June 17, 2009
Future Shock Blog
A model of inconsistency
Pedro Alvarez, 3B, Pirates (High-A Lynchburg)
Tuesday's stats: 2-for-4, 2 HR (14), 2 R, 6 RBIs
The second overall selection in last year's draft, Alvarez' .233 batting average is a profound disappointment this year, but every so often, he suddenly looks like the league's best hitter. Tuesday represented his second two-home run game in the last five games, but in the three contests between the outbursts, he went 0-for-11. He has walked 35 times and more than half of his hits have gone for extra bases, and most believe that at some point the average is going to come around.
Jhoulys Chacin, RHP, Rockies (Double-A Tulsa)
Tuesday's stats: 7.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 10 K
The best pitching prospect in the Colorado system, Chacin had his best outing of the year on Tuesday, retiring the first 17 batters he faced while racking up a season-high strikeout total. He's not some kind of dominant force, but everything about his game, from the velocity to the quality of the breaking stuff to the command is above-average, and he could get an honest look at a big league rotation job next season.
Dear Cincy: What are you waiting for?
Drew Stubbs, OF, Reds, Triple-A Louisville)
Tuesday's stats: 2-for-3, 2B, RBI, BB, SB
Go take a look at what Wily Tavares and Chris Dickerson are providing the Reds in center field, then come back and explain to me why this guy isn't getting a chance. Now 14-for-34 (.412) in his last eight games and batting .312/.398/.437 overall, Stubbs has also stolen 24 bases in 28 attempts, and many scouts feel he's the best defensive outfielder in the minor leagues.
Bursting onto the scene
Jemile Weeks, 2B, Athletics (High-A Stockton)
Tuesday's stats: 2-for-4, HR (5), R, 3 RBI
After missing the first six weeks of the season recovering from some lower-half injuries, Weeks is making up for lost time in the biggest of ways, as he's now 10-for-19 in his last five games for the Ports and batting .391/.481/.652 overall in 17 games. A smaller, more athletic version of his brother Rickie, Jemile was seen as much less of a pure hitter coming into pro ball, but even that is starting to look like a toss-up.
Is he a prospect again?
Ian Desmond, SS, Nationals (Double-A Harrisburg)
Tuesday's stats: 3-for-4, HR (3), R, RBI, K
It seems like Desmond has been around forever. A third-round pick in 2004, Desmond's athleticism and tools once ranked him among the top prospects in the system, but years of disappointing performances all but dropped him off the radar. Still a reasonable 23 years old, things seems to be suddenly clicking for Desmond, who is 11-for-27 (.407) in his last six games and batting .333/.413/.545 overall. It's at least worth further study to see if this is real.
Kyler Burke, OF, Cubs (Low-A Peoria)
Tuesday's stats: 3-for-3, HR (5), 4 R, 3 RBI, BB
A supplemental first-round pick in 2006 by the Padres, Burke went to Chicago in a trade the following year, and while he's in his fourth pro year, he's still in Low-A. That said, he's still only 21 years old and his size and athleticism have tantalized scouts for years. Batting cleanup for the Chiefs that year, Burke is batting .289/.369/.488 in 61 games while leading the minor leagues with 27 doubles in just 211 at-bats.
Kevin Goldstein is an author of Baseball Prospectus.
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