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September 4, 2009

Future Shock Blog

September 4

by Kevin Goldstein

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Now you're just showing off

Desmond Jennings, OF, Rays (Triple-A Durham)
Thursday's stats: 7-for-7, 2B, 4 R, 3 RBI, SB
How does one raise his batting average 49 points in one night? Quite simple, really, just go 7-for-7. That's what Jennings did on Thursday in a standard nine-inning game, a feat only two big leaguers (Wilbert Robinson and Rennie Stennett) have accomplished. What can one say at this point with only one weekend left in the season? The guy is awesome, and you all know that by now.

Flying under the radar

Allen Craig, OF, Cardinals (Triple-A Memphis)
Thursday's stats: 3-for-4, R, 2 RBI
An eighth-round pick in 2006, Criag has never gotten much hype, and he has always been a bit old for his level (he turned 25 in July), but at the same time, all he's done is hit at every level. He has been the hottest hitter in all of the minors during the second half of the season, batting a lofty .409/.453/.772 since the All-Star break, and while the bat is the only tool, it's a good one. Where he fits with the Cardinals is anybody's guess at this point, but he should get a very real look next spring.

Speaking of good second halves

Ryan Kalish, OF, Red Sox (Double-A Portland)
Thursday's stats: 1-for-3, HR (11), 2 R, RBI, BB
The best thing about Kalish's game might be that it lacks any real weaknesses. He can hit for average, flash some power, steal a few bases, work the count well and play a competent centerfield. It's not the flashiest package in the world, but everything is working of late, as the 21-year-old is batting .310/.378/.557 during the season's second half.

Rolling, rolling, rolling

Mike Minor, LHP, Braves (Low-A Rome)
Thursday's stats: 5 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 9 K
So far, so good for the seventh overall pick this June, as Minor has now allowed just one run in his first 14 professional innings while striking out 17 and not issuing a single walk. The fact that he can dominate in the Sally League isn't a big surprise to anyone, so the question as to how well his combination of average-at-best stuff but phenomenal command can play at the upper levels.

Finishing on a high note

Abraham Almonte, OF, Yankees (Low-A Charleston)
Thursday's stats: 3-for-5, 2 HR (5), 3 R, 3 RBI, SB
Almonte struggled for much of the year, but the 20-year-old Dominican is ending the year strong, as last night's two home run game extended his hitting streak to 25 games, a stretch during which he's hit .398. One of the stranger aspects of the streak is that it's come with a more aggressive approach, as he's drawn just one walk during the stretch. From his performance to his short, roundish build yet surprising tools, he's just a weird one.

Sleeper alert!

Darren Ford, OF, Giants (High-A San Jose)
Thursday's stats: 2-for-3, 3B, BB, 2 SB
Ford was always seen as one of the better athletes in the minors when he was coming up through the Brewers system, but he just never hit much at High-A, and was traded to the Giants at last year's deadline for second baseman Ray Durham. Beginning his fourth year at the level, Ford decided to abandon switch-hitting, and after a slow start, he's had a monster second half, including a 21-for-39 mark in his last ten games. The tools were always there, and he might end up being one of those late bloomers.


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

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

BP Comment Quick Links

Zabadoey

KG, while turning his tools into talent is no longer a question for Jennings, his path to the bigs still remains a question. How does Desmond Jennings fit into the Rays plans for 2010?

Sep 04, 2009 09:46 AM
rating: 0
 
Sal T

Easy answer: He replaces the two Gabes. There is a big shining light outlining his path to the bigs and its aimed at RF in the Trop. Not so easy answer: Perhaps they trade Upton and play Rodriguez in RF in which case the light swings a little left toward CF.

Sep 04, 2009 10:12 AM
rating: 0
 
Zabadoey

Upton would be the last person they move - Crawford if anyone. And Zobrist would be the first person to replace the Gabes, now that Iwamura is back. If I'm the Rays, I don't pick up Iwamura's option, keep Zobrist at 2B, and have the best defensive outfield in recent memory with Crawford/Upton/Jennings.

Sep 04, 2009 10:24 AM
rating: 0
 
rweiler

Is it time to re-evaluate the depth of the Giants farm system? With the emergence of Darrin Ford, the San Jose Giants have just run away from the rest of the California league in the second half, and that's after losing Alderson, Bumgarner, Posey, Barnes, and Brandon Crawford.

Sep 04, 2009 10:26 AM
rating: 0
 
Matt Kory

KG, even though Reddick has gotten the cups of coffee with the Sox, is it fair to say that in the long run Kalish is a better prospect?

Sep 04, 2009 10:32 AM
rating: 0
 
basejaw

No

Sep 04, 2009 10:41 AM
rating: 0
 
Sal T

Jennings outplays Zobrist both offensively and defensively so no Zobrist is not the first option for RF. Agree he should take over at 2b but given the option Jennings/Zobrist for RF it has to be Jennings and you find something else for Zorilla.

Sep 04, 2009 10:34 AM
rating: -1
 
sockeye

Jennings had an .898 OPS this year split between AA and AAA; Zobrist has a .936 in the Big Leagues.

Jennings may arguably project to be a better hitter over the long run, but it is no certainty that he'd hit better than .931 as soon as 2010, and thus far from certain that the Rays would or should consider him the first option at RF. They should be playing for the postseason from Opening Day, and that could certainly mean going with Zobrist over Jennings until 2010 performances force their hand.

IMO, the status at 2B should be a bigger influence on whether Zobrist gets first crack at RF in 2010 than should Jenning's nice-but-not-as-nice 2009 minor league stats.

Sep 04, 2009 13:36 PM
rating: 0
 
Cromulent

Is there much if any doubt that Zobrist will be the everyday 2B in 2010? I don't think this is an argument that needs arguing.

Sep 04, 2009 13:57 PM
rating: 0
 
sockeye

Which argument? One regarding whether Zobrist gets planted at 2B in 2010 (I can't comment too much on that), or one regarding the Rays would be better served to give Jennings first crack at RF over Zobrist (independent of 2b)?

Sep 04, 2009 14:07 PM
rating: 0
 
Cromulent

The former.

Sep 04, 2009 17:01 PM
rating: 0
 
TheBunk

Blue jays homer is me is gonna shine but I figured that Tim Collins striking out 7 or 8 batters would get a mention.

Sep 04, 2009 11:54 AM
rating: 0
 
sockeye

Kevin (or anyone) -

Is there a list for signing status of 2009 first round draftees? If not, might I suggest one? I could not find one using the search function.

(just accidentally posted this in the Sept 2 update too - whoops).

Sep 04, 2009 13:20 PM
rating: 0
 
G. Guest

http://www.withthefirstpick.net/updated-2009-mlb-draft-results-with-signings

Sep 04, 2009 14:14 PM
rating: 0
 
sockeye

Cool, thanks

Sep 04, 2009 19:13 PM
rating: 0
 
BillJohnson

Allen Craig = Brett Wallace Lite? If his glove is too much of a liability for the field, what could the Cardinals flip him to an AL team for?

Sep 04, 2009 13:49 PM
rating: 0
 
sockeye

I think the Cards hurt themselves by not even pretending to consider Craig the 3B job in early 2009 when they were decimated by injuries. At the time, Craig's hitting was mediocre, and the non call-up didn't seem THAT odd. But now with his 2nd half stats, he'd seem to be a more valuable commodity if his home system hadn't seemed to have given up on him at 3B at a time of need.

Doesn't really answer your question, but for a 25-YO LF prospect, the answer is probably "not much", unless someone else thinks he can play a passable 3B.

Sep 04, 2009 14:12 PM
rating: 0
 
jobathebeast

Hey Kevin, is there any major league comp. to Almonte's build/tool set?

Sep 04, 2009 15:35 PM
rating: 0
 
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