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April 11, 2014

Minor League Update

Games of Thursday, April 10

by Jeff Moore

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Hitter of the Night: Joey Gallo, 3B, Rangers (Myrtle Beach, A+): 4-4, 4 R, 2B, 2 HR.
Gallo features the best raw power in the minor leagues, and it translated into game power on Thursday night in a big way. It’s hard enough to hit a ball out of Wilmington’s Frawley Stadium, but Gallo managed to put one of his over the scoreboard in left-center field.

Pitcher of the Night: Andrew Heaney, LHP, Marlins (Jacksonville, AA): 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, BB, 8 K.
Heaney was expected to be on the fast track this season if he got off to a hot start, and that’s exactly what he’s done. With two plus pitches (fastball, slider), he’d probably be able to hold his own in the majors right now, but if his changeup catches up with the rest of his stuff, he’ll fit in as a solid no. 2 behind Jose Fernandez.

Best of the Rest

George Springer, OF, Astros (Oklahoma City, AAA): 2-3, 2 R, HR, BB. Springer got on the board with his first home run of the season, displaying the power that the Astros badly need in their lineup. It’s going to come with a lot of swing-and-miss, but he has enough plate discipline and power to make it worthwhile, and he adds value with his glove and legs.

Gregory Polanco, OF, Pirates (Indianapolis, AAA): 3-3, 2B, BB. Polanco, who is now hitting .433 in the early going, is closing in on Pittsburgh like Godzilla on Tokyo. No matter how well Jose Tabata and Travis Snider play in the first two months of the season, they’ll be bench players by June, and the Pirates will be a better team for it.

Joe Wendle, 2B, Indians (Akron, AA): 3-5, R, 2B. We love to toss around tools on prospects, especially ones that we can accurately track—like velocity, speed, etc. Wendle doesn’t have too many of those tools. He has the one that’s hardest to predict: He just flat out hits everything in sight.

Brandon Nimmo, OF, Mets (St. Lucie, A+): 2-4, 3 R, HR, 2 BB, K. Nimmo isn’t a physically imposing player, but he is well built for a 21-year-old and generates good power thanks to his plus bat speed and slight upper-cut swing.

Adam Walker, OF, Twins (Ft. Myers, A+): 2-4, R, HR, K. Walker is full of raw tools and has some swing-and-miss to his game, but so far this year, he’s running into balls he can drive at a pretty good pace.

Lucas Giolito, RHP, Nationals (Hagerstown, A-): 5 IP, H, BB, 6 K. This is the dominant Giolito we’ve been waiting to see, tearing through a full-season lineup like a hot knife through butter. A healthy Giolito is one of the best pitching prospects in baseball.

Travis Demeritte, 2B, Rangers (Hickory, A-): 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, BB, 2 K. Demeritte will need to work to find a home in the field, but no one questions his bat, which will play almost anywhere.

Fight Another Day

Matt Skole, 3B, Nationals (Harrisburg, AA): 0-4, 2 K. Skole is having trouble getting his timing back after missing all of last year to recover from Tommy John surgery. Luckily, even when he’s not hitting, he’s still extremely patient at the plate, working a few walks to keep from being an automatic out.

Luke Jackson, RHP, Rangers (Frisco, AA): 3 1/3 IP, 7 H, 7 R, 2 BB, K. Jackson has trouble with his command, and while it doesn’t always manifest itself in the form of walks, it does get him into trouble despite his premium velocity and stuff.

Yadiel Rivera, 2B, Brewers (Brevard County, A+): 0-4, 2 K. Rivera is always going to struggle with the bat, but his glove could be good enough to carry him to the majors and carve out a role for him at some point. In addition to hitting just .154 on the young season, Rivera also has racked up seven strikeouts in as many games without having drawn a walk.

Cody Buckel, RHP, Rangers (Myrtle Beach, A+): 1 IP, 0 H, R, 6 BB. That’s not good.

Miguel Almonte, RHP, Royals (Wilmington, A+): 5 2/3 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, BB, 8 K. Almonte was better than his stat-line would indicate, missing a number of bats and sitting in the mid-90s with his fastball. He also ran into Joey Gallo.

Notable Pitching Performances*

  • Kevin Gausman, RHP, Orioles (Norfolk, AAA): 4 IP, 4 H, 3 R (2 ER), 3 BB, 4 K.
  • Rubby de la Rosa, RHP, Red Sox (Pawtucket, AAA): 5 2/3 IP, 2 H, R, 2 BB, 4 K.
  • Jason Hursh, RHP, Braves (Mississippi, AA): 6 IP, 6 H, R, 0 BB, 3 K.
  • Shae Simmons, RHP, Braves (Mississippi, AA): 1 1/3 IP, 4 K. (that’s all of the outs)

*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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