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April 21, 2014

Minor League Update

Weekend Games of April 18-20

by Jeff Moore


Friday, April 18

  • Alex Meyer, RHP, Twins (Rochester, AAA): 3 2/3 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 4 BB, 2 K. When Meyer was drafted, there were questions about whether a pitcher of his size would ever be able to repeat his delivery enough to have the control needed to start. Meyer’s control has been better than expected, which has allowed him to develop into a potential no. 2 starter, but he does still have outings where it abandons him. Meyer walked four batters in three of his 16 starts in 2013 despite posting a K:BB ratio of over 3:1.

  • Jonathan Singleton, 1B, Astros (Oklahoma City, AAA): 3-5, 2 R, HR, K. Singleton’s home run on Friday was his sixth of the season, but he ended the weekend with seven after a 5-for-12 performance. With George Springer now in the majors, Singleton is the next piece of the Astros’ puzzle who will be up at some going this season. Given his struggles in Triple-A last year, it won’t be surprising to see Houston wait until after the Super Two deadline to promote Singleton.

  • C.J. Cron, 1B, Angels (Salt Lake, AAA): 2-3, R, HR, K. In a four-game weekend, Cron hit a pair of home runs to give him four on the season. Without much room for him in the major league lineup, there’s no place for Cron to go, but the 24-year-old can still afford to spend the entire season in Triple-A, having not appeared there before this season.

  • Blake Swihart, C, Red Sox (Portland, AA): 2-4, R, HR, K. A double-header on Friday gave Swihart a chance to DH in game two, in which he hit his first home run of the season. He’s still growing into his power as a hitter, but he does a good job catching the ball and controls the strike zone well as a hitter.

  • Michael Taylor, OF, Nationals (Harrisburg, AA): 0-4, 4 K. We knew there would be some growing pains at some point for Taylor because of the swing-and-miss in his game, but 24 strikeouts in 14 games is extreme and could be a sign of a player failing to adjust to more advanced pitching.

  • Jesse Biddle, LHP, Phillies (Reading, AA): 7 IP, 2 H, 2 R (1 ER), BB, 11 K. Biddle has the ability to look this good at times, but it’s the consistency from start to start that he needs to work on. He’s a mid-rotation starter who has the chance to dominate on certain days but frustrate on others, depending on his command.

  • Kris Bryant, 3B, Cubs (Tennessee, AA): 2-4, R, HR. A 5-for-13 weekend that included a double and a home run continued the power display for Bryant, but it has come with his fair share of strikeouts. Because of his power potential, however, pitchers are approaching Bryant very carefully, and as a patient hitter, he’s willing to take what they give him.

  • Yorman Rodriguez, OF, Reds (Pensacola, AA): 4-4, 2B. This early in the season, one hot weekend can make up for a lot of damage, and a 9-for-12 weekend made up for a lot of struggles in the first week for Rodriguez. The former big bonus signee still hasn’t hit for the power you’d expect from his 6’3” frame, however, and he has 16 strikeouts to just four walks on the season.

  • Mac Williamson, OF, Giants (San Jose, A+): 2-4, HR. Repeating the California League, Williamson’s power hasn’t gotten off to the hot start that some expected, but he has made an even more important improvement, controlling the strike zone better in the early going.

  • Dylan Cozens, OF, Phillies (Lakewood, A-): 3-5, 3 R, 2B, HR, K. The extremely large Cozens has plus power, but there are questions about whether he has the bat speed to go with his long swing.

Saturday, April 19th

  • Jesus Aguilar, 1B, Indians (Columbus, AAA): 2-4, R, HR. After a hot start to the season, Aguilar hadn’t homered in nine games before Saturday night, though during that stretch he did manage to hit .265. Still, without plus power, he doesn’t bring enough to the table to justify playing time in the majors.

  • Aaron Westlake, 1B, Tigers (Erie, AA): 3-5, 3 R, 2B, HR, K. More power production has been expected from the 6’4” Westlake for some time, and he’s going to need it to succeed as a first base-only player. He’s still yet to hit more than nine home runs in a season, but he already has three this season to go along with a .549 slugging percentage, well above his career norm.

  • Mookie Betts, 2B, Red Sox (Portland, AA): 4-5, 3 R, HR, K. Betts continues to hit balls hard and show us the power we weren’t sure was there. His best tool is his hit tool, though no one’s is good enough to continue to hit .453.

  • Manny Banuelos, LHP, Yankees (Tampa, A+): 2/3 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, K. Banuelos had been as sharp as could be in his first three appearances of the season, but he hit a major road bump on Saturday, failing to get out of the first inning.

  • Tyrone Taylor, OF, Brewers (Brevard County, A+): 2-3, 2 R, HR. Taylor is still more doubles than home runs at this point, but he does have 11 extra-base hits in 16 games to his credit this season.

  • Vincent Velasquez, RHP, Astros (Lancaster, A+): 5 IP, H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 K. Velasquez misses bats with his plus changeup and has been doing so with impressive frequency this season. After a rough introduction to the California League last year, Velasquez has the league under control with a 1.29 ERA through four starts.

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