 
Mr. Cthulhu

Well, we don't know what happened and we don't know the legal issues surrounding anything that has happened. I assume they want to comment, but are being advised not to.

Aug 24, 2010 21:04 PM
rating: 1
 
anderson721

Good time to be a Reds fan.

Aug 24, 2010 12:29 PM
rating: 0
 
Sparky's Pitch Fork

Matt Carpenter > Cox?

Aug 24, 2010 15:30 PM
rating: 0
 
pobothecat

And maybe I missed this as well --- but no virtually no Transaction Action in the past two - three weeks.

Aug 24, 2010 17:10 PM
rating: -1
 
saigonsam

Just to pile on a bit, perhaps one of the most significant events concerning the business of baseball happened this week, but still there is no mention of the leaked financial statements on this site. There will be huge ramifications in the collective bargaining sessions after this season because of these leaked documents (see them on deadspin.com).

Aug 24, 2010 17:45 PM
rating: 0
 
thompson24

Thompson has really impressed me since his injury, he grew up in the northwest and said he grew up admiring junior, and he has the potential to be aa game changer, maybe not quite like him, but he can do everything out there, and once he gets more discipline at the plate its going to be scary

Aug 24, 2010 17:57 PM
rating: 0
 
thompson24

and having the last name as his adds to the love!!

Aug 24, 2010 17:59 PM
rating: 0
 
jake726

Is there a reason Spears is listed as a SS? I've never seen anything to indicate that he is anything other than a 2B.

Aug 24, 2010 20:46 PM
rating: 0
 
Kapellmeisters

It's CHRISTIAN Villanueva, not Carlos.

Aug 24, 2010 21:18 PM
rating: 0
 
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