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July 24, 2013

Minor League Update

Games of Tuesday, July 23

by Zach Mortimer

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Pitching Prospect of the Day: Nathan Karns, RHP, Nationals (Double-A Harrisburg): 6.0 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 10 K. Karns has a plus fastball and an easy plus curveball. The changeup is developing. I would not be surprised if the Nationals call him up if the need arises.

Position Prospect of the Day: Courtney Hawkins, OF, White Sox (High-A Winston-Salem): 2-5, 2B, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI, K. As everyone that reads this knows, I rated Courtney Hawkins as an organizational player, though I recognize that he has plenty of raw power. My reasoning for that assessment is I do not believe he will be able to hit quality pitching, and he will not make enough contact to tap into his raw power; .205/.239/.455 2 2B, 3 HR, and 17 K in last 44 at-bats.

Other notable prospect performances on July 23:

“The Good”

  • Cody Asche, 3B, Phillies (Triple-A Lehigh Valley): 3-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI. I’ve always had my doubts with Asche, who is a natural bat-to-ball hitter. The arm didn’t really work for me at third base, and I’m not sure if he will hit for enough power to fit the profile. If the Phillies decide they are out of it, I believe Asche will get a shot to show his skills at the big-league level very soon; .357/.386/.643 with 4 HR and 2 SB in last 42 at-bats.
  • Byron Buxton, CF, Twins (High-A Fort Myers): 2-4, 3B, HR, 3 R, BB, K. Buxton is taking a little time to adjust to the Florida State League. However, this does not change the fact that he is the best prospect in the minors and has the loudest tools.
  • Brian Fletcher, 1B/LF, Royals (Double-A Northwest Arkansas): 4-5, 2 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI. Fletcher is the son of a former big leaguer and has plus raw power. He is able to create his power with plus bat speed. The problem scouts have with Fletcher is that he has no home defensively and does not hit well enough to be a DH.
  • Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Pirates (Low-A West Virginia): 6.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K. Glasnow uses a three-pitch mix and really attacks with his plus fastball that touches the upper 90s. The secondary offerings are impressive as well; he has a curveball that has good shape and flashes plus and a changeup that is still a bit firm, but that he shows the ability to turn over. Also worth noting is that Glasnow creates tremendous momentum in his delivery, something I noticed thanks to Doug Thorburn; 87.1 IP, 46 H, 22 ER, 48 BB, 122 K in 19 starts.
  • Billy Hamilton, CF, Reds (Triple-A Louisville): 2-5, 2 2B,3 RBI. We all know Billy Hamilton is the fastest man in baseball, but if he does not reach first base, then does it really matter? Some scouts are questioning how much Hamilton will ultimately hit. On the positive side, if Hamilton is able to get on base just enough, he will be dangerous and put crazy pressure on the opposing catcher.
  • Slade Heathcott, CF, Yankees (Double-A Trenton): 2-3, 2B, HR, R, RBI. Heathcott has made a mechanical change in his swing. The change was to smooth out his pre-pitch movement. The change should allow him to make more contact. Heathcott displays all the tools, and if he is able to be just an average hitter, he will have an everyday spot in someone’s lineup; .314/.356/.614 with 4 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, and 2 SB in last 44 at-bats.
  • James Ramsey, OF, Cardinals (Double-A Springfield): 3-4, 2 2B, HR, 4 R, 2 RBI, BB. After being primarily a line-drive hitter in High-A, Ramsey has shown plenty of over-the-fence power in Double-A. Ramsey has a grinder mentality and will get the most out of his tools going forward; .342/.457/.737 with 3 2B and 4 HR in last 38 at-bats.
  • Lucas Sims, RHP, Braves (Low-A Rome): 6.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K. Sims has done an excellent job pitching this season in Low-A. He uses a plus fastball, plus curveball, and potential solid-average changeup to attack hitters; 77.1 IP, 53 H, 26 ER, 31 BB, 83 K in 21 outings.
  • Noah Syndergaard, RHP, Mets (Double-A Binghamton): 5.0 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K. I’ve been flying the Syndergaard flag since I saw him last year in spring training. Syndergaard is a tall, strong, right-hander who throws bowling-ball fastballs with steep plane. Scouts credit Syndergaard’s growth to the fact that his secondary offerings have taken major steps forward in 2013. I believe Syndergaard has a number-two-starter ceiling and will slot in fine behind Mr. Harvey and Mr. Wheeler.
  • Mason Williams, CF, Yankees (High-A Tampa): 4-6, 2B, 3B, 3 R, RBI, K. The tools are obvious, but Williams struggled mightily at the beginning of the season. I’ve questioned Williams’ work ethic and had worries about his swing mechanics. However, production like this suggests he is taking steps in the right direction;.408/.431/.571 with 6 2B, 1 3B,and 1 SB in last 49 at-bats.

“The Bad”

  • Jesse Biddle, LHP, Phillies (Double-A Reading): 0.2 IP, 3 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 1 K. Biddle is going to be a fantastic pitcher, but this was not his night.
  • Sebastian Valle, C, Phillies (Double-A Reading): 0-3, 1 BB, 3 K. Well, I pointed out last night that Valle had positive attributes, but he also is known as quite the free-swinger.

“The Ugly”

Garrett Weber, 3B, Diamondbacks (Double-A Mobile): 0-4, 4 K. Taking a golden sombrero home is never fun.

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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