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May 12, 2011

Future Shock Blog

Minor League Update: Games of May 11

by Kevin Goldstein

Jordan Danks, OF, White Sox (Triple-A Charlotte): 1-for-5, HR (8), 2 R, 4 RBI, K.

You all know the story on Danks by now. Great athlete, no results. Any sort of prospect light he had dimmed away with a .242/.312/.373 line last year for Charlotte, and now he's having a downright strange year. He's never hit more than nine home runs in a single season, but he's already one away from that in early May after going deep in three straight games and six of his last eight. He's also suddenly walking more but still struggling to hit for average, with an overall line of .247/.351/.577. I'm not sure what to make of it until I can find a scout who has sat on the team, but it's filed under 'I' for interesting for now.

Bryce Harper, OF, Nationals (Low-A Hagerstown): 4-for-5, HR (8), 2 R, 5 RBI.

After an 0-for-2 showing on April 18th, Harper was batting .231/.333/.333 in his first 12 professional games. Since then he done nothing short of completely go off. In his 19 games since that low point, he's 35-for-72 (.486) with ten walks (.549 on-base percentage), ten doubles and seven home runs (.917 slugging). I don't need to remind you that he should be a high-school senior, but I'll do it anyway. Almost inconceivably, he's actually better than expected, and reaching the big leagues as a teenager is a distinct possibility.

Joe Wieland, RHP, Rangers (High-A Myrtle Beach): 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K.

You want to hear crazy? Part of one of the better minor league rotations around, Wieland and Robbie Erlin have combined to strike out 83 over 74 innings while walking just seven. Wieland's 43-to-3 ratio, including zero free passes in his last four starts (26 innings) is ridiculous, and he's more than just a finesse pitcher. Sitting in the low-90s with his fastball and a very good curve, he has the rare combination of excellent command and at least average stuff, if not more.

Others Of Note:

  • Yonder Alonso, 1B, Reds (Triple-A Louisville): 3-for-5, 2B, 3B, HR (4), 2 R, 3 RBI. Nine hits in last four games and eight of them for extra bases have lifted slugging 84 points in four days to .313/.362/.530; lefty struggles (.302 OBP) still a concern.
  • Bryce Brentz, OF, Red Sox (Low-A Greenville): 4-for-5, 2B, HR (8), 2 R, 4 RBI, K. Run is approaching crazy level; 10-for-16 in last three games with 20 total bases and season line of .381/.439/.679 – in other words, move him up.
  • Paul Clemens, RHP, Braves (Double-A Mississippi): 8 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 3 K. Second straight start of eight innings, four hits, and one run; the term sleeper doesn't do him justice as he's throwing three average-to-plus pitches.
  • Alex Cobb, RHP, Rays (Triple-A Durham): 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K. Zero earned runs over 12.1 innings since returning to Triple-A.
  • Casey Crosby, LHP, Tigers (Double-A Erie): 6 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 6 BB, 5 K. Stuff has been generally at pre-injury levels, but control as been an issue.
  • Matt Davidson, 1B/3B, Diamondbacks (High-A Visalia): 3-for-5, 2 2B, R, 2 RBI, BB, K. 9-for-18 in last four games and .304/.360/.472 overalls; still seen as far more a first baseman than someone who can man third in the big leagues.
  • Kelvin De La Cruz, RHP, Indians (Double-A Akron): 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 7 K. Was a hot prospect two years ago before elbow problems, but stuff seems to be back; 2.32 ERA in 31 innings with 42 strikeouts, but 23 walks.
  • Matt Den Dekker, OF, Mets (High-A St. Lucie): 3-for-4, 3B, R, 2 RBI. Gap power, outstanding defense and a .339/.372/.543 line after 31 games; scout: “This is exactly the kind of guy who exceeds all expectations.”
  • Luis Domoromo, OF, Padres (Low-A Fort Wayne): 4-for-4, HR (1), R, RBI, CS. 19-year-old Venezuelan got seven-figure bonus for almost solely his bat and approach; .354/.450/.441 in 10 games since arroving from extended and just three strikeouts in 34 at-bats.
  • Yasmani Grandal, C, Reds (High-A Bakersfield): 2-for-3, HR (8), 2 R, 2 BB, K. Popping out of minor slump, but still at .279/.423/.558 in 28 games; defense has been average to a tick below.
  • Jedd Gyorko, 3B, Padres (High-A Lake Elsinore): 3-for-5, 2 2B, R, 3 RBI, SB. Eight-game hitting streak has season line at .376/.447/.639; Cal League certainly helps, but scouts universally believe in the bat.
  • Jason Kipnis, 2B, Indians (Triple-A Columbus): 2-for-4, HR (3), 2 R, 2 RBI, K. Hitting .351/.415/.514 in May; Indians' success could keep him down for awhile.
  • Erik Komatsu, OF, Brewers (Double-A Huntsville): 3-for-6, 2B, RBI. Back-to-back three hit games and .333/.430/.444 on the season; projects as a fourth outfielder, but I gotta include a Brewers prospect once in a while, right?
  • Jake Lemmerman, SS, Dodgers (High-A Rancho Cucamonga): 3-for-5, 2 2B, HR (3), R, 2 RBI, 2 K. 2010 fifth-round pick has good approach and gap power; .315/.396/.484 in 31 games but scouts aren't convinced he's a shortstop in the end.
  • Starling Marte, OF, Pirates (Double-A Altoona): 3-for-6, 2B, 2 R, K, SB. Nine hits in last four games and .328/.356/.456 overall; lack of secondary skills still a concern with two home runs and four walks against 125 at-bats.
  • Tyler Matzek, LHP, Rockies (High-A Modesto): 4.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 7 BB, 5 K. 21 walks over 12.2 innings in last four starts and 8.61 ERA on the season.
  • Trevor May, RHP, Phillies (High-A Clearwater): 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 8 K. May be finally finding his rhythm after ugly start; 25 strikeouts over 16 innings in last three starts while giving up just 10 hits and consistently getting into the 93-94 mph range with his fastball.
  • Deck McGuire, RHP, Jays (High-A Dunedin): 5 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 4 BB, 7 K. Back-to-back seven-strikeout games to set and tie career high; he's been consistently good, but rarely great, and that's what he projects to be in the big leagues as well.
  • Melky Mesa, OF, Yankees (Double-A Trenton): 2-for-4, HR (3), R, 2 RBI, K. Finally heating up? 8-for-14 in last four games brings OPS up 124 points to .191/.268/.357.
  • Logan Morrison, OF, Marlins (High-A Jupiter): 2-for-4, HR (1), 2 R, 3 RBI, BB, K. Went 0-for-6 with three strikeouts in first two rehab games.
  • Rafael Ortega, OF, Rockies (Low-A Asheville): 2-for-5, HR (2), 2 R, 3 RBI, K. Slasher with gap power and plus speed and much more than just a sleeper; .314/.359/.421 in 28 games.
  • Josh Outman, LHP, Athletics (Triple-A Sacramento): 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 5 BB, 6 K. 5.28 ERA and nearly as many walks (24) as strikeouts (27) while averaging nearly 20 pitches per inning.
  • Chris Owings, SS, Diamondbacks (High-A Visalia): 4-for-6, 2B, HR (3), 3 R, 4 RBI. Overall depressing season after impressing this spring; .248/.301/.391 in 31 games.
  • Cord Phelps, UT, Indians (Triple-A Columbus): 2-for-4, HR (5), R, 3 RBI. Home runs in three of last four games and .318/.444/.542 overall; projection of future utility player might be light.
  • Anthony Ranaudo, RHP, Red Sox (Low-A Greenville): 2.2 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 2 BB, 5 K. Second downright bad start in last three; at least he missed bats.
  • Matt Rizzotti, 1B, Phillies (Double-A Reading): 3-for-5, HR (6), R, 2 RBI, K. Obviously has no future in Philly and is a bat-only player, but boy can he hit; .345/.398/.612 in 32 games.
  • Clint Robinson, 1B/DH, Royals (Triple-A Omaha): 3-for-4, HR (9), R, 2 RBI. Hitting .328/.418/.607, but the Hosmer promotion all but closed what ever tiny window of hope he had with Royals.
  • Mel Rojas, OF, Pirates (Low-A West Virginia): 3-for-3, R, BB, SB. 14-for-35 (.400) in last ten games; .291/.322/.327 line shows that hitting for average is all he is doing.
  • Tyler Saladino, SS, White Sox (High-A Winston-Salem): 1-for-4, HR (1), R, 3 RBI, K. Season debut for surprise performer who missed first part of season with broken hand; true shortstop who has shocked with the bat.
  • Tyler Townsend, 1B, Orioles (High-A Frederick): 1-for-3, HR (7), 2 R, RBI, BB, K. Five home runs in his last 11 games and .330/.364/.634 overall; all caveats to first base prospects apply, and he's a bit old to be a stud.
  • Sebastian Valle, C, Phillies (High-A Clearwater): 2-for-4, HR (3), R, 3 RBI. 7-for-12 in last three games with two doubles and two home runs; .312/.326/.495 in 24 games.
  • Zach Wheeler, RHP, Giants (High-A San Jose): 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 4 BB, 7 K. Peripherals are much better than 3.66 ERA; 32 IP, 23 H, 13 BB, 41 K.

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:  Luis Domoromo,  Triple-A,  Matt Den Dekker

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