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August 1, 2014

Minor League Update

Games of Thursday, July 31

by Jeff Moore


Hitter of the Night: Javier Baez, 2B, Cubs (Iowa, AAA): 3-5, R, HR, K.
Baez his flaws, as does just about every hitter not named Mike Trout, but he’s officially out of whatever slump was slowing him down in April. We’re going to have to put up with some low OBPs, but we do it for Adam Jones, and no one seems to mind. No one seems too mad at Yoenis Cespedes, either. And neither of them is playing second base, where power is scarce.

Pitcher of the Night: Lucas Giolito, RHP, Nationals (Hagerstown, A-): 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, BB, 6 K.
There’s a reason why we ranked Giolito as the best pitching prospect in baseball despite him being in Low-A. No pitcher in the minors can match his fastball/curveball combination, and as he gains experience, he’s learning how to set hitters up and unleash his weapons properly. His changeup has also made good progress this season.

Best of the Rest

Jorge Lopez, RHP, Brewers (Brevard County, A+): 7 IP, 5 H, R, 3 BB, 8 K. I’ve talked before about Lopez’s lack of a changeup and how I think he’ll eventually make a nice reliever. Now let’s talk about how impressive it is that he’s able to go out and pitch like this while traveling back and forth to Miami to help care for a sick newborn. Absolutely incredible, and a sobering reminder of the human element we so often forget.

Bruce Caldwell, 2B, Cardinals (Palm Beach, A+): 2-3, 2 R, HR, K. Caldwell is the type of player you have to see for an extended period of time to appreciate. The tools don’t jump out at you, mostly because he doesn’t have any that grade out as better than average, but he holds his own at both second and third base and has a little pop in his bat. It’s not enough to be an everyday third baseman, but it would be average power at second base. At best, it’s probably a utility profile, but a left-handed stick that can play a few positions and hit a home run every now and then isn’t a bad profile, especially for a 15th-round pick.

Rafael Montero, RHP, Mets (Las Vegas, AAA): 6 2/3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K. Montero has been uncharacteristically wild this season, but I wouldn’t want to throw a ball anywhere near the plate in Vegas either. He’s not quite on the level of fellow prospect Noah Syndergaard, but he’s ready for another shot in the majors whenever the Mets have a spot for him in their rotation. He still profiles as a mid-rotation to back-end starter.

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