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July 15, 2013
Minor League Update
The Futures Game
C: Austin Hedges, Padres (High-A Lake Elsinore): 0-2. Hedges had a very solid batting practice session, which gave me confidence that he will have enough bat to stay in the lineup every day. Hedges also showed off his defensive ability, gunning down Xander Bogaerts on a steal attempt and displaying solid receiving skills behind the plate.
1B: C.J. Cron, Angels (Double-A Arkansas): 2-4. The results in the game were nice, but I'm not sure Cron’s swing will lead to a high rate of success at the highest level. He really drifts and his hips can get out of line in his swings. The raw power is unassailable, but I have concerns about whether it will consistently work.
2B: Arismendy Alcantara, Cubs (Double-A Tennessee): 1-3, HR, R, RBI. This is real: Alcantara has real ability with the bat. He has plus bat speed and will hit for power. He showed a lot of us something today and is worthy of a spot on all prospect radars.
3B: Matt Davidson, Diamondbacks (Triple-A Reno): 1-2, HR, R, 2 RBI. Everything I wrote in the leadup to the Futures Game about Davidson held true, and our own Chris Mellen was so impressed with his batting practice session that he called Davidson to be the MVP before the start of the game.
SS: Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox (Triple-A Pawtucket): 2-3, R, BB. Bogaerts kept a professional approach to hitting, even in an All-Star Game format. He looks athletic, and I believe he has the ability to play shortstop for Boston in the near future.
LF: Joc Pederson, Dodgers (Double-A Chattanooga): 1-1 R, BB. Whoa—Pederson answered a ton of questions. Those who question his raw power obviously have never seen this guy in person. Pederson put a few on the concourse out to right at Citi Field. I’ve always liked him from afar, but after seeing him play firsthand, I believe in Joc as a no-doubt everyday player.
CF: Byron Buxton, Twins (High-A Fort Myers): 0-2, 2 K. I’m not worried about the numbers in an All-Star Game setting. Buxton showed a spread-out, very smooth swing with which he is able to create excellent extension. Buxton was able to let balls travel deep and spray line drives all over the field. It is real: I’m all-in on Buxton after seeing him in person.
RF: Henry Urrutia, Orioles (Triple-A Norfolk): 0-3. I had questions after seeing him a handful of times in Bowie, and now I have even more of them. The swing didn’t exactly look smooth, and he was way behind against good velocity. I’ve already made up my mind on Urrutia defensively, and if he’s not stinging it at the plate, I'm not especially interested.
DH: Christian Yelich, Marlins (Double-A Jacksonville): 2-2, RBI. Yelich pairs top-notch bat-to-ball ability with top-notch bat speed. It is real, and the power was much better than I expected. Yelich has the strength in his hands to drive the ball to all fields. Either Yelich or Pederson left me with the strongest impression in the game.
RHP: Noah Syndergaard, Mets (Double-A Binghamton): 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K. Syndergaard did exactly what you want your star pitching prospect to do: He came into the Futures Game, owned it, and got the job done. He showed the ability to throw his secondary offerings, and he tweeted that he could not wait to pitch in this city. What more could you want?
LHP: Jesse Biddle, Phillies (Double-A Reading): 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K. Biddle is a fighter on the mound. He is not going to let a hitter get the best of him, and he understands what needs to be done in case he runs into trouble. The fastball may be a touch light, but the curveball is serious, and he should be just fine. Biddle is a back-end starter for me.