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April 28, 2009

Future Shock Blog

by Kevin Goldstein

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Coming Soon?

Clay Buchholz, RHP, Red Sox (Triple-A Pawtucket)
Monday's stats: 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 7 K
Last week, I told you Bowden was coming soon to the big leagues, and Buchholz shouldn't be far behind. On a pure stuff level, Buchholz still ranks with anyone in the minors, and he's certainly a better pitcher right now than whatever is left of Brad Penny. Not that the Red Sox necessarily need to get much better at this point.

The most athletic outfield, like, ever?

Desmond Jennings, OF, Rays (Double-A Montgomery)
Monday's stats: 2-for-5, HR (3), 2 R, 3 RBIs
You think B.J. Upton and Carl Crawford have tools? Jennings ranks with either of them on a pure athleticism level and will likely slide Upton over to right field once he's ready. After a nearly lost 2008 campaign due to a number of injuries, he's coming out with a bang at Double-A and could be lined up for a big league look as early as 2010 at this point, as he's hitting a healthy .338/.388/.622 in his first 18 games.

The Japanese word for fox is 'kinetsu'

Jake Fox, 1B/OF, Cubs (Triple-A Iowa)
Monday's stats: 2-for-3, 2 HR (11), 3 R, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SB
Now in his seventh minor league season, Fox is one of those 4-A type hitters who keeps putting up numbers but isn't every going to get much of a shot in the big leagues. He could basically do Micah Hoffpauir's job in Chicago, but Hoffpauir's doing a pretty good job of "power off the bench" guy himself. By going 8-for-13 with four home runs in his last four games, the 26 year-old is batting a downright ridiculous .443/.506/1.043 with a home run every 6.4 at-bats, but his best bet for a pay day at this point might be a trip to Japan.

The hit machine is in need of service

Cedric Hunter, OF, Padres (Double-A San Antonio)
Monday's stats: 0-for-5
Hunter led the minor leagues with 186 hits last year, but he'll be hard pressed to repeat that in 2009. The thing is, he's the kind of prospect who needs to keep hitting in order to remain on the radar, as he doesn't have much power, he's not a very good center fielder, and his arm is below average. Hitting is the one thing he can do, but now he's mired in a 3-for-35 slump that has his averages down to .206/.260/.265. He has 14 hits in 16 games so far this year. Last year, he needed just nine contests to get there.

It's a brother act, one pitches, the other one hits

Jordan Danks, OF, White Sox (High-A Winston Salem)
Monday's Stats3-for-5, 3 R
White Sox lefty John Danks' younger brother never lived up to expectations during his three years at the University of Texas, but scouts found it hard not to fall in love with his ultra-athletic frame (he's four inches taller than his older brother) and potential, with the White Sox paying out a $525,000 bonus last summer to get him into the system. Things seems to be finally clicking, as Jordan is now 13-for-26 in his last six games, and batting .333/.416/.526 overall in his first 19 games. He's probably at least two years away from catching fly balls in support of his brother.

Sleeper alert!

Kyle Winters, RHP, Marlins (High-A Jupiter)
Monday's stats: 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K
Now in his fifth pro season, the 2005 fifth-round pick seems like he's been around forever, but he's only 22. Nagged by injuries and command problems early in his career, Winters is healthy, throwing strikes and dominating of late, extending his scoreless streak to 22 innings in last night's start. He's not overpowering by any means, but his average-velocity fastball plays up due to movement and command, and he mixes in a solid slider/changeup combination to keep hitters honest. He doesn't have a sky-high ceiling, but he has the frame, stuff and pitchability to end up as one of those undervalued innings eaters.


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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