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May 2, 2014

Minor League Update

Games of Thursday, May 1

by Jeff Moore

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Hitter of the Night: Maikel Franco, 3B, Phillies (Lehigh Valley, AAA): 3-5, 3 R, 2B, HR, K.
Franco isn’t the only Top-101 prospect whose ultra-aggressive approach at the plate has run him into some trouble at a new level this year, and his natural ability to put the barrel on the ball leads to some bad contact when he’s cold. When he’s hot, however, it leads to nights like these, and the Phillies are ready for him to heat up with the weather and take Cody Asche’s place in a month or two.

Pitcher of the Night: Chase Anderson, RHP, Diamondbacks (Mobile, AA): 7 1/3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, BB, 7 K. A
Anderson’s mediocre stuff plays up thanks to a plus changeup, which, when it’s working, can miss a lot of bats. He’s also 26 now and back in Double-A after getting trounced in Triple-A last year. He’s more depth than anything else at this point, though he could still carve out a back-end/long-relief role.

Best of the Rest

Trevor May, RHP, Twins (Rochester, AAA): 6 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, BB, 11 K. This is what has been so frustrating about May over the years: The result just doesn’t add up to the sum of the parts. Eleven strikeouts in six innings is pretty dominant, yet he still gave up two runs. That’s a good start, but not one that would suggest the dominance you have to have to miss that many bats. May has always missed bats, but typically, it’s the extra base runners that get him in trouble.

Andrew Aplin, OF, Astros (Corpus Christi, AA): 3-4, 2 R, 2 2B, 3B, BB. Aplin is a classic “makes the most out of his abilities overachiever,” but he’s one who can do enough to justify a major-league role at some point. He doesn’t have over-the-fence power, but he hits the gaps and runs well enough to provide value on the bases. He’s best suited for left but could fill in in center if needed. Most importantly, he controls the strike zone exceptionally well, helping him make the most out of his offensive abilities.

J.T. Realmuto, C, Marlins (Jacksonville, AA): 3-4. 2 R, 2 2B, 3B. Realmuto is handling Double-A much better this year after struggling there in a full season last year.

Kaleb Cowart, 3B, Angels (Arkansas, AA): 2-4, 2 R, 2B, HR. The strikeouts are down, so that’s good sign at least, but without more games like this, in which he displays some power, Cowart is not going to work as an everyday third baseman.

Hunter Dozier, SS, Royals (Wilmington, A+): 3-4, R, HR. The Carolina League isn’t an easy place to hit, and Dozier is holding his own in his first full season. His tools are loud enough to project him as a solid major-league regular, if not something slightly more.

Joey Gallo, 3B, Rangers (Myrtle Beach, A+): 2-4, R, HR, 2 K, SB. Gallo went through a five-game homerless drought since his three-homer game last week, but there’s no reason for concern. He’s still controlling the strike zone better, adding a large number of walks to his line as his reputation spreads and patience improves.

Fight Another Day

Brett Eibner, OF, Royals (Omaha, AAA): 0-3, 2 K (Game 1); 0-3, 3 K (Game 2). Remember when everyone got all excited about Eibner because he had a four- and five-hit game in the first two weeks of the season? In his last 10 games, he’s 3-for-36 with 21 strikeouts. I’m not trying to pick on Eibner here, although it probably feels like I am. The point is, 25-year-old “prospects” are what they are, and rarely is there enough development left in their games to fix things like 2.5-to-1 career K:BB ratios, no matter how hot they are during the first two weeks of the season.

Matt Skole, 3B, Nationals (Harrisburg, AA): 0-3, 2 K. Skole had some swing-and-miss to his game before he missed the entire 2013 due to Tommy John surgery, but at least a few of his strikeouts could be attributed to his patient approach at the plate that led to a lot of deep counts. This season, he’s striking out even more, but he’s not drawing the walks to go with it. It’s almost as though missing an entire year, then jumping to Double-A with only 20 Carolina League games under his belt, is a difficult task…

Matt Purke, LHP, Nationals (Harrisburg, AA): 4 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 3 K. Purke has struggled with various aspects of his game as a professional—repeating his mechanics, throwing strikes, keeping his velocity—but he appears to be battling all of them right now.

Eddie Butler, RHP, Rockies (Tulsa, AA): 6 IP, 11 H, 5 R, BB, K. It should be noted that Butler got hit by a comebacker and gave up most of his damage after that. Of course, it hit his non-throwing hand, so it shouldn’t be too much of an excuse. But it’s worth noting nonetheless.

Notable Pitching Performances

  • Matt Barnes, RHP, Red Sox (Pawtucket, AAA): 5 IP, 2 H, R, 2 BB, 6 K.
  • Nick Tropeano, RHP, Astros (Oklahoma City, AAA): 4 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 4 K.
  • Clayton Blackburn, RHP, Giants (Richmond, AA): 7 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, K.
  • Robert Stephenson, RHP, Reds (Pensacola, AA): 5 1/3 IP, 4 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 4 K.
  • Jose Berrios, RHP, Twins (Fort Myers, A+): 5 IP, 6 H, 4 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 4 K.
  • Michael Fulmer, RHP, Mets (St. Lucie, A+): 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, K.
  • Alberto Tirado, RHP, Blue Jays (Lansing, A-): 5 IP, H, ER, 3 BB, 4 K.

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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