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April 28, 2011

Future Shock Blog

Minor League Update: Games of April 27

by Kevin Goldstein

Oswaldo Arcia, OF, Twins (Low-A Beloit): 2-for-4, HR (4), 2 R, RBI, BB, 2 K

Arcia put up some insane numbers (.375/.424/.672) in the Appy League last year, but as we all know, short-season numbers are hardly a guarantee of any future success, as yes, Mitch Einertson sends his regards. A stocky Venezuelan who swings from his heels but still gets good results from it, the soon-to-be 20-year-old Arcia is putting up the kind of statistics rarely found in the Midwest League in April, as with 18 total bases in his last three games, he's up to .362/.441/.707 for the Snappers. While his athleticism, or lack thereof, will likely limit him to left field in the end, the bat is looking more and more like it will play.

Charlie Furbush, LHP, Tigers (Triple-A Toledo): 7 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 1BB, 11 K

Furbush is 25 years old and sits at right around 90 mph with his fastball. That's not exactly a recipe for sexiness, but he keeps putting up impressive numbers. While he's already had one Tommy John surgery, Furbush continues to use a bizarre whippy arm action that ends with a violent fall to his right side, and while it's hardly pretty, it makes him among the most deceptive pitchers in the minors, and he's struck out 32 over 23 2/3 innings in his first four starts for the Mud Hens. At some point, he's going to get a chance to prove if his unique recipe for success can work in the big leagues.

Robert Whitenack, RHP, Cubs (Double-A Tennessee): 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K

Whitenack entered the year with very little fanfare, but he's generating attention after striking out 25 while walking just one in four Florida State League starts and then delivering six shutout innings in his Double-A debut yesterday. An eighth-round pick in 2009 who had an ERA near five for Low-A Peoria last year, Whitenack's doesn't throw especially hard, but his average-velocity fastball plays up due to the downhill plane created by his 6-foot-5 frame as well as the heavy sink he gets on the pitch, while he's always he a good slow curveball to go with it. His ceiling is as a back-end starter, but that's a massive improvement from where he was heading into the year as little more than an organizational arm.

Others Of Note:

  • Drake Britton, LHP, Red Sox (High-A Salem): 3.2 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 4 BB, 2 K. Hard-throwing southpaw came into the year with considerable hype, but ERA sits at 11.08 after four starts as he's falling behind in the count and then serving up cookies.
  • Domonic Brown, OF, Phillies (High-A Clearwater): 2-for-4, HR (1), R, RBI. Good start to rehab assignment, but the question is what will it take for a big league return.
  • Matt Davidson, 1B, Diamondbacks (High-A Visalia): 2-for-5, R, 3 RBI, 2 K. Has raised batting average 80 points (.288/.350/.384) over the last five days with 10-for-20 hot streak, but sudden and surprising lack of power is a concern for a player with no potential defensive home other than first base.
  • Miguel De Los Santos, LHP, Rangers (Double-A Frisco): 7 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 10 K. Plus-plus velocity and 27 strikeouts in 20 2/3 innings; command issues and tendency to elevate are the concerns.
  • Matt Den Dekker, OF, Mets (High-A St. Lucie): 2-for-4, 2B, HR (1), R, 4 RBI, K. Crazy hot: 23-for-47 (.489) during 11-game hitting streak and .370/.395/.593 overall; plus-plus centerfield defense could make him a big leaguer alone; but if he hits, he maxes out as a Reed Johnson type.
  • Lucas Duda, OF, Mets (Triple-A Buffalo): 2-for-4, HR (1), R, RBI, K. It took 54 at-bats for his first home run since coming down; just .214/.318/.321 in 16 games.
  • Christian Friedrich, LHP, Rockies (Double-A Tulsa): 4 IP, 10 H, 7 R, 2 BB, 4 K. Simply isn't the same pitcher since 2009 breakout campaign, as both stuff and command have diminished due to injuries.
  • Jedd Gyorko, 3B, Padres (High-A Lake Elsinore): 2-for-5, HR (3), 2 R, 4 RBI, 2 K. Hitting .385/.456/.615 in 20 games; might be stuck here a while with Darnell at Double-A and a good insurance policy of Jesus Guzman at trips.
  • Jae-Hoon Ha, OF, Cubs (High-A Daytona): 2-for-5, R, RBI, BB. First walk in 18 games gives him .370/.381/.593 batting line; plus-plus arm recording sixth assist of the year last night and has 25 in 174 outfield games.
  • Slade Heathcott, OF, Yankees (Low-A Charleston): 2-for-4, 2B, R, RBI, K, CS. Has two hits and a double in each of his last three games to raise averages to .370/.440/.616; too many strikeouts to maintain this high a batting average, but certainly has big league tools, including outstanding center field defense in terms of both range and arm.
  • Adeiny Hechavarria, SS, Blue Jays (Double-A New Hampshire): 3-for-4, 2B, 3B, 3 R, BB, SB. Best game of the year by far; still plenty of questions about his bat as he's hitting just .261/.282/.348.
  • John Lamb, LHP, Royals (Double-A Northwest Arkansas): 5 IP, 4 H, 2 R (0 ER), 1 BB, 4 K. Best start of the year as he's recovered from a lat injury; most important things is that he's throwing strikes again.
  • Barrett Loux, RHP, Rangers (High-A Myrtle Beach): 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 7 K. Best pro start for embattled 2010 first-round pick; 21 strikeouts and just four walks in 19 1/3 innings but has been hittable at times.
  • Manny Machado, SS, Orioles (Low-A Delmarva): 2-for-4, 2B, HR (3), 2 R, 2 RBI. Home runs in three straight games and hitting .314/.410/.571 overall; he's the best shortstop prospect in the game as long as he stays at the position.
  • Stephen Marek, RHP, Braves (Triple-A Gwinnett) 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K. 14 strikeouts and no walks over 9 1/3 innings with huge groundball ratio; should get a look at some point this year in Braves' pen.
  • Francisco Martinez, 3B, Tigers (Double-A Erie): 2-for-3, 2B, HR (2), R, 3 RBI. 20-year-old has been pushed aggressively and starting to hit at bit after starting his Double-A career in a 4-for-37 rut.
  • J.D. Martinez, OF, Astros (Double-A Corpus Christi): 4-for-5, 2 2B, R. Continues to hit and continues to reduce the numbers of doubters as to his ability; 8-for-14 in last three games and .375/.430/.611 overall in 19, but tools limit him to left field.
  • Jose Martinez, OF, White Sox (High-A Winston-Salem): 2-for-4, HR (1), R, RBI. Former highly-ranked prospect is now interesting sleeper; finally goes deep, but three straight multi-hit games have him back over .400 at .403/.452/.571 in 19 overall.
  • Tommy Mendonca, 3B, Rangers (Double-A Frisco): 3-for-4, RBI. Third straight mutli-hit game and ninth in last 11; up to .361/.382/.681 in 18 contests.
  • Derek Norris, C, Nationals (Double-A Harrisburg): 0-for-5, 2 K. Was supposed to be a healthy breakout year, but he's started with a nagging ankle injury and is now 4-for-26 (.154) with 13 strikeouts.
  • Jarrett Parker, OF, Giants (High-A San Jose): 1-for-3, HR (2), R, 2 RBI. 2010 second-round pick with plenty of tools but questions about his bat starting the year by going 7-for-47 (.149) in his first 12 games; but suddenly has a six-game hitting streak and home runs in back-to-back games.
  • Stephen Parker, 3B, Athletics (Double-A Midland): 2-for-4, HR (3), 2 R, RBI, K. Home runs in back-to-back games as part of a seven-game hitting streak that has raised his averages to .304/.385/.522 in 19 games.
  • James Paxton, LHP, Mariners (Low-A Clinton): 6 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 4 BB, 6 K. Long-awaited pro debut for two-time Boras holdout; 6-foot-4 lefties with mid-90s heat don't exactly grow on trees, but he's rarely been able to harness it.
  • Josh Reddick, OF, Red Sox (Triple-A Pawtucket): 1-for-3, HR (6), R, RBI, BB. Home runs in three straight games and four of last five have lifted season averages to .276/.364/.618; needs an injury or change of scenery to get a real shot.
  • Ben Revere, OF, Twins (Triple-A Rochester): 2-for-3, RBI, BB, SB. Dropped from leadoff to eighth in the Red Wings lineup and delivers his first multi-hit game in more than two weeks.
  • Yorman Rodriguez, OF, Reds (Low-A Dayton): 2-for-4, HR (3), 2 R, 3 RBI, K, SB. 18-year-old tool shed is hitting just .206/.250/.382, but power is starting to blossom an upside remains tremendous.
  • Jean Segura, SS, Angels (High-A Inland Empire): 3-for-6, 2 HR (2), 2 R, 4 RBI, 2 K, 2 SB. Hitting in High Desert sure is fun; .364/.417/.545 in 18 games and he's looked good at shortstop.
  • Moses Sierra, OF, Blue Jays (Double-A New Hampshire): 2-for-3, HR (3), R, RBI, BB, K. Thick but athletic outfield with power, some speed and lots of injuries in his past; three home runs in last five games and batting .319/.377/.511 in 13 games.
  • Andrelton Simmons, SS, Braves (High-A Lynchburg): 3-for-3, 2B, 3B, R, 2 RBI, CS. Staring to show some signs of life at the plate to go with outstanding defensive skills; 12-for-31 (.387) in last nine games and .286/.348/.365 overall.
  • Scott Sizemore, 2B, Tigers (Triple-A Toledo): 1-for-3, HR (2), R, 2 RBI; 1-for-3, 2B R, K. Will Rhymes can't hit, Ryan Raburn can't field, and this guy is being wasted at Triple-A.
  • Giovanni Soto, LHP, Indians (High-A Kinston): 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K. 19-year-old precision lefty with sink, but sits in the mid-to-upper 80s; if he can fill out and gain some velo, the Indians might be on to something here.
  • Matt Szczur, OF, Cubs (Low-A Peoria): 3-for-4, 2B, BB, K. Three straight multi-hit games raise averages to .310/.385/.379; scouts see a slashy swing with little power, and he's yet to really use his speed with just one stolen base.
  • Eric Surkamp, LHP, Giants (Double-A Richmond): 7 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 10 K. Difficult to project due to lack of velocity, but has plus secondary stuff and 30 strikeouts in 20 1/3 innings.
  • Steve Susdorf, OF, Phillies (Double-A Reading): 5-for-5, 2B, 2 HR (3), 3 R, 8 RBI. Not really a prospect, but crazy lines usually make the daily.
  • Oscar Tejeda, 2B, Red Sox (Double-A Portland): 2-for-2, 2 R, 2 BB. Has made just one out in his last two games while raising OPS 198 points to .296/.345/.426.
  • Mike Trout, OF, Angels (Double-A Arkansas): 3-for-4, 2 2B, 3B, 2 R, K; 0-for-2, K. Hitting .305/.379/.627 in 16 Texas League games and doesn't turn 20 until August. Looking for a negative, he's stolen just three bases after swiping eight at this point last year.
  • Dayan Viciedo, OF, White Sox (Triple-A Charlotte): 2-for-5, 2B, HR (3), 2 R, 2 RBI, K. Home runs in back-to-back games but still at just .243/.278/.419 in 19 games; playing exclusively in right field.
  • Asher Wojciechowski, RHP, Blue Jays (High-A Dunedin): 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 K. 2010 first-round pick has 0.87 ERA in four starts, but also getting by without using his changeup; debate over ultimate role rages on.

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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