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August 26, 2009

Future Shock Blog

August 26

by Kevin Goldstein

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Rolling, rolling, rolling . . .

Jeremy Hellickson, RHP, Rays (Triple-A Durham)
Tuesday's stats: 7 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 10 K
The Rays' top pitching prospect (yeah, I went there) actually pitched better than the line indicated, as he was absolutely dominant until a rough seventh inning. In seven starts for Triple-A Durham, the 22-year-old now has 49 strikeouts in 42 1/3 innings while limiting International League hitters to a .181 batting average. With well above-average stuff and command, he could suddenly be in line for the call when the Rays need an extra starter in September .

Again, sometimes date of birth is an important statistic

Martin Perez, LHP, Rangers (Double-A Frisco)
Tuesday's stats: 5 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K
It was a big surprise to see the Rangers move Perez up to the Texas League earlier in the month. It wasn't that his performance at Low-A Hickory wasn't impressive, but in the sense that the Venezuelan southpaw is only 18 years old. What wasn't surprising was to see him struggle in his first two starts. However, he put everything together on Tuesday night with five scoreless frames. How crazy is it to have a guy this year in Double-A? Research done by Rangers minor league expert Scott Lucas of the Newberg Report found that the second youngest player in the Texas League is Angels' lefty Trevor Reckling, who is nearly two years Perez' senior.

In case you were wondering, he's still crushing it

Chris Carter, 1B/OF, Athletics (Double-A Midland)
Tuesday's stats:3-for-5, 2B, HR (24), 2 R, 3 RBI, BB, K
While Carter's insane run earlier in the month ended with a pair of hitless games over the weekend, he's decided to start another one, going 6-for-13 in his last three games with five more RBIs, giving him 101 on the season. Now batting .337/.435/.576 in 125 games with 41 doubles, 24 home runs, 82 walks and 13 stolen bases, Carter is an excellent candidate for whatever minor league player of the year award you care about.

Not what you'd expect

Lance Lynn, RHP, Cardinals (Double-A Springfield)
Tuesday's stats: 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 4 BB, 3 K
A supplemental first-round pick last year, Lynn is a 6-foot-5, 250-pound physical beast, but when he takes the mound, he pitches more like a 5-foot-11 finesse guy who mixes a fastball with average velocity, two solid breaking balls, and a changeup with the pitchability of a ten-year veteran. His ceiling isn't anything more than an innings-eating number three or four, but with a 1.69 ERA in his last ten starts, he's well on his way.

Welcome back

Michael Main, RHP, Rangers (Rookie-Level Rangers)
Tuesday's stats: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K
A first-round pick in 2007, Main missed much of 2008 recovering from a cracked rib, but he pitched so well during the second half of the year that many were predicting a breakout season. That didn't happen in any way, shape or form, as Main's ERA after 12 starts for High-A Bakersfield sat at 7.33. Even more concerning (on a real-world level) was when he left the team in June with an illness that had weakened him throughout the year. Expected to miss the remainder of the season, it was a surprise to see him back to pitching on Tuesday night, and it was even more surprising to see his fastball jump up to 93 mph.

Sleeper alert!

Tyler Sample, RHP, Royals (Short-Season Burlington)
Tuesday's stats: 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K
The Royals loaded up on high school pitching in the 2008 draft, and while arms like Mike Montgomery and Tim Melville have conquered full-season leagues, Sample was left behind due to his rawness. At 6-foot-7 and 250 pounds, Sample certainly looks the part, and with plus velocity and a developing breaking ball, his ceiling ranks with any pitcher in the system. With a 1.82 ERA in his last six outings, he's an excellent choice for a 2010 breakout.


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

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