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April 13, 2011

Future Shock Blog

Minor League Update: Games of April 12

by Kevin Goldstein

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Dee Gordon, SS, Dodgers (Triple-A Albuquerque): 4-for-6, 2B, 4 R, K, SB.

When Rafael Furcal broke his thumb, it seemed like it might be a good, albeit a bit rushed of a time to take a look at Dee Gordon in the big leagues. He's batting .360 in six games with five stolen bases, but the team instead promoted the less highly regarded Ivan DeJesus to take the roster spot. The reasoning is quite simple. DeJesus has very good defensive fundamentals, while Gordon has committed four errors already after being charged with 37 miscues last year. Until the glove is more ready, he's not going to be allowed to take the right turn at Albuquerque.

Drew Hutchinson, RHP, Blue Jays (Low-A Lansing): 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 11 K

Hutchinson's season debut led to quite a few emails and tweets to me, asking if the Jays had suddenly found the next big thing. I certainly understand the excitement based on what is obviously an impressive line, but I'm here for a bit of a realism jolt. A 15th-round pick who signed for a well over-slot bonus of $400K in 2009, Hutchinson has dominated more on finesse than stuff, as while he has a solid-average fastball, solid-average breaking ball and solid-average changeup, his ability to mix his pitches, locate his offerings at an advanced level and change speeds is what has led to big numbers so far. He's definitely a prospect with the potential to be a big league starter, but there's not a star-level projection yet.

Roman Mendez, RHP, Rangers (Low-A Hickory): 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 K

Well of course the Rangers have another young arm to get excited about. Acquired from Boston in the Jarrod Saltalamacchia deal, Mendez is a power-armed righty who is quickly making the transition from thrower to pitcher while maintaining his upper-level velocity. He touched as high as 99 mph during the spring, and has a developing slider, and the development of his changeup will determine if his ultimate profile is as starter or closer.

Others Of Note:

  • Bryce Brentz, OF, Red Sox (Low-A Greenville): 2-for-4, HR (2), 3 R, 3 RBI, BB, K. Continuing to impress after downright bad pro debut; .444/.464/.852 in six games.
  • Rex Brothers, LHP, Rockies (Triple-A Colorado Springs): 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K. Five strikeouts in 3.1 innings; could provide power lefty relief in the big leagues soon.
  • Gary Brown, OF, Giants (High-A San Jose): 2-for-3, R, 2 BB, K, SB, CS. Remember all of the talk about how he never walked in college? Already has drawn five in six games.
  • Michael Choice, OF, Athletics (High-A Stockton): 2-for-5, 2B, HR (1), 3 R, 3 RBI, 2 K. The worry heading into the year was the strikeouts, and with eight in 22 at-bats, it's proving to be a problem so far.
  • Jaff Decker, OF, Padres (Double-A San Antonio): 3-for-4, 2 2B, HR (2), R, 2 RBI, BB. Picking up from last year's white-hot finish; has reached base 16 times in six games with 21 total bases.
  • Derek Dietrich, SS, Rays (Low-A Bowling Green): 1-for-2, HR (2), R, RBI. Too good and too advanced for Low-A, and not a SS in the end, but still has enough bat to be a big leaguer at second or third.
  • Jae-Hoon Ha, OF, Cubs (High-A Daytona): 3-for-4, 2B, R, RBI, CS. Four straight multi-hit games for 20-year-old Korean; has line-drive bat and the speed to stay in center field.
  • Matt Harvey, RHP, Mets (High-A St. Lucie): 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 8 K. Seventeen strikeouts in first 11 professional innings; will likely move into Double-A rotation once the weather warms up, and could be knocking on the door of the big league rotation in 2012.
  • Ryan Jackson, SS, Cardinals (Double-A Springfield): 3-for-5, 2B, BB. Features in Monday's Ten Pack, if the defensive whiz has really figured out something with the bat (he's 12-for-27 in six games), he profiles as an every day big league shortstop, and those aren't exactly easy to find.
  • Brett Lawrie, 3B, Blue Jays (Triple-A Las Vegas): 2-for-3, R, RBI, BB, K, SB. .517 OBP in six games, but talk of him finding a defensive home may be pre-mature with three errors in six games. He still might be best suited to a corner outfield slot.
  • Marcus Littlewood, SS, Mariners (Low-A Clinton): 2-for-3, BB, K. A second-round pick last June, Littlewood might not be able to stay at shortstop, but he can hit, and is 8-for-17 in five games.
  • Mike Minor, LHP, Braves (Triple-A Gwinnett): 6 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 9 K. Walked the first batter and then missed plenty of bats; 89-94 mph with good changeup and a curveball that was plus but inconsistent according to scout.
  • Devin Mesoraco, C, Reds (Triple-A Louisville): 1-for-1, HR (3), R, RBI. Pinch-hit go-ahead home run on his schedule day off; now three bombs in 17 at-bats and looking very much for real.
  • Jesus Montero, C, Yankees (Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre): 3-for-5, 2 2B, 2 R. Eleven hits in last four games with three doubles; but has thrown out just one of six base stealers.
  • Mike Montgomery, LHP, Royals (Triple-A Omaha): 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 5 K. Nice recovery from rough debut, but the bad news is this took 73 pitches.
  • Brian Morris, RHP, Pirates (Double-A Atloona): 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K. Pirates finally have some pitching prospects, and Morris could put himself in line for a September look.
  • Wil Myers, OF, Royals (Double-A Northwest Arkansas): 3-for-5, 2B, 2 R, 3 RBI, BB, SB. Had some surprising contact issues during opening weekend, but settling in at his new position and starting to hit.
  • Andy Oliver, LHP, Tigers (Triple-A Toledo): 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 8 K. Two straight impressive outings could put him in the big leagues soon; finding more consistency with secondary pitches.
  • Mike Olt, 3B, Rangers (High-A Myrtle Beach): 2-for-4, HR (2), R, 2 RBI, K. After an impressive spring, Olt might just be too good for this level both offensively and with the glove; 15 total bases in four games.
  • Cory Rasmus, RHP, Braves (High-A Lynchburg): 4.1 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 9 K. Whiffed the first eight hitters he faced; still somewhat of a prospect despite history of arm troubles.
  • Enny Romero, LHP, Rays (Low-A Bowling Green): 4.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 5 K. A few more control issues than his first start, but still has 13 whiffs in 9.2 innings and arguably has the best left-handed fastball in the Midwest League.
  • Jerry Sands, OF, Dodgers (Triple-A Albuquerque): 2-for-5, 2B, HR (4), 2 R, 5 RBI, BB. Sure it's a great place to hit, but 24 total bases in 24 at-bats with home runs in four straight games is impressive regardless of the park. It's time to stop nitpicking and just say the guy can really hit.
  • Mike Trout, OF, Angels (Double-A Arkansas): 3-for-4, 2 HR (3), 2 R, 5 RBI, BB. Double-A doesn't seem to be a problem for him, and he doesn't turn 20 until August.
  • Zack Von Rosenberg, RHP, Pirates (Low-A West Virginia): 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 9 K. Impressive full-season debut for $1.2 million arm that's loaded with projection and has the potential to shoot up prospect lists.
  • Robert Whitenack, RHP, Cubs (High-A Daytona): 6 IP, 1 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 12 K. Arguably the best pitching line of the day; six-foot-five righty has solid velocity and plenty of deception.

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

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

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Mtn Jam

KG, any word on how hard ZVR threw?

Apr 13, 2011 10:32 AM
rating: 0
JD Sussman

Thanks KG.

Apr 13, 2011 10:36 AM
rating: 0

Can't believe Dietrich got credited with a HR. It was inside-the-park after a collision between Donovan Tate and Everett Williams.

Apr 13, 2011 10:36 AM
rating: 0

Kevin, at the Triple-A level (and/or lower levels), how much of an SB is the fault of the pitcher and how much on the catcher?

(Trying to find a glimmer of hope in the "Montero is a bad catcher" vibe, like maybe he's catching guys with slow delivery times.) :-)

Apr 13, 2011 10:41 AM
rating: 1
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

Depends on the guy. There are not a ton of pitchers at AAA who are necessarily going to HELP Montero, but he's not doing much to help himself either.

Apr 13, 2011 10:44 AM

I'm not Kevin, but...FWIW, the announcers for the Scranton game last night (Rochester annoucers) seemed to want to place some of the blame on Brackman. Based on the video evidence, I'm not sure Brackman should necessarily get blame though, as Kevin said, he definitely wasn't HELPING.

Apr 13, 2011 11:49 AM
rating: 0

So in a perfect world, Matt Harvey is a MLB pitcher in the mold of _________?

Apr 13, 2011 11:51 AM
rating: 0
Dan W.

Cy Young.

Apr 13, 2011 12:20 PM
rating: 1

Don't you mean Mendez is making the transition from thrower to pitcher, not pitcher to thrower?

Apr 13, 2011 12:06 PM
rating: 0

So a question about Jesus Montero: could the team trading for him feel confident about putting him at first base? Or is it hopeless?

Apr 13, 2011 13:56 PM
rating: 0

Why haven't the Yankees moved Montero to first base yet?

Apr 13, 2011 19:27 PM
rating: -1

Uh, because they have a guy called "Tex" playing there. The only chance Montero has of playing 1b for the Yankees over the next few years is a catastrophic injury to Texeira, so why move him there? If he plays for the Yanks, it's as a C or a DH.

Apr 13, 2011 19:53 PM
rating: 2
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

What he said.

Apr 13, 2011 20:49 PM

I guess I just figured that since everyone and their sister says that Montero is an awful catcher, they should probably think about seeing how he performs at other positions, even if it's just for trade value. I know I sure as heck would be less interested in trading for Montero if he didn't have any experience at first base. At least get him some reps there, because he clearly has no business being a full-time catcher. There also exists the injury possibility to Teixeira, so having a good hitter like Montero on the farm at that position would seemingly be of interest to the Yanks.

All I'm saying is I haven't read a single positive thing about Montero's defense in a good long while. To me, it seems silly to keep him at a position he's never going to be even average at. And the fact that it's at catcher, the most strenuous position of them all, would further my belief that it's silly.

Apr 13, 2011 23:38 PM
rating: 1

The points are valid, but for the sake of trade value I think you keep saying he can play at catcher. If you start part timing him at 1B, it seems like the Yankees would be admitting he can't hack it as a catcher.

At the end of the day I wouldn't be surprised to see Montero on another team in a Mike Napoli role (albeit full time).

Apr 14, 2011 03:42 AM
rating: 1

In ref to Dee Gordon, 23 isn't exactly that young for a SS prospect. How long should/will he be given to bring his glove work to a major league level? And how much further improvement can be expected at this point?

Apr 14, 2011 06:31 AM
rating: 0
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

It's a really good question, and there certainly have been some who think you should just put him in center. It's hard with the general lack a shortstops and Gordon certainly having the tools to be a good SS.

Apr 14, 2011 07:52 AM
Dave Pomerantz

I'm pretty sure I've read that Gordon didn't play much baseball in high school, which I would think gives him a couple extra years... but we're reaching the end of those years. Time for him to get it together.

Apr 14, 2011 10:29 AM
rating: 1
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