June 2, 2014
Minor League Update
Games of May 30-June 1
Friday, May 30
Mike Foltynewicz, RHP, Astros (Oklahoma City, AAA): 7 2/3 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 10 K. No one has ever doubted Foltynewicz's velocity, which reaches triple digits, but it's his ability to command the fastball and the development of his breaking ball that will determine whether his future is as a starter or a reliever. Starts like this are a big step toward the former end.
Josh Hader, LHP, Astros (Oklahoma City, AAA): 7 2/3 IP, 4 H, R, BB, 9 K. Hader wasn't exceptionally well known when the Astros acquired him in the Bud Norris trade last year, but he's making a name for himself in a deep Astros system. Our eyewitness report goes into better detail, but Hader is a 6'3" lefty with a low-90s fastball who is still growing into his body, adding weight, and refining his secondary offerings.
Aaron Northcraft, RHP, Braves (Mississippi, AA): 5 IP, 4 H,0 R, 2 BB, 8 K. Northcraft doesn't have a high ceiling, but he is extremely effective at what he does. He will be a major leaguer in some capacity.
Arismendy Alcantara, 2B, Cubs (Iowa, AAA): 2-4, 3 R, 2 HR. Alcantara gets a lot of press because he's a member of a deep Cubs farm system, but that same system also overshadows what he can do because he doesn't have the ceiling of Kris Bryant and Javier Baez. Alcantara can, however, play a premium defensive position and offer a strong offensive profile while there, which could make him an extremely valuable player.
Parker Bridwell, RHP, Orioles (Frederick, A+): 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 9 K. Bridwell remains a model of inconsistency, but he is showing more frequent flashes of production from the potential he's shown for years. When he's on, he can miss bats, but he needs to show it more often.
JaCoby Jones, SS, Pirates (West Virginia, A-): 2-5, R, 2B, HR, BB, 2 K. Jones is doing a nice job of turning his athleticism into on-field production, and it's probably about time to see how it will translate to the Florida State League.
Joey Gallo, 3B, Rangers (Myrtle Beach, A+): 2-4, 3 R, 2 HR, BB, 2 K. The power just keeps on coming for Gallo, who is doing this, by the way, in the pitcher-friendly Carolina League. He hit a third home run on Saturday as well.
Adam Walker, OF, Twins (Ft. Myers, A+): 3-5, 3 R, 2B, 2 HR. Walker is perhaps the minors' best example of realistic talent that remains unrefined. His power is legitimate, but his pitch recognition has a long way to go.
Saturday, May 31
Preston Tucker, OF, Astros (Corpus Christi, AA): 4-5, 3 R, 2B, 2 HR, K. Preston Tucker can hit. Scouts find flaws in many parts of his game, but Tucker continues to produce the power numbers that are becoming harder and harder to find in today's game. In a full Double-A season (between last year and this year), Tucker is hitting .281/.352/.529. He should be in Triple-A soon, and he is better than many of the hitters the Astros have used in their corner outfield spots in recent years.
Mark Appel, RHP, Astros (Lancaster, A+): 1 1/3 IP, 10 H, 10 R, 1 BB, 2 K. On the weekend wrap-up, I try to stick to the positive, but I wouldn't be doing my job in keeping you updated if I didn't mention a stink bomb like this one from last year's first-overall pick. Our own Ron Shah pointed was there and pointed out that Appel was throwing almost exclusively fastballs in the outing, which could explain his getting hit hard. The good news is that his velocity returned. It would be nice, however, to see the top pick in the draft have a little more success against A-ball hitters, even if it's just with one pitch.
Clint Coulter, C, Brewers (Wisconsin, A-): 3-4, 2 R, 2B, HR. Few players have exceeded expectations with the bat more than Coulter has this season. The power production is a nice development, with 10 home runs already on the year, but the most impressive development is the improvement in his plate discipline.
Corey Seager, SS, Dodgers (Rancho Cucamonga, A+): 3-5, 3 R, 2B, HR, BB, K. You can't put too much stock in outrageous California League numbers, but there's clearly nothing left for Seager to prove at the level.
Hunter Renfroe, OF, Padres (Lake Elsinore, A+): 3-5, 2 R, 2 HR, K. Renfroe is going to hit for power, and will so no enough to be a major-league bat. His swing-and-miss issues could hold him back, but it shouldn't be enough to keep him from being at least an everyday player. Ultimately, he should be better than that.
Raimel Tapia, OF, Rockies (Asheville, A-): 3-5, 2 R. Pure hitting ability always rises to the top, and that's exactly what's happening with Tapia, who went 8-for-10 over the weekend. Hitters gonna hit.
Sunday, June 1
Angel Villalona, 1B, Giants (Richmond, AA): 2-4, R, HR, 2 K. Remarkably, there's still a chance that Villalona turns into a usable player. His plate discipline is still an abomination and will keep him from being an everyday contributor, but he does get his power to play better than you'd expect from a player who swings at everything.
Clint Frazier, OF, Indians (Lake County, A-): 2-3, R, HR, BB, K, SB. There's been more swing-and-miss in Frazier's game than may have been expected and the power has yet to come with it to compensate. That said, it's extraordinarily early.
Aderlin Rodriguez, 1B/3B, Mets (St. Lucie, A+): 2-4 R, HR. Rodriguez has true 80 power, but his plate discipline makes Villalona look like Joey Votto. More importantly, they limit his ability to let his power play in games.
Devon Travis, 2B, Tigers (Erie, AA): 4-4, 3 R, 3B, HR. Known for his pure hitting ability, Travis hasn't been able to get things going yet this season after getting a late start and playing his first game less than a month ago. He's not the most patient hitter, and has just one walk in 18 games, so he'll have to hit around .300 to have value.
Jose Berrios, RHP, Twins (Ft. Myers, A+): 7 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, 13 K. Premium velocity and a plus changeup is the best combination a pitcher can have. Berrios has both. He needs to improve his fastball command, but once he does, he is a potential no. 2 starter.
Aaron Judge, OF, Yankees (Charleston, A): 2-3, 2 R, 3B, HR. The problem with Judge was thought to be his contact issues, but they haven't been as extreme as many had anticipated, and the results have shown.