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August 21, 2014

Minor League Update

Games of Wednesday, August 20

by Jeff Moore

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Hitter of the Night: Aaron Judge, OF, Yankees (Tampa, A+): 3-5, 2 R, 2 2B, HR.
Judge continues to prove that he’s an all-around complete hitter rather than just a hulking slugger with holes in his swing. His combination of a plus eye at the plate and unforced power for which he doesn’t have to sell out allows him to attack pitchers with a balanced approach and let his natural size and strength do the work for him.

Pitcher of the Night: Frederis Parra, RHP, Cardinals (GCL, R): 6 IP, 5 H, 0 R, BB, 8 K.
Parra has some of the best stuff I’ve seen all season, especially for an 18-year-old, though he’s still learning how to bring it to the park each time out. He has the stuff to miss bats, but he doesn’t always do it, though he’s remained effective even when he doesn’t. As soon as he learns to be more consistent from start to start, he’ll move quickly.

Best of the Rest

Vincent Velasquez, RHP, Astros (Lancaster, A+): 5 IP, H, 0 R, 3 BB, 8 K. A big body, a big fastball, and a big changeup have led to a big season for Velasquez in between almost two months lost due to injury. He’s had trouble staying on the field, including missing all of 2011 due to Tommy John surgery, but when he’s playing, he misses a ton of bats and does a good job of throwing strikes.

Matt Olson, 1B, Athletics (Stockton, A+): 2-4, R, HR, BB, K. While Joey Gallo and Kris Bryant get most of the home run attention, Olson is nipping at their heels, now with 36 bombs on the year. The game power isn’t in quite the same class, and it’ll be difficult to judge just how much of it will play once he leaves Stockton behind, but the raw pop is legitimate and could be enough to make him an everyday bat at the toughest offensive position.

Clint Coulter, C, Brewers (Wisconsin, A-): 3-5, 2B, K. It’s impossible to overlook the three-month stretch from May through July in which Coulter hit just .251, but even during that low point during the summer he posted strong on-base skills and good power. If that continues, it’ll be enough to be an above-average offensive catcher even if he hits in the .250s.

Kris Bryant, 3B, Cubs (Iowa, AAA): 2-3, R, HR, BB, K. At this point in the season, it’s difficult to come up with new superlatives for Bryant, but I’ll try this one: His worst month this season was April, in which he hit .281/.407/.539. Watching Anthony Rizzo split Bryant and Baez in the Cubs lineup next summer should make NL Central pitchers very nervous.

Addison Russell, SS, Cubs (Tennessee, AA): 2-4, 2 R, HR. That’s three straight games with a home run for Russell, who will fit into the aforementioned scenario somewhere and could also be ready by next summer, if the Cubs can figure out where to play everyone.

J.T. Realmuto, C, Marlins (Jacksonville, AA): 3-5, 3 R, 3B, HR. Realmuto doesn’t always drive the ball and hasn’t developed nearly the power that some thought he would have, but he does a nice job controlling the strike zone to go with his plus-plus arm. He should be able to carve out a career as a solid backup.

Dilson Herrera, 2B, Mets (Binghamton, AA): 3-4, 2 R, HR, BB. There’s still a good chance that this is the best season of Herrera’s career, but he’s showing no signs of slowing down and is making his case as the Mets second baseman of the future. He’s hit for even more power since being promoted to Double-A and now looks like he could be an above-average offensive player to go along with being a plus athlete.

Roman Quinn, OF, Phillies (Clearwater, A+): 3-5, 2 R, 2B, HR, K. Power isn’t Quinn’s game, but it’s nice to see him drive the ball to keep pitchers honest and from knocking the bat out of his hands at the plate. With the potential for top-end defense in center field and plus-plus base running, he’ll only need to be average with the bat to become an everyday player, but even that may be a stretch.

Fight Another Day:

Robert Stephenson, RHP, Reds (Pensacola, AA): 4 IP, 6 H, 8 R (7 ER), 2 BB, 5 K. Scouts rave about Stephenson’s stuff, which by all accounts hasn’t diminished, but he has a 5.60 ERA since June 1st.

Notable Pitching Performances

  • Lucas Sims, RHP, Braves (Lynchburg, A+): 6 IP, 6 H, 3 R (1 ER), BB, 5 K.
  • Taijuan Walker, RHP, Mariners (Tacoma, AAA): 6 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 7 K.
  • A.J. Cole, RHP, Nationals (Syracuse, AAA): 6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 5 K.
  • Matt Wisler, RHP, Padres (El Paso, AAA): 7 IP, 5 H, R, 2 BB, 7 K.
  • Matt Barnes, RHP, Red Sox (Pawtucket, AAA): 6 1/3 IP, 2 H, 0 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

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