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July 8, 2013

Minor League Update

Games of Sunday, July 7

by Zach Mortimer

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Pitching Prospect of the Day: Chris Reed, LHP, Dodgers (Double-A Chattanooga): 4.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 9 K. Reed has a fastball that can touch 96 with good life, a slider in the mid 80s that is a bat-missing offering, and a fringy changeup. Some believe a lack of fastball command and an underdeveloped changeup will push him to the bullpen at some point before he reaches The Show. When I heard the Dodgers had traded for Ricky Nolasco, but that a front-end prospect was not included, I thought that Reed might be involved in the deal; 38.1 IP, 26 H, 8 ER, 9 BB, 38 K in last seven outings.

Position Prospect of the Day: Avisail Garcia, OF, Tigers (Triple-A Toledo): 4-5, 2B, 3B, HR, 4 R, 3 RBI, K, SB. Garcia, a player I’ve liked since the moment I saw him, has all sorts of ability. The nickname “Little Miggy” comes from his physical appearance, but he’s no slouch on the field. Garcia has the potential to be a solid-average hitter with solid-average power, an average runner, and solid-average defender who can play center currently, but could have to move to a corner as his body matures. I would not expect the Tigers to trade him at the deadline, but we all know what happens when teams reach points of desperation.

Other notable prospect performances on July 7:

“The Good”

  • Keon Barnum, 1B, White Sox (Low-A Kannapolis): 3-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB. A former supplemental-first-round pick, Barnum has top-shelf raw power. The White Sox allowed him to gain some seasoning by holding him back in extended spring training before sending him off to Kannapolis. Barnum has struggled thus far, and he is not making enough quality contact to tap into his power potential. Stuck to first base, Barnum must really develop at the plate in order to stay on the prospect radar.
  • C.J. Cron, 1B, Angels (Double-A Arkansas): 2-5, HR, R, 5 RBI. Cron has consistently hit in Double-A. That may be all there is to say about him, because he does not provide value in any other ways besides his bat. However, I’ve spoken to scouts who believe he needs to be discussed because the maturation of his bat validates his profile as a future everyday regular at first base.
  • Rio Ruiz, 3B, Astros (Low-A Quad Cities): 3-4, 2B, HR, 3 R, 2 RBI, BB. When Ruiz was drafted, as a part of Houston’s creative draft, scouts believed in his bat. He showed the potential to be a plus hitter with plus power potential. This has nothing to do with Ruiz, but I spoke to a front office member of a different team, and he stated a point that is very applicable in this instance: “Some young players tend to struggle in the first half. A young person who is still getting accustomed to living away from home and adapting to life on the road [can struggle], but all in all, the skilled ones tend to have much more success in the second half”; .364/.476/.667 with 4 2B and 2 HR in last 33 at-bats.
  • Marcus Stroman, RHP, Blue Jays (Double-A New Hampshire): 7.0 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 8 K. Stroman could be debated for hours. When you look at the stuff—plus fastball, plus-plus slider, fringy changeup—you see a guy that should have a chance to start. Then you look at the frame, 5-foot-9, 185 pounds (I believe this is generous), and from that, most think he should have no chance to start. It could be a long shot, but I, as well as the Blue Jays, hold hope for Stroman to remain a starter in the short term; 39.2 IP, 26 H, 9 ER, 9 BB, 45 K in last seven starts.
  • Yordano Ventura, RHP, Royals (Triple-A Omaha): 5.0 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 9 K. Take everything that was just said about Stroman, substitute Royals for Blue Jays and Ventura for Stroman, and the story is very similar. Ventura offers an elite-level fastball, a plus curveball, and a potential solid-average changeup. He has the stuff to start, but the question is how long he will be able to hold up.
  • Patrick Wisdom, 3B, Cardinals (Low-A Peoria): 3-5, 2 2B, 3 RBI. Wisdom has not exactly excelled thus far in Low-A, but some stats point toward him starting to figure things out. Wisdom has plus power potential and a plus arm, so let’s hope he’s received enough wisdom to refine his hit tool; .286/.324/.429 with 2 2B and 1 HR in last 35 at-bats.
  • Kolten Wong, 2B, Cardinals (Triple-A Memphis): 2-4, HR, 3 R, RBI, BB, SB. “Mr. Reliable” is what I like to refer to Wong as. He is one of those players that just gets it. Wong knows how to play the game and utilize his tools. Wong credits “Perfect Game” with allowing him to display his ability and develop his craft at a young age. A resource like Perfect Game has enabled amateurs to showcase their abilities no matter where they are located geographically; .306/.363/.471 with 16 2B, 7 3B, 7 HR, 52 R, 29 RBI, and 12 SB in 310 at-bats.

“The Bad”

  • Lewis Brinson, CF, Rangers (Low-A Hickory): 0-4, BB, 3 K. I believe swing and miss will always be a part of his game, but Brinson has plus bat speed and really has a chance to be something.
  • Cesar Puello, OF, Mets (Double-A Binghamton): 0-4, 3 K; Puello has taken steps forward in 2013 and stepped squarely back on the prospect radar, but he has to solidify that his hit tool is real and may be facing a possible suspension.
  • Mitch Walding, 3B, Phillies (Low-A Lakewood): 0-4, R, 4 K. Walding, a draft bonus baby, shows flashes of ability, but struggles with consistency and will expand the strike zone.

“The Weekend”

For those of you that did not know, the Baseball Prospectus event in Washington, D.C., was held this weekend. This was the first event that I was able to attend, and let me tell you, the conversation, information, and relationships created by these events are second to none. If you are anywhere near any of the events happening this summer, or in the future, they are must-attends.

I know we’ve been off for a while and a lot has happened. I was not able to cover all of the games skipped, and decided that the best way to get back into it would be to start on Sunday. As always, if you have any questions on any prospects that have had interesting outcomes over the lapse in coverage, feel free to comment or contact me in any way, and I will do my best to provide information on those prospects.

Zach Mortimer is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Zach's other articles. You can contact Zach by clicking here

Related Content:  Prospects,  Minor Leagues,  Chris Reed,  Avisail Garcia

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