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May 9, 2014

Minor League Update

Games of Thursday, May 8

by Jeff Moore

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Hitters of the Night:

Jorge Alfaro, C, Rangers (Myrtle Beach, A+): 3-5, 3 R, 3B, HR.
There aren’t too many catchers who possess an 80-grade arm and can hit triples, which gives you a good idea of Alfaro’s unique and impressive skill set.

Francisco Lindor, SS, Indians (Akron, AA): 3-5, R, HR.
I went with two hitters of the night because the thought of having to choose one of these players over the other might just be enough to make Jason Parks’ head explode and disrupt the space-time continuum. Lindor has just enough pop to keep him from being an Elvis Andrus clone, and he should be an even better version with more offensive value.

Pitcher of the Night: Trevor Bauer, RHP, Indians (Columbus, AAA): 7 2/3 IP, 3 H, R, 2 BB, 9 K.
Bauer is attacking the strike zone better than ever and has proven himself in Triple-A. There’s little reason for him not to get a chance in Cleveland.

Best of the Rest

Jonathan Singleton, 1B, Astros (Oklahoma City, AAA): 3-5, 2 R, HR. With 11 home runs now, it’s hard to imagine Singleton is far behind former teammate George Springer on the caravan to the big leagues.

Kris Bryant, 3B, Cubs (Tennessee, AA): 3-4, 2 R, HR, K. Double-A doesn’t appear to be much of a challenge for Bryant, who hit his ninth home run of the season on Thursday.

Michael Lorenzen, RHP, Reds (Pensacola, AA): 7 IP, 3 H, R, BB, 6 K. Every start like this goes a little further toward answering the questions about whether or not he can remain a starter. He still profiles as a reliever, but these kinds of performances will keep him in the rotation for a while.

Michael Taylor, OF, Nationals (Harrisburg, AA): 3-5, 2 R, 3B, HR. Taylor continues to mix incredible games like this one with terrible games full of strikeouts. He’s maddeningly inconsistent, and the plate discipline issues will hold him back.

Josh Bell, OF, Pirates (Bradenton, A+): 3-5, 2 2B. The tools are beginning to translate more and more into baseball production, and the result is really fun to watch. He still needs to improve his patience at the plate to avoid making so much bad contact and creating a ton of outs, but the power production will be there.

Renato Nunez, 3B, A’s (Stockton, A+): 2-5, 2 R, HR. Nunez has good power, but it probably won’t be enough for the inevitable move to first base he’ll have to make in a few years.

Nomar Mazara, OF, Rangers (Hickory, A-): 3-4, R, HR. Mazara is still learning how to use his tremendous raw power in games, but he’s also just 19, so he gets a break.

Ryan McMahon, 3B, Rockies (Asheville, A-): 2-4, R, HR. Asheville may be a hitters’ park, but not enough to discount McMahon already having 10 home runs in his first full season of professional baseball.

Henry Owens, LHP, Red Sox (Portland, AA): 7 2/3 IP, H, 2 ER, 5 BB, 6 K. Owens didn’t get hit on Thursday, but he ran into trouble with his control when he came back out for the eighth inning. The lefty sat at 89-92 mph and was down in the zone all night, and his plus change-p kept hitters well off-balance. (H/t to @ChrisMellen for the report.)

Fight Another Day

Bubba Starling, OF, Royals (Wilmington, A+): 0-4, 2 K. Still big-time tools, still major issues with the approach and contact. Sadly for the Royals, not much has changed.

Parker Bridwell, RHP, Orioles (Frederick, A+): 5 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 6 K. Scouts have salivated over Bridwell’s stuff for years, but it has never translated into effective pitching, and frankly, he’s never really been close.

D.J. Davis, OF, Blue Jays (Lansing, A-): 0-5, 4 K. Tremendous top-of-the-charts speed, but he can’t use it because of contact issues. Fifty-three strikeouts in 126 at-bats is an unbelievably high total for any player—and is completely unacceptable for a player whose game revolves around speed.

JaCoby Jones, SS, Pirates (West Virginia, A-): 0-5, 2 K. Jones is still very much an athlete playing baseball, but he’s transitioned to professional baseball better than expected—not including Thursday night, of course.

Notable Pitching Performances

  • Ismael Guillon, LHP, Reds (Dayton, A-): 4 2/3 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 7 K.
  • Domingo Tapia, RHP, Mets (St. Lucie, A+): 5 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K.
  • Jed Bradley, LHP, Brewers (Brevard County, A+): 6 2/3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K.
  • Cody Kukuk, LHP, Red Sox (Salem, A+): 5 IP, 3 H, R, 5 BB, 3 K.
  • Alex Gonzalez, RHP, Rangers (Myrtle Beach, A+): 7 IP, 5 H, 2 R, BB, 6 K.
  • Justin Nicolino, LHP, Marlins (Jacksonville, AA): 6 2/3 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 3 K.

Jeff Moore is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
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