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June 10, 2009

Future Shock Blog

June 10

by Kevin Goldstein

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Working his way back

Matt LaPorta, OF, Indians (Triple-A Columbus)
Tuesday's stats: 3-for-5, K
When big-time prospects hit the big leagues, struggle (LaPorta hit .190), and get returned to the minors, if often leads to a slump due mostly to frustration. LaPorta went 0-for-9 in his first two games back at Columbus, but since then, he's gone 15-for-40 (.375) in ten games. If Cleveland has a housecleaning come July, he'll get a second chance.

Figuring things out?

Jeremy Jeffress, RHP, Brewers (High-A Brevard County)
Tuesday's stats: 7 IP, 3 H, 3 R (0 ER), 3 BB, 8 K
The 2006 first-round pick has one of the most tantalizing fastballs around, but he was sent down a level after walking 33 over 27.1 innings in eight Double-A starts. The Brewers are trying to curb his tendency to overthrow, and things seem to be finally clicking a bit for Jeffress, who has allowed just four hits over 14 innings in his last two starts, while more importantly, walking just three.

Proving it at every level

Chris Johnson, 3B, Astros (Triple-A Round Rock)
Tuesday's stats: 3-for-4, 2B, R
A fourth-round pick out of Stetson in 2006, Johnson has proven to be a solid all-around hitter, but he's had problem staying healthy, with this year's problem being a fracture finger after getting hit by a pitch that cost him nearly a month. He's healthy, and to nobody's surprise, hitting again, going 12-for-30 (.400 in his last eight games). If it keeps it up, the 24-year-old could get a major league look, as he certainly represents an upgrade over filler like Geoff Blum and Jeff Keppinger. .

Smokin' southpaw

Edgar Osuna, LHP, Braves (Double-A MIssissippi)
Tuesday's stats: 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 4 BB, 2 K
Signed out of Mexico in 2004, Osuna will never light-up a radar gun, but both his curveball and changeup rank among the better ones in the Atlanta system. After putting up a 1.91 ERA in his final seven starts for High-A Myrtle Beach, he's been even better at Double-A, allowing just one run and five hits over 14 innings in a pair of starts. Some see little more than situational reliever potential in him, but most at least see him as a big leaguer.

Even Yankee fans root for him

Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Red Sox (Low-A Greenville)
Tuesday's stats: 3-for-5, HR (8), 2 R, 2 RBI, BB, K
A sixth-round pick in 2007 out of a Florida high school, Rizzo was having the beginnings of a breakout campaign at Greenville last year, batting .373/.402/.446 in 21 games before being diagnosed with cancer. After being treated for Hodgkin's lymphoma, Rizzo is in full remission and once again hitting well, batting .275/.348/.454 overall while starting to find his power stroke with four of his eight home runs coming in his last 13 contests.


Sleeper Alert!

Chris Heisey, OF, Reds (Double-A Carolina)
Tuesday's stats: 2-for-6, HR (11), R, RBI, 2 K
A 17th-round pick in 2006 out of tiny Messiah College in Pennsylvania, Heisey has put up consistently solid number while moving up the ladder, and endearing himself to scouts by making up for a lack of physical tools with an infectious maximum-effort style of play. Those solid number have suddenly turned into monster ones in 2009 however, as after last night's contest, he's batting .370/.446/.621 overall while leading the Southern League in batting, hits, extra-base hits, slugging and runs scored.

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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