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April 12, 2011

Future Shock Blog

Minor League Update: Games of April 11

by Kevin Goldstein

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Jose Altuve, 2B, Astros (High-A Lancaster): 3-for-4, HR (1), 2 R, RBI, SB

I don't think it's a secret how much I like this guy. Listed at 5-foot-5 and 148 pounds, Altuve hit .308/.364/.445 at Low-A last year while hitting 11 home runs, and then added four more shot in the Cal League over the final month of the season. Scouts adore him, are amazed by what he can do with his size, and yet have to question his future because of it. By going 10-for-19 with four extra base hits in his first five game for Lancaster, the questions keep on coming, which is all he can do for now in a ballpark that generates highly inflated numbers. We won't know what we have here until he reaches Double-A, so far now, all he can do is stay on the radar.

Michael Burgess, OF, Cubs (High-A Daytona): 3-for-4, 2 HR (4), 2 R, 5 RBI

A supplemental first-round pick in 2007, Burgess was acquired from the Nationals for Tom Gorzelanny, and while he has well above-average raw power, it's his pure hitting ability that has him starting his third consecutive year at High-A. With four home runs in five games, he seems to be tapping into that power, but to prove the small sample size issue, his on-base percentage still matches his batting average (.313) and he's struck out in one-fourth of his at-bats. There's no answer here yet, but it's better than him starting off with zero home runs, no?

Jarrod Parker, RHP, Diamondbacks (Double-A Mobile): 3.2 IP, 6 H, 8 R (7 ER), 3 BB, 5 K

Parker created quite a buzz during the instructional league last fall when he finally returned to the mound after missing all of 2010 while recovering from Tommy John surgery. The excitement was understandable, as the former first-round pick and overwhelmingly top prospect in the system was finally playing baseball again, but talk of him possibly even breaking camp in the big leagues was a classic case of heart over head. Returning from major surgery is a process that goes well beyond simply getting back on the mound, and bumps in the road following that return on part of that process, as yesterday's line shows. He's still an outstanding pitching prospect, it's just going to take some time for everything to come back.

Joe Savery, 1B, Phillies (High-A Clearwater): 2-for-3, 2B, R, BB

This one is a long shot, but it's at least going to be fun to watch. Savery was the 19th overall pick in the 2007 draft as a pitcher, but he also hit in the middle of the order at Rice, and had easy pro potential at the plate as well. After more than twice as many hits allowed than strikeouts at Triple-A, he's trying to re-invent himself as a hitter, and while he struggled on the mound last year, he did hit .348 while being frequently used as a pinch hitter. At 25, he's quite old for the Florida State League, but he might end up somewhere more age-appropriate soon after going 14-for-18 (.778) in his first five games as an every day player.

Others Of Note:

  • Dustin Ackley, 2B, Mariners (Triple-A Tacoma): 0-for-3, 2 BB. The Mariners hoped to call him up early this year, but are also hoping for not another slow start, as he's 3-for-19.
  • Noel Arguelles, LHP, Royals (High-A Wilmington): 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K. Long-awaited debut for big-budget Cuban signee; velocity was well below pre-surgery mark.
  • Phillippe Aumont, RHP, Phillies (Double-A Reading): 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K. So far, so good, as season consists of a walk, four whiffs and three groundball outs.
  • Manny Banuelos, LHP, Yankees (Double-A Trenton): 4 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K. Not an overly dominant season debut.
  • Cameron Bayne, RHP, White Sox (High-A Winson-Salem): 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K. Some see him as a sleeper based on arm strength alone, but might profile better in the bullpen.
  • Christian Bethancourt, C, Braves (Low-A Rome): 3-for-4, 2B, 3B, HR (1), 2 R, 3 RBI. Struggled more than expected in Rome last year, but still has tools, still provides excellent defense and still just 19 years old.
  • Jaff Decker, OF, Padres (Double-A San Antonio): 3-for-6, 3B, HR (1), 3 R, 4 RBI, BB, 2 K, SB. Just one part of a 23-10 win at Tulsa that featured heavy winds and 11 home runs.
  • Nick Franklin, SS, Mariners (High-A High Desert): 0-for-5, K. Seen as the player most likely to take advantage of the Cal League, instead he's started the year 0-for-12.
  • Miles Head, 1B, Red Sox (Low-A Greenville): 4-for-4, 2B, 2 HR (2), 4 R, 4 RBI, BB. Over slot signee from the 2009 draft hit just one home run in 229 at-bats for Short-season Lowell last year.
  • Tommy Joseph, C, Giants (High-A San Jose): 3-for-5, R, 4 RBI, K. Catching only half of the time leaves questions about his defensive future, but the bat continues to impress with 17 total bases in five games.
  • Jair Jurrjens, RHP, Braves (Triple-A Gwinnett): 6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 3 K. No issues afterwards, heading back to Atlanta.
  • Manny Machado, SS, Orioles (Low-A Delmarva): 3-for-4, 2B, R, BB. 2010 first round pick has reached base in 14 of 22 plate appearances and is getting constantly pitched around already, including his second intentional walk last night.
  • Starling Marte, OF, Pirates (Double-A Altoona): 3-for-5, 2B, R. With his hand finally healthy, he's driving balls far more consistently and is 9-for-21 (.429) with four extra base hits.
  • Jesus Montero, C, Yankees (Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre): 3-for-5, 2B, 2 R RBI. Now 9-for-20 in four games, not that you should be surprised or anything.
  • J.R. Murphy, C/3B/DH, Yankees (Low-A Charleston): 3-for-4, 2B, HR (3), 3 R, 2 RBI. Like Slade Heathcott, Murphy is repeating Low-A, and like Heathcott, he's playing like he's mad about it, with three home runs in five games.
  • Wily Mo Pena, OF, Diamondbacks (Triple-A Reno): 2-for-5, HR (3), R, 3 RBI, K. Now 6-for-13 with three bombs . . . I'm just sayin'.
  • Carlos Perez, C, Blue Jays (Low-A Lansing): 2-for-5, 2B, 3B, 2 R, RBI, BB, K. The Jays are loaded with catching prospects, and Perez has plus potential both at and behind the plate, going 5-for-10 in his first two games.
  • A.J. Pollock, OF, Diamondbacks (Double-A Mobile): 4-for-5, 2 B, 2 R, K. Three straight multi-hit games for 2009 first-round pick who missed all of last season after elbow surgery; needs to stick in center to avoid tweener status.
  • Matt Rizzotti, 1B, Phillies (Double-A Reading): A bulky, bat-only first baseman, but at some point he needs to be taken seriously. 985 OPS last year and 8-for-19 with 15 total bases in five 2011 contests.
  • Jerry Sands, OF, Dodgers (Triple-A Albuquerque): 2-for-3, HR (3), R, 3 RBI, BB. A friendly home park is helping last year's breakout player pick up where he left off with home runs in three straight games.
  • Grady Sizemore, OF, Indians (Double-A Akron): 2-for-4, 2B, R, 2 RBI. Now 5-for-11 with two doubles in three games; expected to return to big leagues soon.
  • Alex Torres, LHP, Rays (Triple-A Durham): 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 9 K. Lefty acquired in the Scott Kazmir trade is early leader for “starter to get call should need arise” status.
  • Alex Wimmers, RHP, Twins (High-A Fort Myers): 0 IP, 0 H, 4 R, 6 BB, 0 K. Hard to imagine a more disturbing season debut for the 2010 first-round pick.

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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