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April 6, 2012

Future Shock

Opening Day Notebook

by Kevin Goldstein

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Bryce Harper, OF, Nationals (Triple-A Syracuse): 2-for-4, 2B, SB, K

Let the countdown begin. For much of yesterday's Triple-A opener, Harper had the only two hits for Syracuse. Considering the center field situation in Washington, Harper's moved from the 'if' period of his development to 'when.' His outfield play is still a bit rough, and he can handle center only in a pinch, but that should be enough for Washington, who at this point might be focusing more on his service time calculations than his statistics.

Tyler Matzek, RHP, Rockies (High-A Modesto): 4.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R (0 ER), 3 BB, 7 K

Matzek provided plenty of encouraging signs at the end of the 2011 season when he returned from working with his high school coach to find his velocity. There's still plenty of work to be done in terms of command and control, but Matzek is missing bats and got up to 95 mph on opening day. He's definitely worth watching.

Austin Wood, RHP, Angels (Low-A Cedar Rapids): 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 10 K

When Wood enrolled at Florida State in 2008, many scouts thought he could turn into a first-round pick in 2011. Three years, three schools and plenty of inconsistent showings later, he landed in the sixth round to the Angels, earning a $180,000 bonus. Named the sleeper in this year's Angels top 11, the 21-year-old whiffed 10 of the 21 batters he faced in his first professional start while touching 97 mph with his fastball. His other pitches lag well behind, and many see him as a future reliever.

Other Things That Caught My Eye

Matt Adams, 1B, Cardinals (Triple-A Memphis): 1-for-4, HR (1), R, RBI, 2 K. Turned more scouts into believers this spring.

Nolan Arenado, 3B, Rockies (Double-A Tulsa): 4-for-5, 2B, 2 R, 3 RBI. Getting to Colorado just might not take very long; the kid can rake.

Trevor Bauer, RHP, Diamondbacks (Double-A Mobile): 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 7 K. Obviously dominant, but it took 86 pitches, and pitch efficiency is one of the few concerns about his game.

Josh Bell, OF, Pirates (Low-A West Virginia): 1-for-5, 2B, R, RBI, 3 K. Pro debut.

Archie Bradley, RHP, Diamondbacks (Low-A South Bend): 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 7 K. One could argue that no prospect in the game created more buzz this spring.

Chris Carter, DH, Athletics (Triple-A Sacramento): 3-for-5, 2B, 2 R, RBI, BB, K. Might end up a better player without having to worry about defense.

Garin Cecchini, 3B, Red Sox (Low-A Greenville): 2-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 SB. Was having breakout year in New York-Penn League in 2011 before wrist injury; don't be fooled by the two swipes, as he's a hitter, not a runner.

Tyler Cloyd, RHP, Phillies (Triple-A Lehigh Valley): 6 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 8 K. Your pitching line of the night; far more of a finesse guy than a stuff guy.

Jared Cosart: RHP, Astros (Double-A Corpus Christi): 4.1 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 5 K. And it took 90 pitches. That's the most Jarred Cosart line ever.

Kaleb Cowart, 3B, Angels (Low-A Cedar Rapids): 4-for-5, 2B, 3B, 2 R, 2 RBI, K, CS. 2010 first-round pick has impressive bat and the tools to stay at third base.

Derek Dietrich, SS, Rays (High-A Charlotte): 2-for-5, 2B, 2 R, 3 RBI. Probably belonged at this level last year and might not be here for long; too bad scouts don't think he's a shortstop.

Sean Doolittle, LHP, Athletics (High-A Stockton): 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K. 2007 supplemental first-round pick has converted from first baseman to reliever. At 25 and in High-A, he remains a longshot.

Brian Goodwin, OF, Nationals (Low-A Hagerstown): 2-for-4, HR (1), 2 R, 4 RBI, BB. Pro debut for big-money 2011 draftee; tools are tremendous and he might not last long in the Sally League.

Grant Green, OF, Athletics (Triple-A Sacramento): 2-for-6, HR (1), 2 R, RBI. It's good to start the year in Las Vegas.

Justin Grimm, RHP, Rangers (Double-A Frisco): 5.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 10 K. Overlooked in system full of high-ceiling talent, but has very good fastball/curve combination.

Robbie Grossman, OF, Pirates (Double-A Altoona): 2-for-5, HR (1), 2 R, 2 RBI, K. If he can handle the leap to Double-A, concerns about his big 2011 numbers coming in a level repeating performance go away.

Jedd Gyorko, 3B, Padres (Double-A San Antonio): 2-for-4, HR (1), R, RBI. He's short, stumpy, and nothing about him is pretty, but he sure can hit.

Jake Hager, SS, Rays (Low-A Bowling Green): 3-for-3, 2B, R. 32nd overall pick in 2011 did this against Archie Bradley; outstanding fundamental hitter and fielder.

Billy Hamilton, SS, Reds (High-A Bakersfield): 1-for-3, HR (1), 2 R, 2 RBI, BB, K, SB. Billy Hamilton plus the California League will assuredly equal loads of fun.

Brett Jackson, OF, Cubs (Triple-A Iowa): 2-for-4, R, 2 RBI, BB, 2 K, SB. When it comes to the Cubs deciding to call him up, that strikeout total will be the one they focus on.

Matt Harvey, RHP, Mets (Triple-A Buffalo): 4.1 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 BB, 3 K. Ugly Triple-A debut; struggled in final spring outing as well.

Adeiny Hechavarria, SS, Blue Jays (Triple-A Las Vegas): 2-for-5, 2 2B, 2 R, K. Finished 2011 season on a tear at Las Vegas; just might turn into plus-plus glove who can play every day and hit ninth.

J.J. Hoover, RHP, Reds (Triple-A Louisville): 1 IP, 0 R, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K. Gets the save in Reds system debut; scouts loved him out of the bullpen at the end of the 2011 season and he should pitch in the big leagues this year.

Paul Janish, SS, Reds (Triple-A Louisville): 2-for-4, 2 HR (2), 2 R, 2 RBI, K. Did not hit a single home run in 114 games for the Reds in 2011.

Tyrell Jenkins, RHP, Cardinals (Low-A Quad Cities): 1.1 IP, 2 H, 5 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 0 K. Ugly full-season debut for high-ceiling righty; coming off of spring training in which scouts' reports were below expectations.

Taylor Jungmann, RHP, Brewers (High-A Brevard County): 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 4 BB, 3 K. Pro debut for 2011 first-round pick.

Zach Lee, RHP, Dodgers (High-A Rancho Cucamonga): 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K. Good reports this spring in his transitioning from thrower to pitcher.

Manny Machado, SS, Orioles (Double-A Bowie): 2-for-4, HR (1), R, RBI, K. After scuffling in the Carolina League last year, the question was how the 19-year-old would be able to handle Double-A. So far, so good.

Mikie Mahtook, OF, Rays (High-A Charlotte): 2-for-2, 2B, 2 BB, SB. Perfect pro debut for 2011 first-round pick; Some see no star tools, but it's hard to find a single weakness in his game.

Fernando Martinez, OF, Astros (Triple-A Oklahoma City): 3-for-4, 2B, RBI, BB. Astros system debut; nobody knows what he can do if he stays healthy because he's never stayed healthy.

Cory Mazzoni, RHP, Mets (High-A St. Lucie): 5 IP, 4 H, 2 R (0 ER), 2 BB, 5 K. 2011 second-round pick is seen as future reliever by some, but might have back-end rotation potential.

Will Middlebrooks, 3B, Red Sox (Triple-A Pawtucket): 3-for-4, 2 2B, R. Will be interesting to see what happens if he hits well enough to force a decision before September.

Brad Miller, SS, Mariners (High-A High Desert): 2-for-5, 3B, HR (1), 3 R, 3 RBI. Second-round pick isn't really a shortstop and isn't especially toolsy, but he can hit.

Gift Ngoepe, SS, Pirates (High-A Bradenton): 3-for-5, 2 R. South African native missed most of 2011 season with injuries, but his hit tool earns some praise.

Derek Norris, C, Athletics (Triple-A Sacramento): 2-for-6, 2B, HR (1), R, 3 RBI, 2 K. A big season could make the A's more comfortable in dealing Kurt Suzuki.

Wily Peralta, RHP, Brewers (Triple-A Nashville): 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 4 K. Continuing from late-season run to end 2011 season. If the need arises in Milwaukee, he could be the guy.

Garrett Richards, RHP, Angels (Triple-A Salt Lake): 7 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 7 K. Still battling for the fifth starter role, which he should earn at some point in the season, if not right away.

Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Cubs (Triple-A Iowa): 2-for-4, RBI, K. Cubs debut.

George Springer, OF, Astros (High-A Lancaster): 2-for-4, HR (1), R, 5 RBI, K. Grand slam in full-season debut.

Michael Taylor, OF, Athletics (Triple-A Sacramento): 3-for-5, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, K. Time will tell if he's figuring things out or if it's another annual tease.

Mike Trout, OF, Angels (Triple-A Salt Lake): 3-for-5, 2 R, K, CS. Your move, Vernon Wells.

Sebastian Valle, C, Phillies (Double-A Reading): 2-for-3, HR (1), 2 R, RBI, BB. In some ways, the walk is as encouraging as the home run.

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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