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June 8, 2009

Future Shock Blog

June 8

by Kevin Goldstein

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Great, more Orioles pitching

Jake Arrieta, RHP, Orioles (Double-A Bowie)
Sunday's stats: 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K
Arrieta had an on-and-off beginning to the year, but he's definitely on a roll of late, as last night's effort was has second seven-inning complete game shutout in five efforts. When you add it all up, the former TCU star has a 2.59 ERA, 70 strikeouts in 59 innings and is limiting the Eastern League to a .208 batting average. He could be in Triple-A soon, and in the Orioles revamped rotation at some point next year. .

His ERA is lower than Stephen Strasburg's

Travis Wood, LHP, Reds (Double-A Carolina)
Sunday's stats: 9 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 11 K
A second-round pick in 2005, Wood lost a lot of velocity when the Reds revamped some big mechanical issue in his delivery, and as a guy with fringy velocity, a great change and control problems, he put up a seven-plus ERA last year at Double-A. This year, the 22-year-old has dropped nearly six runs off that mark, as in his last four starts, he's given up two runs over 29 frames. He still doesn't throw especially hard, but he's added a 2-seamer and a cutter to his mix, and he's looking very much like a guy who could fit in towards the back of a rotation.

Hitting the ground running

Jemile Weeks, 2B, Athletics (High-A Stockton)
Sunday's stats: 2-for-2, 2B, RBI, 3 BB, SB
After missing the first six weeks of the season while getting healthy, Oakland's 2008 first-round pick has been doing it all in the California League, hitting for average (.344), drawing walks (eight in 10 games for a .453 on-base percentage), showing surprising power (three home runs in 44 at-bats as part of a .591 slugging percentage), and now finally using his wheels to steal his first base of the year. Basically, all systems are go.

Look, it wasn't that bad a pick

Jason Castro, C, Astros (High-A Lancaster)
Sunday's stats: 2-for-2, 2 R, 2 BB
Yes, they should have taken Justin Smoak instead, but it's not like Castro is some kind of dog. Actually, he's one of the hotter hitters in the California League, batting .309/.399/.517, including a 23-for-56 mark (.411) in his last 15 games, during which he's scored 13 runs and driven in 16. Add in absolutely fantastic defense (he's cut down nearly 60% of opposing base stealers) and you have a pretty rare prospect. How many catchers can you name that help a team both offensively and defensively?

Something goes wrong again . . . and again

Michael Main, RHP, Rangers (High-A Bakersfield)
Sunday's stats: 4 IP, 8 H, 8 R, 2 BB, 5 K
A broken rib limited Main to less than 60 innings last year, but he showed so much promise in them that Texas felt comfortable advancing their 2007 first-round pick to High-A despite the lack of experience. This year, the wheels have fallen off, particularly on a mechanical level, as his velocity has slipped to merely average at 88-92 mph and his command has deserted him. He's allowed five or more runs in five of 12 starts this year, walked 36 in 54 innings and the league is teeing off on him to the tune of a .323 batting average with nine home runs. One scout who recently saw him said, "I know he's supposed to be something special, but to me, he looked like just another righty."

Sleeper alert!

Daniel Descalso, 2B, Cardinals (Double-A Springfield)
Sunday's stats: 3-for-4, 2B, 3B, HR (5), 3 R, RBI
A third-round pick in 2007, Descalso was drafted for his bat, as he'll never blow anyone away with his tools or athleticism. A .243/.313/.372 line at High-A last year all but took him off anyone's radar, but the 22-year-old has found his stroke in the Texas League thanks to higher hands and a quicker step in his swing, now batting a healthy .332/.398/.543. .


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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