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November 7, 2012

Minor League Update

Games of November 6

by Jason Martinez

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The general manager meetings start today! Here's hoping we have a few free-agent signings and trades to make my day more interesting until it's time to work on the Minor League Update again.
  • David Adams, 2B/3B, Yankees (Scottsdale): 3-for-5, 2 HR (2), 3 RBI. As the Yankees work to get their payroll beneath the $189M tax threshold before next offseason, it’s important that they get more contributions from young players who'll make the minimum salary, or just above it. The 25 year-old Adams, who has a career .825 OPS in parts of five minor league seasons, could fit the bill as a backup infielder who gets significant time at third base if the 37 year-old Alex Rodriguez continues to get more and more at-bats as the designated hitter. 
  • Christian Bethancourt, C, Braves (Licey-DWL): 2-for-4, 2B. Currently penciled into my projected Braves’ starting lineup, mostly by default, Bethancourt lacks the offensive skills to succeed at the major league level anytime soon. Heck, he wasn’t very good at the plate in Double-A last season. But the plus defensive skills are obvious. And to be fair, he was only 20 years old and had a fair amount of success in 54 Lo-A games in 2011 as a 19 year-old (.753 OPS).  With Brian McCann expected to miss the start of the season after shoulder surgery and free agent David Ross no lock to return, it’s possible that Bethancourt makes his big league debut early in 2013, even if it's just a temporary stint.
  • Nick Franklin, 2B/SS, Mariners (Peoria): 4-for-5, 6 RBI, 2 2B. The Mariners' 1st Round pick in 2009 is closing in on the major leagues, thanks to an above-average hit tool that produced an .800 OPS between Triple-A and Double-A in 2012. The question is whether he'll be a second baseman or shortstop. Most scouts view him as a second baseman but his quickest path to Seattle might be at shortstop, where the all-glove, no-bat Brendan Ryan is set to start the 2013 season. As Jason Churchill pointed out in a recent story on top prospect trade candidates, the M's have depth at second base (Dustin Ackley, Kyle Seager) and shortstop (Ryan, Brad Miller), and Franklin could give the team a very good trade chip. 
  • Onelki Garcia, LHP, Dodgers (Mesa): 2 IP, 0 R, H, BB, K. Yasiel Puig wasn't the only Cuban defector to sign with the Dodgers this year. The team's 3rd Round draft pick in 2012, Garcia is a hard-throwing 23 year-old who has had quite a journey since leaving Cuba in August 2010. Dodgers Assistant General Manager Logan White, speaking at the Baseball Prospectus stadium event at Chavez Ravine in September, mentioned Garcia and the process that led up to him being drafted. This You Tube clip starts at the beginning of that mention.  
  • Junior Lake, 3B/SS, Cubs (Oriente-DWL): 4-for-5, 2B, RBI: The most asked about minor leaguer in Kevin Goldstein’s twitter timeline during the 2012 season, Lake isn’t quite the prospect that Cubs fans want him to be. He can do some things very well, however, and he’s showing off his hitting skills down in the DWL. The 22 year-old has eight hits in his last 10 at-bats with four doubles. Look for him to get more time at third base, where he could get a shot in 2013 if Ian Stewart or whoever starts at the hot corner isn’t doing squat again.  
  • Chris McGuiness, 1B, Rangers (Surprise): 3-for-4, HR (4), 3 RBI, BB. Acquired in the trade that sent catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia to the Red Sox at the trade deadline in 2010, McGuiness continues to put up solid numbers in the AFL (22-for-66, 4 HR, 4 2B, 20 RBI, 11 BB, 10 K). He does have some power, but as Jason Parks points out here, the 24 year-old doesn’t appear to have the bat speed to succeed as a big league regular.
  • Anthony Rendon, 3B, Nationals (Salt River): 3-for-3, 2 2B, 4 RBI, BB, SB (4). If it wasn’t already, it’s becoming apparent that Rendon’s bat is just about big league ready, as was expected when he was drafted in the 1st round of last year’s draft. Still, the Nationals have given no indication that the 22 year-old third baseman will be making a position change anytime soon in order to get he and Ryan Zimmerman on the field at the same time. If he was going to make a move, the AFL would’ve been a good place to start. As they say, it’s a good problem to have. My guess is that this situation will play itself out by mid-season.
  • Carlos Sanchez, 2B/3B/SS, White Sox (Salt River): 5-for-5, 2B, 2 SB (10), 5 R. A relatively unknown before the 2012 season, Sanchez started the season as a 19 year-old in Hi-A Winston-Salem, had an impressive performance in the mid-season Futures Game, earned promotion to Double-A shortly after, and was in Triple-A by season’s end. The switch-hitting Venezuelan gives the White Sox a future top-of-the-order hitter with speed and on-base skills that they lack from their current group of infielders. It wouldn’t surprise me to see him in Chicago before his 21st birthday in late June.  

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