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March 17, 2014

Minor League Update

Spring Training Games of April 14-16

by Jeff Moore

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Friday, March 14th

  • Sean Gilmartin, LHP, Twins: 2 IP, BB, K. He has a bit too much of the old Twins in him—lack of an impact pitch, below-average velocity, too much of a pitch-to-contact approach—but then again, that’s why the Twins were able to land him for Ryan Doumit. Gilmartin can be a serviceable major leaguer, perhaps even a back-end starter, which will be a nice return for a catcher who can’t catch.
  • Manny Banuelos, LHP, Yankees: 1/3 IP, 2 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, K. The next time you want your favorite team’s pitcher to “just have Tommy John surgery and get it over with,” remember that Banuelos is almost 18 months removed from his surgery and is still very much trying to regain his form.
  • Kolten Wong, 2B, Cardinals: 2-3, 2 R, 3B. When Wong is a solid regular who is noted for his gritty, heads-up play, we will have long since forgotten about him getting picked off in the World Series.
  • Joey Terdoslavich, 1B, Braves: 2-2, 2 R, HR. Those of you who stuck with the Minor League Update throughout the winter know that I think Terdoslavich can make it on a big-league bench, perhaps as soon as this season. The Braves aren’t a great fit for Terdoslavich’s strengths, with a firmly set starting lineup, but there’s enough talent there for a big league role of some sort.
  • Nick Castellanos, 3B, Tigers: 3-4, 2B. He’s good.
  • Billy Burns, OF, Athletics: 3-4, 2 R, SB, BB, K. Eight steals before St. Patrick’s Day is an awful lot. He may actually hit enough to ultimately make it scary, too.
  • Michael Choice, OF, Rangers: 2-2, 2 2B. Choice is probably one of the Rangers’ nine best hitters already, but positional requirements might squeeze him out of some at-bats. If the Rangers continue to have injury issues, Choice will get his chance to hit this year.

Saturday, March 15th

  • Nick Castellanos, 3B, Tigers: 2-4, 2 R, 2 B. Still really good.
  • Mikie Mahtook, OF, Rays: 1-4, R, HR. Part of an exceptionally deep Rays draft class in 2011, Mahtook hasn’t developed the way the Rays have hoped and doesn’t profile as anything more than a fourth outfielder.
  • Dominic Smith, 1B, Mets: 1-1. It’s nothing special, just a single. But Smith was facing high-school pitching at this time last year, so that’s still impressive.
  • Brett Jackson, OF, Cubs: 2-4, R, HR, K. It just wouldn’t be a true blast from the past without Jackson mixing a strikeout into his strong performance, but he is still doing his best to make sure the Cubs don’t completely forget him among their new wave of top prospects.
  • Wilmer Flores, INF, Mets: 1-5, R, 3 K. Flores can hit, but the question is, how much? It’s one of the biggest questions the Mets need to answer this season, and he’ll need to get at-bats for them to find out, no matter where he has to play to get them.
  • Julio Urias, LHP, Dodgers: 1 IP, 2 K. Let’s do an exercise: Think back to what you were doing at 17. Assuming it was legal, was it as impressive as striking out two batters in a spring training game? Urias has a lot of development in front of him, but his mechanics are as #smooth as they come, and the future is nothing but bright.
  • Joey Gallo, 3B, Rangers: 0-6, 5 K. On Saturday, Gallo had the baseball equivalent of the “waking up in the middle of the lunchroom naked” dream, filling in for Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre on perhaps the best hitting day of the spring (the final score was 16-15) but leaving hitless and humbled. Gallo has some serious contact issues and was in over his head, but this result was every Rangers exec’s worst nightmare.

Sunday, March, 16th

  • Allen Webster, RHP, Red Sox: 4 IP, 3 H, 3 R (2 ER), 3 BB, 3 K. I’ve noted in this space over the past few weeks that Webster will spend most of the 2014 season in Triple-A and will serve as depth for the Red Sox rotation for when they call on starters 6-9 at some point. Still, it would be nice if he would get someone out. Ultimately, if he fails as a starter, there’s little question that he would fit into the bullpen quite nicely.
  • Zach Walters, INF, Nationals: 0-5, 3 K. Don’t read too much into an outing like this for Walters, who is going to have these from time to time. He’s an ultra-aggressive hitter who strikes out too much and walks far too infrequently to be an everyday player at this point. He has enough versatility both in the infield and at the plate to fill a role on a contender like the Nationals, who won’t play him enough for him to strike out three times in one game very often during the regular season.
  • Steven Souza, OF, Nationals: 3-3, 2 R, BB, 2 HR. Souza has tools and has put up indisputable minor-league numbers, but he gets discounted as a prospect because he’s old. That predicament isn’t going to get any better, so it’s time for him to put up. This is a good start.
  • Arismendy Alcantara, 2B, Cubs: 3-3, R, HR. The only thing better then Alcantara’s name may be his skill set, as a middle infielder with power and speed. There is talks of moving prospects such as Javier Baez over to second base because of a logjam in the infield, but don’t count on Alcantara to cooperate with that plan.
  • Dan Vogelbach, 1B, Cubs: 2-4, R, HR. For a player whose value is entirely attached to his bat, Vogelbach sure is good at making people believe. And hitting baseballs.

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

9 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

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stephenbawesome

March, not April. Unless you have a functioning Delorean.

Mar 17, 2014 04:18 AM
rating: 0
 
HalfStreet

If Souza, Jr. is going to achieve anything beyond being a 4th outfielder, he will have to do it with a different team. Here's hoping that both Zach Walters and Souza, Jr. have monster minor league years so they can be traded in a package for a really good pitcher.

Mar 17, 2014 04:23 AM
rating: 0
 
Eddie Bajek

I see Castellanos wasn't really good on Sunday, however I didn't follow the game so he may have had some time off.

Mar 17, 2014 04:57 AM
rating: 0
 
Kyle Matte

Aaron Sanchez on Sunday: 4 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 7-0 GO/AO.

For never pitching above High-A, the kid's having a great spring.

Mar 17, 2014 05:44 AM
rating: 3
 
Aceathon

Nick Williams?

Mar 17, 2014 07:35 AM
rating: 0
 
MBruner

I thought the same thing. I mean, a guy goes 2-2 with 2 HR's and all that gets mentioned is Gallo?

Mar 17, 2014 09:49 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Jeff Moore
BP staff

My bad, fellas. Long weekend. I missed a guy. Williams deserved to make the list. My apologies to Nick.

Mar 17, 2014 09:59 AM
 
huztlers

This was the one unmissable guy... even more so than Gallo

Mar 17, 2014 20:04 PM
rating: -3
 
cbernal4

While TJ is no sure bet, a long recovery for Banuelos is not proof-positive that "getting it over with" is a bad idea. 18 months would likely have been 18 months regardless; waiting to "rehab" and try to avoid would have merely started the clock later.

Mar 17, 2014 09:37 AM
rating: 0
 
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