July 20, 2009
Future Shock Blog
Back on the bump
Tim Hudson, RHP, Braves (High-A Myrtle Beach)
Sunday's stats: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K
Like so many teams in the National League, if you squint your eyes and tilt your head funny, the Braves are kind of in it, so who couldn't use Tim Hudson? Making his way back from last year's Tommy John surgery, Hudson's 2009 debut was a rousing success, as he threw strikes and sat at average velocity while touching 93 mph and, most importantly, reported no discomfort afterwards.
Nick Hagadone, LHP, Red Sox (Low-A Greenville)
Sunday's stats: 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 K
A far lesser known player also coming back from Tommy John surgery, Hagadone was a supplemental first-round pick in 2007 who wowed scouts with upper-90s heat from the left side before his elbow went pop in his third start of the 2008 season. Returning to the mound in early June, Hagadone's command and control have waivered, like so many Tommy John survivors, but he has been untouchable of late, striking out 13 and giving up just two hits over eight shutout innings in his last three games, while bumping his fastball up to 96 mph.
This is not progress . . .
Brandon Morrow, RHP, Mariners (Triple-A Tacoma)
Sunday's stats: 4.2 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 3 BB, 4 K
The most frustrating thing for the Mariners is probably the fact that on a pure stuff level, Morrow really ranks only a notch below ace Felix Hernandez, but his inability to throw strikes or hone an approach against lefties has the fifth overall pick in the 2006 draft back at Triple-A. His first start since getting sent down showed no progress.
. . . But this is
James Darnell, 3B, Padres (High-A Lake Elsinore)
Sunday's stats: 3-for-5, 2 HR (6), 2 R, 3 RBI
Darnell created considerable buzz during the first half of the season when he hit .329/.468/.518 at Low-A Fort Wayne, but the California League hasn't been as kind to him. The three hits on Sunday brought his batting average up to .250, but all the secondary skills remain, including 11 walks in 72 at-bats and 11 of his 18 hits going for extra-bases.
The wheels have officially come off
Shooter Hunt RHP, Twins(Rookie-Level GCL Twins)
Sunday's stats: 0 IP, 0 H, 4 R, 6 BB, 0 K
Early last spring, Hunt looked like he might go in the first half of last year's first round, but some late spring struggles with command dropped him to 31st overall. Those struggles with command have now turned into a complete nightmare, walking 33 in 17.2 Low-A innings. Yesterday's outing all the way down in the Gulf Coast League lasted for a grand total of six batters, all of whom walked, before being mercifully pulled. He's in the tall weeds, but plenty have recovered from it.
Mitch Moreland, OF, Rangers (Double-A Frisco)
Sunday's stats: 2-for-4, 2B, HR (5), 5 RBI, BB
A 17th-round pick out of Mississippi State, Moreland was seen as more of an organizational player coming into the year, as his .324/.400/.536 batting line at Low-A last year was written off as a 22-year-old college product beating up on less experience talent. The age/level problem no longer exists now, as after continuing to produce at High-A, he's now hitting .327/.385/.482 at Double-A. He's a big guy without a lot of tools, so the bat will have to carry him. So far, so good.
Kevin Goldstein is an author of Baseball Prospectus.
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