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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

Related Content:  Triple-A,  Quad-a

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

BP Comment Quick Links

urantia

Welcome back! How was the Saber Seminar?

May 25, 2011 10:18 AM
rating: 1
 
dwinning

Can't tell: was the orlando cabrera "break up the chemistry" comment facetious?

May 25, 2011 10:27 AM
rating: 0
 
pobothecat

don't think it was.

May 25, 2011 10:36 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

It was not.

May 25, 2011 10:38 AM
 
pobothecat

Speaking of Blackmon, I'd be interested to know what the Rockies winning percentage is with Fowler hitting lead-off.

May 25, 2011 10:35 AM
rating: 0
 
harderj

This season, the Rockies are 21-21 in games in which Dexter Fowler leads off and 3-4 when he does not (through 5/26).

May 27, 2011 06:23 AM
rating: 0
 
DGBL

Blackmon or T.Wheeler - which one is the better prospect?

May 25, 2011 10:38 AM
rating: 2
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

That's a really fun question. I could take either side on that debate.

May 25, 2011 10:38 AM
 
jj0501

The "break up the chemistry" also applies to Chisenhall, right ?

May 25, 2011 10:42 AM
rating: 0
 
philly

Given Descalso's struggles filling in for Freese why wouldn't the Cards just live with the fact that Carpenter doesn't drive the ball and see if his great on base skills will translate?

May 25, 2011 10:42 AM
rating: 2
 
Ryno23

Oh, no. That would make way too much sense, now wouldn't it?

May 25, 2011 10:59 AM
rating: 0
 
BillJohnson

For one thing, he's not on the 40-man. For another, he hasn't burned an option yet, and the arbitration clock hasn't started. Ask this question again after early June, though.

Descalso has played some spectacular defense this year that may also be giving them some pause about replacing him. Whether it's _good_ defense, now ... SSS, etc.

May 25, 2011 17:14 PM
rating: 0
 
CRP13

Kevin, any insight into what the heck happened to Kazmir? Talk about a guy who looked like he had a great career ahead of him...

May 25, 2011 10:52 AM
rating: 0
 
Imperialism32

I can't tell you the why, but his fastball velocity dipped and his slider flattened out, while his control never really improved. Some guys just lose velocity and can never get it back.

May 25, 2011 13:04 PM
rating: 0
 
Wade

Hi Kevin...does Chris Marrero have any future with the Nats? He is having a decent year at Syracuse, and with LaRoche being hurt I thought that Washington might give Marrero a shot...but I guess not

May 25, 2011 11:02 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

I actually thought they would as well. He's not some future stud, but he certainly could be a capable fill in.

May 25, 2011 12:49 PM
 
G. Guest

Welcome Back. Two days w/o MLU / MMXP really made me realize how much I've come to rely on those two features for my prospect fix. I was only hours from full-on withdrawl. Thanks for all of your hard work.

May 25, 2011 11:19 AM
rating: 4
 
TheBunk

So Michael Crouse still not taken seriously?

May 25, 2011 11:29 AM
rating: 0
 
R.A.Wagman

Saw him play two weeks ago - interesting looking kid - here's what I wrote about him: (I am NOT a scout):
Michael Crouse (RF) – Like Brisker and Marisnick, Crouse is a physical specimen. In his two previous professional seasons Crouse showed little other than speed on the base paths with 40 steals in 118 games. This season, his first one fully in full season ball, he has added an additional 15 steals (caught stealing only once), including one in this game. His hitting is also showing marked improvement on is early professional experiences, as his strikeout rate, which stood at a hair under 33% entering this season, currently stands at a much more manageable 22%. For good measure, he also has five outfield assists on the young season. In the eighth inning, Crouse took hold of a pitch left up and took the ball for a long ride, up and out to the hill beyond the fence in left-centre field. A powerful stroke from a very wide batting stance, the homer was hit off of a pitcher named Clayton Ehlert, an over-aged right-hander, signed by the Indians as a non-drafted free agent after four years at Texas A&M. Does the home run have less merit off of a non-prospect like Ehlert? Maybe, but I can’t say how to judge that. The quality of the hurler is not under Crouse’s control – he still has to reach out and touch the ball. If the improvements in his control over the strike zone are real, in conjunction with his plus running and seemingly strong right field arm, he looks like a good candidate to move up prospect lists.

May 25, 2011 19:16 PM
rating: 1
 
kcellis224

Kevin, any comments on Hector Sanchez, who hit 3 HR for San Jose on Monday afternoon? He looks like a better bet than the more heralded San Jose catcher, Tommy Joseph.

May 25, 2011 11:38 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

Huge, wide-bodied guy, almost a Hector Villanueva kind of body. Bad receiver, but good arm. A mixed bag, really.

May 25, 2011 12:50 PM
 
Mtn Jam

Anybody remember what stopwatch most scouts use during games?

May 25, 2011 12:50 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

Accusplit AX725. Accept no substitute. Comes in many colors even for matching with your outfit of the day. Between Jason and I, I think we have five.

May 25, 2011 12:51 PM
 
Mtn Jam

Thanks. Good to meet you at the seminar (spoke with you during day one's lunch RE: Cape League).

May 25, 2011 12:55 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

Ah yes! Good to meet you as well. You should of asked me then as I had one in my bag.

May 25, 2011 13:09 PM
 
Mtn Jam

Honestly, I didn't even think of it but appreciate the offer. I just ordered one from Amazon....you guys deserve a commission.

May 25, 2011 13:21 PM
rating: 0
 
basejaw

Good to have you back Kevin. So...how much do you love Jurickson Profar? His plate discipline has been pretty stellar...

May 25, 2011 15:00 PM
rating: 0
 
basejaw

I know he didn't play yesterday, but dude has been on fire...

May 25, 2011 15:02 PM
rating: 0
 
SimplyFalco

Hey Kevin, was just wondering if there would be a podcast this week. Totally cool if there isn't, was simply curious.

May 26, 2011 07:44 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

Yes, and later today.

May 26, 2011 09:27 AM
 
poolboybob

Regarding Junior Lake - he had a very nice second half last season and showed real progress, but then his plate discipline was horrendous for much of this season (I think at one point he had 25 K's against 0 BB). Since he's still striking out a lot and not walking much, is his line a bit of a BABIP mirage? The tools are there but I could see him really getting carved up by more advanced pitchers.

May 27, 2011 06:43 AM
rating: 0
 
mrdannyg

Jose Lopez DFA'ed today. With Fowler dropped in the batting order, seems like a good opportunity for Young to come in and hit leadoff, or at least get some chances with Herrera not lighting it up.

Probably won't get more than a spot start, if he is even called up. Probably will be Ian Stewart instead.

May 27, 2011 07:18 AM
rating: -1
 
R.A.Wagman

Why Young and not Chris Nelson?

May 27, 2011 08:21 AM
rating: 0
 
mrdannyg

Because Nelson isn't on my fantasy team?

Really, he or Stewart are better choices, since neither Young nor Herrera are playing 3B, and Young's ability to play OF is already a place the Rox have depth.

The only real reason is if they want him to hit leadoff with Fowler working on some things, but it's probably not the smart move right now.

May 27, 2011 08:24 AM
rating: -1
 
mrdannyg

Young called up, hitting leadoff and playing CF. Woot!

He'll have to hit like crazy to keep Fowler out of the lineup, but really hope he has a good game or two so they find ways to keep him in the lineup.

May 27, 2011 17:06 PM
rating: -1
 
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