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July 23, 2013

Minor League Update

Games of Monday, July 22

by Zach Mortimer

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Pitching Prospect of the Day: Cory Jones, RHP, Cardinals (Low-A Peoria): 6.0 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 12 K. Another start, another shove session for Jones. The fastball can touch the upper 90s, and he uses a power curveball that flashes plus to miss bats. There is effort in his delivery, and that, combined with an inconsistent changeup, suggests that Jones’ ultimate future is in relief. Regardless, he is now squarely on the prospect radar; 26.0 IP, 22 H, 6 ER, 5 BB, 28 K in four July starts.

Position Prospect of the Day: Victor Roache, OF, Brewers (Low-A Brewers): 2-3, 2 HR, 2 R, 7 RBI, 2 BB. Roache has top-notch raw power, and he really can pack a punch when he gets his hands extended on a ball. The problem here is that superior pitching may give Roache a world of trouble. A player like Roache relies on his power, and if he is not able to make consistent contact, the pop becomes irrelevant; .349/.391/.814 with 2 2B and 6 HR in last 43 at-bats.

Other notable prospect performances on July 22:

“The Good”

  • Gregory Bird, 1B, Yankees (Low-A Charleston): 3-5, 2B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI. Bird has found his stride in the last two weeks, and he is tapping all the way into his plus raw power. As I stated yesterday, I worry about whether his swing will work against quality pitching, and in order to profile at first base, he is going to have to really hit; .450/.542/1.050 with 1 2B, 1 3B, and 7 HR in last 40 at-bats.
  • Jake Cave, OF, Yankees (Low-A Charleston): 2-5, 2B, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI. Cave has an average hit tool with fringy power. He is not a burner, but possesses an absolute rifle that could be utilized in right. Going forward, Cave is going to have to prove he can hit quality pitching, and he profiles best as an extra outfielder.
  • Luke Jackson, RHP, Rangers (High-A Myrtle Beach): 6.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 8 K. Still a Ranger, Jackson was not included in the Matt Garza trade. He has a fastball that can touch 98 with life, and a curveball that routinely flashes plus. The problem I see with Jackson is that his changeup is underdeveloped. Add a high-effort delivery, and the signs seem to point toward a future in relief.
  • Seth Mejias-Brean, 3B, Reds (Low-A Dayton): 2-4, 3B, HR, R, 2 RBI, BB, 2 K. Mejias-Brean has hit well of late, but I’m not buying this until the polished college hitter is able to do it against better competition; .447/.523/.868 with 3 2B, 2 3B, and 3 HR in 38 at-bats.
  • Jose Osuna, 1B, Pirates (High-A Bradenton): 3-4, 3 2B, 2 R, RBI. Osuna has some bat speed and a potential plus power profile. However, his swing can be exploited, and he provides little to no value other than his power. Osuna will have to make a lot of solid contact to profile as an everyday player at first base.
  • Henry Owens, LHP, Red Sox (High-A Salem): 5.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 9 K. Owens continues to throw well. He offers a fastball that can touch plus velocity, a curveball that shows some bite but is highly inconsistent, and a changeup that, if you really dreamed on it, could get plus-plus grades down the road. Owens still has some projection left in him, and I believe more than others in his future; 97.0 IP, 62 H, 30 ER, 50 BB, 116 K in 19 starts this season.
  • James Paxton, LHP, Mariners (Triple-A Tacoma): 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 K. Paxton has a fastball and curveball that receive plus grades, but his changeup is fringy at best and he does not have the best arm action. Those that like him feel he can be a back-end starter, others believe he fits best in the back of a bullpen.
  • Sebastian Valle, C, Phillies (Double-A Reading): 2-3, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI. Valle has tools, but he has faced work-ethic questions, and that combined with a lack of opportunities may be the reason for his struggles in 2013.
  • Adam Walker, RF, Twins (Low-A Cedar Rapids): 3-5, 2B, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, 2 K. Another repeater, ABW has power that could easily let you envision him in the middle of the Twins lineup. First, though, he will have to prove he can hit advanced pitching; .391/.383/1.000

“The Bad”

  • Brandon Nimmo, CF, Mets (Low-A Savannah): 1-4, BB, 3 K. Some scouts I spoke to were very underwhelmed by Nimmo’s bat speed at the Futures Game.
  • Blake Swihart, C, Red Sox (High-A Salem): 0-4, 2 K. I like Swihart. I really think he has what it takes to make consistent contact from both sides of the plate.

“The Call-Ups”

Well, Christian (Yelich) and Jake (Marisnick), now is your time to shine. Everyone has talked poorly about the Marlins’ ownership, but we all should understand that they have very good knowledge about their system. The trades that they made put them in excellent position going forward. I feel that Yelich deserved a proper send-off to the big leagues simply because the swing is that special. I also felt like Marisnick needed praise because I’m not really sure what it’s going to be like for him in the majors initially. I could see him exploding and showing all of his tools, but I also could see pitchers exploiting him.

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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