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July 25, 2013

Minor League Update

Games of Wednesday, July 24

by Zach Mortimer

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Pitching Prospect of the Day: Marcus Stroman, RHP, Blue Jays (Double-A New Hampshire): 6.2 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 11 K. Stroman is doing his best to prove he can be a starter. I saw him last week and his fastball worked in the low 90s, his slider came in at 84-86, and his changeup registered 83-85. The positive was I saw that the slider has wipeout (plus-plus) potential, and he coupled that with a changeup that could be solid average. He used his fastball and was able to pitch effectively to both sides of the plate, but I did not like the fact that it lacked life. Someone of Stroman’s stature needs life on the fastball in order to compensate for the lack of plane, or he will give up a lot of long drives when he finds opponents’ barrels. I’ll stick to the fact that I believe Stroman can be a top-tier closer in the league, but if he keeps putting up numbers, I think the Blue Jays will give him a shot to start before deciding on his ultimate role; 33.1 IP, 23 H, 10 ER, 8 BB, 42 K in last 5 starts.

Position Prospect of the Day: Renato Nunez, 3B, Athletics (Low-A Beloit): 2-3, 2 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI, K. It has been a while since Nunez has appeared on this list. I know the bat speed is promising and he offers plus power potential, but scouts have preached to me that he needs to prove that he can hit quality pitching. Nunez has a violent swing that can be exploited, and he also has minimal feel for third base and most likely will end up playing first.

Other notable prospect performances on July 24:

“The Good”

  • Javier Baez, SS, Cubs (Double-A Tennessee): 2-5, 2B, HR, 2 R, RBI, 2 K. Spoke with a scout recently that said Baez has the best bat speed in the minors. The same scout was also not sure if Baez has the #want to maximize his ability.
  • Tyler Cloyd, RHP, Phillies (Triple-A Lehigh Valley): 7.0 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K. Just included this line to reaffirm my stance on Triple-A baseball: a guy like Cloyd who has a mid-to-upper 80s fastball and mixes in a breaking ball can have major success at this level. When he gets promoted to the big leagues, the numbers are not pretty. I know Cloyd’s Triple-A numbers are not good, but he’s stuff profile fits the example.
  • Mike Foltynewicz, RHP, Astros (Double-A Corpus Christi): 8.0 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 8 K. Folynewicz has surged onto the prospect radar by showing scouts that his fastball can work in the the triple digits as a starter. He also mixes in a curveball and changeup that are both very usable pitches. He profiles best as a number-three starter; 28.0 IP, 24 H, 11 ER, 13 BB, 28 K in last five starts.
  • Tyler Matzek, RHP, Rockies (Double-A Tulsa): 6.2 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 4 BB, 8 K. I’m sure there are plenty of scouts that are just throwing their hands up with Matzek. I don’t get to see him, so I’m not as deeply in the loop. I know he has the stuff to be major-league starter, but it could be a rollercoaster ride.
  • Tyler Naquin, CF, Indians (High-A Carolina): 2-5, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, K. Naquin was a guy I was really not on after the first series. He has made mechanical adjustments, and they seem to be working. I do not believe he has the range for center, but his arm could be a weapon in right. It is not a classic profile for a corner, because he doesn’t offer much power potential, but he would be a very good fourth outfielder.
  • Robert Stephenson, RHP, Reds (High-A Bakersfield): 6.1 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K. Stephenson is one of the top pitching prospects in the game. He has a premium fastball, a plus curveball, and a changeup that still needs a little seasoning. I have a reliable source that insists that Stephenson is going to be a front-line starter.
  • Marcus Semien, 2B, White Sox (Double-A Birmingham): 4-5, 2 2B, 3B, R, 2 RBI. Semien may be one of the better prospects in the White Sox system. He does not have the loudest tools, but he has natural bat-to-ball ability. He’s not a great shortstop, but could play there in a pinch. Semien is a quality utility option in my eyes.
  • Blake Swihart, C, Red Sox (High-A Salem):3-5, 2 2B, R, 3 RBI. Swihart really shows a good feel for hitting, and he can spray line drives from gap to gap. I think he will develop average over-the-fence power, but he will also provide plenty of doubles. Defensively, I think he has all the ability to get it done, but I worry a bit about the durability of his frame.

“The Bad”

  • Kellin Deglan, C, Rangers (High-A Myrtle Beach): 0-4, 3 K. Some thought that Deglan had a shot to take a step forward in 2013, but he has not performed well thus far.
  • Joc Pederson, CF, Dodgers (Double-A Chattanooga): 0-4, 3 K. Joc seems to have left his ability at the Futures Game.
  • James Ramsey, OF, Cardinals (Double-A Springfield: 0-4, 3 K. Only a night after I talked up Ramsey, a prospect about whom I have my doubts, he returned to what I previously thought he was. Cue the Dennis Green quote, “They are who we thought they were.”

“The Ugly”

Jason Martinson, SS, Nationals (Double-A Harrisburg): 0-4, 4 K. Martinson has tools, but he is very raw. Quality pitching could eat him up on any given night.

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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