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April 30, 2009

Future Shock Blog

News on Jeff Allison, James Darnell and more

by Kevin Goldstein

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If you root for Josh Hamilton . . .

Jeff Allison, RHP, Marlins (High-A Jupiter)
Wednesday's stats: 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 8 K
. . . Then you gotta root for this guy, but for some reason, he's still on the wrong end of many jokes. The best high school arm 2003 draft, Allison take a self-destructive route similar to Hamilton', falling out of baseball and into addiction, mostly to heroin and it's more man-made version, OxyContin. He doesn't throw in the upper 90s anymore, but the 24-year-old still has plus velocity and a solid breaking ball, with last night's outing being arguably the best of his career, which unfortunately consists of just 50 games in the six years since he signed. Nobody would have said it a year ago, but he might have a chance to get to the big leagues as a reliever.

A guy both stat-heads and scouts can love

James Darnell, 3B, Padres (Low-A Fort Wayne)
Wednesday's stats: 3-for-3, 2 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB
To many, Darnell seemed like a first-round talent in last year's draft, and he's already making many scratch their heads wondering how he fell to the 69th overall pick. He's a very good athlete with power, average speed, solid defensive tools and crazy-good makeup, but he also performs. After bashing in the Northwest League during his pro debut, Darnell is picking up where he left off, the .296 batting average might not blow you away, but the .480 on-base percentage and .611 slugging should, as 10 of his 16 hits have gone for extra bases while he's drawn a ridiculous 20 walks in just 54 at-bats.

Look dude, at some point you gotta start hitting

Fernando Martinez, OF, Mets (Triple-A Buffalo)
Wednesday's stats: 0-for-3, 1 BB, 2 K
Martinez has been much-hyped since signed a seven-figure deal out of the Dominican four years ago. Since then, it's been mostly mediocre performances, with constant excuses for his youth and constant injuries. Banged up again this spring, Martinez is still just 20, but he hasn't had a consistent string of success anywhere for about three years now. Currently mired in an 1-for-18 slump that has dropped his triple-slash numbers to .233/.288/.411, it's impossible to say that someone still under the legal drinking age is running out of time, but it's fair to say that some out there are running out of patience.

Insert lame musical reference here

Carlos Santana, C, Indians (Double-A Akron)
Wednesday's stats: 2-for-3, 2 2B, 3 RBI, 2 BB
The Indians pulled off one of the best trades last summer when they sent Casey Blake to the Dodgers in return for Santana, who earned California League MVP honors last year despite playing in just 99 games there. An athletic catcher with plus power, a quick bat and patience at the plate, Santana's defense continue to improve, and like Darnell, his .241 batting average tells precious little of the whole story, as five home runs in 58 at-bats and 14 walks give him a .956 OPS.

You can't silence this Lambo

Andrew Lambo, OF, Dodgers (High-A Chattanooga)
Wednesday's Stats3-for-4, 2B, HR (3), 3 R, 2 RBI, 1 BB
Lambo can hit, there's no doubt about that. He's a big left-handed hitter with a nearly picture-perfect swing, and last night's barrage brought his averages up to .321/.371/.556 - a line made even more impressive by the fact that he's a 20-year-old getting it done in Double-A. The question is, how much power will he end up with? He's limited to left field due to his below-average athleticism and a so-so arm, so he doesn't just have to hit, he has to mash. The jury is still out on that one, but the progress is certainly there.

Sleeper alert!

Tyler Chatwood, RHP, Angels (Low-A Cedar Rapids)
Wednesday's stats: 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 4 K
The Angels' top draft pick in 2008, on a scouting level, Chatwood presents a wide variety of both good and bad. Without question, the kid has an arm, as he consistently gets his fastball into the mid-90s and already has a very good spike curveball. At the same time, he's under six feet tall, the velocity comes with some effort, and his command and control is raw like sushi. Ranked as the No. 6 prospect in the system going into the season, Chatwood struck out 48 in just 38 innings last year in the Arizona Summer League while also walking 36, and that trend is continuing this year, only nobody is getting the ball out of the infield. In two starts for the Kernels this year, Chatwood has allowed just one hit in each of them, while striking out 10, but walking nine over 11 innings. In addition, his groundball to flyball ratio is a ridiculous 17 to three. Keep an eye on this one.


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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