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April 20, 2012

Future Shock Blog

Minor League Update: Games of April 20

by Kevin Goldstein

Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Cubs (Triple-A Iowa): 2-for-3, 2 HR (7), 2 R, 3 RBI, BB.

Make no mistake about it, Rizzo is raking, as after last night's big game he's now at .393/.433/.786 in 14 games. Just as interesting are the scouting reports that indicate Rizzo has addressed some of the bad habits he got into with his swing last year. This has led to an outcry from all corners of the interwebs for Rizzo to be in the big leagues, and now. Two words: Calm down.

1. It's easy to forget what happened in 2011, when Rizzo had the best numbers in the minors and then turned into the National League's version of Adam Dunn when summoned to the big leagues. The Cubs don't want a repeat of that and don't want to call up Rizzo until they are assured he can stay up for good.

2. Calling him up is going to require a lot of deck chair re-arranging. Bryan LaHair is hitting quite well, and there's nowhere to put him should the Cubs recall Rizzo (and no, the Cubs are not just going to release Alfonso Soriano).

3. The Cubs are not going to complete for a playoff spot this year, so what's the rush?

Others Of Note:

  • Jordan Akins, OF, Rangers (Low-A Hickory): 3-for-5, 2 K. How early is it? Two games turn slow start in to impressive showing as OPS is up 211 points in nine plate appearances to .286/.318/.452.
  • Jorge Bonifacio, OF, Royals (Low-A Kane County): 3-for-5, 2B, R, K, 2 SB. 18-year-old is quickly becoming one of the most impressive pure hitters in the Midwest League; .407/.500/.556 in 14 games.
  • Jackie Bradley, OF, Red Sox (High-A Salem): 2-for-4, 2 2B, 2 R, RBI, K, SB. Third straight multi-hit game and .333/.448/.429 overall as concerns about last year's trouble with the bat begin to melt away.
  • Garin Cecchini, 3B, Red Sox (Low-A Greenville): 3-for-5, 2B, 2 R, SB. Reviews of the bat have been impressive, of the defense . . . not so much.
  • Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B, Indians (Triple-A Columbus): 3-for-5, 2B, R, RBI, K. Recovers from first two-game hitless streak of the year; .344/.364/.625 in 15 games and likely just one Jack Hannahan slump away from the big leagues.
  • Patrick Corbin, LHP, Diamondbacks (Double-A Mobile): 7 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 9 K. While Bauer and Skaggs are better prospects, don't be surprised if Corbin is the first to get the call to the big leagues should a need arise.
  • Travis d'Arnaud, C, Blue Jays (Triple-A Las Vegas): 1-for-4, HR (1), R, RBI, K. One of the more disappointing starts to the season among prospects; .188/.278/.313 in 12 games.
  • Terry Doyle, RHP, White Sox (Triple-A Charlotte): 6 IP, 1 H, 1 R (0 ER), 2 BB, 9 K. Two straight good starts for rule 5 pick that didn't stick with the Twins; far more command than stuff.
  • Nathan Eovaldi, RHP, Dodgers (Double-A Chattanooga): 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K. Pulled after one inning by design (he wasn't hurt), but no move yet.
  • Evan Gattis, C, Braves (High-A Lynchburg): 2-for-4, HR (5), R, 2 RBI, K. Home runs in five of last eight games and .435/.509/.848 overall; turns 26 in August and needs a sterner test.
  • Scooter Gennett, 2B, Brewers (Double-A Huntsville): 3-for-4, 2 R, 3 RBI, SB. 21-for-46 during 11-game hitting streak and .375/.388/.531 in 15 games; potential every day second baseman who is blocked in Milwaukee.
  • Darin Gorski, LHP, Mets (Double-A Binghamton): 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 K. The Eastern League is hitting .120 against him after three starts, and his prospect stock will move up significantly if he continues to prove that his stuff will play at the upper levels.
  • J.R. Graham, RHP, Braves (High-A Lynchburg): 7 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 6 K. 2011 draftee has outstanding sinker and could move quickly if he continues to throw strikes.
  • Didi Gregorius, SS, Reds (Double-A Pensacola): 2-for-3, R, K. Not just any eight-game hitting streak, but a 18-for-33 streak to raise season averages to .383/.424/.383.
  • Sonny Gray, RHP, Athletics (Double-A Midland): 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 K. Best pro start for last year's first-round pick in an efficient 85 pitches.
  • Angelo Gumbs, 2B, Yankees (Low-A Charleston): 2-for-4, HR (1), R, 5 RBI, 2 K. Grand slam gets him to the Mendoza line; .200/.298/.325 in 11 games.
  • Billy Hamilton, SS, Reds (High-A Bakersfield): 2-for-4, BB, 2 K, SB (12). Fifth straight multi-hit game (11-for-22) and .396/.484/.660 overall; Cal League helps, but how much influence on a burner without much power?
  • Danny Hultzen, LHP, Mariners (Double-A Jackson): 6.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K. Has allowed just seven hits over 16 innings while striking out 21; leading the race among the big three starters at Jackson in terms of first to the big leagues.
  • Kyle Kubitza, 3B, Braves (Low-A Rome): 3-for-4, 3 2B, 3 R, 2 RBI, BB. 2 SB. Just four of third-round pick's hits have been singles; .298/.377/.702 in 12 games.
  • Taylor Lindsey, 2B, Angels (High-A Inland Empire): 2-for-4, HR (2), R, 6 RBI, K. Starting to roll after aggressive assignment looked to be questionable; .286/.368/.490 in 13 games.
  • Barret Loux, RHP, Rangers (Double-A Frisco): 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 8 K. Unsigned 2010 first-round pick has pitched well in Texas and could end up back-end starter if he can remain healthy; that's still a big if.
  • Will Middlebrooks, 3B, Red Sox (Triple-A Pawtucket): 2-for-5, HR (5), 2 R, 4 RBI. 11-for-26 (.423) with four home runs and 13 RBIs in last six games; if Youkilis was still struggling, this would be getting interesting.
  • Mike Montgomery, LHP, Royals (Triple-A Omaha): 7 IP, 4 H, 2 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 7 K. Encouraging . . .
  • Tyler Moore, 1B/OF, Nationals (Triple-A Syracuse): 3-for-4, 2B, 3 RBI, BB. Getting some playing time in left field of late which is going to be a challenge with his limited athleticism.
  • Justin Nicolino, LHP, Blue Jays (Low-A Lansing): 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K. 0.00 ERA after nine innings with 11 Ks and just one walk; scouts find it hard to get a feel for a pitcher only throwing three innings at a time.
  • Mike Olt, 3B, Rangers (Double-A Firsco): 2-for-3, HR (3), 2 R, RBI, 2 BB, K. Contact issues (16 Ks in 46 at-bats) are effecting him at the upper levels; .239/.327/.500 in 12 games.
  • Trevor Rosenthal, RHP, Cardinals (Double-A Springfield): 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 6 K. Best start of year for last year's breakout pitcher in Midwest League; has excellent fastball but still refining secondary offerings.
  • Aaron Sanchez, RHP, Blue Jays (Low-A Lansing): 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K. Third straight outing of three shutout innings with one hit allowed.
  • Miguel Sano, 3B, Twins (Low-A Beloit): 2-for-4, HR (6), 3 R, 2 RBI, BB, K. Not sure what's more impressive for the 18-year-old; the power or the 11 walks?
  • Travis Snider, OF, Blue Jays (Triple-A Las Vegas): 2-for-4, 2 R, RBI, BB. 13-game hitting streak and .431/.508/.745 overall. When's the free Travis Snider movement begin?
  • J.C. Sulbaran, RHP, Reds (Double-A Pensacola): 6 IP, 6 H, 4 R (3 ER), 1 BB, 11 K. More than just a sleeper; a power arm who is figuring things out quickly and has 21 Ks in 17 innings.
  • Oscar Taveras, OF, Cardinals (Double-A Springfield): 3-for-4, R. 19-year-old is handling Double-A just fine; .340/.352/.623 in 12 games.
  • Nick Tropeano, RHP, Astros (Low-A Lexington): 8 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 9 K. 2011 fifth-round pick has allowed one run over 19 innings while striking out 27; just average stuff, but highly advanced pitchability.
  • Jordany Valdespin, 2B/CF, Mets (Triple-A Buffalo): 3-for-4, HR (2), R, RBI, BB. Center field reviews have been encouraging, but there are worries it's effecting the bat; .269/.319/.373 in 15 games.
  • Yordano Ventura, RHP, Royals (High-A Wilmington): 5 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 9 K. Figuring some things out and a subject of discussion on today's podcast (out this afternoon).

Kevin Goldstein is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Kevin's other articles. You can contact Kevin by clicking here

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

BP Comment Quick Links

Jivas
(649)

KG - the Eovaldi move looks unusual. There doesn't seem to be an opening in the Dodgers' rotation (Harang has an ERA over 5 but has 23 Ks in 16 IP); is it possible that they're moving Eovaldi to the bullpen? I'd understand bringing him up and using him in an Earl Weaver-ish manner, but isn't it too soon to use him as a one-inning guy?

(Or maybe I'm reading too much into this).

Apr 20, 2012 11:24 AM
rating: 0
 
vtadave

This is common practice in the way the Dodgers choose to limit the innings of their young arms. I wouldn't read anything into it.

Apr 20, 2012 15:43 PM
rating: 1
 
Jivas
(649)

Great - thanks for the insight. I checked a few places and hadn't seen any sort of explanation for it.

Apr 20, 2012 17:11 PM
rating: 0
 
LaserShow

Can Cecchini stick at 3B? If not, does he move to the OF or 1B?

Apr 20, 2012 12:08 PM
rating: 0
 
NYYanks826

Any worries about Taveras' approach? I know it's a small sample but .340 BA with a .352 OPB seems like a bit of a red flag.

Apr 20, 2012 12:45 PM
rating: 1
 
nalex83

19 year old in AA.

Apr 20, 2012 12:57 PM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

This.

Apr 20, 2012 13:30 PM
 
max.jensen10

I freaking love the Minor League Updates.

Apr 20, 2012 13:23 PM
rating: 9
 
richardkr34

How far behind Miguel Cabrera is Sano at this point in his development (cheap, lazy comp., I know)

Apr 20, 2012 13:23 PM
rating: 0
 
kcheaden

KG, can you compare Nicolino to Cole Hamels at the same stage of their development?

Apr 20, 2012 13:30 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

Not similar. When Hamels was a year younger than Nicolino, he was having one of the better 1/2 seasons in recent memory at Low-A: 74.2 IP, 32 H, 25 BB, 115 K.

Apr 20, 2012 13:33 PM
 
Cromulent

Since we can't really trust the Snider numbers due to SSS and Las Vegas factors, are you hearing anything from scouts that suggests he might be better prepared to succeed in the bigs?

Apr 20, 2012 13:56 PM
rating: 1
 
Tim Carvin

Could you answer 50% of the questions you are asked with "What's the rush" ?

Apr 20, 2012 15:11 PM
rating: 0
 
Matthew Avery

Haven't ready any scouting reports on Kubitza. I'd love to see more info on the guy!

Apr 20, 2012 17:37 PM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

He's interesting. He's wiry and athletic, but inconsistent in a lot of way, but at the plate and in the field, where he certainly has the tools to be a third baseman but not the skills yet. Worth keeping an eye on.

Apr 20, 2012 21:07 PM
 
bloodface

Thanks for covering Kubitza! He's looking great in his first full year in the minors. Do you have any grasp on what his ultimate projection is? The K rate is a bit high, but he's also walking and smacking the ball with authority. What about his Home/Away splits? He seems to be doing considerable better at home than on the road. Youngster jive or park effects?

Apr 23, 2012 03:34 AM
rating: 0
 
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