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May 25, 2011

Future Shock Blog

Minor League Update: Games of May 24

by Kevin Goldstein

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James Paxton, LHP, Mariners (Low-A Clinton): 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 12 K

It took a long time for Paxton to get his professional career simply started. After being selected by the Blue Jays in the supplemental first-round in 2009, Paxton didn't come to terms with Toronto, and then was unable to return to the University of Kentucky for his senior year due to questions about the negotiations with Toronto being handled directly by Scott Boras. After a so-so year of independent ball, he fell to the fourth round, but still received just under $1 million dollars as a signing bonus. As a 22-year-old, he's a bit old for the Midwest League, but it's clearly been a good place to get his feet wet, as he has struck out 38 over 28.1 innings in his first five starts. A classic power pitcher who gains value due to his left-handedness, Paxton's low-to-mid 90s fastball and power curve are both potential out pitches, but he's still struggling with command and control, issues that dogged him throughout his amateur days. In other words, lots of upside here, but little certainty.

Others Of Note:

  • Dustin Ackley, 2B, Mariners (Triple-A Tacoma): 2-for-4, 2B, 3B, 4 R, RBI, 2 BB. Hitting .326/.425/.579 in 23 May games during what could be his last month in the minors.
  • Josh Bell, 3B, Orioles (Triple-A Norfolk); 3-for-5, HR (7), R, 3 RBI. Home runs in back-to-back games but has devolved into all-or-nothing hacker; .273/.294/.461 in 41 games.
  • Charlie Blackmon, OF, Rockies (Triple-A Colorado Springs): 3-for-5, HR (9), R, 4 RBI. 25-for-54 (.463) during 12-game hitting streak with seven doubles and three home runs; .349/.405/.609 overall.
  • Matt Carpenter, 3B, Cardinals (Triple-A Memphis): 3-for-5, 3B, R, RBI. .295/.423/.390 in 43 games; scouts love the on-base skills but wish we drove the ball more.
  • Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B, Indians (Triple-A Columbus): 2-for-4, 2B, R, RBI. Third straight multi-hit game and up to .283/.368/.440 overall.
  • Zack Cozart, SS, Reds (Triple-A Louisville): 3-for-4, HR (4), R, 3 RBI. Hitting .337/.374/.533 in May after .225 April.
  • Jarek Cunningham, 2B, Pirates (High-A Bradenton): 2-for-5, 2B, HR (10), R, 2 RBI, 2 K. After hitting 12 home runs in all of 2010, he's hit 10 in 41 Florida State League games; with big power comes big holes in swing, and 47 strikeouts in 41 games.
  • Travis D'Arnaud, C, Blue Jays (Double-A New Hampshire): 3-for-5, 2 2B, HR (3), 3 R, RBI, K. Among the hottest bats in the minors; 21-for-41 in 13 May games for a .512/.592/.854 line.
  • Robbie Erlin, LHP, Rangers (High-A Myrtle Beach): 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 6 K. Ties season-high for hits allowed, but Carolina League still hitting .132 against him; 62 strikeouts and just five walks in 54.2 innings.
  • Wilmer Flores, SS, Mets (High-A St. Lucie): 2-for-4, 2B, HR (4), R, 5 RBI. Seems to have a big game like this every couple of weeks; overall line of .270/.300/.389 is lacking.
  • Jae-Hoon Ha, OF, Cubs (Double-A Tennessee): 2-for-5, HR (1), R, RBI, K. First Double-A home run; .278/.297/.472 in eight games.
  • Nick Hagadone, LHP, Indians (Triple-A Columbus): 2.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K. First Triple-A save since last week's promotion; suddenly on path for big league look this year?
  • K.C. Hobson, 1B, Blue Jays (Low-A Lansing): 3-for-4, 2B, 2 R, RBI. 2009 sixth-round pick and son of Butch is 11-for-22 in last six games and batting .329 in May; needs to find in-game power to be taken more seriously.
  • Scott Kazmir, LHP, Angels (Triple-A Salt Lake): 1.2 IP, 2 H, 6 R, 4 BB, 3 K. Well, that just happened.
  • Joe Kelly, RHP, Cardinals (High-A Palm Beach): 7.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 4 BB, 4 K. Groundball righty took no-hitter into the eighth; fastball is special for combination of velocity and sink, but rest of game needs work.
  • Jason Kipnis, 2B, Indians (Triple-A Columbus): 2-for-3, 2B, HR (5), 2 R, 2 RBI, BB, SB. Up to .292/.368/.497 in 43 games; Orlando Cabrera has the lowest OPS in the every day lineup, but do you want to break up the chemistry?
  • Junior Lake, SS, Cubs (High-A Daytona): 3-for-5, HR (5), 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 K, SB. 10-for-20 with two home runs in last four games; .315/.339/.486 is big step forward and tools have always been there.
  • Hak-Ju Lee, SS, Rays (High-A Charlotte): 3-for-4, 3 R, BB, SB. Has yet to cool down from hot start; .374/.453/.525 in 34 games while scoring 29 runs.
  • Alex Liddi, 3B, Mariners (Triple-A Tacoma): 3-for-6, 2 2B, 2 R, 4 RBI, K. Hitting .293/.375/.598 in 23 May games; scouts have noted improved defense as well.
  • Mike Montgomery, LHP, Royals (Triple-A Omaha): 3.2 IP, 3 H, 5 R, 4 BB, 3 K. Command struggles continue to frustrate; 4.58 ERA due much in part to 31 walks in 53 innings.
  • Derek Norris, C, Nationals (Double-A Harrisburg): 1-for-3, HR (4), 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB, K. Finally coming around? 11-for-29 (.379) with three home runs and six walks during eight-game hitting streak to raise OPS 280 points to .225/.376/.438.
  • Andy Oliver, LHP, Tigers (Triple-A Toledo): 2 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 1 K. Pulled after two in order to take Phil Coke's spot in the big league rotation.
  • Kevin Siegrist, LHP, Cardinals (Low-A Quad Cities): 7 IP, 2 H, 1 R (0 ER), 3 BB, 6 K. Currently ranks third in all of the minors with a 1.29 ERA, but scouts see a smoke-and-mirrors lefty who rarely gets out of the 80s with his fastball.
  • Dayan Viciedo, 1B/OF, White Sox (Triple-A Charlotte): 3-for-4, 3 2B, 2 R, RBI. Up to .318/.362/.538 in 44 games and Juan Pierre still plays every day in the big leagues.
  • Eric Young, 2B/OF, Rockies (Triple-A Colorado Springs): 4-for-4, 2B, 3 R, 2 RBI, SB. 26 years old and has had plenty of big league chances; .372/.469/.558 line is still hard to ignore.

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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