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July 3, 2014

Minor League Update

Games of Wednesday, July 2

by Jeff Moore

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Hitter of the Night: Nomar Mazara and Lewis Brinson, OF, Rangers (Hickory, A-): 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, K.
We have identical yet impressive stat lines for a pair of Rangers outfielders, both of whom offer some power projection along with plate discipline issues. Brinson, however, should stick in center field.

Pitcher of the Night: Alex Reyes, RHP, Cardinals (Peoria, A-): 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 7 BB, 10 K.
I can almost assure you that this will be the season high for walks by a pitcher of the night, but no runs and double-digit strikeouts in five innings get it done for Reyes. The walks are a concern, as they've been an issue longer than just Wednesday night, but you can't deny the potential in the arm. It's just got a long way to go, that's all.

Best of the Rest

Kyle Kubitza, 3B, Braves (Mississippi, AA): 3-4, 2 R, 2 2B, 3B. The knocks on Kubitza have been his high strikeout totals and concerns about the hit tool, but he's eased at least some of the concerns regarding the latter this season with his best offensive campaign yet.

Albert Almora, OF, Cubs (Daytona, A+): 3-3, 2 R, 2B, BB. A #BPTop50 member, Almora struggled against Florida State League pitching in the first half of the year but is beginning to heat up and justify his lofty rankings. The hit tool is there, and the hard contact will come more and more frequently as he learns how to get his pitch and use his raw talent.

Lucas Giolito, RHP, Nationals (Hagerstown, A-): 7 IP, 4 H, R, 0 BB, 5 K. I was in Lakewood for this start by Giolito, and while he didn't feature the super-premium velocity that he's shown for some of our guys, he did sit comfortably in the 92-95 range and commanded it exceptionally well. With the exception of one fastball, which Dylan Cozens deposited in the center-field bushes, Giolito was never challenged by Lakewood hitters or so much as fazed on the mound. He flashed his curveball, which may one day be a true 80 pitch and isn't far off at present, but he didn't throw many of them, instead focusing on his developing changeup. That pitch showed potential and has good movement in warmups that disappeared when a hitter came to the plate. Still, he threw it consistently for strikes and got plenty of swings and misses with it thanks to an identical arm slot and velocity deception. All in all, an extremely impressive performance that likely wasn't even Giolito at his best.

Austin Meadows, OF, Pirates (GCL, R) 2-2, R, 3B. Meadows has still yet to make an out in the GCL (it's only been two games, but still) and now has three extra-base hits after missing the first three months of the season.

Blake Swihart, C, Red Sox (Portland, AA): 2-4, 2 2B, BB, 2 K. At the start of the season, Swihart wasn't in the same category as Austin Hedges and Jorge Alfaro when it came to catching prospects. But yet another season of controlling the strike zone along with some of his doubles clearing the fence more often (Wednesday not being the best example of that), and it's a legitimate discussion.

Nick Travieso, RHP, Reds (Dayton, A-): 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K. Travieso still isn't showing the kind of impact production you want from the 14th-overall pick and has been passed by Michael Lorenzen on the organizational depth chart, but he's rebounded nicely from a lost 2013 season that really had people questioning his prospect status.

Lewis Thorpe, LHP, Twins (Cedar Rapids, A-): 4 2/3 IP, 5 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 8 K. It's been a rough first attempt at full-season baseball for the young Austrailian, but some of that's to be expected. With a track record of throwing strikes and missing bats at the complex level, Thorpe made the Twins comfortable promoting him over short-season ball, and he rewarded them for their confidence on Wednesday.

Fight Another Day

Parker Bridwell, RHP, Orioles (Frederick, A+): 4 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 3 BB, 6 K. The Bridwell Jekyll and Hyde act continues, as it has for years. He's having more good days this season than he has in the past, but he's still a roller coaster from start to start.

Notable Pitching Performances

  • Mike Foltynewicz, RHP, Astros (Oklahoma City, AAA) 6 IP, 8 H, 3 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 5 K.
  • Jorge Lopez, RHP, Brewers (Brevard Co., A+): 6 IP, 5 H, 3 ER (1 R), 5 BB, 5 K.
  • Aaron Blair, RHP, Diamondbacks (Visalia, A+): 4 1/3 IP, 6 H, 6 R (5 ER), 3 BB, 5 K.
  • Touki Toussaint, RHP, Diamondbacks (AZL, R) 1 IP, H, R, BB, 3 K (pro debut).
  • Robert Stephenson, RHP, Reds (Pensacola, AA): 5 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 4 BB, 2 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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