May 8, 2014
Minor League Update
Games of Wednesday, May 7
Hitter of the Night: Kris Bryant, 3B, Cubs (Tennessee, AA): 3-4, 4 R, 2B, 2 HR, BB, K. Remember when there were teams that had fellow college third baseman Colin Moran rated ahead of Bryant on their draft boards? The next time you want to berate the Cubs for their decision-making, let’s remember the one they most definitely got correct.
Pitcher of the Night: Jose Berrios, RHP, Twins (Fort Myers, A+): 5 IP, H, 0 R, 4 BB, 7 K.
Best of the Rest
Wilmer Flores, SS, Mets (Las Vegas, AAA): 3-6, R, 2B. In what could be his last game in Vegas, Flores showed why he should have been in the majors all along. Let’s break this down one last time: Flores is going to be a terrible defensive major-league shortstop, but he can hit, definitely better than Omar Quintanilla and Ruben Tejada, and perhaps better than most of the current Mets position players not named David Wright. The Mets have painted themselves into a corner in which, despite his defensive limitations, Flores is their best shortstop option.
Matt Purke, LHP, Nationals (Harrisburg, AA): 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K. The Nationals have been waiting for some kind of positive sign out of Purke, in whom they invested $4 million as an over-slot signee in 2011. While this is a good sign, it’s also the first start this season in which he’s allowed fewer than four runs, so take it with a grain of salt.
Henry Ramos, OF, Red Sox (Portland, AA): 3-3, 2 R, 2 HR, BB. Power is Ramos’ calling card, and he’s handling his first taste of the upper minors better than many expected, though his aggressive approach at the plate could still come back to haunt him.
Chris Reed, LHP, Dodgers (Chattanooga, AA): 6 IP, H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K. Command trouble has always plagued Reed, and likely always will. He’s improved it this season, but it’s still not where it needs to be, though nights like this show what can happen when he throws strikes.
Joey Gallo, 3B, Rangers (Myrtle Beach, A+): 2-3, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 BB. All offseason, we wondered what would happen if Gallo cut down on his strikeouts. He still strikes out more than most, but now it’s coming with a high walk rate which is, in turn, helping him make much better contact and hit for a higher average. It’s all a process in his learning how to harness his top-of-the-charts power and use it in games.
Eric Jagielo, 3B, Yankees (Tampa, A+): 2-4, R, 2B, HR. There are some holes in the hit tool, but the power is real, and Jagielo has done nicely in the transition to wood bats.
Branden Kline, RHP, Orioles (Frederick, A+): 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, BB, 4 K. His fastball/curveball combination would look better in a bullpen, but he’s sticking as a starter for now. He throws strikes, he’s just not missing enough bats to project as anything other than a back-end starter.
Gavin Cecchini, SS, Mets (Savannah, A-): 2-5, R, 3B, HR. Cecchini puts the barrel on the ball, but his swing is flat and doesn’t generate the backspin needed to drive the ball. In the field, he’s stiff at shortstop and doesn’t have smooth infield actions, though his athleticism would play in the outfield.
Kohl Stewart, RHP, Twins (Cedar Rapids, A-): 5 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K. Stewart is adapting to full-season ball quite well and will only miss more and more bats as the weather warms up.
Fight Another Day
Andrew Chafin, LHP, Diamondbacks (Mobile, AA): 5 1/3 IP, 11 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 4 K. When he was drafted, Chafin was thought to be a power-armed potential reliever who could move quickly. He’s instead turned into a pitch-to-contact lefty with inconsistent breaking stuff.
Jeimer Candelario, 3B, Cubs (Daytona, A+): 0-4, 3 K. Unlike fellow Cubs third-base prospect Javier Baez, Candelario’s strikeout issues are not the result of a free-swinging approach. Just the opposite, in fact, as Candelario’s patient approach is leading to deeper counts and higher strikeout totals than he’s dealt with in the past.
Notable Pitching Performances