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September 8, 2009

Future Shock Blog

September 8

by Kevin Goldstein

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And remember, he's only 19

Mike Stanton, OF, Marlins (Double-A Jacksonville)
Monday's stats: 2-for-4, 2 HR (16) 2 R, 6 RBI, BB, SB
Stanton hit just .231 at Double-A with 99 strikeouts in 79 games, but he still hit 16 home runs in 299 at-bats in a pitcher's environment as a teenager. He's the best pure power prospect in the minors, will be one of the youngest players in the upcoming Arizona Fall League, and the low batting average has done little-to-nothing to hurt his stock.

Second-half superstar

Ryan Kalish, OF, Red Sox (Double-A Portland)
Monday's stats: 1-for-4, HR (14), 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 2 K
Kalish's final Double-A line of .271/.341/.440 doesn't really tell the whole story, as he was one of the Eastern League's top players down the stretch, batting .302/.384/.561 after the All-Star break with 10 home runs and seven stolen bases in 50 games. He's not a guy who blows you away with his tools as much as he's a guy where it's hard to find any weaknesses in his game.

The season ended too soon . . .

Aaron Hicks, OF,Twins (Low-A Beloit)
Monday's stats: 2-for-4, 2 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, K, SB
It's a shame, as Hicks was just finally beginning to get things going in September, going 8-for-20 in his last five games with three doubles, a triple a home run, and a pair of stolen bases. While his .251/.352/.382 line doesn't blow anyone away, few in the Midwest League came even close to matching his tools.

Small sample size . . . or the next big thing?

Will Myers, C, Royals (Short-Season Idaho Falls)
Monday's stats: 5-for-5, 2B, HR (4), 4 R, RBI, BB
Given $2 million as a third-round pick this June, Myers has been nothing short of electric as a pro this year, batting .436/.500/.782 in 14 games for the Chukars. Yes, it's a small sample size, but it's still some monster numbers, and luckily the Pioneer league gives us just a few more games to evaluate.

Late-season power surge

Josh Bell 3B, Orioles (Double-A Bowie)
Monday's stats: 2-for-3, HR (9), R, RBI
When Bell went to Baltimore in the George Sherrill deal, everything about his season took a major step forward except for his power output, as he hit just 11 in 334 at-bats for Double-A Chattanooga. After the trade, the power showed up in a major way, as Bell smashed nine in just 114 at-bats, finishing the year with a .289/.346/.570 line in 33 games for Bowie. Off to the Arizona Fall League, he'll get a genuine look for a big league job next spring.

Sleeper alert!

Trayvon Robinson, OF, Dodgers (Double-A Chattanooga)
Monday's stats: 2-for-3, 2 HR (2), 2 R, 2 RBI
Robinson struggled a bit at Double-A after moving up in August, but he's still one of the bigger breakout players in the minors this year. A toolsy player from South Central Los Angeles, Robinson has been slow in transforming his tools into performance, but everything came together this year, as his finished the year with a .300 batting average, 17 home runs, 60 walks and 47 stolen bases.

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

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

BP Comment Quick Links

G. Guest

Thanks for the MLU this year Kevin. They've been a lot of fun to read, and I certainly learned about a lot of players.

I look forward to the AFL update each day. ;)

Sep 08, 2009 09:44 AM
rating: 1

Kevin, I'm pretty sure Stanton isn't playing for Triple-A Gwinnett (or in the Braves organization at all).

Sep 08, 2009 09:54 AM
rating: 0
G. Guest

I thought that I'd simply missed some trade b/w the two and that ATL was going to somehow have Stanton and Heyward roaming the OF for awhile. How fun would that be?

Thanks for clearing it up.

Sep 08, 2009 11:04 AM
rating: 0

Stanton's obviously got some "Holy crap! Did you just see that?" power. Kevin, do you think the average will climb as he matures? Has his Contact rating always been low on the 20-80 scale? Have any ideas as far career comps?

Sep 08, 2009 11:26 AM
rating: 0
Adam Hobson

He hit in the .290s in both the Sally and FSL leagues, so the Eastern league is his first time with a below average batting average. The jump from high-A to AA is the biggest for hitter, the Eastern league isn't exactly hitter paradise, he's still just 19 and it was only for half a season so small sample size definitely applies. I wouldn't be too worried.

Even if his strikeout numbers are higher than you'd like, guys like Adam Dunn, Mark Reynolds and Ryan Howard have certainly made nice careers for themselves despite their strikeouts. So even if he ends up hitting .250-.270 in the majors (and he could be a .290 hitter yet) that's still a valuable bat, and unlike those three I mentioned before, all reports that I've heard rate his right field defense comfortably above average. So he should give value with his glove as well.

Sep 08, 2009 12:15 PM
rating: 0

Woo hoo! I was at the Aaron Hicks game. Neither double was cheap, they were both rockets that made it to the fence. And they were fairly "clutch"... if that applies to a couple of crappy teams playing low-A ball on the last day of the season.

Sep 08, 2009 12:17 PM
rating: 0
Jim Humdingding

Regarding Hicks, anyone hear a coherent explanation of why the Twins started his league season so late? Him heating up at the very end begs the question of what he would've accomplished if he wasn't held out so long, assuming he was healthy (haven't heard otherwise). Almost feels like started too late rather than ended too soon, although I'm sure there is a good explanation that will make my comment foolish.

Sep 08, 2009 14:47 PM
rating: 0

The Twins handled Ben Revere similarly last year, keeping each in extended spring training I believe. That doesn't really explain the 'why', but just an observation.

Sep 10, 2009 01:00 AM
rating: 0

Just wanted to say that I've really enjoyed following this column through the minor league season. I love following the story lines and getting excited when there's a blurb on personal favorite. Keep it up!

Sep 08, 2009 15:04 PM
rating: 2

Just to piggyback on the other compliments, MLU has been one of my favorite new features, and it certainly keeps me on the site daily, thanks Kevin.

Can we look foward some minor league playoff updates?

Sep 09, 2009 10:24 AM
rating: 2
Zach S

Kevin, what do you think about Max Kepler? I watched him take BP on Monday at the Twins facility and he didn't disappoint - smooth and easy lefty swing, hit the middle of the fence to RF almost effortlessly, tons of projectivity with his height at just 16. Well-spoken, too.

Sep 09, 2009 13:57 PM
rating: 0

Thanks so much for the MLU this year Kevin, it was the first thing I read each morning.

Sep 09, 2009 16:55 PM
rating: 0

Kevin - thanks for the consistent and informative updates throughout the season - a great addition to the BP staple.

Sep 10, 2009 07:58 AM
rating: 0
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