July 30, 2012
Monday Morning Ten Pack
Yeison Asencio, OF, Padres (Low-A Fort Wayne)
Asencio went from complex league monster to 22-year-old who had yet to play in a full-season league when his true identity was discovered, but he's become a pop-up player in the Midwest League since joining the TinCaps in mid May. He had one of the best weekends in the minors, going 10-for-14 with four doubles and a home run to lift his season numbers to .322/.353/.511. There are tools to back it up, as he's a wiry strong right fielder with decent speed, a plus arm and an outstanding feel for contact that has generated just 24 strikeouts in 233 at-bats. He's an aggressive hitter who goes up looking to hit, but his power projects as merely average, which isn't much for a corner outfielder; you can't find perfection in out-of-nowhere types.
Engel Beltre, OF, Rangers (Double-A Frisco)
He's still only 22 years old, he still has all sorts of tools, and, every once in a while, he reminds you that there's still something to be optimistic about. His season line of .257/.299/.433 is classic Beltre, but he's been the hottest hitter at Double-A since the middle of the month: with three multi-hit games over the weekend that included his 14th triple and 12th home run, he's 23-for-57 (.404) with 48 total bases in his last 13 games. Every time he goes on a run like this, it's worth keeping an eye on, because every time he goes on a run like this, there's a small chance it's for real.
Archie Bradley, RHP, Diamondbacks (Low-A South Bend)
Bradley has the best stuff in the Midwest League, which is part of what also makes him one of the most frustrating prospects on the circuit. The 2011 first-round pick whiffed a career-high 11 on Sunday, and his ERA went up to 3.92, as he also allowed five runs over 4 2/3 innings. That's an ERA approaching four for a pitcher who has allowed just 59 hits over 103.1 innings for a miniscule .165 opponent's average, a pitcher who sits in the mid-90s with heavy sink and follows that up with a nasty power breaking ball. His undoing has been location, as he's walked 67, hit eight and uncorked 16 wild pitches on the season, but with this stuff and this ability to miss bats, he remains a top prospect with No. 1 potential and plenty of time for refinement.
Domonic Brown, OF, Phillies (Triple-A Lehigh Valley)
Brown is suddenly kind of hot again, going 9-for-21 during a six-game hitting streak to raise his season averages to .292/.340/.440, leaving one wondering about what could have happened with him in the second half under different scenarios for the big league club. A competitive Phillies team likely would have used him as a trading chip and an attractive change-of-scenery piece. A bad Phillies team might need to trade both Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino for Brown to get consistent playing time with a club that pretty clearly doesn't have much faith him. For now, he's stuck, and all he can do is ride an extended hot streak that either forces the Phillies to give him another chance, or increases his value enough where someone else will pursue him as an off-season acquisition.
Khris Davis, OF, Brewers (Double-A Huntsville)
Sometimes you just get a feeling about a guy. A 7th-round pick in 2009 out of Cal State Fullerton, Davis hit .280/.398/.499 in his 2010 full-season debut, but earned criticism for being old for the level. He hit .309/.415/.533 in the Florida State League, but all that people wanted to talk about was a bad six weeks at Double-A, along with tools that limited him to left field. He's missed significant time this year with injuries, but on Friday he hit a home run in his fifth consecutive game, and after an 8-for-10 weekend, he's batting a very loud .383/.484/.641 in 44 games. All of the criticisms are fair. He'll turn 25 during the off-season. He's a 40 runner with a 40 arm and has little value beyond his bat. But he can really hit, always has, and there's an onus on the Brewers to see just how good he really is.
Cesar Hernandez, 2B, Phillies (Double-A Reading)
The Phillies have a shallow, pitching-heavy system, with Hernandez being among their brightest lights this year among positional players, and a 5-for-10 weekend with two doubles and a triple lifted his season line to .302/.343/.435 in 102 games. He's the kind of prospect who grows on you, as he's a 5-foot-10 second baseman who lacks loud tools, but he can field, run and make contact, and he added gap power to his game this year. It's a scary thought for Phillies fans, but the Hernandez ETA suddenly lines up perfectly with the end of Chase Utley's seven-year contract.