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August 30, 2010
Trevor May's Stock is Rising
Here's a look at minor-league statistical leaders since July. While baseball is definitely a stats-centric game in some respects, this doesn't tell the entire story. It's still a helpful guide to some names to know in the coming years.
Chris Archer, RHP, Cubs, (Double-A Tennessee)
Archer is one of four minor-league hurlers with eight wins over the past two months. Wins are not an ideal way to judge pitchers— this is even truer at the minor-league level—but Archer is doing well in other facets; namely, he has a 1.57 ERA in 11 starts at Double-A. He's a long-limbed, athletic righty with two plus pitches—fastball and curve—who sometimes struggles with control. However, Double-A bats are .189 against him and he's allowed a scant two homers in 217 plate appearances. His stuff should be considered proven at this level.
Brian Cavazos-Galvez, OF, Dodgers, (Low-A Great Lakes)
A 12th-rounder, he's hitting .394/.404/.665 since July 1 and tied for the minor-league lead in hits during that time (87). Cavazos-Galvez is more than just a hitter—he's a plus runner with gap-to-average power, with the negatives being his free-swinging ways to go with poor outfield instincts and arm strength that limit him to left. At 23, his numbers still need to be taken with a grain of salt, but he's certainly worth keeping an eye on.
Connor Crumbliss, 2B, Athletics, (Low-A Kane County)
A 28th-round guy, Crumbliss has 52 walks over the past two months—and a league-leading 116 passes on the year. His overall line is .270/.417/.371. That's hardly imposing, but he does show good doubles power to gaps and has 23 stolen bases. He's only 5-foot-8 and is still playing Low-A ball, so it could be a while—but he might fill a utility role in the future.
Deolis Guerra, RHP, Twins, (Double-A New Britain)
This is a negative entrant on this list; since July 1, he has a 9.98 ERA. One of the biggest international signings of 2005, Guerra was one of the big prizes received from the Mets in the Johan Santana deal—but the mid-90s heat he showed as a teenager is gone. With only a good changeup in his arsenal and nothing to set it up with, the 21-year-old Venezuelan is stuck in the tallest of weeds, and what looked like a lopsided deal at the time is now even more of one.
Brandon Guyer, OF, Cubs (Double-A Tennessee)
His season numbers are .339/.392/.580—and that's a good deal because, since July 1, he's batting .417. The 24-year-old University of Virginia alum has no massive tools, but he's solid across the board with gap-to-average power and good speed that has led to 25 stolen bases in 27 attempts. Whether he'll hit enough in the big leagues to be an everyday left fielder—he's proven himself limited defensively there—is anything but a sure thing, but he's on the big-league radar of the Cubs' personnel staff.
Jason Hagerty, C, Padres, (Low-A Fort Wayne)
Hagerty backed up Yasmani Grandal—drafted in the first round this June by the Reds—at the University of Miami. Hagerty was initially a first baseman, but moving to catcher helped his stock. His bat was considered much better at that position. Since July 1, he leads the minors with a .496 OBP; his overall line is now .309/.424/.510. He's found some mobility to his generally thickier, heavier frame.
Trevor May, RHP, Phillies, (Low-A Lakewood)
At 6-foot-5 and 215 pounds, May has a classic power-pitching build to go with a 92-94 mph fastball that touches 96 and two quality secondary offerings in his power curve and an advanced changeup for his age (he's only 20). He had massive control problems earlier in the spring, but the Phillies worked with him. Since July 1, he's tied for the minor-league lead in strikeouts—but more importantly for the personnel folks in Philly, he's only walked 19 in that span. Despite the early-season stumble, no arm in the system matches his upside.
It was a rough week for the Nationals last week, and while Moore is only in High-A ball right now, he's a positive to focus upon: since July 1, he leads all minor-league hitters in home runs, extra-base hits, total bases, slugging and OPS. He's hit 19 homers in his past 42 games. For now, scouts see him as more of a potential lefty crusher (he's slugged 12 home runs against them in 160 at-bats), than an everyday player, but backup first baseman is a position than many teams don't have the luxury of a roster spot for.
Eury Perez, OF, Nationals (Low-A Hagerstown)
Perez has swiped 34 bases in 37 attempts since July 1—the most in the minors—but the bigger story is the all-around growth in his game. Batting an impressive .345/.397/.463 over that span, Perez is showing a much-improved approach while finally driving some balls on occasion, and he's back on track as one of the best outfield prospects in the system.
Paul Smyth, RHP, Athletics (High-A Stockton)
Only International League record-holder Jonathan Albaladejo has more saves since July 1 than Smyth, who has recorded 16 in 26 games, while converting on each of his last 11 opportunities and striking out 24 over 15 2/3 innings in the process. Despite the overwhelming numbers, Smyth is unlikely to ever close in the big leagues. He never touches even 90 on the radar gun—most of his game is based on a funky delivery and ability to keep hitters off-balance. As long as he keeps missing bats, he'll keep getting chances, and some scouts are starting to believe that he has a chance to reach the big leagues as a situational reliever who keeps the ball down and shuts down righties.
A version of this story originally appeared on ESPN Insider .