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July 26, 2013

Minor League Update

Games of Thursday, July 25

by Zach Mortimer

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Pitching Prospect of the Day: Kyle Zimmer, RHP, Royals (Double-A Northwest Arkansas): 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 12 K. Someone asked me what I thought of Zimmer tonight. My response was simple, “He needed to get it early in the season and he didn’t for a little stretch, but watch out now because he’s coming for any hitter.” Zimmer has one of the best curveballs I’ve ever seen, and he also can easily touch 98. The changeup is a solid-average offering. Check back to our first official Eyewitness Accounts series to see what Jason Cole and I said about Zimmer; 12.0 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 19 K in tw Double-A starts.

Position Prospect of the Day: Francisco Lindor, SS, Indians (Double-A Akron): 3-5, 2B, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, K. Just a baseball player who simply just gets it done time after time. That is how I would describe Franisco Lindor. I project him to be a plus hitter who will provide 10-12 home runs and plenty of doubles. Defensively, he is as smooth as they come, and has the chance to compete for Gold Gloves. I’ve always said this, and I hope in this day of fantasy baseball we still appreciate players like Francisco Lindor, because he will be a much better real-life baseball player than fantasy player; .441/.578/.647 with 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, and 5 SB in 34 Double-A at-bats.

Other notable prospect performances on July 25:

“The Good”

  • Albert Almora, CF, Cubs (Low-A Kane County): 4-5, 2 2B, R, BB. After conversing with a source that sees Almora frequently, he described him as “just a baseball play who works very hard.” Scouts believe Almora has the potential to be a plus hitter, and he is still developing his over-the-fence power. He is not a burner by any means, but he is an average runner who makes the most of his ability with excellent instincts. Defensively, Almora shows the ability to stay in center going forward because of pristine positioning and excellent jumps on balls. He may be more of a first-division regular than a perennial All-Star, but Almora has a very high likelihood of reaching his ceiling.
  • Jake Arrieta, RHP, Cubs (Triple-A Iowa): 6.2 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 8 K. The acquisition of Arrieta was the beginning of what is looking to be a very beneficial trade season for the Cubs. Arrieta relies on a fastball that can touch the mid 90s and a curveball that works in the low 80s. Some believe that the change of scenery may resurrect his career as a starter, but at worst, most see him as a useful piece in the back end of the bullpen
  • Javier Baez, SS, Cubs (Double-A Tennessee): 2-6, 2 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI, 2 K. Back to back nights for Baez. I just want to go a little deeper into something I said yesterday. My source questioned whether Baez’s #want would allow him to maximize his ability, and that was something I should have explained a little more in depth. The way it was explained to me, Baez can stray from what would be perceived as the best plan for success during a game. He sometimes speeds things up, takes an at-bat out to the field with him, or tries to make a highlight reel play when it only needs to be a routine one. The physical tools and effort are there, but I believe some question Baez’s mental #want. That being said, I’ll take a guy who has physical ability on my team every day of the week.
  • Matt Barnes, RHP, Red Sox (Double-A Portland): 5.0 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 8 K. Barnes has been settling in as the 2013 season wears on. Barnes’ fastball has been working in the low-to-mid 90s. He mixes in a curveball that flashes plus and a usable changeup. The curveball can be a weapon when used effectively, but Barnes has not been consistently commanding it down in the zone thus far; 15.0 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 9 BB, 23 K in last three starts.
  • Chad Bettis, RHP, Rockies (Double-A Tulsa): 7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 8 K. Bettis has stuff to miss bats at any level. Bettis utilizes a plus-plus fastball that can touch the upper 90 and a wipeout plus-plus slider. The question going forward will be the maturation of the changeup, which is currently well below average, and if he is able to develop that, he has the chance to log innings as a starter. However, if that does not come along, he could be a high-leverage power reliever; 27.0 IP, 21 H, 10 ER, 8 BB, 31 K in last five starts.
  • Seth Blair, RHP, Cardinals (Double-A Springfield): 7.0 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 11 K. Blair has missed a lot of time in his career, and can still be considered somewhat raw even after he was selected out of Arizona State in 2010. Blair utilizes a low-to-mid 90s fastball, a potential plus curveball, and a developing changeup. The Cardinals have to be excited that he is merely logging innings in 2013, but he is taking strides back onto the prospect radar with outings like this.
  • Xander Bogaerts, SS, Red Sox (Triple-A Pawtucket): 3-3, 2 2B, 2 R, BB. Bogaerts is a professional hitter; he takes a quality at-bat every single time. Still only 20 years of age, Bogaerts is developing his power and filling out his frame, too. If you aren’t all-in on Bogaerts as a hitter, then I’m sorry, because I truly think that after all the recent promotions—most notably Christian Yelich—Bogaerts might be the most attention-worthy hitter in the minors.
  • Rafael De Paula, RHP, Yankees (High-A Tampa): 5.0 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 8 K. De Paula has gotten touched up a bit in High-A, but we shall not look past his stuff. De Paula offers a fastball that can touch premium velocity, a curveball that has easy plus potential, and the ability to turn over a changeup. The delivery may not be ideal for the rotation, but he is a valuable arm that is maintaining his place on every prospect list.
  • Brett Eibner, CF, Royals (Double-A Northwest Arkansas): 2-5, 3B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 K. Eibner has bat speed and power potential, but always left me wondering if he would make enough contact to actualize his raw power. He runs well enough and has an absolute rocket for an arm. If Eibner can continue this level of contact in August, he will be return to the prospect radar; .295/.373/.648 with 6 2B, 2 3B, 7 HR, and 2 SB in 88 July at-bats.
  • Cody Ege, LHP, Rangers (Low-A Hickory): 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K. This is a special one for a person on the Fringe Average podcast. I’ve heard Ege could move quickly and has the potential to be an effective LOOGY in the near future.
  • Clay Holmes, RHP, Pirates (Low-A West Virginia): 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 10 K. When someone tells you that you can get in trouble by scouting the box score and not talking to people that see prospects in person, this is a prime example. Holmes has premium stuff, and now the Pirates are working on helping him effectively command it. The fastball works in the low 90s with steep plane, and the curveball works in the low 80s, flashing sharp two-plane break. The changeup is still a work in progress, but Holmes is another pitcher in the Pirates organization with easy mid-rotation potential.
  • Drew Hutchison, RHP, Blue Jays (High-A Dunedin): 4.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K. When healthy, Hutchison utilizes a low-90s fastball with heavy life, a mid-80s slider, and a mid-80s changeup. This is an excellent sign for Hutchison’s future, and he is still only 22 years old.
  • Trevor May, RHP, Twins (Double-A New Britain): 7.0 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 8 K. May is a pitcher that can lose his command from time to time, but tonight he had his good stuff. He had a fastball that was working 93-95, a curveball in the mid 70s, and a slider in the mid 80s. May is still working to develop his changeup. The stuff can miss plenty of bats, but consistency will always be the question when it comes to May.
  • Will Middlebrooks, 3B, Red Sox (Triple-A Pawtucket): 2-4, 2B, HR, R, RBI, BB, K. Sometimes it’s a little funny how this whole prospect thing works, because last year, Middlebrooks was all the rage, and now he is sort of the forgotten man in Triple-A. I believe that Middlebrooks has the ability to be a solid-average regular at the major-league level, but I’m no longer certain that it will be with the Red Sox.
  • Gregory Polanco, CF, Pirates (Double-A Altoona): 3-4, 2B, HR, R, RBI, BB, K. I’ve put my flag on the ground as being one of the higher guys on Polanco. First, I’ll speak to improvements he needs to make. Polanco has made adjustments to shorten his swing, but it still has some length, and he will struggle to get to premium velocity. Also, in center, he utilizes his high-end second gear to run down balls in the gap as opposed to getting optimal reads. All that being said, Polanco has exceptionally quick hands at the plate, and this should allow him to hit for both average and power moving forward. The power is still in the developing stages; currently, his home runs are line drives that just keep going as opposed to towering fly balls. As he learns to backspin balls, I see no reason why he can’t offer 20 HR a year. Athletically, Polanco can kick it into high gear and is an easy plus runner with a top-of-the-scale second gear. I like the way he approaches the game, and I really think he has an “it” factor that very few prospects have.
  • Nik Turley, LHP, Yankees (Double-A Trenton): 6.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 5 BB, 8 K. Turley is a guy that I really enjoy watching pitch. He loses command of the fastball at times, but the stuff is real. The fastball works in the low 90s, but can touch 94 with some arm-side life. He has a curveball that is an easy plus pitch with good snap. The changeup is more of a show-me pitch, but he utilizes it correctly. Turley profiles as a solid fourth starter.
  • Austin Wright, RHP, Phillies (Double-A Reading): 7.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 10 K. Wright has struggled thus far in 2013, and some felt that he was all the way off the prospect radar. He utilizes a fastball that works in the low 90s with life, a low-80s curveball that has the chance to be average, and a fringy changeup.

“The Bad”

  • Kaleb Cowart, 3B, Angels (Double-A Arkansas): 0-3, R, 3 K. Cowart has struggled in 2013 after entering the year as the Angels’ top prospect.
  • Angelo Mora, SS, Phillies (Low-A Lakewood): 0-5, 4 K. Mora is not a non-prospect, but if he fails to show more consistency at the plate, he will be soon.
  • Eddie Rosario, 2B, Twins (Double-A New Britain): 0-4, 3 K. Rosario had a tough go at the plate and in the field of late, according to reports.
  • Jonathan Singleton, 1B, Astros (Triple-A Oklahoma City): 0-4, BB, 3 K. Singleton will need to stay away from performances like this if he wants to reach the bigs in 2013.

“The Ugly”

Tomas Telis, C, Rangers (Double-A Frisco): 0-4, 4 K. Telis is a guy who would run through the wall for his coach, and I hate talking negatively about those types of guys. However, this is a night he would like to forget.

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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