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August 15, 2014

Minor League Update

Games of Thursday, August 14

by Jeff Moore

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Hitter of the Night: James Ramsey, OF, Indians (Columbus, AAA): 5-5, R, 2 2B, HR.
There are questions about whether Ramsey can be an everyday player given that he may end up in a corner outfield spot and may not develop the power required to handle it, but he’s shown a major league bat thus far and just had his first breakout game in Triple-A. His road to the majors will be much easier to traverse with the Indians than it had been with the Cardinals.

Pitcher of the Night: Vincent Velasquez, RHP, Astros (Lancaster, A+): 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 11 K.
When we give pitchers free passes for struggling in the California League, it’s important to remember that not all of them do. Velasquez is one who has not, missing more than a bat per inning while flashing two potential plus pitches. His 2.92 ERA this season proves that it can be done, as he continues to progress as a potential mid-rotation starter.

Best of the Rest

Kyle Kubitza, 3B, Braves (Mississippi, AA): 3-4, 2 R, 2B, HR, K. It would be nice to see more power out of a third base prospect, but at least his strong on-base skills help to make up for it. He strikes out a lot, though that has more to do with his patience than major swing-and-miss issues. At 24, we can legitimately question how much more power Kubitza is going to develop, but he has enough strengths as an offensive player to carve out a role.

Tyler O’Neill, OF, Mariners (Clinton, A-): 4-5, 2 R, 2 2B, HR. O’Neill has some refinement and approach issues, but his power is proving to be for real thus far. Nineteen-year-olds are supposed to still be developing their power, but O’Neill’s is already present.

Ben Lively, RHP, Reds (Pensacola, AA): 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, BB, 7 K. Lively jumped into the prospect spotlight earlier this season with a red-hot start to the year, one that was magnified even more because it came in the California League. He has since come back down to Earth, still having success even after a promotion to Double-A, but looking more like the back-end starter we knew him to be.

Ryan McMahon, 3B, Rockies (Asheville, A-): 2-4, 2 R, 2B, HR. I’m a big fan of doubles with young power hitters, as they can be an indicator of future home run power, and McMahon now has 41 of them on the season. His home park has inflated that number somewhat, but McMahon actually has better power numbers on the road this season. He still needs to refine his approach and cut down on the strikeouts, but he’ll get more slack in that regard if he continues to hit for power.

Trayce Thompson, OF, White Sox (Birmingham, AA): 2-5, 2 R, 2 HR, K. Thompson’s potential combination of power and athleticism was enough to make scouts drool, but in the end, his hit tool just isn’t strong enough to carry his power into games. His inability to make contact has kept his average in the .230s, and while the power is still there, it’s not enough until he makes more contact, which may never happen.

Greg Bird, 1B, Yankees (Trenton, AA): 1-3, R, HR, BB, K. The jump to Double-A is supposed to be the most difficult for a prospect, but since his promotion to Tampa, Bird has hit for more power while maintaining his control of the strike zone. He’s a solid pure hitter, but his patient approach can work against him, as he often passes up pitches he can drive and gets himself out on pitches he can’t. Once he learns how to distinguish better between the two, he should be highly effective, even given his first base-only profile.

Notable Pitching Performances

  • C.J. Edwards, RHP, Cubs (Tennessee, AA): 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, BB, K.
  • Matt Wisler, RHP, Padres (El Paso, AAA): 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, BB, 7 K.
  • Matt Barnes, RHP, Red Sox (Pawtucket, AAA): 8 IP, 7 H, R, 0 BB, 3 K.
  • Jonathan Gray, RHP, Rockies (Tulsa, AA): 5 1/3 IP, 5 H, R, 3 BB, 4 K.
  • Alex Meyer, RHP, Twins (Rochester, AAA): 3 2/3 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 7 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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