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April 27, 2010

Future Shock Blog

Minor League Update: Games of April 26

by Kevin Goldstein

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More Powah!

Mike Stanton, OF, Marlins (Double-A Jacksonville) 

Monday's stats: 3-for-4, 3 HR (9), 3 R, 7 RBI, BB, K

The scary thing here? Stanton hit a pair of bombs on Sunday as well as part of a 4-for-4 night, so in his last two games he's gone 7-for-8 with a double and five (count 'em five) home runs. He's quickly become the minor league leader in home runs, and he should remain so . . . unless the Marlins call up the 20-year-old power prodigy. It's a risky endeavor for a player so young, but Stanton's tools and approach (17 walks) just might be ready for it. With a .338/.482/.800 line in 17 games for the Suns, he certainly has nothing left to prove in the Southern League. 

It's Not Quite Stanton, But At Least He's Getting Going

Josh Bell, 3B, Orioles (Triple-A Norfolk) 

Monday's stats: 3-for-4, 2 HR (3), 3 R, 3 RBI 

While one could write about an Orioles pitching prospect nearly on a nightly basis, hitting prospects are much more difficult to come by in baseball's most unbalanced system. Bell is their best, and by a wide margin, but he was causing some early-season head scratching by hitting just .222 in his first 16 games for the Tides without a home run in 63 at-bats. With three blasts in his last two games, the bat has awoken from it's slumber, and there little reason to think he's not their every day third baseman in 2011. 

Wasting His Time Here?

Tanner Scheppers, RHP, Rangers (Double-A Frisco) 

Monday's stats: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K

While the Rangers continue to look for an answer to their bullpen woes, Scheppers keeps blowing away Texas League hitters at a staggering rate. Including last night's dominant outing, the 2009 draftee has faced 35 opposing batters in five appearances, striking out 18, walking none and allowing just three hits. The scouting reports match the stats as well, as Scheppers mid-to-upper-90s fastball features movement and pinpoint location, while his plus-plus curveball isn't just a hammer, it's a sledgehammer. He can get big league hitters out right now, and should get his chance soon, as because of his injury history and violent mechanics, every pitch he throws is a risk; so why not have him throw those pitches in the big leagues? 

Small Sample Sizes Are Just That

Aaron Hicks, OF, Twins (Low-A Beloit) 

Monday's stats: 2-for-4, BB, SB

The top prospect in the Twins system, Hicks was universally seen as one of the top prospects in the Midwest League last year, despite a pedestrian batting line of .251/.353/.382, but it was still a bit surprising to see the usually conservative Twins have him repeat the league this year. He started the year in one of the worst slumps of April, going 1-for-30 in his first eight games, but one of the toolsiest players around has been putting it all together since, going 16-for-30 (.533) with eight walks since. With plenty of raw power, well-above average speed and a canon for an arm, Hicks' ceiling is through the roof, and the numbers are finally showing up as well. 

Our Third Power Surge Of The Day

Brett Wallace, 1B, Jays (Triple-A Las Vegas) 

Monday's stats: 1-for-5, HR (8), R, 2 RBI, K

Now in his third organization despite being a first-round pick  less then two years ago, Wallace's reputation is clear, he's a big-bodied (that's the nice way to put it) professional on-base machine with the ability to hit for average, draw tons of walks, and maybe hit for some power. That home run ceiling was always the most  debatable aspect of his game, as many thought the 20 bombs he hit last year at Double- and Triple-A represented his ceiling. The hitter's mecca that is Las Vegas is certainly helping, but there's no denying that Wallace is taking a bit of a step forward in this department as well, with eight home runs in just 70 at-bats. The way Lyle Overbay is hitting, it might not be long before he's in the big leagues. 

Sleeper Alert!

Stephen Marek, RHP, Braves (Double-A Mississippi) 

Monday's stats: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K

The trade of the Mark Teixeira from the Rangers to the Braves has already gone down for some as one of the worst trades in Atlanta history, and it's made all the more worse for how little the Braves got when they moved Teixeira to the Angels in July of 2008. One of those players received in return was Marek, who had done very little with Atlanta until this year, as improved conditioning and better mechanics have led to a bit of a breakthrough. With 92-94 mph gas and a good breaking ball, Marek once again looks like he can help a big league bullpen, as his 2010 season has now begun with 9 2/3 scoreless innings and 14 strikeouts against just one walk. 

Others Of Note:

  • Dustin Ackley, 2B, Mariners (Double-A West Tenn): Just when you thought he was getting it going, 0-for-10 slump drops him to .145/.284/.210 after 16 games.
  • Tim Beckham, SS, Rays (High-A Charlotte): 0-for-17 in last four games, just 4-for-39 overall with a line of .103/.186/.205.
  • Freddie Freeman, 1B, Braves (Triple-A Gwinnett): 10-for-24 in last six games with two doubles and four home runs.
  • Anthony Hewitt, OF, Phillies (Low-A Lakewood): Third home run of season last night; still tons of Ks, but definite progress.
  • Eric Hosmer, 1B, Royals (High-A Wilmington): Now a walking advertisement for Lasik surgery; three more hits (including two doubles) lifts him to .446/.532/.631.
  • Dayan Viciedo, 1B/3B, White Sox (Triple-A Charlotte): 3-for-3 with two home runs last night, still seems overmatched at Triple-A, with 20 strikeouts and just two walks in 17 games.

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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