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June 16, 2010

Future Shock Blog

Minor League Update: Games of June 15

by Kevin Goldstein

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Brandon Belt, 1B, Giants(High-A San Jose): 4-for-5, 2 HR (8), 3 R, 6 RBI, BB

In his last 13 games, Belt is hitting .500 (23-for-46), with an on-base percentage over .600 and a slugging percentage pushing four-digits thanks to last night's game in High Desert. And yet, he's still in High-A. In case you are wondering if he's blocked, the first baseman at Double-A Richmond is Michael Ambort, a 25-year-old 2006 draftee who has a .280 on-base percentage. I don't know what part of a .394/.509/.633 battling line doesn't say, "I'm completely wasting my time at this level."

Dellin Betances, RHP, Yankees(High-A Tampa): 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K

He's in his fifth professional season, yet last night's outing was only the 51st of his career. Still, he's just 22 years old, and he's still a six-foot-eight righty with a big ceiling. Whatever magic the Yankee coaching staff has pulled with Andrew Brackman of late, it seems to have work off on Betances as well, as he's throwing strikes and dominating, allowing five hits in 12 innings while striking out 13 and, most surprising, walking just one while consistently getting into the mid-90s with his fastball. 

Jordan Lyles, RHP, Astros(Double-A Corpus Christi): 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 11 K

The fact the Lyles is merely pitching well in the Texas League as a 19-year-old is impressive enough, but on Tuesday he proved that he can dominate in this league as well at times with his best outing of the year. While he doesn't have one massive offering, his fastball, curve and changeup all rate as above-average, and that alone make him extremely rare for a player so young.

Edinson Rincon, 3B, Padres(Low-A Fort Wayne): 3-for-5, R, RBI

After a strong showing in the Northwest League last year, Rincon's full-season debut was among the most anticipated in the system, but the first two months were a bit of a bust, as going into June he was hitting a lowly .220/.288/.325. The 19-year-old Dominican remains a disaster at third base, committing 23 errors in 57 games, but he's made some adjustments at the plate and his hitting skills are finally showing up. 21-for-52 in August (.404), Rincon has one of the better swings in the Midwest Leagues, and it's finally showing up on the stat sheet.

Others Of Note:

  • Jonathan Albaladejo, RHP, Yankees (Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre): SV, 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K. 1.14 ERA in 28 games overall, but nearly untouchable in June (7 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 13 K).
  • J.P. Arencibia, C, Blue Jays (Triple-A Las Vegas): 3-for-5, 2B, 2 K. Twelve hits in last six games, including four home runs, have pushed season number up to .280/.327/.551.
  • Joe Benson, OF, Twins (High-A Fort Myers): 4-for-4, 3 2B, 3 R. I talk to scouts, so I know I'm not even close to the only person who likes this guy, I just wonder if anyone with the Twins feels the same way.
  • Chris Carter, 1B, Athletics (Triple-A Sacramento): 2-for-3, 2B, HR (15), R 2 RBI. More hot than cold this year, but hitting .302/.360/.674 in June.
  • Drew Cumberland, SS, Padres (High-A Lake Elsinore): 3-for-4, 2 2B, R, 2 RBI, BB, K, SB, CS. Hit .357 in April, .381 in May and now .403 in June. At .381/.418/.563 overall in 56 games, this is one of the biggest breakouts of the year.
  • Grant Green, SS, Athletics (High-A Stockton): 4-for-6, 2B, 4 R, K. Hitting .319/.382/.553 in June; defensive reports haven't been kind.
  • Aaron Hicks, OF, Twins (Low-A Beloit): 3-for-5, 2 2B, 2 R. Hot-and-cold hitter is hot again, going 8-for-16 in last four games with six doubles. .257/.374/.401 line shows overall progress.
  • Shooter Hunt, RHP, Twins (High-A Fort Myers): 0.2 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 2 BB, 2 K. Uh-oh.
  • Jiwan James, OF, Phillies (Low-A Lakewood): 3-for-5, CS. 26-for-66 (.394) in last 15 games; if tools are really clicking he has monstrous potential.
  • Mycal Jones, SS, Braves (High-A Myrtle Beach): 2-for-6, HR (1), R, 2 RBI, 2 K, CS. 12-for-25 since promotion; tons of tools but a bit behind on the age curve.
  • Matt Moore, LHP, Rays (High-A Charlotte): 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 9 K. When he throws strikes, he has the kind of stuff to dominate; he's just not throwing strikes enough.
  • Logan Morrison, 1B, Marlins (Triple-A New Orleans): 3-for-5, 2B, R, RBI, 2 K. Batting .404 in last 12 games and .331/.423/.554 overall; just one Gaby Sanchez slump away from the call?
  • Jeff Samardzija, RHP, Cubs (Triple-A Iowa): 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K. Nine innings without allowing an earned run in two starts with 11 strikeouts; could get another look with desperate Cubs team.
  • Oscar Tejada, 2B, Red Sox (High-A Salem): 3-for-4, 2 R, RBI, BB. 17-for-39 (.436) in last ten games and .333/.354/.519 overall; the nitpicker would point out that he's not walking will missing all the average and surprising power.
  • Travis Wood, LHP, Reds (Triple-A Louisville): 7 IP, 4 H, 2 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 10 K. Coming on strong in last six starts with 41 IP, 23 H, 8 BB, 40 K; if the Reds have a need, he should be next to get the call.

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

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

BP Comment Quick Links

rweiler

Is it possible that the SF Giants are allowing Belt to waste time at San Jose to allow them to clinch the meaningless first half California League championship, possibly making a couple of extra dollars in the process? It isn't much of a reason, but it is a reason. It's even more surprising as Luke Anders is hitting well enough at Augusta that he should probably move up as well.

Jun 16, 2010 10:38 AM
rating: 0
 
kcellis224

It could also be that they've seen the entire 2009 San Jose roster get slaughtered in AA this season. Maybe they are a little gun shy about moving Belt until they're 100% sure he's ready for the Eastern League and, no, I don't know what else they would need to see to make that determination.

Jun 16, 2010 10:44 AM
rating: 0
 
AadikShekar

Yeah, I'm wondering if seeing Neal / Keishneck (sp?) / Gillespe struggle in AA this year is part of this issue; they promoted Crawford at mid-season last year and he's struggled as well. Still, Belt is clearly wasting his time in A ball at this point, and you might as well give him the chance to sink or swim.

Jun 16, 2010 11:04 AM
rating: 0
 
rweiler

Thomas Neal has started to come around hitting 471/526/706 in his last 10 games which brings him up to 284/345/404 for the season. In the Eastern league, that's actually not a bad stat line. Gillaspie, Crawford, and Kieshnick have disappointed.

Jun 16, 2010 11:56 AM
rating: 0
 
Gregjitsu

Crawford was the first guy who popped into my mind as well. He had a BABIP-inflated stat line at High A, so the Giants moved him to AA pretty early in the year, where he crashed and burned pretty spectacularly. He's doing better there this year, but still not looking great.

The plate discipline and walk rate is a big difference between Belt and Crawford however; this gives me some hope that Belt can hold his own better once he's promoted.

Jun 16, 2010 13:06 PM
rating: 0
 
rweiler

Presumably a guy that is primarily a line drive hitter doesn't have his stats affected as much by park effects.

Jun 16, 2010 13:34 PM
rating: 1
 
vtadave

Belt appears to be the Jerry Sands of the Cal League.

Jun 16, 2010 10:43 AM
rating: -1
 
Yarky1

Isn't it funny to think that Barry Bonds four times topped Belt's OBP and SLG in full seasons in the Major F-ing Leagues. I know it's not news to anyone that he was a good hitter, but little things like this occasionally remind me of just how good he was.

Jun 16, 2010 11:12 AM
rating: 4
 
mrenick

Ahhh, Lyles. The line bright spot in an astros fan's day.

KG, what kind of upside does Belt really have? Are we talking 15-20 homerun power with a solid OBP. Or Is there more projection than that?

Jun 16, 2010 10:48 AM
rating: -1
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

Yeah, I think tempering expectations here are a very good thing. He can hit, but he doesn't have classic first base power by any stretch (the two bombs last night were at High Desert, and it was a 25 mph wind).

Jun 16, 2010 11:03 AM
 
kcellis224

I know you hate comps - maybe later career JT Snow would be appropriate? High OBP, low power, above average defense.

Jun 16, 2010 11:35 AM
rating: -1
 
rweiler

I was thinking (hoping?) John Olerud.

Jun 16, 2010 11:58 AM
rating: -3
 
JoshC77

Sean Casey may be an even better comp (at least from the hitting perspective)

Jun 17, 2010 04:22 AM
rating: 0
 
MatternK

Thanks to you Kevin I picked up Brandon Belt a week ago and put him on my 18man minorleague roster. Also picked up Cumberland after the start of the season. Hopefully both are headed up to AA soon.

Kevin, I do have a question. What are your thoughts on a catcher in the Red Sox organization named Lavarnway? I havn't seen to many writeups on him and he seems to be tearing the cover off the ball. Not sure about his defense as he has been DHing too.

Thanks

Jun 16, 2010 11:08 AM
rating: -1
 
DGBL

Tejeda quietly has 5 walks in his last 10 games.

Jun 16, 2010 11:13 AM
rating: -2
 
cbirkemeier

"21-for-52 in August (.404), Rincon has one of the better swings in the Midwest Leagues."

Wow, does time fly. Just as I was starting to enjoy June...

Jun 16, 2010 13:12 PM
rating: 3
 
CRP13

A rare Astros prospect sighting! Call the Audubon Society!

Jun 17, 2010 06:25 AM
rating: 0
 
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