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July 15, 2010

Future Shock Blog

Minor League Update: Games of July 14

by Kevin Goldstein

Nick Barnese, RHP, Rays(High-A Charlotte): 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K

A third-round pick in 2007, Barnese pitched well last year, but only pitched half the season due to shoulder issues. He's already set a career high in both starts (17) and innings (98 2/3), and so far showing no signs of slowing down, as he's been at his best of late, allowing just three runs over 31 innings in his last five outings. Barnese's best pitch is a low-90s fastball, but his secondary pitches are both at least average, and everything about his game plays up due to outstanding location. He profiles as a No. 3 starter down the road, and as he'll be in Double-A next year, that road isn't so long.

Charlie Culberson, 2B, Giants(High-A San Jose): 1-for-3, HR (13), 2 R, 2 RBI, BB

A supplemental first-round pick in 2007, Culberson entered the year all but completely off the radar, hitting just .249/.312/.329 in his first two-and-a-half seasons while also proving that he can't play shortstop.  And now comes the 2010 season, where in just 86 games, he's already set a number of career highs, including an almost shocking home run total for a player that never hit more than three in a season.  He remains more of a grinder than a tools guy, but there's something here, even if the explosion is occurring in the Cal League.

Joe Gardner, RHP, Indians(High-A Kinston): 7 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 9 K

One of the biggest breakouts in the Indians system this year, Gardner's been displaying one of the best sinkers in the minor leagues, a 90-94 mph bowling ball that gets swings and misses as often as in generates groundballs. In 98 innings across Low- and High-A, the big righty has whiffed 111 while giving up just 65 hits, and scouts are wondering how he lasted until the third round of last year's draft.

Grant Green, SS, Athletics (High-A Stockton): 1-for-3, HR (9), 2 R, 3 RBI, BB, K

He's triple-slash lines have risen throughout the year, now sitting at .321/.369/.493, but he's been hot for a very long time, as in his last 35 games, he's hitting .396 (57-for-144) and slugging .688.  Concerns about his offensive struggles at Southern California last spring are a thing of the past, but questions about the defense remain, as he's committed 21 errors in just 67 games and is clearly struggling with his throws.

Keyvious Sampson, RHP, Padres(Short-season Eugene): 5 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 4 BB, 4 K

Signed for an over slot bonus of $600,000 last year as a fourth round pick, no arm in the Northwest League is making more noise than Sampson, who in six starts has whiffed 40 over 29 innings while limiting hitters to a .173 batting average.  While he's a bit undersized, his stuff is anything but, including a fastball that sat at 92-95 mph last night, although the secondary pitches still need development.

Others Of Note:

  • Chris Archer, RHP, Cubs (Double-A Tennessee): 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 K.  17 innings without an earned run in three Southern League starts; 21-year-old has plus velocity with sink, and breaking ball has shown marked improvement.
  • Oswaldo Arcia, OF, Twins (Rookie-level Elizabathton): 2-for-3, HR (7), R, 2 RBI, BB.  19-year-old Venezuelan continues to shine; up to .400/.452/.765 in 21 games.
  • Phillippe Aumont, LHP, Phillies (High-A Clearwater): 5 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 4 BB, 5 K.  Good things seem to be finally happening; 18 Ks and just six hits over 11 innings in last two starts.
  • Chase D'Arnaud, SS, Pirates (Double-A Altoona): 1-for-2, HR, R, 4 RBI, K. Grand slam in Eastern League All-Star game; finished second-half strong.
  • Mike Foltynewicz, RHP, Astros (Rookie-level Greeneville): 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K.  First good outing for first-round pick last month; highly projectable righty already has plus velocity.
  • Tim Ferguson, OF, Royals (Rookie-level Idaho Falls): 6-for-6, 2 2B, 2 R, RBI.  Tenth-round pick has speed; not a great prospect, but got to give it up for that day at the plate.
  • Billy Hamilton, SS/2B, Reds (Rookie-level Billings): 2-for-4, 2 R, 2 BB, 2 K, 3 SB.  2009 second-round pick is batting .344 since 2-for-21 start; plus-plus runner is raw, but developing quickly.
  • Mycal Jones, SS, Braves (High-A Myrtle Beach): 2-for-4, HR (2), 2 R, RBI, BB. .288/.361/.415 in 29 games; strange prospect with lots of tools but old for the level (yet young in baseball experience).
  • Tommy Joseph, C/1B/DH, Giants (Low-A Augusta): 2-for-4, HR (12), R, RBI. '09 second-rounder is batting just .228/.288/.395, but power is starting to show with five home runs in last ten games.
  • Max Kepler, OF, Twins (Rookie-level GCL Twins): 2-for-4, 2B, RBI, SB.  17-year-old German is 6-for-14 in last four games and showing off fantastic tools.
  • Leon Landry, OF, Dodgers (Rookie-level Ogden): 2-for-3, 3B, 3 R, BB.  8-for-11 in last three games and .387/.415/.581 overall; needs a better test.
  • Hak-Ju Lee, SS, Cubs (Low-A Peoria): 4-for-5, 2B, 2 R. Showing signs of life with the bat; up to .271/.340/.338 with speed and arm strength standing out tools-wise.
  • Alex Liddi, 3B, Mariners (Double-A West Tenn): 2-for-4, 2 2B, R, 3 RBI, BB, K, CS.  Was in 4-for-31 slump before the Futures Game; down to .268/.342/.432 and hasn't hit a home run since June 12.
  • Matt Lipka, SS, Braves (Rookie-level GCL Braves): 3-for-4, 2B, 3B, 2 R, 2 RBI, SB.  Top Braves pick from June batting .329/.388/.411; Tremendous athlete, especially in the speed department.
  • J.D. Martinez, OF, Astros (Low-A Lexington): 2-for-4, HR (15), 2 R, 2 RBI, BB.  Batting .359/.429/.597 but scouts aren't as thilled; seeing a near 23-year-old in Low-A without tools past the bat.
  • Trent Mummey, OF, Orioles (Short-season Aberdeen): 2-for-4, 2B, K.  Fourth-round pick out of Auburn is 8-for-17 in last four games and .311/.363/.500 overall; both power and speed impress.
  • Justin O'Conner, C, Rays (Rookie-level GCL Rays): 2-for-3, HR (1), 2 R, 3 RBI, K.  First home run for first-round pick; debut has mostly been miserable with .146/.246/.271 line in 15 games and has yet to throw out a base stealer (11-for-11) despite big time arm strength.
  • Carlos Perez, LHP, Braves (Rookie-level Danville): 6.1 IP, 5 H, 1 R (0 ER), 1 BB, 6 K.  18-year-old Dominican has velocity, sink and projection; Appy league is hitting .174 off him.
  • Kyle Russell, OF, Dodgers (Double-A Chattanooga): 0-for-3, BB, 2 K.  Why Cal League numbers should scare you; now 16-for-98 in Double-A with one home run and 46 strikeouts.
  • Fernando Salas, RHP, Cardinals (Triple-A Memphis): 0.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K. Both outs coming on strikeouts in the Triple-A All-Star game is no surprise; in last seven regular season games, he whiffed 14 in 8 1/3 innings.
  • Cody Scarpetta, RHP, Brewers (High-A Brevard County): 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K. The hottest pitcher in the Florida State League; 25 Ks over 17 shutout innings in last three starts.
  • Blake Smith, OF, Dodgers (Low-A Great Lakes): 3-for-4, 3 R, BB, K. Batting .311/.385/.529 and like Jerry Sands, he should move out of this league.
  • Mike Trout, OF, Angels (High-A Rancho Cucamonga): 1-for-4.  High-A debut; also grounded into a double play, something that happened just once in 312 Midwest League at-bats.
  • Cory Vaughn, OF, Mets (Short-season Brooklyn): 2-for-3, HR (8), R, RBI, BB.  Fourth-rounder is up to .271/.366/.604, including four home runs in last five games.
  • Kolbrin Vitek, 3B, Red Sox (Short-season Lowell): 2-for-4, BB, K, SB.  10-for-24 in last six games and .287/.407/.402 overall; secondary numbers catch the eye with 17 walks in 25 games and a perfect 7-for-7 in 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

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