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July 16, 2009

Future Shock Blog

July 16

by Kevin Goldstein

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It's like trading for a lottery ticket

Lastings Milledge, OF, Pirates (High-A Lynchburg)
Wednesday's stats: 2-for-4, 2 HR (2), 2 R, 3 RBI
The Pirates got a lot of flak for trading a speedster and all-around tremendous human being for Milledge, a massively talented guy who, at 24, has already worn out his welcome with two organizations and is now rehabbing from a broken finger. But that's the thing; Morgan wasn't going to play any role on a Pirates team in the future that is actually competitive and good, but Milledge at least has a shot.

Big things come in small packages

Michael Burgess, OF, Nationals (High-A Potomac)
Wednesday's stats: 2-for-5, HR (16), R, 3 RBI, K
A supplemental first-round pick in 2007, Burgess packs plus-plus power into a 5-foot-11, 195-pound frame thanks to outstanding bat speed and a lot of leverage. While he works the count well, he also does nothing but go for the fences once he swings, which has led to a .238 batting average and 90 strikeouts in 85 games. The good news is he has gone deep in three of his last four contests, and scouts still feel he has breakout potential with just a few adjustments.

Delayed Explosion

Ryan Westmoreland, DH, Red Sox (Short-Season Lowell)
Wednesday's stats: 2-for-4, 2B, HR (2), R, RBI, K
One of the best athletes in last year's draft, Westmoreland made it clear to everyone that he was going to Vanderbilt unless someone wrote a huge check, and that someone pretty much had to be the Boston Red Sox, who selected him in the fifth round and gave him a $2 million signing bonus. A true five-tool athlete who is limited to designated hitting duties while recovering from shoulder surgery, Westmoreland has reached base in each of his first 20 professional games while batting .297/.407/.473.

Good bloodlines

Francisco Pena, C, Mets (High-A St. Lucie)
Wednesday's stats: 3-for-5, HR (6), 2 R, 4 RBI, K
The son of Tony Pena, who won four Gold Gloves in the 1980s, Pena was a big-budget signing out of the Dominican three years ago, but he spent his first two years doing little offensively in the Low-A Sally League. Still just 19, his overall batting line is still a poor .237/.281/.369, but he's as hot as he has ever been as a pro of late, going 8-for-16 in his last three games with a home run in each one. A plus defender, he's still got a chance to turn into a solid big league backstop.

A real live Oriole prospect that's not a pitcher!

Caleb Joseph, C, Orioles (High-A Frederick)
Wednesday's stats: 2-for-4, 3B, 3 RBIs
A seventh-round pick last year out of Lipscomb, Joseph was drafted as an offensive-oriented catcher, and he has lived up to the billing so far, batting .405 in his last ten games and a whopping .342/.376/.510 overall. He's a no more than an average defender, and his power ceiling is debatable, so he'll need to keep hitting, but in a system as weak on hitters as it is strong on pitching, Baltimore will take it.

Sleeper Alert!

Braden Tullis, RHP, Rangers (Short-season Spokane)
Wednesday's stats: 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K
An eighth-round selection this June out of small community college in Washington, Tullis is a 19-year-old righty with a powerful frame whose best pitch is an 88-92 mph sinker that generates strikeouts and groundballs, as well as a nice changup and developing breaking ball. Last night's outing lowered his ERA to 2.42 in his first six pro games, and of the 12 outs that did not come via the whiff, 11 of them were of the groundball variety.


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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