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May 21, 2014

Minor League Update

Games of Tuesday, May 20

by Jeff Moore

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Hitter of the Night: Oscar Taveras, OF, Cardinals (Memphis, AAA): 4-5, R, 2B.
Much is being made out of Taveras’ NL Central counterpart Gregory Polanco and the Pirates’ unwillingness to promote him, but Taveras is making his case quite well, too. With a lot of struggling offensive players and a need for a jolt, it’s a race to see which team will make a move first.

Pitcher of the Night: Jake Buchanan, RHP, Astros (Oklahoma City, AAA): 9 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 10 K.
The strikeouts aren’t typical of a Buchanan start, but the lack of walks and effective pitching are. His upper-80s arsenal doesn’t leave much of a ceiling (he can touch 91), but his extreme command gives him a chance to stick in the back end of a rotation.

Best of the Rest

Domingo Santana, OF, Astros (Oklahoma City, AAA): 4-6, 3 R, 2B, 2 K. George Springer stole the initial round of attention and Jonathan Singleton is now the focal point, but Santana is another bat waiting in the wings that can make an impact soon. There are more flaws in his offensive game than in those of his fellow prospects, mainly the same contact issues that plague Springer but without as many walks, but he’s a legit power threat for a team currently starting Alex Presley in left field.

Jed Bradley, RHP, Brewers (Brevard County, A+): 9 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K. It’s taken longer than expected, and a third straight trip to the Florida State League, but Bradley is finally getting the results expected from a former 15th-overall pick. He no longer possesses the stuff that got him drafted that high, but he’s throwing strikes consistently for the first time as a professional, so it’s something to work with, at least.

Clint Coulter, C, Brewers (Wisconsin, A-): 3-3, 2 R, 2 2B, BB. With questions about his ability to remain behind the plate, it’s important that Coulter hit in case a move becomes necessary. He’s doing just that—not only hitting for power, both doubles and home runs, but controlling the strike zone exceptionally well, with almost as many walks as strikeouts.

Javier Baez, SS, Cubs (Iowa, AAA): 2-4, 2 2B. Duuun dun duuun dun. That was the Jaws music, if you didn’t get that. This would work better if it were a podcast. The point is, he’s coming. Five-game hit streak, 7-for-his-last-19 with four extra-base hits, and only two strikeouts during that span. It’s time to get out of the water.

Michael Fulmer, RHP, Mets (St. Lucie, A+): 7 IP, 5 H, R, 2 BB, 7 K. Fulmer has the velocity to be a starter, but his command wavers and holds him back. His curveball can miss bats, however, and can be an equalizer against left-handed hitters, giving him a chance to start if his fastball command improves.

Brandon Nimmo, OF, Mets (St. Lucie, A+): 1-2, 2 R, 3 BB. This is what Nimmo has been doing all season, getting on base at an incredible clip. He hasn’t given pitchers a reason to pitch around him yet, so he’s earning every walk he gets, at least as much as FSL pitchers make you.

Travis Demeritte, 2B, Rangers (Hickory, A-): 3-4, 3 R, 3B, HR. The Rangers first-round pick from 2013 is off to a slow start in his full-season debut, hitting for power but struggling to control the strike zone and striking out a ton.

Fight Another Day

Stryker Trahan, OF, Diamondbacks (South Bend, A-): 0-3, 2 K. Trahan’s stock took a major hit this spring when the Diamondbacks decided he was going to give up catching and move to the outfield in order to try to help his bat move more quickly through their system. Instead, he’s hitting .191 and striking out almost a third of the time.

Notable Pitching Performances

  • Adalberto Mejia, RHP, Giants (Richmond, AA): 4 IP, 8 H, 6 R (5 ER), 2 BB, 4 K.
  • Kevin Gausman, RHP, Orioles (Norfolk, AAA): 5 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, BB, 6 K.
  • Parker Bridwell, RHP, Orioles (Frederick, A+): 6 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 8 K.
  • Jesse Biddle, LHP, Phillies (Reading, AA): 6 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K.
  • Chi Chi Gonzalez, RHP, Rangers (Myrtle Beach, A+): 7 IP, H, R, 3 BB, 4 K.
  • Christian Binford, RHP, Royals (Wilmington, A+): 5 2/3 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 8 K.
  • Kohl Stewart, RHP, Twins (Cedar Rapids, A-): 6 IP, 4 H, R, BB, 3 K.

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