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November 13, 2012

Minor League Update

Games of November 12

by Jason Martinez

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All notes are from the Arizona Fall League as all other leagues were off on Monday, aside from one makeup game in the Dominican Winter League. Two of the offensive stars in that 15-6 victory for the Estrellas de Oriente were journeymen minor leaguers Ed Rogers (3-for-5, RBI) and Alex Valdez (2-for-4, HR, 2B, 4 RBI), who have played in over 2100 minor league games combined in their career.

  • Nick Ahmed, SS, Braves (Phoenix): 2-for-3, RBI, BB, K, SB (5). Blocked at shortstop by Andrelton Simmons for the unforeseeable future, Ahmed would give the Braves a valuable asset if he has a good season in Double-A Mississippi next season. The 22 year-old plays solid defense at a premium position, has good speed (40 SB in 130 games), and flashed some extra-base power (36 2B, 4 3B, 6 HR) with Hi-A Lynchburg in 2012. 
  • John Hellweg, RHP, Brewers (Phoenix): IP, 0 R, H, 0 BB, 2 K, Sv (2). His future role is undetermined but Hellweg has pitched exclusively out of the bullpen in the AFL, allowing just 3 ER in 12 IP with 7 BB and 8 K. The 24 year-old still has a ways to go, regardless of his role, but his upper 90's fastball when working as a reliever combined with very tlittle bullpen depth in Milwaukee could could make this an easy decision for the Brewers. 
  • Jake Marisnick, CF, Blue Jays (Salt River): 1-for-3, 3B, SB (5). The Blue Jays' farm system is stacked with talented starting pitchers in the lower minors that could begin arriving in Toronto between 2014-15. Marisnick should also get to the big leagues during that span but don't expect him to be overshadowed. The 21 year-old, who has 14 hits in his last 33 at-bats in the AFL, is a 6-foot-4 center fielder with five-tool potential. He'll likely return to Double-A New Hampshire in 2013.
  • Jiovanni Mier, SS, Astros (Mesa): 3-for-5, 2B, 2 K.  The 21st pick in the 2009 draft, Mier's stock had already fallen by the time the Astros drafted 'Shortstop of the Future' Carlos Correa as the 1st overall pick in this year's draft. Mediocre offensive seasons in 2010-11 and the acquisition of another shortstop with a much higher ceiling (Jonathan Villar) knocked Mier off the prospect radar. The 22 year-old wasn't able to do too much during an injury-plagued 2012, although he had an .805 OPS in 46 Cal League games and has had a few moments in the AFL, including a three-hit game on Monday. He could start 2013 with Double-A Corpus Christi, where he'll continue to fight an uphill battle into the future plans of the Astros.
  • 
Mike O'Neill, OF, Cardinals (Surprise): 2-for-4, 2B, RBI, BB, K. He'll be 25 at the start of next season and has exactly 1 HR in 211 career minor league games, only 13 of which have been played above A-ball. He's also not a speed burner and his primary position is left field. So why is this O'Neill guy the least bit relevant? The 5'9" lefty has a career .337 BA and .443 OBP. He also hasn't slowed down a bit in the AFL with a .367 BA and .457 OBP. The overall skill set probably won't translate to success as a big league starter -- 4th OF is likely his ceiling -- and that's OK. I wouldn't bet against him, though.
  • Joe Panik, SS, Giants (Scottsdale): 2-for-4, K, SB (4), E (6). With each and every Brandon Crawford defensive gem in 2012, Panik's future as the Giants' shortstop became bleaker and bleaker. His 6 errors in 19 AFL games haven't helped much either. While his offensive potential is much greater than what Crawford will ever provide at the plate, it's unlikely good enough to offset the defensive drop off. Thus, a move to second base in the near future wouldn't surprise me at all, maybe even as early as the start of 2013 with Double-A Richmond.
  • Kevin Siegrist, LHP, Cardinals (Surprise): 4 IP, ER, 4 H, BB, 8 K. Take out one bad start on October 24th and Siegrist has allowed just 1 ER in 17 IP with 5 BB and 25 K in 5 AFL games. The 23 year-old lefty is buried on the Cardinals' depth chart behind hard-throwing prospects like Carlos Martinez, Shelby Miller, and Trevor Rosenthal, so it was important that he pitched well while they weren't around to take away all the attention.
  • Matthew Stites, RHP, Padres (Peoria): 1.1 IP, 0 R, H, 0 BB, 2 K. Teammate Kevin Quackenbush has been the star reliever in the AFL, not allowing a run or hit through his first 9.1 IP before a rough outing on Saturday, while Stites has quietly put up numbers that are equally impressive. After striking out two in 1.1 scoreless innings on Monday, the 22 year-old has 14 K in 13 IP with just 1 BB. In 48.2 IP with Lo-A Fort Wayne in 2012, Stites held opponents to a .148 BA with 3 BB and 60 K. Next up, in all likelihood, will be the closing gig for Hi-A Lake Elsinore in the Cal League, where Quackenbush dominated in 2012.

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