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April 26, 2011

Future Shock Blog

Minor League Update: Games of April 25

by Kevin Goldstein

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Robbie Erlin, LHP, Rangers (High-A Myrtle Beach): 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 10 K

Erlin was one of those players who just missed my pre-season Top 101 list, and he's also one of the players I was most worried would make me look bad by doing so. In four Carolina League starts, he's done just that by limiting opposing hitters to a .154 batting average while striking out 26 and walking just three over 22 innings. He's not big (just six-foot), and he doesn't light up a radar gun at 88-92 mph, but one could argue that he's the most polished pitcher at the lower levels, and he has the ability to move quickly.

Tyler Matzek, LHP, Rockies (High-A Modesto): 2 IP, 4 H, 6 R, 8 BB, 2 K

Concerned yet? You should be. In four starts for the Nuts, Matzek has walked 18 in 12 1/3 innings while giving up 14 hits and 14 runs. After seeing his velocity, command and the sharpness of his breaking ball fluctuate throughout his 2010 debut, He's simply been bad this year, generally sitting at 89-92 mph with a fastball he can't command and a slider that he can't throw for strikes. He's yet to be the pitcher we saw coming out of high school, and that was nearly two years ago at this point.

Scott Sizemore, 2B, Tigers (Triple-A Toledo): 3-for-5, 2B, 3 RBI

Sizemore flamed out in his first big league shot last year when he hit .224/.296/.336 in 48 games, but that seems to have permanently put him in the dog house when he deserves another shot as after yesterday's game, which included a three-run doubles in the ninth to win the game, he's now hitting .411/.500/.554 in his first 17 games for the Mud Hens. Scouts still believe in the bat, he deserves another shot, and with Will Rhymes doing far less in the majors than even Sizemore did, the chances of a return to the big leagues are increasing.

Others Of Note:

  • Dustin Ackley, 2B, Mariners (Triple-A Tacoma): 2-for-4, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 2 BB. If he wants to come up at the end of May, he needs more games than this.
  • Chisthian Adames, SS, Rockies (Low-A Ashville): 4-for-4, HR (1), 2 R, 4 RBI, BB. 19-year-old shortstop raised batting average 69 points in one night; an easy plus defender who just needs to hit a little bit to have value.
  • Jose Altuve, 2B, Astros (High-A Lancaster): 3-for-4, 2B, 3B, 2 RBI, BB, SB. 11-for-15 in his last four games and a crazy .451/.506/.662 overall in 18 games. This isn't all Lancaster, as he's batting .371 on the road.
  • Jeremy Barfield, OF, Athletics (Double-A Midland): Tools have always impressed; up to .327/.448/.600 in 16 games.
  • Josh Bell, 3B, Orioles (Triple-A Norfolk): 2-for-4, 2 HR (3), 2 R, 3 RBI. From third baseman of the future to forgotten man, but Mark Reynolds isn't a huge block if Bell can put it together. 10-for-28 with three home runs in last six games and .284/.303/.527 overall.
  • Joe Benson, OF, Twins (Double-A New Britain): 1-for-3, HR (2), 2 R, RBI, 2 BB. Power, speed and approach are all there; with him hitting .379 all of a sudden there are no weaknesses in his game.
  • Yasmani Grandal, C, Reds (High-A Bakersfield): 0-for-0, 5 BB. Your weird line of the day; has drawn 15 walks in last nine games and sports a cool .500 on-base percentage.
  • Jedd Gyorko, 3B, Padres (High-A Lake Elsinore): 3-for-5, 2 2B, 3 R, 2 RBI, 2 K. Too good for this level? .406/.481/.623 in 18 games. Combines hitting ability with patience and gap power.
  • David Holmberg, LHP, Diamondbacks (Low-A South Bend): 7 IP, 4 H, 2 R (0 ER), 1 BB, 12 K. 2009 second-round pick who went to Arizona from the White Sox in the Edwin Jackson trade; depends far more on command than stuff, and has been very inconsistent performance-wise.
  • Eric Hosmer, 1B, Royals (Triple-A Omaha): 3-for-4, R, RBI. The only surprising part of his line is a lack of power. Just five of his 27 hits have gone for extra bases, including just one home run in 71 at-bats.
  • Manny Machado, SS, Orioles (Low-A Delmarva): 2-for-4, HR (1), R, 3 RBI. More walks than strikeouts, gap power and a .290/.392/.468 line to go with good defense as 2010 first-round pick has met or exceeded expectations.
  • Starling Marte, OF, Pirates (Double-A Altoona): 4-for-5, 3B, R, 2 RBI, SB. Hitting .424 (25-for-59) during 13-game hitting streak; approach gives scouts some pause, but all the tools are there.
  • Trent Mummey, OF, Orioles (High-A Frederick): 4-for-6, 2B, 3B, 2 R, 5 RBI. High-A debut for 2010 fourth-round pick after hitting .291/.377/.509 in 14 Low-A games; good tools in small package including 60 speed and 40-50 power projection.
  • Kirk Nieuwenhuis, OF, Mets (Triple-A Buffalo): 1-for-3, HR (3), R, RBI. Now 20-for-52 (.385) during 15-game hitting streak; could get a look once Mets admit this is a rebuilding year.
  • Kyle Parker, OF, Rockies (Low-A Asheville): 2-for-4, 2B, 3 RBI, BB, SB. 13 RBIs in last four contests; 2010 first-round pick is batting .405/.460/.595 in 12 games.
  • Anthony Ranaudo, RHP, Red Sox (Low-A Greenville): 4.2 IP, 3 H, 3 R (0 ER), 1 BB, 8 K. 23 strikeouts in 19.2 innings while allowing just 10 hits; should move up once his arm is a bit more stretched out.
  • Rebel Ridling, 1B, Cubs (Double-A Tennessee): 3-for-3, HR (5), R, 3 RBI, BB. One of those older, big and slow bat-only guys, but he can hit; three home runs in last four games and .436/.508/.764 in 15 games.
  • Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Padres (Triple-A Tucson): 3-for-5, HR (7), 2 R, 2 RBI, K. Brad Hawpe and Jorge Cantu were supposed to be one-year fixes, but their horrible performance, combined with Rizzo's .432/.494/.797 line, could turn them into one-month fixes.
  • Kyle Seager, 2B, Mariners (Double-A Jackson): 4-for-6, R, 2 RBI, K. Proving that last year's breakout wasn't a total High Desert mirage; 13-for-29 in last six games and .312/.354/.429 overall.
  • Cameron Selik, RHP, Nationals (Low-A Hargerstown): 8 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K. A 22nd-round pick last year, Selik is a converted catcher and Tommy John survivor who has yet to give up a run over 23 innings a four starts. Big bodied, more strikes than pure stuff, but has a chance.
  • Julio Teheran, RHP, Braves (Triple-A Gwinnett): 8 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 7 K. After some command struggles in earlier starts, he turns crazy-efficient, needing just 89 pitches for the eight frames.
  • Alex White, RHP, Indians (Triple-A Columbus): 5.2 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 8 K. 28 strikeouts in 23.2 innings thanks to four straight good starts; we'll find out if his fastball/splitter mix plays in the big leagues at some point this year.
  • Dontrelle Willis, LHP, Reds (Triple-A Louisville): 7 IP, 6 H, 3 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 4 K. Now 4-for-4 in good starts, could carve out a specialist role, as lefties are batting .121 (4-for-33) against him.

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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