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July 3, 2009

Future Shock Blog

July 3

by Kevin Goldstein

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Let's just call it the Josh Vitters rule

Jesus Montero, C, Yankees (Double-A Trenton)
Thursday's stats: 2-for-5, HR (5), R, 2 RBI, K
Basically, if you go deep in a fourth straight game, you make the Minor League Update, and continue to do so until the streak ends. If you need someone else to keep track, the 19-year-old Venezuelan product is now 8-for-14 in those four games with 24 total bases, upping his season averages to .325/.395/.571. For a teenager in Double-A, that is entering nutsy koo-koo territory.

Same as it ever was . . .

Brian Matusz, LHP, Orioles (Double-A Bowie)
Thursday's stats: 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K
Not just a Talking Heads reference, but also a quote from a scout when asked to give a review of Baltimore's top pick in last year's draft. He's sitting at 88-92 with outstanding movement and location, throws two quality breaking balls and a very good changeup, mixes his pitches extremely well and pounds the strike zone. That scouting report has been the same for Matusz for years now, and he's nearly big league-ready.

Throwing my hands up

Andy Marte, 3B, Indians (Triple-A Columbus)
Thursday's stats: 3-for-4, 2B, HR (11), 2 R, 2 RBI, BB
From former elite-level prospect to organizational player, Marte is not a guy who gets a lot of attention now that he's 25 and has flopped in a few big league looks, but he's also in the midst of a ten-game hitting streak, during which he has gone 20-for-38 with six doubles and four jacks to up his season averages to .326/.360/.548. If you're the last-place Indians, why not see if there's something there?

Close to qualifying under the Vitters rule

Matt Dominguez, 3B Marlins (High-A Jupiter)
Thursday's stats: 1-for-4, HR (7), R, 2 RBI, K
Let's face it, home runs in three straight games is as good as four games in most other leagues. Dominguez' season is an overall disappointment at .247/.306/.384, but he's definitely showing some signs of life with a .515 slugging percentage since June 1. He remains one of the better defensive third basemen in the minors.

Insert bad pun here, like "Stock is up," or something

Robert Stock, C, Cardinals (Rookie-level Johnson City)
Thursday's stats: 2-for-3, 2B, HR (1), 2 R, 2 RBI, K
The Cardinals second-round pick last month, Stock's numbers as a junior at Southern California failed to impress, but there's more context here than one would imagine. Beyond playing one of college baseball's toughest schedules in a pitcher's park, Stock entered college two years early, so he's only 19, and his season suddenly doesn't look so bad if you evaluate him for his freshman-level age. With his first professional dinger on Thursday, he's now 8-for-22 in his first six games while throwing out seven of 14 attempted base stealers.

Sleeper alert!

Chase D'Arnaud, 2B/SS, Pirates (High-A Lynchburg)
Thursday's stats: 3-for-5, 2 2B, 3B, 2 R, 2 RBI, SB, K
A fourth-round pick out of Pepperdine last year, D'Arnaud is one of those players where the sum is greater than the parts. He has no monster tool, but he's a fundamentally sound fielder with a good approach, solid speed, and gap power. Moved up to the Carolina League toward the end of June, D'Arnaud is now batting .281/.368/.531 in his first eight games for the Hillcats after back-to-back three-hit efforts.


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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