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May 10, 2012

Future Shock Blog

Minor League Update: Games of May 9

by Kevin Goldstein

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Kyle Heckathorn, RHP, Brewers (Double-A Huntsville): 8 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 7 K.

A supplemental first-round pick in 2009, Heckathorn has fallen off the radar after a pair of middling seasons, but he's shown marked improvement this year, as after last night's outing he has a 3.54 ERA with 37 strikeouts against just seven walks in 40 2/3 innings. Often it takes time for pitchers to learn that at the pro level they can't blow every hitter away, and Heckathorn is now working with what he has, working both sides of the plate with average velocity two- and four-seam fastballs to go with an average slider and decent changeup. His stuff plays up due to some deception from his long levers and his durable frame is built to eat innings. There's no star potential, but he's very much starting to look like a usable big league arm down the road.

Others Of Note:

  • Dellin Betances, RHP, Yankees (Triple-A Empire State): 8 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 7 K. Best start
    of the year and in a very efficient 97 pitches.
  • Bryce Brentz, OF, Red Sox (Double-A Portland): 2-for-4, HR (3), R, RBI, K. Home runs in back-to-back games and 10-for-26 in last seven games, but still just .243/.283/.393 overall.
  • Kaleb Cowart, 3B, Angels (Low-A Cedar Rapids): 3-for-5, 2B, HR (6), 4 R, 4 RBI, BB. Five home runs in last nine games; .279/.328/.492 overall.
  • Jordan Danks, OF, White Sox (Triple-A Charlotte): 2-for-4, 2 HR (5), 2 R, 2 RBI, BB. Every time you think about writing him off he gets hot; .269/.391/.481 in 32 games to go with tremendous defense.
  • Dallas Keuchel, LHP, Astros (Triple-A Oklahoma City): 7.1 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K. Well-below average velocity but pounds the strike zone and gets a ton of ground balls; 1.85 ERA in seven starts, but just 23 strikeouts in 48.2 IP.
  • Ryan LaMarre, OF, Reds (Double-A Pensacola): 3-for-3, 2B, R, 2 RBI, BB, CS. Athletic outfielder looks to be making strides; .285/.373/.400 in 34 games.
  • Jenrry Mejia, RHP, Mets (High-A St. Lucie): 5 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 1 K. First start back from last year's Tommy John surgery.
  • Derek Norris, C, Athletics (Triple-A Sacramento): 2-for-4, 2B, HR (4), R, 2 RBI. Home run was a walk-off shot in the ninth; .303/.333/.523 in 28 games.
  • Rafael Ortega, OF, Rockies (High-A Modesto): 2-for-4, HR (1), 3 R, 2 RBI. Remains interesting for speed and line drive bat despite lack of secondary skills; .318/.372/.400 in 20 games.
  • Jonathan Pettibone, RHP, Phillies (Double-A Reading): 8.2 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 5 K. Best of seven Eastern League starts; 3.98 ERA with .309 opponent's average.
  • Adys Portillo, RHP, Padres (Low-A Fort Wayne): 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K. 20-year-old power arm is having potential breakout year by starting to throw more strikes and showing better secondaries; 1.41 ERA in seven starts with .140 opponent's average.
  • Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Cubs (Triple-A Iowa): 1-for-3, HR (10), R, 2 RBI, 2 BB. Three home runs in two games and .356/.420/.661 in 31 games; Bryan LaHair's play allows the Cubs to be patient.
  • Luigi Rodriguez, OF, Indians (Low-A Lake County): 3-for-5, R, SB, CS. Snaps out of 2-for-28 slump; .295/.355/.438 in 27 games.
  • Cory Spangenberg, 2B, Padres (High-A Lake Elsinore): 2-for-4, 2B, R, 3 RBI. 20-for-49 (.408) in last 12 games and .279/.319/.372 overall; plus runner with outstanding bat speed.
  • George Springer, OF, Astros (High-A Lancaster): 3-for-4, HR (4), R, 2 RBI, BB, K. Has raised batting average 48 points in last 11 games; .289/.336/.467 overall, but 43 Ks in 135 ABs.
  • Christian Yelich, OF, Marlins (High-A Jupiter): 2-for-3, 2 HR (5), 3 R, 2 RBI, BB. Stock continues to rise with approach, hitting ability and power all continuing to tick up; .310/.406/.586 in 24 games.

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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