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May 15, 2014

Minor League Update

Games of Wednesday, May 14

by Jeff Moore

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Hitter of the Night: Rymer Liriano, OF, Padres (San Antonio, AA): 3-6, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 K.
One of the few impact position players in the Padres farm system that is close to being major-league ready, Liriano is hitting for more power now than he did before missing the 2013 season due to Tommy John surgery. He is still an overly aggressive hitter. which could hurt him in the majors.

Pitcher of the Night: Eddie Butler, RHP, Rockies (Tulsa, AA): 7 IP, 6 H, 0 R, BB, 4 K.
Butler’s strikeout rates are down this season, but he is generating lots of weak contact thanks to his heavy sinking fastball.

Best of the Rest

Preston Tucker, OF, Astros (Corpus Christi, AA): 2-5, 2B, BB, K. Tucker doesn’t do much terribly well on a baseball field, but he can hit, and that’s enough to keep him moving up the Astros organizational ladder.

Taylor Naquin, OF, Indians (Akron, AA): 2-4, R, HR, K. The more scouts see Naquin, the more they differ on his future. There’s no doubting that the arm and the glove should play in center, but the power is still very much up in the air.

Scott Lyman, RHP, Marlins (Jupiter, A+): 9 IP, 5 H, R, 0 BB, 6 K. Lyman is pitching over his head right now, as it’s incredibly difficult to sustain a 1.80 ERA with just a 6.1 K/9 rate. He features a fastball that sits 88-92, and his best off-speed pitch is a changeup at 76-80, but he profiles as a back-end starter.

Jason Esposito, 3B, Orioles (Frederick, A+): 4-4, R, 3B, SB. Ultra-aggressive hitters put a ton of balls in play, and that can lead to more hits on the good days. The former Vanderbilt star and second-round pick has only recently gotten his OPS over the .600 mark for the first time in his career.

Jesse Biddle, LHP, Phillies (Reading, AA): 6 IP, 2 H, 1 R (0 ER), 4 BB, 7 K. The walk rate is down and the strikeout rate is up. Biddle is still inconsistent from start to start, but he’s learning how to get away with the extra baserunners more often.

Nick Williams, OF, Rangers (Myrtle Beach, A+): 3-5, 2B, K. Scouts drool over the hit tool, but his ultra-aggressive approach may hold him back from ever letting it reach its full potential.

Henry Owens, LHP, Red Sox (Portland, AA): 4 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 5 BB, 8 K. Owens has proven extremely hard to hit, but the inconsistencies in his mechanics sometimes lead to bouts of wildness.

Adam Brett Walker, OF, Twins (Fort Myers, A+): 2-4, R, HR, K. Poor pitch recognition plagues Walker, but few can hit a fastball as well or as far as the young right-handed slugger.

Fight Another Day

Victor Roache, OF, Brewers (Brevard County, A+): 0-4, 2 K. All flawed hitters eventually get to a level that exposes their weakness. It’s too early to say for certain that Roache is at that point, but his strikeout-to-walk ratio suggests that he’s getting close.

Notable Pitching Performances

  • Deck McGuire, RHP, Blue Jays (New Hampshire, AA): 7 1/3 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 8 K.
  • Justin Nicolino, LHP, Marlins (Jacksonville, AA): 5 2/3 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K.
  • Michael Fulmer, RHP, Mets (St. Lucie, A+): 5 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 7 K.
  • Allen Webster, RHP, Red Sox (Pawtucket, AAA): 5 2/3 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 9 K.
  • Kohl Stewart, RHP, Twins (Cedar Rapids, A-): 4 IP, 5 H, 2 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 3 K.

Jeff Moore is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
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