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June 25, 2009

Future Shock Blog

June 25

by Kevin Goldstein

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Some good news, for a change

Brad Lincoln, RHP, Pirates (Triple-A Indianapolis)
Wednesday's stats: 6 2/3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 4 K
This decade has been littered with pitchers taken by the Pirates in the first round, only to have their careers destroyed by arm surgery before they could make an impact in the big leagues. Lincoln is trying to change all that, as the 2006 first-round pick continued to impress is his return from Tommy John surgery by earning the win in his Triple-A debut. With a fastball that has been up to 94 mph this year as well as two solid secondary pitches, Lincoln is suddenly looking very close to the big leagues, and he can help the Pirates offense as well, as the former two-way star at Houston also had a pair of singles on the night.

In other Triple-A debut news . . .

Marc Rzepczynski, LHP, Blue Jays (Triple-A Las Vegas)
Wednesday's stats: 5 2/3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 9 K
Rzepczynski made the update last week by allowed one run over 20 innings in his last three Double-A starts, and he kept the momentum going with a domination Pacific Coast League debut. He won't be a dominating force, as his command and secondary pitches are better than his fastball, but he's looking more and more like a big leaguer, and one who could suddenly be getting a look at the end of the year.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it

Angel Salome, C, Brewers (Triple-A Nashville)
Wednesday's stats: 4-for-8, 2B, HR (4), R, 2 RBI, 2 K
He's looks weird, at 5-foot-7 and 200-plus pounds. He hits weird, with a strange stance and pronounced step before his swing but, in the end, he just keeps hitting. After a slow start, he's now 13-for-30 in his last five games and batting .283 overall. I spoke to a scout today who summed up Salome better than I ever could: "He doesn't do anything the way you think a guy should, but he gets it done."

On a roll, yet again

Michael Taylor, OF, Phillies (Double-A Reading)
Wednesday's stats: 3-for-5, K
While it was Taylor's third consecutive three-hit contest, it was almost notable that he failed to go deep, as he did that in his three previous games, lifting his season averages to .340/399/.579. There are still some scouts out there who are on the fence about just what kind of future he has in the big leagues, but that debate is no more if he'll be average or a star more than anything else, as opposed to anyone thinking he's not going to get there and be productive.

Built for speed

Josh Prince, SS, Brewers (Rookie-level Helena)
Wednesday's stats: 2-for-3, 2B, 2 R, 2 BB, 6 SB
A third-round pick by the Brewers two weeks ago, Prince led the country with 48 stolen bases for Tulane this spring. His second professional game was more than a little crazy, as he swiped six, including third base twice. A true burner with a leadoff man's approach, scouts debate Prince's ability to stay at shortstop, but not his ability to wreck havoc at the top of the order.

Sleeper Alert!

Matt Sulentic, OF, Athletics (Double-A Midland)
Wednesday's stats: 4-for-5, 3B, 2 HR (5), 4 R, 6 RBI, BB, K
A third-round pick in 2006, Sulentic looked like one of the bright young hitters in the system before having some struggles once he moved to the full-season leagues. He's bounced back with some solid performances of late, and with last year's career night, he's now batting .291/.346/.456 in 55 Texas League games as a 21-year-old. He lacks the power to be an everyday in a corner, but with a sweet swing from the left side, he could end up with a nice career as a bench outfielder.


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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