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April 10, 2014

Minor League Update

Games of Wednesday, April 9

by Jeff Moore

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Hitter of the Night: Brett Eibner, OF, Royals (Ohama, AAA): 5-5, 3 R, 2B, 2 HR.
Eibner is on the fringes of prospect territory these days as a 25-year-old who hit .243 in Double-A last year, but what he can do is hit for power, and when he cuts down on the swings and misses, he can really be an impact player. It just hasn’t happened nearly enough at the upper levels of the minors to this point.

Pitcher of the Night: Henry Owens, LHP, Red Sox (Portland, AA): 6 2/3 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 9 K.
The 21-year-old Owens kept his ERA at 0.00 on the young season with his second straight nine-strikeout performance. When he’s being consistent with his mechanics, Owens generates tremendous downward plane that is difficult to square up and features two potential plus off-speed pitches.

Best of the Rest

Oscar Taveras, OF, Cardinals (Memphis, AAA): 1-4, R, HR. This wasn’t an exceptional game for Taveras, but as one of the top prospects in the game, the only questions about him are whether or not he’s healthy and just how much power he’ll develop. It seems relevant, in that case, when he’s on the field and hitting a home run.

Marcus Stroman, RHP, Blue Jays (Buffalo, AAA): 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 5 BB, 8 K. If Stroman had a history of wildness, the walk total in this game would be more of a concern, but he generally throws a ton of strikes, so it’s nothing to worry about.

Enny Romero, LHP, Rays (Durham, AAA): 5 2/3 IP, 3 H, 1 R (0 ER), 2 BB, 8 K. Luckily for the Rays, when one starter goes down, they typically have another waiting in the wings in Triple-A. With Matt Moore looking like he’s going to miss some time, Romero could help fill the left-handed void he leaves behind.

C.J. Cron, 1B, Angels (Salt Lake, AAA): 2-4, R, HR. Cron’s power dropped off last year, but it appears to be back now that he’s returned to the West Coast. At some point, he’ll have to show he can hit for power somewhere outside of the California and Pacific Coast Leagues, but he may not get a chance to do that until he gets to the majors.

Taijuan Walker, RHP, Mariners (Jackson, AA): 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, BB, 10 K. This would be the pitcher of the day stat line if it weren’t Taijuan Walker rehabbing in Double-A.

Eric Jagielo, 3B, Yankees (Tampa, A+): 3-5, R, 2B, HR. This is what happens when Jagielo makes contact: home runs in back-to-back games. He has plenty of power for third base but will swing and miss from time to time. When he’s on, however, he can be an impact bat.

Marco Gonzales, LHP, Cardinals (Palm Beach, A+): 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K. Gonzales doesn’t miss bats because of a power arsenal; instead, he’s far too polished, especially with his secondary pitches, for Florida State League hitters. He’ll be in Double-A by mid-summer.

Reese McGuire, C, Pirates (West Virginia, A-): 3-4, 2B. High school catchers aren’t supposed to be this good this soon and have this much polish.

Bobby Wahl, RHP, A’s (Beloit, A-): 5 IP, 7 H, R, BB, 7 K. This is more of what was expected from Wahl after a shortened first start. His fastball/curveball combo should have no trouble shutting down Low-A hitters, and he should get a promotion by midseason.

Fight Another Day

Anthony Ranaudo, RHP, Red Sox (Pawtucket, AAA): 5 2/3 IP, 7 H, 5 R (4 ER), BB, 4 K. It’s been rough going for the prospects that are supposed to be providing the Red Sox with pitching depth in Triple-A. Luckily for the Red Sox, they don’t need them yet.

Johnny Hellweg, RHP, Brewers (Nashville, AAA): 5 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 5 K. If he’s going to continue to walk batters at this rate, his days as a starter are numbered. Throwing 100 mph doesn’t do any good if you can’t throw strikes.

Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP, Orioles (Bowie, AA): 5 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, BB, 5 K. It’s the second time in as many tries this season that Rodriguez has been less than his best, as he now sports a 7.20 ERA.

Trevor Williams, RHP, Marlins (Jupiter, A+): 5 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 0 K. Williams showed a few positive traits on Wednesday, but was underwhelming overall. He flashed a potential plus curveball and plus changeup, but he didn’t use the latter nearly enough to compensate for his lack of fastball command.

Notable Pitching Performances*

  • Noah Syndergaard, RHP, Mets (Las Vegas, AAA): 5 IP, 6 H, 4 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 2 K.
  • C.J. Edwards, RHP, Cubs (Tennessee, AA): 5 2/3 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 4 BB, 5 K.
  • Alberto Tirado, RHP, Blue Jays (Lansing, A-): 1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 0 K.
  • Nick Travieso, RHP, Reds (Dayton, A-): 5 IP, 3 H, R, BB, 6 K.

*The point of the Minor League Update is to keep you, the reader, up to speed on how prospects are doing throughout the minor league season with scouting reports and explanations along with a daily stat line. Sometimes, however, you just want to know the result, especially with pitchers who were neither spectacular nor terrible on a particular night. This is that section.

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

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