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August 7, 2009

Future Shock Blog

August 7

by Kevin Goldstein

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Finding his way?

Brandon Erbe, RHP, Orioles (Double-A Bowie)
Thursday's stats: 8 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 5 K
Erbe has had an up and down career, and can even be up and down from start-to-start and inning-to-inning. When he's good, he's very good, and that was certainly the case on Thursday night. He lowered his Eastern League ERA to 2.08 while getting his fastball up to 94 mph. While a bout with shoulder soreness has limited him to just 61 1/3 innings this year, Double-A batters are batting just .173 against him, and he's really just a notch below the much more publicized Baltimore pitching prospects.

And the hits just keep on coming

Chris Carter, 1B, Athletics (Double-A Midland)
Thursday's stats: 3-for-4, 2B, RBI, BB, CS
After detailing how hot Carter was yesterday, he decided to get a little hotter. In his last ten games, he's now 23-for-37 (.622) with a 1.000 slugging percentage. Now at .333/.428/.560 for the year, the A's better hope that newly acquired Brett Wallace can stay at third base, or they're going to have some tough decisions down the road.

Beginning to live up to expectations

Ryan Kalish, OF, Red Sox (Double-A Portland)
Thursday's stats: 2-for-4, HR (7), 2 R, 2 RBI, K
Kalish has always been a guy with solid-and-some-plus tools across the board, but a wrist injury bugged him in 2008, and he has been slow to adjust to Double-A since moving up to Portand in mid-May. Finally hot, Kalish is hitting .352/.417/.626 in his last 23 games while also transferring back to centerfield in the last week. Both developments have raised his prospect stock significantly.

Not missing a beat

Mike Montgomery, LHP, Royals (High-A Wilmington)
Thursday's stats: 7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 7 K
One of the more impressive arms in the Midwest League during the first half of the season, Montgomery had a 2.17 ERA in 12 starts for Low-A Burlington. His High-A mark is now 2.25 after delivery a career-high in innings on Thursday night. A 6-foot-5 southpaw who combines outstanding athleticism with a fastball than gets up to 94 mph with a solid breaking ball, many are projecting him as at least a number three starter down the road, and possibly much more.

Meanwhile, in other young lefty news

Matt Moore, LHP, Rays (Low-A Bowling Green)
Thursday's stats: 5 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 9 K
I'm not sure how big a concern Moore's control issues are when he's this unhittable. Sure he's walked 58 in 100 2/3 innings, but at the same time, he has struck out 141 and given up just 67 hits. Quick, find a list of guys with twice as many strikeouts as hits allowed - it won't take long. With a fastball that gets into the mid-90s and a true plus curveball, the scouting reports match the stats.

Sleeper alert!

Austin Hyatt, RHP, Phillies (Short-season Williamsport)
Thursday's stats: 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 9 K
A 15th-round pick in June out of Alabama, Hyatt was one of those cheap senior signs who throws strikes, has a good changeup and is a solid organization arm. The shocker here is that his fastball is suddenly up to 94 and he has been the New York-Penn League's most dominating arm, allowing just one run in 31 2/3 innings while compiling a 49/5 K/BB ratio and giving up just 14 hits. At 23, he needs to move quickly and is probably no more than a reliever in the end, but he's certainly more than just a solid organizational arm.

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

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

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I've enjoyed following Moore over the last season and a half. Its kind of like Kershaw in LA...even though he's walking a ridiculous amount of guys, nobody can hit him.

Aug 07, 2009 09:36 AM
rating: 0

Kevin - what's your opinion on Robert Bell, Blue Jays' High-A, Dunedin? His numbers snce being taken out of Rice last year have been phenomenal - between SS-A/A/A+, he's pitched 91 innings. Allowed 59 hits and and 16 BB. 125K. And now the Jays are shifting him to the rotation, stretching him out in his first five starts from 4-6 innings. He'll turn 24 towards the end of the month - Is there a legit prospect in there, or will his numbers fall off at higher levels? Thanks

Aug 07, 2009 09:38 AM
rating: 0

Kevin, I've held the minority opinion since the day the Diamondbacks traded for Dan Haren in thinking that they gave up too much for him, despite the fact that they were getting a front of the rotation starter with an affordable salary. But now that Chris Carter is developing into a top notch hitter and Brett Anderson continues to improve at the big league level, how would you evaluate that trade now?

Aug 07, 2009 12:22 PM
rating: 1

Kevin, do you know how the Midland ballpark plays? I mean is it a pitcher's park, hitters park, fairly nuetral? And he needs a promotion to Sacramento, unless they want to keep him for the stretch run to (hopefully) the playoffs.

Aug 07, 2009 13:53 PM
rating: 0

What I've heard is that it is a pitcher's park in a hitter's league, and ends up around neutral overall. The other thing I've read is that it does depress HRs and inflate 2Bs...

This is all stuff I've read online, so make sure you keep your grains of salt handy.

Aug 07, 2009 17:06 PM
rating: 0

I'm just catching up on the week's Minor League Updates now, so I'm obviously a little late on this, but if you're really going to start the Hudson Rule (the pitcher's version of the Vitters Rule), you've got to send some love to Adam Warren from the Staten Island Yankees. Before he gave up a solo home run last night, he had pitched 37 scoreless innnings, dating back to July 6th.

Aug 07, 2009 16:01 PM
rating: 0

The most remarkable item in Carter's stat line had to be the Caught Stealing. What the heck was a man-mountain like him doing trying to swipe a base? Either way, I can't wait to see him mashing in Sacto next year, assuming he doesn't go nuts in ST and force his way into the opening day lineup. With Carter and the Walrus on the corners, the A's lack of outfield power might not matter too much.

Aug 07, 2009 18:00 PM
rating: 0

Lefties with 2x strikeouts as hits:
-Cole Rohrbough in 2007 (RK and A leagues)
-Rich Hill at various stops in 2005 and 2006 (inc. 100 IP in AAA).
- Scott Kazmir, 2003 in A ball.

Hypothesis: Lefties with great breaking stuff seem to be able to be ridiculously dominant against minor leaguers who can't hit the breaking ball, but major leaguers are better able to hit the pitch and thus better able to exploit the control issue.

Aug 07, 2009 23:39 PM
rating: 1

As these pitchers move up, the hitters are more patient and thus more likely to work the walk or force him to throw pitches over the heart of the plate.

Aug 08, 2009 07:44 AM
rating: 0
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