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June 22, 2009

Future Shock Blog

June 22

by Kevin Goldstein

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Not really a prospect, but sure is hot

Matt Murton, OF, Rockies (Triple-A Colorado Springs)
Sunday's stats: 2-for-4, 2B, HR (9), 2 R, 3 RBI, K
Murton has certainly been around the block. A supplemental first-round pick by the Red Sox in 2003, he was traded to the Cubs as part of the complicated Nomar deal in 2004, then held down a big league job for a while before he stopped hitting. He was more of a throw-in than anything else in last year's Rich Harden trade, and then the A's flipped him to Colorado in February for utility man prospect Corey Wimberly. Now 27, it's hard to project stardom, or even a starting role for him, but he is the hottest hitter in the minors, going 7-for-12 over the weekend with a double, four home runs and 11 RBIs to raise his Triple-A averages to .414/.470/.707.

Far more than his batting average

Kila Ka'aihue, 1B, Royals (Triple-A Omaha)
Sunday's stats: 2-for-4, 2 HR (10), 2 R, 2 RBI, BB, K
Ka'aihue had a bad April, a great May, and was having a pretty tough June. Those judgments are based on the batting average alone; even when he's not "hitting" much, he's still making up for it with power and patience. Sure the .267 batting average doesn't excite you, but how does 56 walks against 221 at-bats and 29 of 59 hits going for extra bases sound?

Sometimes age is the most important statistic

Wilmer Flores, SS, Mets (Low-A Savannah)
Sunday's stats: 3-for-4, 2B, 2 R
Flores is another player whose numbers really don't tell the whole story. Now 8-for-17 in his last four games, Flores' line of .273/.316/.357 doesn't blow anyone away, but it becomes a lot more impressive when you look at the other big number on his stat sheet - his date of birth. Still almost six weeks from his 18th birthday, Flores is younger than most of this year's high school draftees. How many of them do you think could put up this kind of line in a full-season league right now?

Wait, the Rays have even more pitching prospects?

Nick Barnese, RHP, Rays (Low-A Bowling Green)
Sunday's stats: 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K
After pointing out Matt Moore last year, don't forget about his rotation-mate in Barnese. After missing the first two months of the season with shoulder soreness, Barnese has been matching Moore start-for-start of late, allowing just three runs over 17 innings in his last four games. A third-round pick in 2007, Barnese is an excellent prospect with an outstanding sinker and plus command who may have been forgotten about because of his delayed start.

If you like ceilings, this guy is the Sistine Chapel

Rashun Dixon, OF, Athletics (Short-Season Vancouver)
Sunday's stats: 2-for-4, RBI, SB, K
A 10th-round pick last year, The A's paid Dixon $600,000 to sign, as he was an elite-level athlete who had Division I interest as a football player, and many (even Oakland) were surprised at how polished he was when he slugged .525 is his pro debut. Still, the A's decided to play it safe with Dixon, keeping him in extended spring training before sending him to the Northwest League over the weekend. He showed his power in the Canadians' season opener by going deep on Sunday, and showed the speed last night with a stolen base. In a system loaded with prospects, Dixon's ceiling ranks with any of them.

Sleeper alert!

Brad Meyers, RHP, Nationals (High-A Potomac)
Sunday's stats: 8 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K
A fifth-round pick in 2007 out of Loyola Marymount, Meyers had a non-descript full-season debut last year, with a 4.79 ERA at Low-A Hagerstown, but everything is clicking for him this year, as Sunday's outing lowered his ERA to a league-leading 1.67. He's not a monster prospect by any means, but he uses his 6-foot-6 frame to generate a lot of downhill plane on his average velocity fastball, and he fills the strike zone with it and his solid breaking ball and changeup.


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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