August 24, 2009
Future Shock Blog
Not that the Yankees need much in the way of reinforcements
Jason Hirsch, RHP, Yankees (Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre)
Sunday's stats: 6 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 4 K
Once one of the top prospects in the Astros system, Hirsch was a key component in a deal that netted Jason Jennings from Colorado prior to the 2007 season, but he's been plagued by injuries (including rotator cuff problems) and ineffectiveness since. Traded to the Yankees for nothing more than a player to be named at the deadline, Hirsch has suddenly found a new lease on life, allowing just four runs in four Triple-A starts, walking just four in 21 innings. The 6-foot-8, 250-pound righty's stuff still isn't near what it was in his heyday, but it could be enough for an audition for the No. 5 starting role down the stretch.
No-hitter, more than a non-prospect
Brandon Moore, RHP, Mets (Short-Season Brooklyn)
Sunday's stats: 7 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 6 K
A 14th-round pick in 2008 and the first player ever selected out of tiny Indiana Wesleyan, Moore has been good all year, but he was at his best Sunday, firing a seven-inning no-hitter. His 2.15 ERA and opponent's batting average of .187 both really stand out and, more impressively, scouts are backing up the numbers somewhat, as his average velocity fastball plays up due to location and movement, while he'll also flash a nice breaking ball at times. At 23, he has to get moving, but there are at least some building blocks to work with.
I'll keep noticing him, you should too
Ryan Strieby, 1B, Tigers (Double-A Erie)
Sunday's stats: 2-for-3, 2 HR (19), 2 R, 5 RBI, BB
I'm just going to keep on pumping this guy, because I still feel like I'm the only one on the bandwagon. While he's missed some time this year with various bumps and bruises, Strieby has still delivery 19 home runs and 56 walks in just 291 at-bats. As a basic rule, first base-only prospects are tough to evaluate, because they can't just be good, they have to really mash. At .306/.429/.570, he's doing just that.
Upping the difficulty level
Mauricio Robles, LHP, Mariners (High-A High Desert)
Sunday's stats: 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 8 K
Robles made the update last week when he tossed seven one-hit innings, but Sunday's outing is actually far more impressive, as the little lefty with the big arm delivered seven shutout innings at home, in a park where the average game includes more than 13 runs a contest. With the Cal League now hitting .167 against him in 20 1/3 innings, scouts in three leagues have now taken notice of his abilities.
Peaking at the right time?
Aaron Thompson LHP, Nationals (Double-A Harrisburg)
Sunday's stats: 6 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 11 K
A first-round pick by the Marlins in 2005, Thompson's career up to this point might best be described as non-descript. It's not that he's been bad or some kind of sure-fire bust or anything; he's merely been adequate at every level. Still, he's left-handed and has some good secondary pitches, and that was enough for the Nationals to take him as part of last month's Nick Johnson deal. He rewarded their confidence with a career-high in strikeouts on Sunday.
Tommy Pham, CF, Cardinals (High-A Palm Beach)
Sunday's stats: 3-for-6, 2B, HR (7), 2 R, 4 RBI, 2 K
A 16th-round pick in 2006, Pham is one of those guys that, despite some horrid statistics, is certainly exciting to watch. Athletically, he can do it all, with an intriguing package of power and speed, but he's never been able to jump over the one hurdle holding him back - hitting. While this year's line of .229/.306/.375 offers little room for optimism, he might be starting to show some glimmers of hope by going 17-for-43 (.395) with four home runs in his last 12 games.
Kevin Goldstein is an author of Baseball Prospectus.
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