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June 12, 2009

Future Shock Blog

June 12

by Kevin Goldstein

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Maybe they'll get a little something back for Santana after all

Kevin Mulvey, RHP, Twins (Triple-A Rochester)
Thursday's stats: 9 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K
Thursday night was Mulvey's best start of the year, as he needed just 101 pitches for the shutout, 74 of them for strikes, while of the 20 outs that did not come via strikeout, 17 were of the groundball variety. He's not going to blow you away with his stuff, but he spots his 88-92 mph sinking fastball with effortless precision, works both sides of the plate, and adds and subtracts to keep hitters off balance. With all but two members of the Twins rotation sitting with a five-plus ERA, he could get a look soon.

He just keeps hitting . . .

Brandon Snyder, 1B, Orioles (Double-A Bowie)
Thursday's stats: 2-for-4, 2B, RBI, K
It's officially a breakout season at this point for the 2005 first-round pick, who recorded his third straight multi-hit game on Thursday, is batting .440 this month and a whopping .355/.418/.612 overall. As a first baseman only type, he needed to prove that he could fit in the middle of a big lineup this year with more power, and for many scouts who have seen him, it's mission accomplished.

More than an afterthought

Derek Norris, C, Nationals (Low-A Hagerstown)
Thursday's stats: 1-for-3, HR (7), R, RBI, K
The Sally League is having a down year talent wise, and when talking to scouts of late who have covered the league, most of the focus has been on pitching. In the last two weeks though, a pair scouts have basically said the same thing to me after running through all of the prospects they like - something to the effect of, "Oh yeah, and that Norris guy is fantastic." At .325/.412/.608, the numbers certainly back the scout's assertion, and until Stephen Strasburg signs, he's arguably the top prospect in the Nationals system.

Starting to get the hang of it

Ryan Kalish, OF, Red Sox (Double-A Portland)
Thursday's stats: 3-for-4, CS
A big surge at High-A Salem got Kalish moved up to Double-A, but his experience at the upper levels of the Red Sox system began with just nine hits in his first 18 games for the Sea Dogs, leaving his batting average at just .130. It's takes just five games since to get over the Mendoza line, as Kalish is 9-for-19 over that stretch with a home run and six RBIs. Tools usually win, eventually.

Groundball machine

Charles Shirek, RHP, White Sox (Double-A Birmingham)
Thursday's stats: 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K
A 23rd round pick in 2007, Shirek had a 6.39 ERA in his final season at Nebraska, as well as an arrest for an alcohol-related incident that involved he and a teammate beating up a bike (don't ask), but scouts always like his ability to sink a ball. He's refined the pitch even further since turning pro, and 15 of the 21 outs he recorded in his Double-A were of the groundball variety. He doesn't really have a big league swing-and-miss offering, and his ceiling is middle relief at best, but that's not bad thing for a 23rd round guy.

Sleeper alert!

Rudy Owens, LHP, Pirates (Low-A West Virginia)
Thursday's stats: 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 8 K
Signed as a draft-and-follow in 2007 for just under $400,000, Owens is a big lefthander with solid velocity and plus command who now has a 2.48 ERA in his first 12 starts while striking out 56 and walking just 11 in 61.2 Sally League innings. He pounds the strike zone with his 88-92 mph fastball, has decent enough secondary stuff and could end up as a solid innings eater.


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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