April 22, 2014
Minor League Update
Games of Monday, April 21
Hitter of the Night: Kellin Deglan, C, Rangers (Hickory, A-): 3-3, 2 R, 2 2B, HR, BB.
Pitcher of the Night: Luke Jackson, RHP, Rangers (Frisco, AA): 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 8 K.
Best of the Rest
Jesus Aguilar, 1B, Indians (Columbus, AAA): 2-3, R, HR, BB. I had a number of questions in my chat yesterday about which, if any, players had changed their prospect status early in this season. I basically said that it’s tough to do in such a short sample size, but if I had thought of it at the time, I would have at least mentioned Aguilar. We can’t anoint Aguilar as a top prospect just because he’s hitting .386/.453/.737 in the early going, but it does tell us more than it would with most prospects. If you read the MLU all winter, you remember that Aguilar had a fantastic offseason. Aguilar has always had plus raw power but it didn’t always play in games. It did this winter, and the key was to see if he had actually made some kind of adjustment or just had a hot month in Venezuela. Three hot weeks in April don’t make him the Indians’ first baseman of the future, but they are a small indication that perhaps a fundamental change took place that makes him more intriguing than he was this time last year.
Arismendy Alcantara, 2B, Cubs (Iowa, AAA): 2-4, 2 R, HR. Everyone keeps asking about Javier Baez, but Alcantara is going to be in the majors first and has more experience at second base, where the Cubs have the most glaring hole. He doesn’t have the upside of Baez or Kris Bryant, but he’d be getting more love if he were in any other organization.
Jimmy Nelson, RHP, Brewers (Nashville, AAA): 7 IP, 2 H 0 R, BB, 9 K. If the Brewers need to call on reinforcements in their rotation this season, the closest thing they have is Nelson, who is just about major-league ready. He sat at 94-96 on Monday (h/t to @Matt_Winkelman for the velos) but still needs to make progress with his changeup to be effective as a starter at the major-league level.
Stephen Piscotty, OF, Cardinals (Memphis, AAA): 2-4, R, 2B, HR. Everyone is in a hurry to jump Piscotty ahead of Oscar Taveras on the mythical organizational depth chart because our minds are dominated by primacy. Piscotty is having a great season thus far and is an excellent prospect with a plus hit tool, but Taveras remains one of the best prospects in the game and nothing Piscotty does will change that. The Cardinals will find a way to use them both.
Corey Seager, SS, Dodgers (Rancho Cucamunga, A+): 2-3, R, HR, K. After notching his first home run of the season over the weekend, Seager didn’t waste any time before hitting his second one. After struggling in High-A ball last year, Seager has hit he ground running this year, hitting .293 thus far on the season. Like his brother Kyle, Corey takes an aggressive approach to the plate and doesn’t draw too many walks, but as a shortstop with power, he’ll get away with it. Even if he has to move to third base, he should have enough power to be above average there offensively.
Robert Stephenson, RHP, Reds (Pensacola, AA): 5 IP, 4 H, R, 3 BB, 7 K. After a couple of rocky outings in a row, Stephenson was back on his game on Monday, missing bats with his normal frequency.
Notable Pitching Performances*
*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.