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August 6, 2009

Future Shock Blog

August 6

by Kevin Goldstein

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Great, now what do you do with him?

Pedro Martinez, RHP, Phillies (Double-A Reading)
Wednesday's stats: 6 IP, 5 H, 4 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 11 K
If anyone was wondering if ol' Pedro had anything left in his arm, the answer was a resounding yes. While he was hardly flawless, he nonetheless whiffed 11 of the 23 batters he faced. His fastball had some surprising giddy-up in it, touching 93 mph at times. Meanwhile, in the big leagues, J.A. Happ threw a shutout, so there's not exactly any room at the inn when it comes to the Phillies' rotation right now. One way or another, he'll be in the big leagues soon and, one way or another, he'll likely help the Phillies in October.

How can a guy hitting .329 have holes in his swing?

Chris Carter, 1B, Athletics (Double-A Midland)
Wednesday's stats: 3-for-4, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB, K
If there's a knock against Chris Carter, it's that he strikes out too much and, to be fair, he has already accumulated 102 punch-outs in 107 games. At the same time, he has gone borderline insane offensively, and with that has come a much reduced rate of swings and misses. In the midst of a 20-game hitting streak during which he's gone 37-for-79 (.468) with 24 runs, 21 RBIs and more walks (12) than strikeouts (11), the 22-year-old is firmly placing himself as one of the top sluggers in the minors with an overall batting line of .329/.425/.556.

Rolling, rolling, rolling . . .

Christian Friedrich, LHP, Rockies (High-A Modesto)
Wednesday's stats: 5.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R (0 ER), 3 BB, 10 K
Double-digit strikeout games are a bit of a rarity in the minors due to limited pitch count, so one is pretty special, three in a row is pretty insane, and that happening in the high-octane California League is borderline wacky. Friedrich did just that on Wednesday, lowering his Cal League ERA to a miniscule 1.50. With 128 whiffs in 93 1/3 innings across two levels, the guy certainly knows how to miss bats.

The quest for 30/30

Grant Desme, OF, Athletics (High-A Stockton)
Wednesday's stats: 3-for-4, 2 HR (14), 2 R, 3 RBI
After barely playing in his first two years due to a slew of injuries, Desme continues to make up for lost time. With a month to go in the season, he now has 25 bombs and 35 stolen bases in 38 attempts. The 129 whiffs in 109 games is a massive concern, but this kind of power/speed combinations don't exactly grow on trees.

Scouts nailed this one

Tommy Mendonca, 3B, Rangers (Short-Season Spokane)
Wednesday's stats: 3-for-4, 3 HR (7), 3 R, 3 RBI, K
A second-round pick in June out of Fresno State, Mendonca's reputation coming into the draft was as a guy with big-time power and a propensity for strikeouts. The first part of that equation was certainly on display Wednesday night, as Mendonca is now batting .305/.341/.568 in 30 games. However, with the single strikeout, he now has 43 in 118 at-bats. He has lots to like, but he also has lots to be concerned about.

Sleeper Alert!

Trayvon Robinson, OF, Dodgers (High-A Inland Empire)
Wednesday's stats: 2-for-5, 3B, HR (13), 2 RBI, K
A tenth-round pick in 2005 out of Crenshaw High in south-central Los Angeles, the same school that produced Darryl Strawberry, Robinson has been slow to develop, as he arrived as a raw athlete with a long way to go in becoming a baseball player. Sometimes those players just suddenly click, and Robinson is doing exactly that this year, with a .309/.377/.500 line that includes career high totals in the walk (46) and stolen base (41) columns. One additional note: It's hard to find players who actually hate their nickname, yet Robinson has achieved that goal, as teammates have nicknamed him "Seal" due to his facial resemblance to the pop star.


Kevin Goldstein is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Kevin's other articles. You can contact Kevin by clicking here

12 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

DGBL

No Anthony Hewitt? Has a couple HR in the last few games.

Anyway, will we see Friedrich and/or Carter get bumped up a level by the end of the year?

Aug 06, 2009 09:17 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

So the .224 average and 49 strikeouts (just 7 BB) in 152 ABs don't bother you, as he's going deep a couple of times?

I imagine Carter and Friedrich will stay where they are for the rest of the year -- it's not a big deal either way, really.

Aug 06, 2009 09:44 AM
 
DGBL

Well, sure. It's a huge red flag, but his numbers are no worse than Skipworth's. Just wanted to see if there was anything we should hold out hope for, like with Skip.

Aug 06, 2009 09:55 AM
rating: 0
 
dzzard
(805)

Trayvon’s dislike of his nickname has some foundation in fact. For time well wasted, check out his web site photo and his YouTube interview. He doesn’t resemble Seal in any way comparable to, say, Howie Kendrick’s uncanny facial resemblance to Keyshawn Johnson (but for their difference in size, those two gentlemen look very closely related . . . kind of like Geoff Jenkins and Brett Favre).
Trayvon is repeating the league, but 13 dingers and 49 extra base hits as of August 6 at age 21 is nothing to sneeze at.

Aug 06, 2009 09:50 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

I certainly kind of see the resemblance in this photo:

http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/images/2009/05/27/MbjeieKg.jpg

Aug 06, 2009 10:00 AM
 
mymrbig

KG, this is totally off-topic and I'm sorry if I'm breaching some kind of etiquette. The Mariners recently decided to start using Jack Hannahan as a utility infielder (including SS), rather than just as a 3rd baseman. I always heard that he was a very good defensive 3rd baseman and advanced fielding metrics like UZR absolutely love him. Any thoughts on what kind of defense he can supply at short? If he can provide average or above-average defense at SS, do you think the Mariners would think about declining Jack Wilson's option and spending the $8 million elsewhere?

Just curious, thanks.

Aug 06, 2009 09:52 AM
rating: 0
 
mymrbig

In a more related topic, any idea why the Rockies have been fairly conservative with Friedrich (particularly given his dominance)? Is it a case of not having room at higher levels because they aren't ready to bump other guys to the bullpen or promote them, or is it something else? Just seems a little odd that he wasn't started in Hi-A and already in AA.

Aug 06, 2009 10:09 AM
rating: 0
 
dzzard
(805)

How is Robinson as a center fielder? Can he stay there defensively as (presumably) he gets a chance to advance?

Aug 06, 2009 10:35 AM
rating: 0
 
PBunyan25

Kevin - What position do you believe Jaff Decker ends up with eventually? Are his walk totals a product of a great batting eye, or teams pitching around him?

Aug 06, 2009 11:59 AM
rating: 0
 
Eternal

Mendonca has 5 walks to 43 strikeouts - he has a LONG way to go.

Aug 06, 2009 12:37 PM
rating: 0
 
cardsfan89

Friedrich was my target last year for the Cardinals. Of course they selected Wallace and the rest is history for what he netted the Cardinals. However I won't be able to help to think "what if" once/if Friedrich makes the show and succeeds.

Aug 06, 2009 12:54 PM
rating: 0
 
deadwings112

Any thoughts on the Alex Avila callup? He went 2 for 4 today and is apparently now the personal catcher of both Rick Porcello and Armando Gallaraga. Think he's ready?

Aug 06, 2009 14:31 PM
rating: 0
 
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