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June 12, 2014

Minor League Update

Games of Wednesday, June 11

by Jeff Moore

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Hitter of the Night: Jesse Winker, OF, Reds (Bakersfield, A+): 3-3, 4 R, 2 HR, 2 BB.
Winker is perhaps the best hitter in the minors that no one is talking about. He’s just 20, he’s hitting for power and controlling the strike zone in High-A ball, and if it weren’t happening in the California League, we’d be going nuts over his season thus far. That’s not fair, of course, as Winker has all the tools to be a fantastic hitter, and his youth gives the Reds plenty of time to let him work his way slowly through their farm system.

Pitcher of the Night: Jimmy Nelson, RHP, Brewers (Nashville, AAA): 6 IP, 4 H, R, 2 BB, 10 K.
Nelson has been exceptional this season in Triple-A, limiting his free passes while continuing to miss bats. He’s 25 and ready for the majors as soon as the Brewers have an opening for him.

Best of the Rest

Carlos Correa, SS, Astros (Lancaster, A+): 2-4, R, 2B, 2 BB, K. When we had our big debate in April about which of the game’s top shortstop prospects we’d take to start a franchise, Correa got just four of 24 possible votes. He’s been making us all look stupid ever since.

Mitch Haniger, OF, Brewres (Huntsville, AA): 2-5, 2 R, 2 HR. Yesterday, I mentioned Haniger’s good game, but as newest Baseball Prospectus fantasy team member J.P. Breen pointed out, I may have been a little rough on Haniger. It’s okay: J.P. is sensitive because Brewers fans don’t have much to root for in their farm system. Of course, he was right, and Haniger has been hot after a rough April. Wednesday’s game makes it back-to-back two-homer games for Haniger, who now has hit six of his 10 long balls in the month of June. Perhaps this is the power breakout we’ve been waiting for.

Alex Reyes, RHP, Cardinals (Peoria, A-): 7 IP, 2 H, R, 2 BB, 7 K. Inconsistencies are to be expected from young players, especially in their first attempt at full-season ball, but when Reyes throws strikes, good things happen. His stuff is powerful and gives him a front-of-the-rotation ceiling, but it’s going to be a long road to refine it.

Matthew Duffy, SS, Giants (Richmond, AA): 4-5, 2 R, HR, K. In keeping with our theme of “players proving stuff I said yesterday wrong,” Duffy had another strong game at the plate and this time added some power, of which I said he has little to none. That remains true despite his Wednesday home run—his second of the year—but a scouting friend in Richmond has been raving about him all year, and his bat-control skills and ability to control the strike zone back that up.

Hunter Renfroe, OF, Padres (Lake Elsniore, A+): 2-5, 3 R, 2B, HR, BB, 2 K. There’s no doubting the impact that Renfroe can make with his bat, but there’s something scary about his 3-to-1 K:BB ratio. He’s getting away with it for now, but it may get him in trouble against more advanced pitching. It shouldn’t be a big enough problem to keep his power from playing at the major league level, but it may be enough to make him a six hitter instead of a three hitter.

Josh Bell, OF, Pirates (Bradenton, A+): 1-1, R, HR. Bell homered in his first and only at-bat before his game got postponed due to rain, but I can only assume he would have continued to homer in each at-bat and top this list, naturally. Bell’s tools have always been loud, but his production is now beginning to match them in volume.

Fight Another Day

Clint Frazier, OF, Indians (Lake County, A+): 0-4, 2 K. No one is questioning Frazier’s bat speed or natural ability, but his inability to stay on the ball and use the whole field has hurt him in his first full season.

Notable Pitching Performances

  • Jose Urena, RHP, Marlins (Jacksonville, AA): 7 IP, 7 H, 2 R, BB, 6 K.
  • Jonathon Crawford, RHP, Tigers (West Michigan, A-): 5 2/3 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, BB, 2 K.
  • Jose Berrios, RHP, Twins (Fort Myers, A+): 6 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K.
Related Content:  Prospects,  Minor Leagues

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