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June 17, 2014

Minor League Update

Games of Monday, June 16

by Jeff Moore

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There are a few leagues on their all-star breaks this week, but luckily for us, short-season leagues began to help pick up the slack.

Hitter of the Night: Steven Moya, OF, Tigers (Erie, AA): 3-5, 2 R, HR, K.
Moya is a massive human being and has great raw power that is actually playing more in games than it ever has before. That said, he still has a horribly aggressive approach at the plate and a complete lack of pitch recognition, which will ultimately hold him back.

Pitcher of the Night: Trevor May, RHP, Twins (Rochester, AAA): 8 1/3 IP, 3 H, R, 2 BB, 11 K.
The overall product has never quite added up to the sum of the parts for May, but now in Triple-A, he’s cut his walk rate down to more acceptable levels, which gives him a chance to stick as a starter. He’s always missed bats and feels like he’s been in the minors forever, which could be a recipe for a promotion sometime soon. He may still end up in a relief role because of his lack of control, but for now, he’s putting it together more than he has during his trek through the minors.

Best of the Rest

Nick Tropeano, RHP, Astros (Oklahoma City, AAA): 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, BB, 6 K. There’s not much else Tropeano can do in Triple-A, or in the minors for that matter. The ceiling isn’t high, but he gets the most out of his game by throwing a ton of strikes and keeping hitters honest with a plus changeup that he’ll throw any time to any hitter. The next time the Astros need another starter, there’s a good chance Tropeano gets the call.

Jorge Lopez, RHP, Brewers (Brevard County, A+): 7 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, BB, 6 K. Lopez has been excellent in the Florida State League this season, but he’s getting away with throwing less than quality strikes and without a real changeup. The one he throws is between 87-89 MPH (his fastball sits 92-94) and looks and acts more like a two-seam fastball, giving him little to change speeds with. Despite his success, it’s a middle-relief profile until he gets something slower to go with his fastball/curveball mix.

Kyle Schwarber, LF, Cubs (Boise, SS): 2-5, 3B, K. The Cubs had Schwarber out in the outfield on Monday after letting him catch over the weekend, indicating that they plan to let him do some of both and keep his options open. Short-season pitching hasn’t provided him with a challenge yet, which could lead to a trip to Low-A Kane County at some point in the coming months.

Justin Williams, OF, Diamondbacks (Osprey, SS): 3-4, 2 R, HR, BB, K, SB. Last year’s second-round pick was excellent in Rookie ball last year and is off to a similarly hot start in his short-season debut. He has plus raw power, but it showed up as doubles last season. Those doubles, however, have a tendency to find their way over the fence as power hitters develop.

Brandon Nimmo, OF, Mets (St. Lucie, A+): 2-3, 2 R, 2B, 3B, BB. Nimmo is going to end up disappointing people because he’s built like he should be a power hitter and likely won’t develop into one, but if you take him for what he is—which is a fantastic table-setter—he has a chance to be a very valuable player.

Josh Bell, OF, Pirates (Bradenton, A+): 2-3, R, 2B, BB. Bell is getting less raw by the day, as he gains consistency from game to game. It’s still going to be a long process to get him to the majors, but Bell has shown positive signs this year toward putting it all together.

Mookie Betts, 2B, Red Sox (Pawtucket, AAA): 2-3, R, 2B, 3B, BB, K. It’s been a heck of a season for Betts, who has come back down to earth after his ridiculous Double-A stint but is still hitting well.

Blake Swihart, C, Red Sox (Portland, AA): 2-5, R, HR. For all the hype surrounding Betts this season, it’s Swihart who actually projects to be the better prospect. The power may not be there, but a plus hit tool from a legit defensive catcher is a really appealing package.

Fight Another Day

Jimmy Nelson, RHP, Brewers (Nashville, AAA): 5 2/3 IP, 8 H, 5 R (2 ER), 3 BB, 5 K. Nelson has been among the best pitchers in Triple-A this season and has made a brief cameo in the majors in each of the last two seasons. Most people probably anticipated him being up in the majors already, but the Brewers have gotten better stating pitching than anyone could have expected. When they need another starter, Nelson will be their guy.

Colin Moran, 3B, Marlins (Jupiter, A+): 0-4, 2 K. Moran got his batting average up to .300 at one point last week, but it was still a relatively empty .300 (no power, low on-base) and his body language continues to drive scouts nuts.

Notable Pitching Performances

  • Noah Syndergaard, RHP, Mets (Las Vegas, AAA): 4 IP, 7 H, 4 R, BB, 3 K.
  • Enny Romero, LHP, Rays (Durham, AAA): 6 IP, 4 H, R, 2 BB, 4 K.

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

Related Content:  Prospects,  Minor Leagues

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