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July 22, 2014

Minor League Update

Games of Monday, July 21

by Jeff Moore


Hitter of the Night: Rock Shoulders, LF, Cubs (Daytona, A+): 2-2, 2 R, HR, 2 BB.
Shoulders has struggled in the Florida State League this season against pitchers with a more advanced plan to attack the holes in his swing. Still, the power is very much intact, and his home run on Monday got out of the park before Shoulders had even left the batter’s box. He’s patient and looks for his pitch to hit, but he can be exploited on the inner half and struggles with decent breaking stuff once he’s behind in the count. He’s also not a left fielder, though he’s playing there some of the time. A massively built human being with some of the strongest legs I’ve ever seen, Shoulders will have to make adjustments quickly to continue to get at-bats in a stacked Cubs farm system, but his power potential remains enticing.

Pitcher of the Night: Taylor Cole, RHP, Blue Jays (Dunedin, A+): 6 2/3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, BB, 12 K.
Maybe this will be the start that gets Cole out of the Florida State League. At 24, he’s old for his level, but his strikeout numbers have spiked this season to almost double his career norms. He’s also throwing a ton more strikes. He doesn’t have a power fastball or overpowering secondary stuff, so his strikeout totals may be a bit of an aberration, but he’s kept them up all season, so there’s something there. It’s time to find out if he can carry it over at the next step.

Best of the Rest

Renato Nunez, 3B, Athletics (Stockton, A+): 3-4, R, HR, BB. Nunez continues to put up impressive power numbers, only part of which can be credited to the California League. He’s a legitimate power hitter and has improved his control of the strike zone. His defensive home remains up in the air, but if he hits for this kind of power, he’ll be adequate as a first baseman. Within the A’s system, the jump from Stockton to Midland tends to be even tougher on power hitters than the jump to Double-A is for most players, so it will be a good test when Nunez finally gets the call.

Lucas Sims, RHP, Braves (Lynchburg, A+): 7 IP, 6 H, R (0 ER), 2 BB, 9 K. Sims has had a disappointing season, failing to miss bats at anywhere near his career norms for the majority of the year. He improved that on Monday, though our own C.J. Wittmann, who was in attendance, pointed out that he got a ton of help from opposing hitters. He also noted that Sims’ stuff is good despite mechanical issues, that his curveball was good but inconsistent, and that his secondary pitches are ahead of his fastball command.

Taylor Williams, RHP, Brewers (Wisconsin, A-): 6 2/3 IP, 3 H, R, 2 BB, 9 K. Williams is having a strong showing in his first full season, striking out almost a batter per inning. He’s undersized and old for a Low-A prospect, but an arm with a plan works against lower-level hitters.

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Related Content:  Prospects,  Minor Leagues

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<< Previous Article
Notes About Baseball, ... (07/22)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Minor League Update: G... (07/21)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Minor League Update: G... (07/23)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Moonshot: Accounting f... (07/22)

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