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October 21, 2009

Future Shock Blog

October 21

by Kevin Goldstein

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We're talking like beehive loud

Starlin Castro, SS, Cubs (AFL: Mesa)
Yesterday's stats: 4-for-5, 2 R, RBI

Generating a ton of buzz right now in the desert is Castro, the 19-year-old shortstop who, after Tuesday's outburst, is now 12-for-23 in six games for the Solar Sox without a strikeout. His ability to put the bat on the ball is remarkably advanced for his age. While he's not the next Ozzie Smith, he is a true shortstop who also has surprisingly solid defensive fundamentals for such a young talent, as he's also yet to make an error in Arizona. Is he the top prospect in the system? You could at least make the argument.

Way too early to write him off

Michael Saunders, OF, Mariners (VEN: Lara)
Yesterday's stats: 3-for-5, HR (1), R, 3 RBI, K

One of the best prospects in the Seattle system entering the season, Saunders got off to a roaring start at Triple-A Tacoma this season, batting .310/.378/.544 in 64 games, but his big-league time wasn't nearly as successful, as both his on-base and slugging percentage finished at the sub-.300 level. Sitting on the bench for most of September means that he's still officially a prospect, and he got his offseason going on Tuesday with a home run off of Mets prospect Chris Mason. He's still an impressive combination of tools and skills, so while the big league showing is a concern, it's only a bit of one, and he's certainly not the first prospect to learn that the majors are difficult.

Building on a strong second half

Jonathan Lucroy, C, Brewers (AFL: Peoria Javelinas)
Yesterday's stats: 4-for-4, HR (1), 3 R, RBI, BB

It really was a tale of two seasons for Lucroy, as he didn't have crazy/good numbers at Double-A Huntsville, but he did hit .301/.413/.490 after the All-Star break. With gap power, an outstanding approach at the plate, and an arm the gunned down more than 40 percent of opposing basestealers in the Southern League, some think he's overtaken Angel Salome for the right to be the Brewers' catcher of the future.

No power outage in the Dominican

Brennan Boesch, OF, Tigers (DWL: Escogido)
Yesterday's stats: 3-for-5, HR (2), 2 R, 2 RBI, SB

In a system desperate for breakout players, the Tigers might have found one in Boesch, though he certainly comes with some chinks in the armor. At 6-foot-6 and 210 pounds, the 2006 third-round pick certainly looks the part, as hee entered the season with just 22 home runs in over 300 pro games. This year, he finally tapped into his raw power with 28 bombs at Double-A Erie, not exactly the toughest place to go yard, it should be noted. Again, there are issues, as he turns 25 in April, so he isn't exactly a young buck. Also, while in 131 games for the Sea Wolves, he struck out 127 times while drawing just 27 unintentional walks. While it's still early in his career, next year could be a bit of a make-or-break season for him.


Others of Note

  • Grant Desme, OF, Athletics (AFL), 2-for-5, HR (3), R, 3 RBI: He's 11-for-26 with three home runs, and he hasn't struck out in two straight games.
  • Ryan Kalish, OF, Red Sox (AFL), 3-for-4, 2B, 3 R, 2 RBI, BB, K, SB: His first big game in the AFL raised his early-season OPS by 274 points.
  • Chia-Jen Lo, RHP, Astros (AFL), 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K: The Taiwanese import now has eight whiffs over six scoreless innings. He could be in Astros bullpen in the first half of 2010.
  • Wilson Ramos, C, Twins (VEN), 2-for-6, HR (4), 3 R, 3 RBI: Ramos has five doubles, four home runs, and 14 RBI in 10 games.
  • Tanner Scheppers, RHP, Rangers (AFL), 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K: So far, so good, as Scheppers maintained his velocity (95-98 mph) in his second outing.
  • Jose Tabata, OF, Pirates (AFL), 3-for-5, 2 3B, 2 R, 2 RBI: Tabata is 8-for-21 in five games, and he's playing center field every day in a move some scouts assume is a bit of a showcase.
  • Donald Veal, LHP, Pirates (AFL), 3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 2 K: If he keeps throwing strikes, he could end up being a Rule 5 steal, as the size and stuff were always there.

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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