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May 28, 2014

Minor League Update

Games of Tuesday, May 27

by Jeff Moore

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Hitter of the Night: Jorge Alfaro, C, Rangers (Myrtle Beach, A+): 5-5, 2B, 3B.
It’s days like this that make scouts salivate over Alfaro. Sure, he’s still ultra-aggressive at the plate, a problem that may ultimately hold him back, but how many catching prospects can collect five hits in a game, have one of them be a triple, and still not feature their best tool (his arm)?

Pitcher of the Night: Andrew Heaney, LHP, Marlins (New Orleans, AAA): 6 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K.
The real test in the minors is the jump to Double-A, but Heaney handled that with aplomb. The jump to Triple-A hasn’t slowed him down either, as he’s now allowed just eight hits and one run in his first 11 innings while striking out 14. It’s hard to believe he won’t be in the majors to help the Marlins by the end of June.

Best of the Rest

Carson Kelly, C, Cardinals (Peoria, A-): 2-4, R, HR, BB. In about the same sample size as he had in Peoria last year, Kelly has had virtually identical production. That’s not a good thing, as he has struggled with the bat both times. He’s catching now, however, and learning on the fly, which does provide us with at least some excuse for his offensive struggles. He has big power potential, and the position change gives him a longer leash than many prospects, but it would be good to start to see some production.

Kris Bryant, 3B, Cubs (Tennessee, AA): 0-1, R, 4 BB, K. It’s tough to make the MLU without a hit, but four walks help. If nothing else, this serves as a reminder of Bryant’s patient approach, which will serve him well if he ends up hitting in the .260 range. It also allows us to remember that at least a portion of his high strikeout total will come because he works deep counts and not just because of swing-and-miss in his swing.

Daniel Norris, LHP, Blue Jays (Dunedin, A+): 5 1/3 IP, 4 H, 0 R, BB, 8 K. The stuff has never been the question for Norris, but control issues threatened to keep him from reaching his ceiling. Unlike fellow Blue Jays prospect Aaron Sanchez, however, Norris has made great strides this year in that regard, lowering his walk rate to a very acceptable 2.6 BB/9.

Kevin Plawecki, C, Mets (Binghamton, AA): 2-2, 2 R, 2B, HR. Plawecki has been tapping into his power of late, with this home run being his fourth in his last six games. Doubles sometimes have a way of turning into home runs as players develop, and for what it’s worth, Plawecki had 38 two-baggers last season.

Franmil Reyes, OF, Padres (Fort Worth, A-): 2-4, 2 R, HR, K. There are some questions about the overall profile for Reyes, but he’s gigantic, 18, and hitting home runs in full-season baseball, so I’d say the Padres are on to something.

Jose Briceno, C, Rockies (Asheville, A-): 3-5, 3 R, 2 2B, 3B. On a team full of big prospect names, Briceno is making a name for himself. He’s hitting over .300 with good doubles power thus far while also throwing out 47 percent of would-be base stealers. He’s extremely aggressive at the plate, which will need refinement at the higher levels, but he’s holding his own with the bat extremely well in full-season ball for a 21-year-old catcher.

Eugenio Suarez, SS, Tigers (Toledo, AAA): 3-4, 3 R, 2B, HR. Known mostly for his glove, Suarez is showing off more power this season and has carried that success to Triple-A after a promotion last week. He profiles as a second-division regular or utility man in the majors, but that may be better than the Tigers’ current options at shortstop.

Fight Another Day

Dylan Covey, RHP, Athletics (Beloit, A-): 4 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 3 BB, 2 K. Covey has a low-90s fastball and the makings of some workable secondary offerings, but they haven’t helped him miss bats in full-season ball. His strikeout rate has dipped to an unsustainably low 4.8 K/9.

Adalberto Mejia, LHP, Giants (Richmond, AA): 6 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 2 BB, 4 K. The performance hasn’t been there for Mejia, especially when you look at the ERA now north of 6.00, but he still possesses the mid-90s fastball and has cut his walk rate almost in half this season.

Matt Barnes, RHP, Red Sox (Pawtucket, AAA): 4 1/3 IP, 6 H, 7 R (6 ER), 2 BB, 6 K. The Red Sox have a number of major-league-ready pitching options should they need to call on one at some point, but Barnes’ inconsistencies from start to start are going to put him behind the likes of Allen Webster, Anthony Ranaudo, and perhaps even Henry Owens (who is at Double-A) at this point.

Notable Pitching Performances

  • Victor Payano, LHP, Rangers (Myrtle Beach, A+): 4 IP, H, 3 R, 6 BB, 2 K.
  • Robert Stephenson, RHP, Reds (Pensacola, AA): 6 1/3 IP, 5 H, 2 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 5 K.

Jeff Moore is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Jeff's other articles. You can contact Jeff by clicking here

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