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July 18, 2013

Minor League Update

Games of Wednesday, July 17

by Zach Mortimer

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Pitching Prospect of the Day: Victor Sanchez, RHP, Mariners (Low-A Clinton): 9.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 K. Sanchez is pitching in full-season baseball at the age of 18. He features a plus fastball, a potential easy plus changeup, and a potential plus curveball. Look for Sanchez to keep improving in the second half of 2013, with a chance to move squarely onto the prospect radar next year; 63.2 IP, 57 H, 20 ER, 8 BB, 41 K in 12 starts.

Position Prospect of the Day: Henry Ramos, CF, Red Sox (High-A Salem): 2-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, 2 K. Ramos is a switch-hitter with plus raw power. He currently plays center field, but fits better defensively in right. Ramos will be challenged by upper-minors pitching and most likely will be a very good organizational player; .310/.383/.643 with 2 2B and 4 HR in last 42 at-bats

Other notable prospect performances on July 17:

“The Good”

  • Christian Binford, RHP, Royals (Low-A Lexington): 7.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 K. Binford worked his fastball in the low 90s when I saw him earlier in the season. He complemented the heater with a curveball that had some shape, but was inconsistent, and a changeup that showed signs of being a usable offering, but still was in the beginning stages of development. The major problem I had with Binford was that he is a long-limbed who looks stiff and struggles to repeat his delivery; 63.2 IP, 54 H, 10 ER, 9 BB, 60 K in last 10 starts.
  • Socrates Brito, OF, Diamondbacks (Low-A South Bend): 3-4, 2B, 3B, K. “The Philosopher” has a wide variety of tools and scouts use the term “five o’clock player” when they describe him. Brito has a power/speed combination that could keep him in the lineup as an everyday center fielder, but the risk factor here is extreme; .512/.535/.756 with 4 2B, 3 3B, and 4 SB in last 41 at-bats.
  • Danny Duffy, LHP, Royals (Double-A Northwest Arkansas): 5.1 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 13. I saw Duffy in parts of two seasons, 2009 and 2010, and the stuff is real. I’ve had evaluators swear that he is a top-of-the-rotation pitcher. This start may expedite his return to Kansas City.
  • C.J. Edwards, RHP, Rangers (Low-A Hickory): 5.2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 9 K. Edwards is one of the best stories in the minors. He has a fastball that can touch the mid 90s with plenty of life, a potential plus curveball, and a developing changeup that flashes the ability to be an average pitch. Edwards has a small frame and may ultimately wind up in a relief role. Teams may target him in trade talks at the deadline; 52.0 IP, 33 H, 16 ER, 19 BB, 75 K in last 10 starts.
  • Lance McCullers, RHP, Astros (Low-A Quad Cities): 6.1 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 8 K. McCullers was drafted by the Astros after they crafted a plan to use the new draft slotting system to their advantage. McCullers features a fastball that can touch the upper 90s, a curveball that has easy plus potential, and a changeup that is in the very beginning stages. McCullers may never profile as a starter due to the effort in his delivery, but he will be a special late-inning arm.
  • Henry Owens, LHP, Red Sox (High-A Salem): 6.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 4 BB, 10 K. I’m riding as the high man on the Owens bandwagon, and he chipped in two-thirds of a combined no-hitter yesterday. The stuff can be a touch inconsistent, but this is a lanky left-handed pitching prospect that is still working to figure it all out. Check out my complete report here; 51.2 IP, 32 H, 15 ER, 34 BB, 58 K in 10 starts.
  • Joe Panik, 2B, Giants (Double-A Richmond): 2-5, 2 2B, RBI. Panik makes his second appearance in “The Good” this week, this time playing second base as opposed to short, which is something I will focus on for a second. If the Giants are moving him around defensively, that means one of two things: They want to showcase him at all positions for teams that may be interested in acquiring him, or they are looking at him as a future utility man rather than as an everyday player.
  • Jeremy Rathjen, OF, Dodgers (Low-A Great Lakes): 3-3, 2 2B, 2 R, RBI, SB. Rathjen was drafted out of Rice and has a gamer profile with bat speed, solid-average running ability, and the potential to play up the middle (center field) defensively. Rathjen is praised for his baseball IQ and should be able to move through the minors, though he will be tested against quality pitching; .429/.500/.571 with 5 2B and 4 SB in last 35 at-bats.
  • Jesse Winker, LF, Reds (Low-A Dayton): 2-3, 2B, HR, R, 2 RBI, BB. When Winker was drafted, amateur scouts had numerous questions. Most believed he had natural hitting ability, but some wondered about the power potential, a key considering that he is restricted to left field. Winker has answered a lot of the doubters, showing enough pop to stay in the lineup every day while continuing to hit for contact.

“The Bad”

  • Ronald Guzman, 1B, Rangers (Low-A Hickory): 0-4, 3 K. Guzman returned to the lineup after nursing an injury, and it looks like he caught the “Hickory strikeout” bug on this night.
  • Marco Hernandez, SS, Cubs (Low-A Kane County): 0-3, BB, 3 K. Hernandez is talented, but this was a rough showing.

“The Ugly”

Adam Walker, RF, Twins (Low-A Cedar Rapids): 0-7, 3 K. Walker is the main attraction in Cedar Rapids, as I wrote in a recent Update, and nights like this never feel good.

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

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