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July 14, 2014

Minor League Update

Games of July 11-13

by Jeff Moore


Friday, July 11

Christian Villanueva, 3B, Cubs (Tennessee, AA): 2-4, R, HR. Villanueva was struggling in his first taste of Triple-A this season, which made it easy to send him down a level to make room for Kris Bryant. Still, Villanueva is a legitimate prospect in his own right who gets overshadowed in the Cubs system. He's getting back on his feet in Tennessee and will get another shot at Triple-A soon.

Brandon Drury, 3B, Diamondbacks (Visalia, A+): 3-3, R, HR, BB. Drury could turn out to be the saving grace of the Justin Upton trade if he ends up becoming an everyday third baseman, something that is looking like a better possibility with his improved power production and dismissed strike out rate. Hitting in the California League helps, but his power is real and he's built like a prototypical third baseman. He also homered on both Saturday and Sunday as well.

Clint Frazier, OF, Indians (Lake County, A-): 5-5, 4 R, 2 HR, SB. Frazier got off to a slow start this season, and because of our reliance on immediate gratification, many people jumped off the bandwagon. He just missed our top 50 (after being no. 36 on the pre-season list) but he’s heating up of late. Much is expected from the former fifth-overall pick, but .268/.337/.435 isn’t a horrible showing for a 19-year-old in full-season ball, and it’s heading the right direction. For good measure, he went 2-for-5 with a triple and another home run on Saturday.

Carlos Tocci, OF, Phillies (Lakewood, A-): 4-6, 2 R, 2B, 2 SB. Tocci has a good swing and a good idea of his strengths and weaknesses (power) at the plate, but his incredibly thin frame and small-ball approach keep him from driving the ball with any authority. He needs to gain weight, but I’m not sold he’ll ever hit for much power. He also went 3-for-4 with two more doubles on Saturday, and could develop good gap power instead of over-the-fence power.

Alen Hanson, SS, Pirates (Altoona, AA): 3-5, 2 R, HR, SB. The Pirates are going to make every attempt to keep Hanson at shortstop because they have a glaring need there at the major league level, but he’s more likely destined for second base. He’s never going to be a strong on-base guy, but he has enough power to produce above-average offensive numbers at the keystone. He also homered on Saturday.

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