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August 1, 2013

Minor League Update

Games of Wednesday, July 31st

by Chris Rodriguez

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Pitching Prospect of the Day: Jamie Callahan, RHP, Red Sox (Low-A Spinners): 6.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 9 K. The 18-year-old had been struggling in 2013, but in his last two starts he’s given up one hit and struck out 17 over 12 innings. He features a low-90s fastball and a 12-to-6 curve. Anyone who holds his opponent hitless with a shiny strikeout-to-walk ratio has to be pitching prospect of the day.

Position Prospect of the Day: Austin Hedges, C, Padres (High-A Lake Elsinore): 3-5, 2B, HR, 3 R, 4 RBI, 1 K. Known for his defensive prowess, Hedges has yet to get into a groove at the plate thus far this season. The Padres don’t seem too concerned—they announced before the game that he’ll be heading to Double-A.

Other notable prospect performances on July 31:

“The Good”

Marcus Stroman, RHP, Blue Jays (Double-A New Hampshire): 6.2 IP. 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 13 K. Stroman can rack up the strikeouts with a wipeout slider and fastball that can touch the high-90s. Unfortunately, he doesn’t get much plane on his fastball (he stands 5’9”) and will most likely be destined for the bullpen, albeit as a late-inning reliever.

Allen Webster, RHP, Red Sox (Triple-A Pawtucket): 6.0, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 12 K. Webster has bounced back from two subpar starts with two good ones. It’s promising to see the walk column feature something other than a crooked number, as he can be prone to losing his command and control.

Ji-Man Choi, DH/1B, Seattle (Double-A Jackson): 2-3, 2B, GS, 2 R, 4 RBI, 2 BB. After crushing the Cal League, Choi hasn’t missed a beat since being promoted to Double-A. In his last 10 games, his triple slash line is .378/.477/.730. Because he’s a DH/1B, he’ll need to mash all the way up the chain.

Nolan Fontana, SS, Astros (High-A Lancaster): 3-4, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K. Many scouts believe Fontana can become a super-utility type at the highest level. After watching him for several games, I have to agree. He has a very good eye at the plate and the ability to play SS/2B and 3B in a pinch.

Zach Borenstein, OF, Angels (High-A Inland Empire): 4-4, 2 2B, 2R. It’s time for Borenstein to move to Double-A; he triple-slashed .438/506/.781 in July. He’s hit at every level so far.

Max Stassi, C, Astros (Double-A Corpas Christi): 3-4. 3B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI. Another game, another appearance on the MLU for Stassi. Fun fact: that was the second triple of his career.

“The Bad”

Travis d'Arnaud, C, Mets (Double-A Binghamton): 0-4, K. Not the worst day in the world. d’Arnaud just needs to stay healthy.

Bubba Starling, CF, Royals (Class-A Lexington): 1-4, K. Okay, now I’m being mean, but Bubba really needs to start (or learn) to hit quickly in order to stay on prospect lists. The tools are still huge.

Brian Goodwin, CF. Nationals (Double-A Harrisburg): 1-5, 4 K. Former first-rounder who’s striking out way too much.

“The Takeover”

Just kidding—I’m filling in for Zach Mortimer today and tomorrow while he’s busy doing some amateur scouting. Zach will be back Monday.

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

Related Content:  Prospects,  Scouting,  Minor Leagues

13 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

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Can we make the temporary "takeover" permanent? Loved the insight and crisp analysis provided in an "easy to read" and understand manner

Aug 01, 2013 04:43 AM
rating: -17
Kyle Matte

Settle down there.

Aug 01, 2013 05:18 AM
rating: 5

Thanks for filling in!

Aug 01, 2013 05:30 AM
rating: 1
BP staff member Zach Mortimer
BP staff

Chris, thanks again for picking me up!

Aug 01, 2013 06:27 AM

I don't understand why no-one thinks Stroman has a chance of sticking as a starter. Yes he's short, but he is still making people miss ALOT with his fastball at AA (over 10K/9). In my mind he's a starter until hitters prove he can't be, and I'm sure the Jays think the same

Aug 01, 2013 08:46 AM
rating: 2

Come on now. I hope he gets the chance to prove people wrong but you do understand why scouts are skeptical, right? If not, it goes like this: shorter guys have less downhill plane on the ball. Less downhill plane = easier to hit. Fooling AA hitters = easier than fooling major league hitters. Scouts are paid to make projections like this, and if they think his stuff won't translate from AA to MLB, I'm going to trust the scouting consensus. Maybe they'll be proven wrong, and I'm sure you're right that Toronto will keep him as an SP until he proves he isn't, but the basis for skepticism is not difficult to grasp.

Aug 01, 2013 11:03 AM
rating: 0

I get it, and I know his HR rate is still high, but to just say he is short so won't make it is lazy. Outliers exist, and he should be given the chance to see if he is one. AA hitters aren't MLB hitters of course, but he K'd more batters than anyone else in baseball in July. By all accounts, his fastball has life, mitigating the lack of plane somewhat, and he has a wipeout pitch and a credible third pitch to keep batters guessing. I'm (probably foolishly as a Jays fan) optimistic

Aug 02, 2013 00:32 AM
rating: 0

Is the short-guys-can't-fool-major-leaguers theory based on any statistical evidence or is it just a mix of hypothesis and bias? Any evidence that the K-ratios of short pitchers (say, under 6') fall more dramatically from AA to AAA to MLB? How significant is that effect if it exists? Isn't that kind of empirical analysis why we're all reading BP? Also, please explain why a 5'9" pitcher could be entrusted to fool hitters in the 8th or 9th innings but not in the 1st through 7th. Is there some medical evidence that tall guys have more stamina?

Aug 02, 2013 07:11 AM
rating: 1

Man, I absolutely love these columns. An avid follower of the minors and tomorrow's future MLB players, this BP columb is like a giant jar full of gummy bears, warm chocolate cookies and Swedish meatballs.

Aug 01, 2013 08:57 AM
rating: 0

I'm really interested to see how Hedges bat plays in AA.

Aug 01, 2013 09:24 AM
rating: 0

So Stassi made one fewer out and had a triple instead of a double, but Hedges gets the PPotD honors? If I didn't know better, I'd think you were placing value on...on...

...RBI :( *shudder*

Aug 01, 2013 14:51 PM
rating: -1
BP staff member Zach Mortimer
BP staff

And people thought I was the mean one!

Aug 01, 2013 17:55 PM

Hedges was obviously more clutch...

Aug 02, 2013 01:51 AM
rating: 1
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