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September 13, 2012

Minor League Update

Games of September 12

by Bradley Ankrom

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Seth Maness, RHP, Cardinals (23) (Double-A Springfield): 7.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 6 K. A command specialist with average stuff, Maness has allowed more home runs than walks in his 200-plus minor league innings. He threw more than 76 percent of pitches for strikes in seven innings of work last night; for comparison, consider that Cliff Lee, the major leagues’ archetype of near-perfect command, has thrown 70 percent strikes this season – the same percentage Maness threw in 20 regular season starts at Double-A. Pitchers who rely almost entirely on perfect pitch placement in the low minors typically find the going much more difficult when they reach veteran-rich Double- and Triple-A, however Maness has survived the test thus far (11-3, 3.27 ERA, 83-9 K-BB in 20 Double-A starts).

Around The Majors

  • Adam Eaton, CF, Diamondbacks (23): 0-for-3, BB, K. Has gone hitless in his last six at-bats after starting his career with eight hits in his first four games.
  • Anthony Gose, CF, Blue Jays (21): 0-for-3, K. Mini hot streak (.455/.500/.727 in previous three games) comes to an end.
  • Matt Harvey, RHP, Mets (23): 5.0 IP, 5 H, R, 3 BB, 10 K. Has allowed more than three runs in just one of his nine career starts.
  • Gorkys Hernandez, CF, Marlins (25): 0-for-5, 2 K. Very good defender, marginal hitter with no power and average on-base skills.
  • Manny Machado SS/3B, Orioles (20): 1-for-4, R. Has hits in eight of 11 September games and an impressive 18 percent strikeout rate.
  • Mike Olt, 3B/1B, Rangers (23): 1-for-2, K. Last night was Olt’s first game action since September 5 as he’s battled a right foot injury since the end of August.
  • Josh Vitters, 3B, Cubs (23): 1-for-3, 2 K. Hitting .150 in September, which is actually an improvement (.086 in August).

Around The Minors

  • Tyler Bortnick, 2B/3B, Diamondbacks (25) (Triple-A Reno): 2-for-4, 2 RBI, 2 K. Has nice on-base skills, but doesn’t have a plus tool and is a stretch at third base.
  • David Holmberg, LHP, Diamondbacks (21) (Double-A Mobile): 6.2 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 2 K. Doesn’t have the upside of the Diamondbacks’ better-known pitching prospects, but reached Double-A at age 20 and has respectable stuff to go along with good control.
  • Che-Hsuan Lin, CF, Red Sox (24) (Triple-A Pawtucket): 2-for-3, 2B (1), RBI. Great defense, good speed, not much of a bat; his glove and legs could earn him a long career as a defensive replacement/pinch runner.
  • Alfredo Marte, RF, Diamondbacks (23) (Double-A Mobile): 2-for-5, 2 2B (3), 2 R, RBI. Plus power and an idea of what he’s doing at the plate; hits lefties and righties with aplomb and offers a strong arm in right field.
  • Tyler Matzek, RHP, Rockies (21) (High-A Modesto): 5.2 IP, 3 H, R, 4 BB, 6 K. The stuff is still there and his control has improved (6.0 BB/9, 0.57 WP/9 compared to 8.9, 1.76 last year), but he’s still putting too many runners on base.
  • Brad Miller, SS, Mariners (22) (Double-A Jackson): 2-for-5, R, K. Actually hit better after a promotion out of the California League; isn’t going to stick at shortstop, but second and third are occupied in Seattle so it’s unclear where he fits into Seattle’s future plans.
  • Robert Morey, RHP, Marlins (23) (High-A Jupiter): 7.0 IP, H, 0 R, BB, 8 K. Marlins’ fifth-round pick out of Virginia in 2010 owns average stuff and has moved slowly through the system.
  • Rafael Ortega, CF, Rockies (21) (High-A Modesto): 2-for-4, R, 2B (1), BB, K. Plus defender didn’t blow anyone away at the plate this year, but he did cut down on his strikeouts while nearly doubling his walk rate. Good speed, but less effective on the bases than he could be due to an unrefined base-stealing technique (65 percent success rate over the last two seasons).
  • Noah Perio, 2B, Marlins (20) (High-A Jupiter): 2-for-4, 2B (1), K. Doesn’t offer much with the glove, so his bat will determine his future.
  • Joe Ross, RHP, Padres (19) (Low-A Fort Wayne): 5.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 5 K. Salvaged his season with a strong second half at short-season Eugene after a disastrous opening month at Fort Wayne (0-2, 6.26, 27-11).
  • A.J. Pollock, CF, Diamondbacks (24) (Triple-A Reno): 2-for-4, 2B (2), RBI. No plus tools, but a gamer who does enough things well that he’s likely to at least turn into a valuable fourth outfielder.
  • Richie Shaffer, 3B, Rays (21) (SS-A Hudson Valley): 1-for-4, HR (1), 3 RBI, K. Rays’ top pick last June hit his first home run of the playoffs after going deep four times during the regular season.
  • Oscar Taveras, CF, Cardinals (20) (Double-A Springfield): 1-for-3, 2B (2), R. I’ll take any excuse to write about the best hitter in the minor leagues; Jon Jay’s continued strong play means that Taveras doesn’t have a clear path to the major leagues, but the Cardinals will find a way to get Taveras’ bat into the lineup one way or another in 2013.
  • Aaron West, RHP, Astros (22) (SS-A Tri-City): 6.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 6 K. Houston’s 17th-round pick out of Washington last June, West predictably tore through the short-season New York-Penn League to the tune of a 2.04 ERA and 59-9 K-BB. He’s more than just superior command, however, thanks to a low-90s fastball that can touch 95 and an average slider.

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

BP Comment Quick Links

mymrbig

Any guesses how the Cards will handle their offseason with Taveras and Matt Adams likely ready for the majors, but Beltran, Holliday, Craig, and Jay seemingly taking up the 3 OF spots and 1B already?

Sep 13, 2012 07:33 AM
rating: 0
 
BillJohnson

"Problems" like that tend to take care of themselves. Adams may be ready for the majors, but given his recent surgery, he's not ready for baseball at all at the moment, and they'll probably move slowly with him. Note too that a couple of the guys on your list have health issues. It'll work out.

I'm actually more curious what they'll do with their pitching. If Maness is for real, then you've got Miller, Martinez, Rosenthal, him, Michael Wacha advancing rapidly from this year's draft ... And all of them seem to have the necessary endurance to be starters. That's an awful lot of excellent starting pitching to be waiting in the wings.

Sep 13, 2012 07:45 AM
rating: 2
 
sean3258

I've been wondering about their pithcing as well. They are bringing Westbrook back and Carpenter seems to be coming back as well. Miller, Rosenthal & Wacha all seem nearly ready - do they load up the AAA rotation or do some of them break in with the big league bullpen like Rosenthal has been?

Sep 13, 2012 10:31 AM
rating: 0
 
TGisriel

How can you fail to mention that amazing play Machado made in the 9th inning?

Sep 13, 2012 07:43 AM
rating: 0
 
Bradley Ankrom

I hadn't seen it when I wrote the note; I get started on these around 5 a.m. EST.

Sep 13, 2012 07:48 AM
rating: 0
 
Bradley Ankrom

...meaning that I usually see the box scores before I see the highlights.

Sep 13, 2012 07:48 AM
rating: 0
 
John Douglass

Because the Machado play wasn't in a minor league game and this is called "Minor League Update"?

Sep 13, 2012 12:47 PM
rating: -3
 
Bradley Ankrom

Well, we cover prospects in the majors, too.

Sep 13, 2012 14:15 PM
rating: 0
 
Jim Humdingding

No mention of even one member of your 2012 Florida State League Champion Lakeland Flying Tigers? Tyler Collins had the game's only RBI and represents the most elusive of Tiger prospects - one who will take a walk and avoid strikeouts.

Sep 13, 2012 07:43 AM
rating: 0
 
Bradley Ankrom

I saw Bruce Rondon throw a legitimate 103 in Lakeland this spring. How's that?

Sep 13, 2012 19:07 PM
rating: 0
 
MatternK

Hello Bradley,

Brad Miller isn't going to stick at shortstop? Curious to why you think that? Stunk in High A, but only 5 errors in past 37 games in AA. Not to bad.

Sep 13, 2012 08:14 AM
rating: 0
 
Bradley Ankrom

Questions about his range and hands still exist, though it's certainly encouraging that he's cut down on the errors.

Sep 13, 2012 09:17 AM
rating: 0
 
stefantaubert

What about A.J. Griffin?

Sep 13, 2012 09:10 AM
rating: 0
 
Bradley Ankrom

Exceeds the playing time limits for the report (130 AB/50 IP).

Sep 13, 2012 09:17 AM
rating: 0
 
CalledStrike3

Exceeded them with excellence I might add.

Sep 13, 2012 10:31 AM
rating: 2
 
jfranco77

I'm not convinced that Kyle Seager is a Rainier-sized obstacle to Brad Miller (or anyone else) at 3B. Seager is fine, but I don't think he's as locked in as a guy like Adrian Beltre.

Sep 13, 2012 12:48 PM
rating: 1
 
Bradley Ankrom

I agree; not a huge fan of Seager, but he's producing and he's cheap, so he's an obstacle.

Sep 13, 2012 19:09 PM
rating: 0
 
LynchMob

Thanks for the Joe Ross mention! Good to see him get a post-season promotion (from Short-Season Eugene to Low-A Ft Wayne) and then do so well ...

Sep 13, 2012 14:05 PM
rating: 1
 
Bradley Ankrom

Yes, it was encouraging to see him see some success, even if it was at a lower level.

Sep 13, 2012 14:15 PM
rating: 0
 
CraigG

Good to see Matzek's control improving... if he can refine his command, he could be nasty. Any way he sneaks back into the top 100?

Sep 14, 2012 05:40 AM
rating: 0
 
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