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June 9, 2014

Minor League Update

Games of June 6-8

by Jeff Moore

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Friday, June 6

Alberto Tirado, RHP, Blue Jays (Lansing, A-): 1 2/3 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 3 BB, 3 K. The first go-round in full-season ball hasn’t gone as the Blue Jays had planned for Tirado, who has had major difficulties throwing strikes. The talent is still there, so don’t get too worried about the results, as he’s hardly the first 19-year-old to have trouble with his control upon reaching the Midwest League.

Javier Baez, SS, Cubs (Iowa, AAA): 2-4, R, 2B, HR, 2 K. We’re going to see streaks from Baez throughout his career. It’s a part of his free-swinging ways. After his 11-game hitting streak toward the end of May, Baez then went three for his next 21. Then Friday happens. Even at his best, Baez should be full of ups and downs.

Jake Lamb, 3B, Diamondbacks (Mobile, AA): 2-4, 2 R, HR, 2 K. Few hitters, if any, are hotter than Lamb right now, who is seeing more and more of his doubles clear the fence.

Corey Seager, SS, Dodgers (Rancho Cucamunca, A+): 3-5, 2 R, 2 HR. There are a few prospects in the minors just begging for a promotion and Seager is one of them, if for no other reason than there’s just nothing left for him to prove in the California League. The jump to Chattanooga is a daunting one and it will provide a good test for his power. He hit another bomb on Sunday for good measure.

Adam Duvall, 3B, Giants (Fresno, AAA): 2-5, 2 R, 2B, HR, 2 K. Duvall has his flaws, but it’s tough to ignore 19 home runs, already two more than he hit last season. The PCL has that effect on hitters, especially those coming from Richmond, but it may be time to see just how real the power boost is, especially while Brandon Belt is out.

Tyler Naquin, OF, Indians (Akron, AA): 3-5, 2 R, HR, K, SB. Naquin still profiles as more of a tweener than anything else, but hitting over .300 is a good start toward shedding that profile. Still, if he’s going to end up in right field, more power like this would be nice.

Saturday, June 7

Daniel Norris, LHP, Blue Jays (Dunedin, A+): 5 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 7 K. A lefty with a low-to-mid-90s fastball is a good start, but it’s Norris’ array of breaking pitches that are missing bats at a rate of more than one per inning. His command has a ways to go, but his control has improved, which is a step in the right direction.

Kris Bryant, 3B, Cubs (Tennessee, AA): 3-3, 2 R, 2B, HR, BB, SB. Our recent re-draft gives us cause to look back and wonder just how Bryant “fell” to no. 2 last year, given what he’s done since turning pro. It’s hard not to already play the “what-if” game.

Kyle Crick, RHP, Giants (Richmond, AA): 5 IP, 5 H, R, BB, 3 K. No one has doubted Crick’s arm, but he’s had significant troubles this year throwing strikes and getting that arm to work as an effective pitcher. Saturday provided us with a nice glimpse of what can happen when he throws strikes.

Colin Moran, 3B, Marlins (Jupiter, A+): 3-5, 2 R, 2B, HR. Much-needed back-to-back home runs for Moran give him three on the season, as the power has been extremely slow to come for last year’s sixth-overall pick. His approach at the plate isn’t great either, meaning that if he doesn’t hit for power, he has a chance to be a pretty empty .280 hitter.

A.J. Cole, RHP, Nationals (Harrisburg, AA): 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, BB, 7 K. In perhaps the most consistent year of his professional career, Cole has dipped his walk rate down even further from where it was. He still gets by mostly with his fastball, but it’s a good enough pitch to carry him into a rotation.

Branden Kline, RHP, Orioles (Frederick, A+): 7 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 11 K. Most believe that Kline is destined for the bullpen, but his two-pitch fastball/curveball mix will play great if that’s where he ends up.

Austin Hedges, C, Padres (San Antonio, AA): 2-5, R, HR, BB, K. Hedges has had an underwhelming season offensively, but his defensive skills are so impressive that he only has to be an average hitter to be an above-average overall player.

Travis Demeritte, 3B, Rangers (Hickory, A-): 2-4, R, 2B, HR. Demeritte has had some trouble making adjustments to full-season pitching, but his power is legitimate and plays well in games despite his aggressive approach.

Sunday, June 8

Rob Kaminsky, LHP, Cardinals (Peoria, A-): 5 IP, 2 H, R, 3 BB, 4 K. Kaminsky has some work to do on his secondary pitches, but he’s getting by just fine without them for the time being in his shot at full-season ball. He won’t miss enough bats with just his fastball, so he’ll have to make progress with the curveball and changeup to keep his success up at the higher levels, but he’s off to a good start for now.

Dominic Smith, 1B, Mets (Savannah, A-): 2-4, 2B, BB, SB. Smith put together three two-hit games over the weekend as he gets accustomed to full-season ball and starts to string the hits together. He still hasn’t hit a home run yet, but the raw power is there and will come out in games soon enough.

Ismael Guillon, LHP, Reds (Dayton, A-): 7 IP, 4 H, 2 R, BB, 9 K. In his third stint at Dayton, Guillon has finally put together his ability to miss bats without his ability to miss the strike zone. The command still has a long way to go to catch up with the control, but throwing strikes is a good first step.

Hunter Dozier, 3B, Royals (Wilmington, A+): 2-5, 2 R, 2B, HR, K. Our scouts love Dozier and he projects well despite the current lack of home run power at a position that usually requires it. His patient approach at the plate leads to good on-base skills and scouts project more power from his strong frame. Additionally, his doubles totals indicate that there may be more power on the way, especially once he gets out of a place like Wilmington where home runs go to die.

Jeff Moore is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
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