July 7, 2014
Minor League Update
Games of July 3-6
Thursday, July 3
Jose Peraza, 2B, Braves (Mississippi, AA): 3-5, 2 R, 2 2B, K. SB. There’s virtually no power in Peraza’s game, but if he’s going to hit over .350, it won’t matter. He won’t, of course, do that at higher levels, but he has handled his promotion to Double-A with aplomb.
Adam Conley, LHP, Marlins (New Orleans, AAA): 5 2/3 IP, 2 H, R, 6 BB, 2 K. Conley has maintained strikeout rates relative to his career norms since a promotion to Triple-A, but his already fringy walk rate has spiked up past levels where it needs to be to get hitters out consistently.
Nick Williams, OF, Rangers (Myrtle Beach, A+): 2-3, 2 R, HR, BB. The guys who can get away with BB:K ratios as extreme as Williams’ are rare, but he may just have the hit tool to pull it off. If he doesn’t become more patient, he’ll need to hit every bit of .300 to be a productive offensive player, but that’s well within reach for Williams.
Friday, July 4
Adrian Houser, RHP, Astros (Quad Cities, A-): 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, BB, 8 K. Houser has spouted potential for a few years now without a ton to show for it, but the tall right-hander is in full-season ball now, and, while he’s not blowing anyone away, he is holding his own.
Renato Nunez, 3B, Athletics (Stockton, A+): 2-5, 2 R, HR, BB. It’s easy to attribute Nunez’s strong season to the hitter-friendly California League, and that certainly is playing its part, but credit him with improving his walk rate and lowering his strike out rate which gives him a chance to succeed when he has to move on to Midland.
Dwight Smith, Jr., OF, Blue Jays (Dunedin, A+): 4-5, 2 2B. Smith gets about as little fanfare as any first round pick from recent years, but he’s a better player than he gets credit for. He’s not a star, and he’s a non-power guy limited to a corner outfield spot, which is a tough profile, but he can control the bat and run, which gives him a chance to carve out a nice major league career.
Kris Bryant, 3B, Cubs (Iowa, AAA): 3-4, R, 2B, HR, K. There’s not much else we can say about Bryant, but there was some slight panic about his brief struggles when he got to Triple-A, and it’s worth pointing out that they were blown out of proportion. Bryant hit another home run on Sunday and ended the weekend with seven blasts and a higher batting average and slugging percentage than he had in Double-A.
Wilmer Flores, 3B, Mets (Las Vegas, AAA): 2-5, 2 R, 2 HR. Flores is back in Triple-A and back to raking because hitting in Las Vegas is remarkably easy to do and because Flores has already proven everything he can at the Triple-A level. It’s time to find him some at bats in the majors.
Saturday, July 5
Lance McCullers, RHP, Astros (Lancaster, A+): 2 IP, H, R, 6 K. For a guy who is being given a chance to start, his outings sure are short, although at least a portion of that can be blamed on his control issues. He still has a long way to go with the change-up to give him the third option he’ll need as a starter, he’s being given the chance to work on it. Two innings isn’t a long outing, but as a general rule of thumb, any time all of a pitcher’s outs come via strikeout, he’s going to make the Update (min. 2 innings, standard data rates apply).
Tyrell Jenkins, RHP, Cardinals (Palm Beach, A+): 7 IP, 5 H, 1 R (0 ER), 2 BB, 0 K. It’s one thing to pitch to contact, but it’s another thing altogether to miss as few bats as Jenkins is since his return from injury. He’s had success this year, but it’s virtually impossible to sustain success when you strike out just over two batters per nine innings.
D.J. Peterson, 3B, Mariners (Jackson, AA): 2-5, R, HR, 2 K. Peterson hasn’t exactly taken his new league by storm, but it’s extremely early, and he was ready for a new challenge. Peterson would also homer on Sunday as he continues to adjust to his new competition level.
Steven Matz, LHP, Mets (Binghamton, AA): 7 IP, 4 H, 2 R (0 ER), BB, 7 K. Matz continues to gain steam as he shows that his health concerns are behind him and that he can work both late into games and late into the season. His recent promotion to Double-A has provided him with little in the way of challenging competition.
Sunday, July 6
Archie Bradley, RHP, Diamondbacks (Mobile, AA): 5 1/3 IP, 4 H, R, 2 BB, 3 K. Bradley, still working his way back from injury, is still building up his arm strength and aiming to return to form by the end of the season.
Corey Seager, SS, Dodgers (Rancho Cucamunga, A+): 4-6, 2 R, 2 HR, BB. I’ve been calling for it for a little while now, but I maintain that there is nothing left that we can learn from Seager in the California League. He’s hitting everything in sight, and while he’s a fantastic hitting prospect, there’s no way to know just how much of his production can be attributed to the hitter-friendly environment. Seager is clearly ready for a new test.
J.P. Crawford, SS, Phillies (Clearwater, A+): 1-2, R, HR. In a weather-shortened game, Crawford did his damage, hitting his third home run since being promoted to Clearwater after hitting the same amount in four times as many games at Low-A Lakewood. He’s struggling with contact, by his standards, but balls have been carrying over the fence in Florida better than they were in central New Jersey.
JaCoby Jones, SS, Pirates (West Virginia, A-): 4-5, 2 R, 2B, 2 HR. The bat is coming around for Jones, whose athleticism is beginning to translate into some real baseball production, and into more power than most up-the-middle bats.
Henry Owens, LHP, Red Sox (Pawtucket, AAA): 8 IP, 3 H, R, BB, 11 K. We’ve seen a lot more of the good Owens than the bad version lately, and with the Red Sox potentially selling this summer, there could be an opening for Owens to get a chance for a Boston audition down the stretch.