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July 29, 2014

Minor League Update

Games of Monday, July 28

by Jeff Moore

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Hitter of the Night: Maikel Franco, 3B, Phillies (Lehigh Valley, AAA): 4-4, R, HR, SB.
It’s been a rough season for Franco, who entered the season with some questions about his swing that he made up for with strong bat-to-ball skills. Those questions still remain and have been exposed by Triple-A pitching, though he appears to be making adjustments and is hitting .321 in July. Even with his struggles this season, it’s hard to believe he won’t get a taste of the majors this September on a struggling Phillies team.

Pitcher of the Night: Kevin Ziomek, LHP, Tigers (West Michigan, A-): 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 13 K.
Ziomek, a second-rounder in last year’s draft, is excelling in his first taste of full-season ball despite too many free passes and secondary stuff that hasn’t played as well as it did in college. He has premium velocity from the left side, however, which gives him a high ceiling if the bite can return on his other offerings.

Best of the Rest

Delino DeShields, Jr., OF, Astros (Corpus Christi, AA): 2-3, 2 R, HR, CS. The steals are still there and the eye at the plate is still strong, but the hard contact has been much more difficult to come by in the Texas League this year. He’s been shifted over to left field recently, as well, which diminishes his value.

Charlie Tilson, OF, Cardinals (Springfield, AA): 2-5, 2 R, HR, K. Tilson doesn’t offer much power at all, focusing instead on his strengths: making contact and using his speed. He’s not Ben Revere, though, and he has just enough pop in his bat to keep pitchers honest. He can’t hit any pitch out of the park, but if you leave one over the inner half, he can turn on it and make you pay.

Albert Almora, OF, Cubs (Tennessee, AA): 4-6, 3 R, 2B. It’s been an adjustment for Almora in Double-A, which isn’t surprising given his raw approach and early struggles in the Florida State League. On days when his raw talent takes over, however, it can be impressive to watch. His lack of a plan at the plate is going to get exposed in Double-A until he adjusts, but his bat-to-ball skills are strong enough to put together days like this.

Addison Russell, SS, Cubs (Tennessee, AA): 4-6, R, 2B, K. Russell, on the other hand, has had a mature approach at the plate since being drafted. Despite their similar ages, Russell is much closer to being able to handle advanced pitching, and we’re beginning to see more of that after a year that’s seen him injured and traded.

Michael Perez, C, Diamondbacks (South Bend, A-): 2-5, R, 2B, 3B, K. After struggling last season in the California League then not having a ton more success in the Midwest League, Perez returned to South Bend this season and is beginning to master the level. He’s old for the league now for a prospect, but is showing some signs that his bat could play at higher levels. The bar is set pretty low for his offensive needs given his arm behind the plate, so any sign of life is a positive for his development. His glove will carry him, but his bat could turn him into a prospect.

Trea Turner, SS, Padres (Fort Wayne, A-): 3-4, 2 R, 2B, K, 2 SB. Turner hit .228 in short-season ball where he was facing far inferior competition, but he is hitting .471 in his first taste of full-season ball. This is why scouting the box score is dumb, especially in small sample sizes.

Stetson Allie, 1B, Pirates (Altoona, AA): 2-4, R, HR, K, SB. Allie doesn’t get a whole lot of love in prospect circles, and with good reason. The odds of him having a major league career are long. But despite the holes in his hit tool, he does have plus raw power, and its utility in games could prove to be average. He has a decent eye at the plate that helps inflate his strikeout numbers but also results in some on-base skills. He’s also young for a converted pitcher (still just 23). There’s still a long road ahead of Allie, and Double-A has proven to be quite a test for him, but power always gets chances, and Allie has it.

Nomar Mazara, OF, Rangers (Hickory, A-): 2-4, R, HR, K. In a repeat of Low-A ball, we’re seeing Mazara put it all together, both from a power standpoint and a refinement point-of-view. He’s hitting more home runs and controlling the strike zone better, which is a huge developmental step, and despite repeating the level, he’s still just 19.

Gary Sanchez, C, Yankees (Trenton, AA): 2-5, R, 2B, HR, K. Few have questioned Sanchez’s talentas much as his dedication and commitment to the game. Perhaps he’s limiting those questions with what may be his best season yet, showing a more refined hitting approach against the best level of competition he’s faced. He’s always been a bat-first prospect, but that bat hasn’t always looked strong enough to carry him. It’s not there yet, but it’s trending in the right direction, and he’s still just 21.

Notable Pitching Performances

  • Mike Foltynewicz, RHP, Astros (Oklahoma City, AAA): 6 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 5 BB, 10 K.
  • Steven Matz, LHP, Mets (Binghamton, AA): 5 1/3 IP, 10 H, 5 R (4 ER), BB, 4 K.
  • Eddie Butler, RHP, Rockies (Tulsa, AA): 5 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 6 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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