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July 10, 2014

Minor League Update

Games of Wednesday, July 9

by Jeff Moore

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Hitter of the Night: Nick Williams, OF, Rangers (Myrtle Beach, A+): 4-5, 2 R, 2 2B, 3B, BB.
It remains to be seen how Williams’ hit tool will play against better pitching with more of a plan to exploit his aggressiveness, but few can match his pure hitting combination of bat speed and feel for the barrel.

Pitcher of the Night: Gabriel Ynoa, RHP, Mets (Binghamton, AA): 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 9 K.
Ynoa isn’t overpowering, but when his command is on, he can be extremely effective. He has plus control, but he’s still refining his ability to throw good strikes and working on an effective breaking ball. At 21, however, and already in Double-A, he has plenty of time to work those things out.

Best of the Rest

Matt Olson, 1B, Athletics (Stockton, A+): 2-4, R, 2B, HR, K. Known for his raw power, Olson manages to translate a good portion of it into games despite some serious swing-and-miss issues that keep his batting average below the .250 mark. He also draws a high number of walks, a rate that has increased this year and gives him a chance to be a productive offensive player despite the batting average. The first-base-only profile, however, will challenge him as a prospect.

Dalton Pompey, OF, Blue Jays (New Hampshire, AA): 2-4, R, HR, K. It’s been a challenge for Pompey since his promotion to Double-A; he has also seen his OPS drop each month this season. The tools are there for Pompey to hit for more power and stay up the middle defensively, but there are some platoon splits despite being a switch-hitter, and he’ll need to make some adjustments against better offspeed pitches.

Tyler Wagner, RHP, Brewers (Brevard County, A+): 8 1/3 IP, 5 H, R, BB, 9 K. Despite a few nights on which he misses bats, Wagner has generally out-performed his peripherals—which include a strikeout rate that has dropped at each level—in unsustainable ways. He profiles as a back-end starter.

Jackson Stephens, RHP, Reds (Dayton, A-): 5 IP, H, 0 R, 4 BB, 8 K. Stephens misses bats with his plus fastball and generally throws a lot of strikes. His secondary offerings need refinement, and he’s still working his way back into shape from injury, but the arm has potential.

Fight Another Night

J.P. Crawford, SS, Phillies (Clearwater, A+): 0-5, K. The jump to Double-A is the one we typically say is the biggest, but that doesn’t mean that other promotions don’t involve challenges. Crawford has struggled since being promoted to the Florida State League, striking out more as he makes adjustments to better pitching. He also has six errors in 18 games.

Blake Swihart, C, Red Sox (Portland, AA): 0-2, 2 K. The Red Sox yesterday designated A.J. Pierzynski for assignment and promoted Christian Vazquez, but those moves won’t have any effect on Swihart, who will remain in Double-A for the time being. Wednesday wasn’t his best night, but he’s having a strong season and remains the Red Sox’ top prospect. Vazquez will keep his spot warm but won’t block him once he’s ready.

Notable Prospect Starters

  • Tim Cooney, LHP, Cardinals (Memphis, AAA): 8 IP, 3 H, R, 0 BB, 8 K.
  • Edwin Escobar, LHP, Giants (Fresno, AAA): 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 3 K.
  • Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP, Orioles (Bowie, AA): 3 2/3 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 4 K.
  • Kyle Freeland, LHP, Rockies (Grand Junction, R): 2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 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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