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July 31, 2014

Minor League Update

Games of Wednesday, July 30

by Jeff Moore

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Hitter of the Night: Lewis Brinson, OF, Rangers (Myrtle Beach, A+): 4-8, 2 R, HR, K. The progress that Brinson had made in Low-A ball this year appeared to have come
unraveled upon his promotion to the Carolina League, but he got back on track in a 16-inning affair on Wednesday. He’s still extremely aggressive at the plate and has some swing-and-miss in his game, but he’s productive nonetheless.

Pitcher of the Night: Braden Shipley, RHP, Diamondbacks (Visalia, A+): 7 IP, 5 H, R, BB, 9 K.
We can look past Shipley’s ERA, which is hovering around 4.00 after his latest outing, and look toward his high strikeout rate to take away the positives from his first full season. He pairs a mid-90s fastball with a plus changeup to generate swings and misses, and that tandem should generate even more success once he gets out of the California League.

Best of the Rest

Mark Appel, RHP, Astros (Corpus Christi, AA): 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 4 K. Appel’s promotion to Double-A despite a 9.74 ERA in Lancaster made waves in both the media and apparently within the organization, but he’s now turned in two straight strong starts, which is something to build on. That’s still not the standard we’re used to holding top overall picks to, but his first few months were so disastrous that it’s where we’re left.

Max Pentecost, C, Blue Jays (Vancouver, SS): 2-5, 2 R, 3B, 2 K. Pentecost is doing what a college bat should to in short-season ball by hitting over .300, though in the extremely small sample, it’s coming without much power or control of the strike zone.

Albert Almora, OF, Cubs (Tennessee, AA): 2-4, R, HR. Almora has his struggles and will continue to scuffle against advanced pitching as the Cubs continue to test him, but you have to credit him for his ability to make adjustments. His natural hit tool is advanced for his age, but he’s still refining its in-game application.

Jesus Aguilar, 1B, Indians (Columbus, AAA): 2-3, 2 R, 2B, HR, 2 BB. This past winter, the combination of a ridiculous hot streak and little baseball action to speak of made Aguilar a regular in these parts. We haven’t talked much about him since a brutal stint in the majors earlier this season, but he’s still mashing away in Triple-A, something we’ve come to expect. He’ll get more chances in the majors because of his power, but he should get to know the route back and forth from Columbus to Cleveland quite well.

Michael Conforto, OF, Mets (Brooklyn, SS): 3-3, 2 R, BB, SB. Days like this that send a batting average skyrocketing over the .400 mark will generate more buzz around a prospect than is healthy, especially for a recent first-round pick who is off to a hot start to his professional career. Conforto is a solid hitting prospect who should be an everyday player when it’s all said and done, but the combination of being in the Mets system and feasting on inferior competition is bound to set up more hype than is necessary.

Trea Turner, SS, Padres (Fort Wayne, A-): 2-5, R, HR, 2 K. Turner added to his incredibly hot run in the Midwest League with a show of power, something he’s not going to do too often.

Rosell Herrera, SS, Rockies (Modesto, A+): 3-3, 2 R, HR, 2 BB. Herrera is once again struggling with his first attempt at a new level and there are questions about the future of his bat. If he has to move to third base, he likely won’t hit for enough power, but for now he’s still playing primarily shortstop.

Trevor May, RHP, Twins (Rochester, AAA): 6 2/3 IP, 5 H, 0 R, BB, 5 K. May has long been a guy whose numbers didn’t add up to the stuff scouts saw from him, but this year it’s all coming together. He’s striking out fewer batters than ever, but he’s still fanning over a batter per inning and he’s throwing more strikes than ever. He appears ready for a test in the big leagues.

Jared Mitchell, OF, White Sox (Birmingham, AA): 4-4, 2 R, HR, CS. At 25 and having stalled out in the upper minors, it’s hard to justify Mitchell as a prospect anymore. He’s just never been able to consistently translate his premium athletic abilities into baseball production, though he is currently in the midst of his best stretch of baseball in the upper minors.

Courtney Hawkins, OF, White Sox (Winston-Salem, A+): 3-4, 3 R, HR, BB. There’s a decent chance I copy and paste the above paragraph about Mitchell and use it to describe Hawkins in a few years, but his power is translating better in his second stint in the Carolina League than it did last year. That gives him a chance to find a niche in the majors somewhere, though it’s tough to see him playing every day once advanced pitching begins to exploit his flaws as a hitter.

Peter O’Brien, C, Yankees (Trenton, AA): 3-4, 2 R, 2B, 2 HR. The power display O’Brien is putting on this season has been incredible, with 33 home runs to his name, but he’s been exploited by Double-A pitching and is basically an all-or-nothing hitter who makes a ton of outs when he’s not hitting the ball over the fence.

Fight Another Day

Sean Reid-Foley, RHP, Blue Jays (GCL, R): 2 1/3 IP, 6 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, K. It’s amazing what one bad outing can do to your ERA when you have less than eight professional innings your belt. Actually, it’s not that amazing; it’s just math. Still, Reid-Foley’s ERA skyrocketed on Wednesday thanks to his worst outing as a professional. There were some scouts who were concerned about his delivery leading up to the draft, but it’s an arm full of potential.

Notable Pitching Performances

  • Jen-Ho Tseng, RHP, Cubs (Kane County, A-): 7 IP, 3 H, R, 0 BB, 3 K.
  • Archie Bradley, RHP, Diamondbacks (Mobile, AA): 6 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 6 K.
  • Michael Fulmer, RHP, Mets (St. Lucie, A+): 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 5 K.
  • Nick Kingham, RHP, Pirates (Indianapolis, AAA): 6 IP, 5 H, 4 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 5 K.
  • Michael Lorenzen, RHP, Reds (Pensacola, AA): 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K.

Jeff Moore is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Jeff's other articles. You can contact Jeff by clicking here

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