August 17, 2009
Future Shock Blog
This is what they were waiting for
Brett Wallace, 3B/1B, Athletics (Triple-A Sacramento)
Sunday's stats: 4-for-5, HR (3), 2 R, RBI
When the A's traded Matt Holiday to the Cardinals, Wallace was the big prize in return, but he hadn't done much since arriving in California's capitol. Not that he's been bad, mind you, just that he's been simply alright. Sunday's big game brings his averages up to .284/.347/.443, but there are still concerns, in particular his range at third base and a tendency to destroy lefties and struggle a bit against right-handers.
Meanwhile, in other trade deadline news
Mauricio Robles, LHP, Mariners (High-A High Desert)
Sunday's stats: 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 9 K
Acquired from Detroit in the Jarrod Washburn swap, Robles faced a difficult assignment to High Desert following the deal, but he delivered his best outing as a Mariner on Sunday. Despite a skinny 5-foot-10 frame, his lightning-quick arm allows him to get into the mid-90s with his fastball, which has led to 124 whiffs in 104 2/3 innings. However, his command, control, and secondary offerings lag behind. Still, this kind of velocity is hard to find in a lefty, and he'll get plenty of chances to figure it out.
Unhittable . . . literally
Cory Rasmus, RHP, Braves (Rookie-Level Danville)
Sunday's stats: 5 IP, 0 H, 2 R, 4 BB, 3 K
Five days after delivering a seven-inning no-hitter as the former first-round pick works his way back from shoulder surgery, Rasmus delivered five more no-hit frames on Sunday, only in far messier fashion, as he walked four and hit a batter. Still, 12 no-hit innings is 12 no-hit innings and, more importantly, his stuff seems to get better with every start.
Brett Jackson, OF, Cubs (Low-A Peoria)
Sunday's stats: 4-for-6, 2B, HR (5), 3 R, 3 RBI, K
While nearly half of this year's first-round picks enter the final day of negotiations unsigned, Midwest League scouts are wondering how Jackson dropped to the 31st overall pick. Now batting .320/.414/.573 with five home runs and eight stolen bases in 17 games, Jackson's power/speed combination is moving him up prospect lists while others wait to get their pro career even started.
Tall glass of water
Loek Van Mil
(Double-A New Britain)
, 0 H
, 0 R
, 2 K
After elbow problems delayed his 2009 season until late May, Van Mil moved up to Double-A last week and could be in line to become the tallest player in big league history next year. At 7-foot-1, the Dutch product has a low-90s heater that looks like it's coming from the top of a mountain and a solid slider. He should have a solid career as a middle reliever if the elbow holds up.
Justin Turner, 2B, Orioles (Triple-A Norfolk)
Sunday's stats: 2-for-4, R, BB, 2 K
A seventh-round pick in 2006 out of Cal State Fullerton, Turner came to Baltimore from the Reds in the off-season as part of the package for Ramon Hernandez, and all he's done this year is what he's done at every level - be productive. He's now hitting .309/.373/.405. His tools will never impress anyone on any level, but if you want to compile an all-makeup team, Turner is one of your first picks, and nobody would be surprised if he ended up with a David Eckstein-esque career.
Kevin Goldstein is an author of Baseball Prospectus.
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