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May 20, 2014

Minor League Update

Games of Monday, May 19

by Jeff Moore

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Hitter of the Night: Raimel Tapia, OF, Rockies (Asheville, A-): 3-3, 3 R, HR, 2 BB.
It’s been a rough start for Tapia, but games like this give us a glimpse of the kinds of things he’s capable of. His pure hitting ability can get him in trouble because of his aggressive approach, so any time he’s taking pitches and getting himself into hitter-friendly counts, it’s a recipe for him to do some damage.

Pitcher of the Night: Damien Magnifico, RHP, Brewers (Brevard County, A+): 9 IP, 2 H, 0 R, BB, 5 K.
For a player with a big-time fastball, Magnifico’s strikeout numbers are remarkably low, though he is doing a much better job of limiting damage in his second go-round in the Florida State League.

Best of the Rest

Joc Pederson, OF, Dodgers (Albuquerque, AAA): 3-6, 4 R, HR, K, SB. There were some who saw Pederson as a bit of a “tweener” because his power wasn’t going to be enough to carry him in a corner outfield spot. Pederson is doing everything in his power to shut those people up.

Delino DeShields, Jr. OF, Astros (Corpus Christi, AA): 3-4, 2 R, 2B, K, SB. It’s been a rough go of things for DeShields since returning from being hit in the face with a fastball. He had an .811 OPS before the injury but is at just .625 since returning. His strikeout totals were too high in both instances for a speed player, something that has always been a concern.

Aaron Sanchez, RHP, Blue Jays (New Hampshire, AA): 5 IP, 2 H, 2 R (1 ER), 4 BB, 6 K. This is becoming such a typical Sanchez performance that I wasn’t sure to put it in the good section or the bad one. With most pitching prospects, we’d be drooling over Sanchez’s ability to miss bats, but because the overall package is so enticing, we’re disappointed in his inability to go out and dominate, thanks to below-average fastball command. He wouldn’t be the first incredibly talented arm that ends up having to be a reliever because he can’t throw enough strikes to remain a starter, and though we’re not quite there yet, we’re getting closer every time he has an outing like this.

Scott Lyman, RHP, Marlins (Jupiter, A+): 6 IP, 8 H, 1 R (0 ER), BB, 6 K. Lyman continues to baffle Florida State League hitters with a low-90s fastball that has some cutting action and an above-average changeup. His ceiling isn’t terribly high and his slider is nothing to write home about, but at 24 and with a 1.80 ERA, it’s time for a new test.

Josh Bell, OF, Pirates (Bradenton, A+): 2-6, R, HR, 2 K. Big-time power is coming from Bell; the question is how much swing-and-miss will come with it. Thus far he’s done a nice job of limiting the strikeouts, though some of that has to do with an aggressive approach at the plate that could stand to be toned down a little. However, he’s also not hitting for consistent power yet. It’s still an incredibly intriguing package of tools, and he’s still just figuring out how to use them all.

Henry Owens, LHP, Red Sox (Portland, AA): 4 IP, 2 H, R, 4 BB, 8 K. You take the good with the bad with Owens, which includes productive pitching when he’s on the mound but short outings due to high pitch counts thanks to big strikeout and walk numbers.

Eddie Butler, RHP, Rockies (Tulsa, AA): 5 2/3 IP, 3 H, 1 R (0 ER), 4 BB, 2 K. Unlike some of the other pitchers on today’s list, Butler doesn’t usually have problems walking hitters. As Jason Parks pointed out in yesterday’s Ten Pack, Butler is working on some of his weaker pitches at the moment, so an outlier like this is understandable—and is one of the reasons we can’t always put a ton of stock in minor league numbers, especially small sample sizes.

Trevor May, RHP, Twins (Rochester, AAA): 8 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 6 K. Another pitching prospect with a propensity to walk hitters in bunches, May has actually improved his control and, not coincidentally, is having his best season since 2011.

Fight Another Day

Mark Sappington, RHP, Angels (Arkansas, AA): 4 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 6 BB, 2 K. The Angels don’t have much in the way of impact prospect talent, so it would really help them if the ones they did have played well. His control issues got worse when he got to Double-A last season and have remained an issue this season. He was already looking like a reliever with little in the way of a changeup, but his lack of control will probably push him that direction anyway.

Alex Reyes, RHP, Cardinals (Peoria, A-): 3 2/3 IP, 4 H, 8 R, 6 BB, 4 K. Kids these days. As soon as you start to hype them up, they go off and do stuff like this. The control issues are a little concerning for Reyes, who now has walked four or more batters in four of his seven starts, if for no other reason than it’s running up his pitch count and keeping him from getting the experience he needs.

Notable Pitching Performances

  • Jason Hursh, RHP, Braves (Mississippi, AA): 7 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 4 K.
  • Tim Berry, LHP, Orioles (Bowie, AA): 5 IP, 3 H, R, 2 BB, 6 K.
  • Akeem Bostick, RHP, Rangers (Hickory, A-): 5 IP, 5 H, R, 0 BB, 3 K.
  • Jose Berrios, RHP, Twins (Fort Myers, A+): 7 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 10 K.

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