August 25, 2009
Future Shock Blog
Figuring things out
Jake Arrieta, RHP, Orioles (Triple-A Norfolk)
Monday's stats: 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K
While Chris Tillman had no problems adjusting to Triple-A and Brian Matusz skipped the level entirely, that's hardly the norm. For Arrieta, there's been a definite adjustment period, as his ERA was near five after his first 11 starts for the Tides. Since then, he's begun to found a groove, allowing just five runs over 26 innings in his last four starts. He'll be a big part of the Orioles plans in 2010.
Movin' on up
Todd Frazier, 2B/LF (Triple-A Louisville)
Monday's stats: 2-for-3, 2 2B, RBI, 2 BB, K, SB
With the Cincinnati roster looking more and more like a MASH unit of late, Frazier took one step closer to the big leagues over the weekend with a promotion to Triple-A. Following his first International League home run on Sunday, Frazier had a more well-rounded big game last night, and he's now reached base six times in three contests with all three of his hits going for extra bases. After playing second base in his first two games for the Bats, he played left field on Monday, but the Reds can use help pretty much everywhere at this point.
Saving his season?
Chris Johnson, 3B, Astros (Triple-A Round Rock)
Monday's stats: 2-for-5, HR (13), 3 R, RBI, K
One of the more highly regarded hitting prospects in the Astros system entering the year (not that that says much), Johnson is a sound hitter with good power. However, as he turns 25 in October, he really couldn't afford any bumps in his developmental road. A sub-.300 on-base percentage and just four home runs in the first half of the year seemed to be that bump, but he's recovered in a big way, as he's now hitting .326/.359/.651 in Augjust with seven home runs in 86 at-bats.
Don't call it a comeback . . .
Chin-Lung Hu, SS, Dodgers (Triple-A Albuquerque)
Monday's stats: 2-for-4, K
Once one of the better shortstop prospects in baseball, Hu is a plus-plus defender who had a monster season at the plate in 2007, but since then, he's gone backward at the plate while getting jerked between both the majors and Triple-A, as well as multiple positions. A slow start this year looked to really diminish his prospect status, but he seems to have suddenly found his stroke again, batting a healthy .359/.393/.570 since the All-Star Break.
Kyle Weiland, RHP, Red Sox (High-A Salem)
Monday's stats: 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 10 K
A third-round pick last year out of Notre Dame, Weiland gave up 16 runs over nine innings in his first three outings of the year for Salem, and his ERA was still at 7.78 in late May. Since then, however, he's been among the Carolina League's best starters, with a 1.54 ERA in his last 15 starts. Showcasing a low-90s fastball with healthy sink and a sharp-breaking curveball, Weiland is generating some buzz among scouts who are now wondering why he isn't in Double-A yet.
Can we do two sleepers? Yes we can!
Kirk Nieuwenhuis, OF, Mets (High-A St. Lucie)
Monday's stats: 4-for-5, 2 2B, HR (16), 3 R, 2 RBI, BB
Selected eight picks before Weiland, Nieuwenhius is a big, toolsy athlete who played at a small NAIA school, so some rawness this year was to be expected. The early part of his season was solid yet unspectacular, but now he's gotten crazy hot, going 21-for-43 in his last ten games with eight doubles, two triples, six home runs and 17 RBIs. Now batting .270/.354/.465 overall with 16 home runs and an equal number of stolen bases, the player some Mets fans have already dubbed Capitan Kirk is already among the top outfield prospects in the system.
Kevin Goldstein is an author of Baseball Prospectus.
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