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May 1, 2013

Minor League Update

Games of Tuesday, April 30

by Zach Mortimer

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Pitching Prospect of the Day: Yordano Ventura, RHP, Royals (Double-A Northwest Arkansas): 5.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 10 K; elite fastball; curveball has easy plus potential; changeup has made real strides and will be at least average; small frame; electric arm; has taken major steps forward in 2013 according to a scout I spoke with; number-two starter ceiling; 23.1 IP, 17 H, 6 ER, 9 BB, 33 K in five starts.

Position Prospect of the Day:  Garin Cecchini, 3B, Red Sox (High-A Salem): 3-4, 2 2B, HR, 2 R, RBI, K, 2 SB; plus power potential; tracks the ball well; body is physically mature; supreme baseball instincts; fringy runner; stole third easily off of instincts alone; .392/.478/.709 with 8 2B, 4 3B, 3 HR, 13 BB, 13 K, 10 SB in 79 at-bats.

Other notable prospect performances for April 30:

“The Good”

  • Jeff Ames, RHP, Rays (Low-A Bowling Green): 5.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K; fastball has plus potential; varies the fastball; potential plus slider; developing changeup; 25.0 IP, 13 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 22 K in five starts.
  • Austin Barnes, C, Marlins (High-A Jupiter): 2-6, 2 2B, 2 R; contact-oriented swing; line drives to all fields; not a base-clogger; may not be able to physically handle the rigor of catching every day; big-time gamer profile; .367/.414/.468 with 5 2B and 1 HR in 79 at-bats this season.
  • Jorge Bonifacio, RF, Royals (High-A Wilmington): 2-3, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, 2 BB; power to all fields; swing is nice and compact as long as he stays within himself; easy plus arm; 65-grade power ceiling; hit tool will be good enough (average) to tap into power; average runner, which is very good for a player of his size; high-maintenance body; first home run after seven doubles in 91 High-A at-bats at the age of 19.    
  • Zach Cates, RHP, Cubs (High-A Daytona): 6.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 7 K; fastball can touch plus velocities; developing slider; developing changeup; stuff is good, but delivery can get away from him and hinder his command; 22.2 IP, 17 H, 8 ER, 11 BB, 23 K in 5 starts this season.
  • Brandon Drury, 3B, Diamondbacks (Low-A South Bend): 5-6, 2B, HR, 3 R, 3 RBI, K; plus power potential; improving contact rates; improving plate discipline; .351/.378/.532 with 10 2B, 2 3B, and HR in 94 at-bats.
  • Slade Heathcott, CF, Yankees (Double-A Trenton): 2-3, HR, R, 3 RBI; “plays like his hair is on fire”; plus-plus runner; easy plus defensive profile; plenty of bat speed; aggressive at the plate; tendency to get himself out; struggling in Double-A thus far .191/.282/.294 with four extra-base hits and 20 strikeouts in 68 at-bats this season.
  • Austin Hedges, C, Padres (High-A Lake Elsinore): 2-4, 2 2B, 2 R, 3 RBI, K; best defensive catcher in the minor leagues; elite defensive ceiling; both hit tool and power have potential to be average.
  • Tommy La Stella, 2B, Braves (High-A Lynchburg): 2-2, HR, 3 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB; excellent bat-to-ball skills; solid-average hit tool; solid-average glove; will have to play on right side of the infield; often injured.
  • John Lamb, LHP, Royals (High-A Wilmington): 6.0 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K; excellent pitchability; fastball 84-86 with arm-side run; curveball is a big breaker at 65-69; changeup comes in at 70-73 with good arm speed and fade. It is about a year and a half after Tommy John surgery, and the velocity has not come back, offering more evidence that the procedure isn’t foolproof.
  • Francisco Lindor, SS, Indians (High-A Carolina): 3-3, 2B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI; sort of an “oh yeah, you think I’m not a fantasy prospect! I’ll show you!” type night for Lindor. He can really hit and the power will develop. The role of the power, gap or over-the-fence, will determine his overall fantasy value; .341/.406/.505 in 91 at-bats this season.
  • Luke Maile, C, Rays (Low-A Bowling Green): 3-5, 2 2B, HR, R, 4 RBI; offensive-minded catcher; plus raw power; bat speed only average; needs to prove he can catch and make enough solid contact before he is mentioned on prospect lists.
  • Renato Nunez, 3B, Athletics (Low-A Beloit): 2-4, HR, 2 R, RBI, 2 K; power potential; swing is ultra-violent; defense is still a major work in progress; will need to prove his swing works against higher-level pitching; .310/.380/.592 with 5 2B and 5 HR in 71 at-bats this season.
  • Guillermo Pimentel, OF, Mariners (Low-A Clinton): 3-5, 2 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI; solid-average power potential; quick bat; a bit of a free-swinger; minimal defensive profile with a future in left field; .269/.367/.436 with 4 2B,3 HR, and 29 strikeouts in 78 at-bats this season.
  • Dan Vogelbach, 1B, Cubs (Low-A Kane County): 4-6, HR, R, 2 RBI; can really hit; hit tool has plus potential; easy plus-plus power potential; the yin to my yang; .315/.354/.494 with 5 HR in 89 at-bats.
  • Zack Wheeler, RHP, Mets (Triple-A Las Vegas): 6.2 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K; mature four-pitch mix (fastball/curveball/slider changeup); fastball has plus-plus potential; curveball has plus potential; slider has solid-average potential; changeup will be a usable major-league pitch at worst; one of the few minor-league pitchers currently worthy of the “ace” label.
  • Brandon Workman, RHP, Red Sox (Double-A Portland): 6.2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K; four-pitch mix (fastball/cutter/curveball/changeup); fastball sits 91-93 and can touch higher; cutter is 89-90 with good life, profiling as a plus pitch; curveball has solid-average potential; changeup is 83-85 and has potential to improve; 29.2 IP, 15 H, 9 ER, 6 BB, 34 K in five Double-A outings this year.

 “The Bad”

  • Ramon Flores, OF, Yankees (Double-A Trenton): 0-4, 3 K; known for his contact rates, most scouts believe that a lack of power potential will be the thing that scares off most teams from giving Flores an everyday job.
  • Gabriel Guerrero, OF, Mariners (Low-A Clinton): 0-5, RBI, 2 K; his uncle is Vlad, so, needless to free-swinging is in his genes.
  • Adam Brett Walker, OF, Twins (Low-A Cedar Rapids): 0-3, 3 K; Walker has tools, but he also has plenty of swing and miss in his offensive profile.

 “The Most Hated Prospect Ever”

Sean Coyle, 2B, Red Sox (High-A Salem): 0-4, RBI, 2 K; I actually really like Coyle as a prospect. Plus power potential; good bat speed; solid-average hit tool; plus speed; solid-average defensive player; small frame; absolute grinder; first-division ceiling at second base; .317/.377/.730 with 7 HR in 63 at-bats this season.

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

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