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April 22, 2009

Future Shock Blog

April 22, 2009

by Kevin Goldstein

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Pitching matchup of the day

Kasey Kiker, LHP, Rangers (Double-A Frisco) vs. Jordan Walden, RHP, Angels (Double-A Arkansas)

Tuesday's stats: Kiker: 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K; Walden: 7 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K

The 12th overall pick in the 2006 draft, Kiker hit a bit of a wall in the California League last year, but he's found a bit of his old velocity this year, getting up to 94 mph with his fastball while showing a much-improved curve and changeup. The top prospect in the Angels system, Walden received a $1 million bonus in 2007 as one of the last of the draft-and-follows and he's seven inches taller than Kiker, with more velocity, but a shallower arsenal. With both pitchers pulled after seven, and at 91 and 89 pitches, respectively, this one turned into a marathon as Frisco grunted out a run in the 13th for a 1-0 victory.

Can I get a copyright on "MC-Squared"?

Andrew McCutchen, OF, Pirates (Triple-A Indianapolis)

Tuesday's stats: 3-for-4, 3B, HR (1), 3 R, 2 RBI

After two straight years of almost making the big league club out of spring training, the 2005 first-round pick is gunning to avoid another full year at Indianapolis by batting .313/.377/.625 in his first 11 games. As good as Nate McClouth is, he's miscast in center, while McCutchen is outstanding there defensively. He'd make the Pirates a better team right now, and the marketing possibilities would go through the roof they can convince their left-fielder to change his name to Nyjer McMorgan.

Our first repeat customer

Mat Gamel, 3B, Brewers (Triple-A Nashville)

Tuesday's stats: 2-for-4, HR (5), 2 R, 4 RBI

After earning praise on Monday for his hot start, Gamel has followed that up with home runs in his last two games, bumping up his averages to something out of a video game at .444/.518/.911. In addition, he's hasn't made an error for two straight games, which ties a season-high, believe it or not.

Message sent, but maybe not received

Lastings Milledge, OF, Nationals (Triple-A Syracuse)

Tuesday's stats: 0-for-3, 1 SB

One of the many "message moves" by the Nats early in the season, one imagines that the hope in Washington was for him to dominate in the minors, learn a lesson and come back with confidence and a new attitude. Instead, he's 2-for-14 with four whiffs.

The Astros have prospects?

Collin DeLome, OF, Astros (Double-A Corpus Christi)

Tuesday's Stats2-for-5, HR (5), 2 R, 1 RBI

DeLome has all of the tools in the world, but his transition from athlete to baseball player has been a slow one, mostly because of an over-aggressive approach. Still, he slugged 22 home runs last year and now has four in his last eight Texas League games, while seeing a dramatic drop in his strikeout rate. Keep an eye on this one.

Sleeper alert!

Jason Knapp, RHP, Phillies (Low-A Lakewood)

Tuesday's stats: 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 14 K

A second-round pick last June, Knapp was seen as a bit raw because of his New Jersey heritage, but his arm strength rivals anyone in the system, as his fastball has consistently been touching 97 mph this spring. Last night's start is the best of his career, but his first two weren't so shabby either, as in 18.1 innings for the BlueClaws, the six-foot-five righty has allowed just nine hits while striking out 30.

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

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