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July 18, 2014

Minor League Update

Games of Thursday, July 17

by Jeff Moore

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Hitter(s) of the Night
The Cubs, Multiple Positions, Wrigleyville (All Levels): It’s a good time to be a Cubs prospect, and Thursday may have been the climax of the hype machine. It’s not going to be easy to tell Cubs fans to calm down after what happened last night.

In Triple-A, Javier Baez, who was making his regular season debut at second base in order to give himself and the organization more options for the future, continued his rise out of his early-season doldrums with a 2-for-4 night that included a double and a homer. Not to be outdone, his teammate Kris Bryant went 3-for-5 with a double and a home run of his own.

Not wanting to let their Triple-A teammates have all the fun, Double-A prospects Addison Russell and Jorge Soler both homered as well, with Russell’s coming in a multi-hit effort. Even further down the farm, Dan Vogelbach added a 2-for-3 effort with a home run of his own.

Pitcher of the Night: Michael Fulmer, RHP, Mets (St. Lucie, A+): 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, BB, 9 K.
The lack of a decent changeup might make Fulmer a reliever down the road, but his plus curveball allows him to miss bats in chunks at this level and should allow him to find a niche down the road in the middle of someone’s bullpen.

Best of the Rest

Gary Brown, OF, Giants (Fresno, AAA): 3-4, 2 R, 2B, HR, K, SB. Brown has plateaued as a fourth or fifth outfielder, but he’s hitting just enough these days to allow his speed and defense to play in a bench role. He’s ready when the Giants need such a player.

D.J. Peterson, 3B, Mariners (Jackson, AA): 3-5, R, HR. Play him at third base or first, it doesn’t matter. Peterson is going to hit enough for either spot, and while the Mariners would prefer to get the most out of his defensive positional value, he’s not a particularly good defender, so it’s not like they’d be losing a whole lot. As long as he keeps hitting, it won’t matter.

Roman Quinn, OF, Phillies (Clearwater, A+): 3-4, R, 2B, 3B, K. Quinn’s strong game broke a five-game hitless streak and featured a rare display of extra-base power. Quinn makes no attempt to drive the ball at this point, and he doesn’t get on base enough to truly use his speed.

Byron Buxton, OF, Twins (Ft. Myers, A+): 2-5, R, HR, K. Buxton is still getting his feet under him after extended time off, and this is just his second home run of the season, though power is typically the last thing to return after a wrist injury.

Kohl Stewart, RHP, Twins (Cedar Rapids, A-): 5 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K. Remember early in the year when there was concern that Stewart wasn’t dominating the way he should? Remember, it’s pretty cold in Cedar Rapids in April. Stewart warmed up when the weather did, and he’s just fine now, with his strikeout totals at their highest point of the season.

Fight Another Day

Mike Papi, OF, Indians (Lake County, A-): 0-4, 3 K. The most recent 38th-overall pick got two games in the New York-Penn League to get acclimated before getting thrown directly into full-season ball. Given the whirlwind of playing in a College World Series final, signing, getting sent to one team then getting promoted immediately, we’ll give him a pass in his first game in the Midwest League, if he even knows where he is right now.

Noah Syndergaard, RHP, Mets (Las Vegas, AAA): 5 IP, 9 H, 7 R, 3 BB, 5 K. When visiting Vegas, the best amount of time to stay is around 4-5 days. Anything longer than that and you end up leaving broke and battered. The same rule should apply to pitching prospects.

Notable Pitching Performances

  • Lance McCullers, RHP, Astros (Lancaster, A+): 3 2/3 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 6 K.
  • Steven Matz, LHP, Mets (Binghamton, AA): 5 IP, 5 H, 2 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 4 K.
  • Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP, Orioles (Bowie, AA): 4 1/3 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 2 BB, 4 K.
  • Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Pirates (Bradenton, A+): 5 2/3 IP, 3 H, 2 R (0 ER), BB, 4 K.
  • Luis Heredia, RHP, Pirates (West Virginia, A-): 6 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 0 K.
  • Jonathon Crawford, RHP, Tigers (West Michigan, A-): 5 IP, 4 H, R, BB, 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:  Chicago Cubs,  Prospects,  Minor Leagues

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