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June 24, 2014

Minor League Update

Games of Monday, June 23

by Jeff Moore

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Hitter of the Night: Renato Nunez, 3B, Athletics (Stockton, A+): 4-5, 2 R, 3 2B, HR.
Nunez showed off the power in his game last year as a 19-year-old in full-season ball for the first time and has taken it to another level this year, now with 33 extra-base hits on the season. More importantly for his development, however, he’s taken a more patient approach to hitting, striking out less and working more walks. His profile is still a question, as he appears destined for first base, where his bat will have to carry him. But it showing signs of being able to do so.

Pitcher of the Night: Ty Blach, LHP, Giants (Richmond, AA): 6 IP, 8 H, R, BB, 9 K.
In a Richmond rotation filled with bigger-name prospects like Kyle Crick and Adalberto Mejia, it’s the less-heralded Blach that is having the best season. He works with a back-end arsenal that rarely misses bats (his nine strikeouts were a season high by a wide margin), but throwing a ton of strikes, having a plus changeup, and being left-handed is a solid recipe for success at any level.

Best of the Rest

Domingo Santana, OF, Astros (Oklahoma City, AAA): 2-4, R, 2B, HR, BB, 2 K. There are questions about how Santana’s hit tool will play outside of the most hitter-friendly environments of the minors, but even at .250 with 20 home runs—both reasonable expectations—Santana has a future as a solid corner outfielder.

Jose Peraza, 2B, Braves (Mississippi, AA): 3-5, 3 R, HR. Braves fans have made almost as much noise clamoring for Peraza’s inclusion in the Update as the prospect has with his bat this season, but his season is too good to ignore forever (not that it was done on purpose). It usually takes a home run to make the update, which explains Peraza’s absence. He simply doesn’t hit many because he doesn’t have any power. There were thoughts that the hit tool could play above average, but not to the level it did in Lynchburg, where his .342 average was fueled by a .376 BABIP. Still, Peraza offers enough value with his glove and legs that if he can approach anything near a .300 average, he’ll be a heck of a player. He’s shifted to second base this year because of the presence of Andrelton Simmons in the majors, and that pairing could be one for the ages defensively if they end up alongside one another.

Frederis Parra, RHP, Cardinals (GCL Cardinals, R): 6 IP, 6 H, R, 0 BB, 6 K. It’s not often you see a pitcher on a complex league who flashes three potential plus pitches, and it’s even less often that you see one who has three that already grade out as presently average or better, but Parra was both on Monday on the back fields at Roger Dean. It’s was his first appearance stateside, which explains why he’s still facing overmatched GCL hitters, but he won’t be there for long. A full scouting report will be coming soon, so I won’t spoil anything here, but I think you can tell that I’m excited.

Corey Seager, SS, Dodgers (Rancho Cucamunga, A+): 3-5, 3 R, 2B, K. There are a few guys who could still desperately use a promotion and a new challenge and haven’t received one yet, and Seager is at the top of that list.

Francisco Lindor, SS, Indians (Akron, AA): 2-4, 2 R, HR, K. Francisco Lindor homered, which means Francisco Lindor probably smiled, and a world with a smiling Francisco Lindor is a better place to live. He’s going to be quite high on our #BPTop50 when it’s released in week or so.

Bubba Starling, OF, Royals (Wilmington, A+): 2-4, 2 R, HR, BB, SB. Bubba runs into one every now and then due to pure athleticism, but the hitting approach and ability to make consistent contact simply aren’t there.

Jose Berrios, RHP, Twins (Fort Myers, A+): 6 IP, 5 H, R, 0 BB, 8 K. I can’t talk about Berrios highly enough, and the deeper he goes into this season pitching as he has thus far, the more it alleviates the one concern that surrounds him—his durability over the course of an entire year.

Fight Another Night

Gavin Cecchini, SS, Mets (St. Lucie, A+): 0-5, K. Cecchini failed to make any hard contact at the plate on Monday night, showed some major mechanical flaws in his swing, and he did not look fluid or smooth in the field at shortstop on multiple chances. I’ll write a full report on him after a few more looks, but so far the results have been underwhelming.

Jesse Biddle, LHP, Phillies (Reading, AA): 3 IP, 8 H, 10 R, 3 BB, 2 K. Much like the entire Phillies organization, Biddle can be immensely frustrating as a prospect, missing bats in bunches on one night and finding them with all too much frequency on another. One day he looks like a mid-rotation starter and the next he looks like a LOOGY. Unfortunately, the latter is happening more and more frequently these days and explains why he’s still in Double-A after spending all of last year there—and has no travel arrangements booked for the immediate future.

Aaron Nola, RHP, Phillies (Clearwater, A+): 2 1/3 IP, 3 H, 5 R (4 ER), 3 BB, 3 K. Sorry, Phillies fans, no good news here today. Nola’s professional debut didn’t go nearly as smoothly as his time at LSU, but that can’t be totally unexpected given the aggressiveness of his assignment. There’s a reason recent draft picks almost never jump straight to the Florida State League; it’s a really advanced league in the grand scheme of things. Nola will be fine, but there’s a bigger adjustment from the SEC to the FSL than many expect, including, apparently, the Phillies front office.

Cole Tucker, SS, Pirates (GCL Pirates, R): 0-3, R, 2 BB, 2 K, 3 errors. It was a rough first game as a professional for Tucker, which can easily be attributed to first-game jitters and dismissed just as easily.

Notable Pitching Performances

  • Branden Kline, RHP, Orioles, (Frederick, A+): 4 1/3 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 2 K.
  • Joe Ross, RHP, Padres (Lake Elsniore, A+): 6 IP, 3 H, R, BB, 5 K.
  • Ben Lively, RHP, Reds (Pensacola, AA): 3 2/3 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 5 BB, 8 K.

…and Kris Bryant homered.

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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