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June 18, 2009

Future Shock Blog

June 18

by Kevin Goldstein

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Announcing his presence with authority

Brian Matusz, LHP, Orioles (Double-A Bowie)
Wednesday's stats: 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R (0 R), 1 BB, 10 K
After finishing his Carolina League run with 20 scoreless innings over his last three starts, Matusz kept things going in his Double-A debut. Baltimore's top pick in last year's draft, the 22-year-old lefty sat at 90-92 mph while filling the strike zone with three quality secondary offerings. He's a highly advanced arm who should be in a position to compete for a big league rotation job next spring.

Meanwhile, in established lefty news . . .

Scott Kazmir, LHP, Rays (High-A Charlotte)
Wednesday's stats: 4.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K
Kazmir looked sharp in his first game since May 20, after which he hit the disabled list with a strained quadriceps, but also took some time to work with former pitching coach Rick Peterson to tweak his mechanics. He reported no problems after the start, will get his pitch count upped to 85 in a game for Triple-A Durham in five days, after which he's expected to return to Tampa's rotation.

. . . and the best power lefty Tampa's minor league system

Matt Moore, LHP, Rays (Low-A Bowling Green)
Wednesday's stats: 6.2 IP, 1 H 1 R, 2 BB, 10 K
Two starts ago, Moore struck out 12 in a seven-inning no-hitter, but he missed our daily prospect party because it happened on a Saturday. His 92-94 mph fastball is as notable for its movement as much as the velocity, while his power curve is a true nose-to-toes breaker that can make opposing hitters look downright silly. If he has on big issue, it's with controlling his stuff, as he's walked 40 in 58 innings, but he's also struck out 86 while allowing just 35 hits. His ceiling is through the roof.

Really? He hit a triple?

Tyler Flowers, C, White Sox (Double-A Birmingham)
Wednesday's stats: 2-for-5, 3B, HR (9), 5 RBIs, K
One of the prospects received from Atlanta in the Javier Vasquez deal, Flowers is a 250-pound behemoth, so what's more shocking than him hitting a triple last night is the fact that it's actually his second three-bagger on the year. He's still a below-average receiver, but he's also an offensive force with power and plenty of patience that has led to a .282/.425/.516 line in 56 games.

Repeating and adjusting

Johermyn Chavez, OF, Blue Jays (Low-A Lansing)
Wednesday's stats: 2-for-4, HR (12), 2 R, 6 RBI, 2 K
Overmatched in the Midwest League last year as a 19-year-old, Chavez is a big right fielder with plenty of raw power and good athleticism for his size. After hitting just .211 last year with seven home runs in 115 games, Chavez has already well surpassed that this year. With three home runs in his last six contests, his averages sit at .279/.341/.528, and he's still just 20 years old.

Sleeper Alert!

T.J. House, LHP, Indains (Low-A Lake County)
Wednesday's stats: 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K
A 16th-round pick last year, the Indians gave House a well over-slot bonus of $750,000 to persuade him away from attending Tulane, and so far that's looking like a sound investment. A six-foot-two, beefy southpaw with low 90s heat and a plus breaking ball, the 19-year-old has allowed just four earned runs over 29 innings in his last five outings to lower his season ERA to 2.74.


Kevin Goldstein is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Kevin's other articles. You can contact Kevin by clicking here

10 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

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basejaw

Kevin, nice to see an update on Moore. If you had your pick of Matt Moore and Martin Perez, who are you taking?

Jun 18, 2009 09:57 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

It's close -- I'm honestly not sure and would want to consult with some people before answering.

Jun 18, 2009 12:24 PM
 
MANUdaMAN

While I doubt the ChiSox have much depth at C in their system, has there been any talk of moving him to a corner IF spot? His numbers would appear to play there, especially if he's a below-average defensive catcher.

Jun 18, 2009 10:36 AM
rating: 0
 
JasonC23
(97)

I'm curious as to how below average Flowers is. So embarrassingly bad that he has to move? Or not good, but the bat's so valuable there, let him stay? It's not like the White Sox throw any runners out anyway.

Jun 18, 2009 11:07 AM
rating: 0
 
sockeye

More Moore...I'm starting to get a little suspicious of numbers at low levels coming from guys with major curveballs...Obviously, it's better to have a super curve than not, but sometimes it seems to inflate the numbers against that competition. I'd be curious to see if there's a consistent level for dropoff in numbers for guys whose only plus offering is a curveball. Is it at A+? AA? AAA?

I'm not saying that Moore is all curveball, but I worry that his numbers would look a lot more pedestrian after adjusting for the "19-yr-olds who can't hit a bender" phenomenon that will evaporate at higher levels.

Who else has tremendous curveballs and has eaten up low-level hitters?

Cole Rohrbough? Ate up hitters in A ball in 2007, numbers dropped substantially in A+ (though he was also worse in A ball in 2008).

Rich Hill? Ate up hitters at every stop in the minors.

Other guys with wicked curves?

Jun 18, 2009 10:49 AM
rating: 1
 
tdrury

Rich Hill had a pretty good season at the MLB level too though. Does Will Inman count? I think his is a slurve

Jun 19, 2009 09:54 AM
rating: 0
 
dtung

Props to Charlie Haeger who has a 1.80 ERA over 30 IP in June, with just 20 hits allowed and 9 walks. Maybe he's starting to figure it out?

Jun 18, 2009 11:21 AM
rating: 0
 
mariotti

Kevin, any concern about Tim Beckham's fielding? He has 18 errors already this year. Also, are there any plans to move him up to AA this season?

Jun 18, 2009 13:31 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

There are no plans to move Beckham up, especially a two-level jump to Double-A. 18 errors are not a huge concern for anyone really.

Jun 18, 2009 13:37 PM
 
JohnHCh

Hi Kevin, love your work.

With Short-season leagues starting this week, is there anything special there to look for (guys who signed too late last year, early signees from this year)? I'm especially interested in the NY-Penn League.

Jun 19, 2009 08:42 AM
rating: 0
 
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