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September 13, 2012

Minor League Update

Games of September 12

by Bradley Ankrom

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Seth Maness, RHP, Cardinals (23) (Double-A Springfield): 7.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 6 K. A command specialist with average stuff, Maness has allowed more home runs than walks in his 200-plus minor league innings. He threw more than 76 percent of pitches for strikes in seven innings of work last night; for comparison, consider that Cliff Lee, the major leagues’ archetype of near-perfect command, has thrown 70 percent strikes this season – the same percentage Maness threw in 20 regular season starts at Double-A. Pitchers who rely almost entirely on perfect pitch placement in the low minors typically find the going much more difficult when they reach veteran-rich Double- and Triple-A, however Maness has survived the test thus far (11-3, 3.27 ERA, 83-9 K-BB in 20 Double-A starts).

Around The Majors

  • Adam Eaton, CF, Diamondbacks (23): 0-for-3, BB, K. Has gone hitless in his last six at-bats after starting his career with eight hits in his first four games.
  • Anthony Gose, CF, Blue Jays (21): 0-for-3, K. Mini hot streak (.455/.500/.727 in previous three games) comes to an end.
  • Matt Harvey, RHP, Mets (23): 5.0 IP, 5 H, R, 3 BB, 10 K. Has allowed more than three runs in just one of his nine career starts.
  • Gorkys Hernandez, CF, Marlins (25): 0-for-5, 2 K. Very good defender, marginal hitter with no power and average on-base skills.
  • Manny Machado SS/3B, Orioles (20): 1-for-4, R. Has hits in eight of 11 September games and an impressive 18 percent strikeout rate.
  • Mike Olt, 3B/1B, Rangers (23): 1-for-2, K. Last night was Olt’s first game action since September 5 as he’s battled a right foot injury since the end of August.
  • Josh Vitters, 3B, Cubs (23): 1-for-3, 2 K. Hitting .150 in September, which is actually an improvement (.086 in August).

Around The Minors

  • Tyler Bortnick, 2B/3B, Diamondbacks (25) (Triple-A Reno): 2-for-4, 2 RBI, 2 K. Has nice on-base skills, but doesn’t have a plus tool and is a stretch at third base.
  • David Holmberg, LHP, Diamondbacks (21) (Double-A Mobile): 6.2 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 2 K. Doesn’t have the upside of the Diamondbacks’ better-known pitching prospects, but reached Double-A at age 20 and has respectable stuff to go along with good control.
  • Che-Hsuan Lin, CF, Red Sox (24) (Triple-A Pawtucket): 2-for-3, 2B (1), RBI. Great defense, good speed, not much of a bat; his glove and legs could earn him a long career as a defensive replacement/pinch runner.
  • Alfredo Marte, RF, Diamondbacks (23) (Double-A Mobile): 2-for-5, 2 2B (3), 2 R, RBI. Plus power and an idea of what he’s doing at the plate; hits lefties and righties with aplomb and offers a strong arm in right field.
  • Tyler Matzek, RHP, Rockies (21) (High-A Modesto): 5.2 IP, 3 H, R, 4 BB, 6 K. The stuff is still there and his control has improved (6.0 BB/9, 0.57 WP/9 compared to 8.9, 1.76 last year), but he’s still putting too many runners on base.
  • Brad Miller, SS, Mariners (22) (Double-A Jackson): 2-for-5, R, K. Actually hit better after a promotion out of the California League; isn’t going to stick at shortstop, but second and third are occupied in Seattle so it’s unclear where he fits into Seattle’s future plans.
  • Robert Morey, RHP, Marlins (23) (High-A Jupiter): 7.0 IP, H, 0 R, BB, 8 K. Marlins’ fifth-round pick out of Virginia in 2010 owns average stuff and has moved slowly through the system.
  • Rafael Ortega, CF, Rockies (21) (High-A Modesto): 2-for-4, R, 2B (1), BB, K. Plus defender didn’t blow anyone away at the plate this year, but he did cut down on his strikeouts while nearly doubling his walk rate. Good speed, but less effective on the bases than he could be due to an unrefined base-stealing technique (65 percent success rate over the last two seasons).
  • Noah Perio, 2B, Marlins (20) (High-A Jupiter): 2-for-4, 2B (1), K. Doesn’t offer much with the glove, so his bat will determine his future.
  • Joe Ross, RHP, Padres (19) (Low-A Fort Wayne): 5.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 5 K. Salvaged his season with a strong second half at short-season Eugene after a disastrous opening month at Fort Wayne (0-2, 6.26, 27-11).
  • A.J. Pollock, CF, Diamondbacks (24) (Triple-A Reno): 2-for-4, 2B (2), RBI. No plus tools, but a gamer who does enough things well that he’s likely to at least turn into a valuable fourth outfielder.
  • Richie Shaffer, 3B, Rays (21) (SS-A Hudson Valley): 1-for-4, HR (1), 3 RBI, K. Rays’ top pick last June hit his first home run of the playoffs after going deep four times during the regular season.
  • Oscar Taveras, CF, Cardinals (20) (Double-A Springfield): 1-for-3, 2B (2), R. I’ll take any excuse to write about the best hitter in the minor leagues; Jon Jay’s continued strong play means that Taveras doesn’t have a clear path to the major leagues, but the Cardinals will find a way to get Taveras’ bat into the lineup one way or another in 2013.
  • Aaron West, RHP, Astros (22) (SS-A Tri-City): 6.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 6 K. Houston’s 17th-round pick out of Washington last June, West predictably tore through the short-season New York-Penn League to the tune of a 2.04 ERA and 59-9 K-BB. He’s more than just superior command, however, thanks to a low-90s fastball that can touch 95 and an average slider.

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