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May 19, 2010

Future Shock Blog

Minor League Update: Games of May 18

by Kevin Goldstein

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Chris Archer, RHP, Cubs (High-A Daytona): 6 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 10 K

Not a guy who gets a lot of attention, Archer had a very good year at Low-A Peoria last year after arriving in Chicago as part of the Mark DeRosa deal, and High-A has yet to slow him down, as over his last four starts, he's giving up one earned run in 20 2/3 innings while striking out 24 and allowing just seven hits. He pitches primarily off his 92-94 mph fastball, but he'll flash a plus breaking ball as well, and his projectable frame could lead to better stuff down the road. He's an intriguing arm who deserves more attention.

Robbie Erlin, LHP, Rangers (Low-A Hickory): 5 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 9 K

A third-round pick last June, the only knock against Erlin is his size, as at six-foot and 175 pounds he's a bit on the small side. Again, that's the only knock against him. It's hard to find a 19-year-old without a big weakness in his game, but Erlin sits at 90-92 with his fastball that features good movement, he'll flash a well above-average breaking ball, and even a surprisingly polished changeup for his age.  Throw in clean arm action and the ability to pound the strike zone and you have a formula for domination Low-A hitters, and Erlin did just that in his first start of the year after starting off in the bullpen (and allowing one run in 20 1/3 innings) in order to monitor his workload.

Jordan Lyles, RHP, Astros (Double-A Corpus Christi): 9 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 K

There's not a whole lot of good things to talk about when it comes to the Astros, at either and major or minor league level. The one player generating excitement in the system is Lyles, who had a fantastic pro debut last year, and is now at Double-A at 19. Houston just hoped he could hold his own here while avoiding pitching at High-A Lancaster, but he's done much more than that, with a 2.29 ERA after his first career complete game last night. He's not a stuff monster, but his fastball, curve and change all rates as average-to-plus, while his command is another attribute in his favor. He might be young, but he has more polish than most pitchers at this level.

Donald Veal, LHP, Pirates (Triple-A Indianapolis): 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 7 K

A Rule 5 pick in 2008, the Pirates hid Veal on their big league roster last year, but scouts saw some real progress out of Veal in the Arizona Fall League, as he began to throw more strikes and show progress with his secondary offerings. His Triple-A season hasn't exactly been remarkable (until last night), but his peripherals (44 IP, 38 H, 19 BB, 35 K) are solid and his stuff remains above-average. I might be alone here, but I still believe Veal has a big league future ahead of him in a role yet to be determined.

Others Of Note:

  • Yonder Alonso, 1B, Reds (Triple-A Louisville): 2-for-6, HR (1), R, RBI, BB. 9-for-19 in last four games; hitting much better than he did at Double-A.
  • Thomas Diamond, RHP, Cubs (Triple-A Iowa): 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 6 K. Former Rangers' first-round pick has 2.08 ERA in eight starts; stuff isn't at pre-injury levels, but there's still some life in his arm.
  • Alex Gordon, OF, Royals (Triple-A Omaha): 3-for-5, R, 2 RBI, SB. I wonder if Ned Yost is hoping for Scott Podsednik to tank so he can get Gordon up without hurting anybody's feelings.
  • Chris Ianetta, C, Rockies (Triple-A Colorado Springs): 2-for-4, 2B, HR (5), 2 R, 4 RBI. Now batting .375/.438/.768; the Alex Gordon of catchers in that nobody has a good explanation as to why he's not better in the big leagues.
  • Chin-Lung Hu, SS, Dodgers (Triple-A Albuquerque): 3-for-5. I don't know if it's alright to still believe in the 26-year-old, but I still see a plus defender with some bat. 14-for-30 in his last eight games to raise his average to .294, but very little walks or power.
  • Mike Moustakas, 3B, Royals (Double-A Northwest Arkansas): 2-for-4, 2B. Third straight multi-hit game; wouldn't be surprised to see him get a handful of big league at-bats come September.
  • Mike Trout, OF, Angels (Low-A Cedar Rapids): 2-for-4, 3B, R, 3 RBI. 18-for-39 in his last ten games and .376/.450/.584 overall; Ability to show this kind of power and speed in game at this age, and at this level is remarkable.
  • Dayan Viciedo, 1B, White Sox (Triple-A Charlotte): 4-for-6, 3 2B, R, RBI, K. Another repeat performance from yesterday, up to .303/.336/.538.
  • Arodys Vizcaino, RHP, Braves (Low-A Rome): 8 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K. Has been a bit inconsistent during full-season debut, but when he's on, he looks like a future ace, including last night's best start of the season.
  • Zack Wheeler, RHP, Giants (Low-A Augusta): 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K. Like Vizcaino, he looks great one day and so-so the next, but he's 19 years old with massive stuff.
  • Travis Wood, LHP, Reds (Triple-A Louisville): 8 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 11 K. First great start for last year's breakout performer; had 5.10 ERA coming into the game.

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

Related Content:  Triple-A

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