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August 16, 2013

Minor League Update

Games of Thursday, August 15

by Zach Mortimer

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Pitching Prospect of the Day: Lucas Sims, RHP, Braves (Low-A Rome): 7.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 9 K. Sims offers a mature arsenal for a 19-year-old: a potential plus fastball, a plus curveball, and a solid-average changeup. Sims has a feel for pitching and still has a solid mid-rotation; 47.2 IP, 29 H, 17 ER, 22 BB, 52 K in last nine starts.

Position Prospect of the Day: Jabari Blash, RF, Mariners (Double-A Jackson): 3-4, 2 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI, BB, K. The book on Blash has not changed much; he still has easy plus power, a plus arm, and average running ability. And, yes, the ultimate future still hinges on whether Blash can make the necessary adjustments to sustain an adequate contact rate.

Other notable prospect performances on August 15:

“The Good”

  • Jason Adam, RHP, Royals (Double-A Northwest Arkansas): 7.0 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K. Adam has a big, strong frame built for logging innings. He features a fastball that works in the low 90s and can touch 94 with good plane, a power curveball in the 70s with solid-average potential, and a potential average changeup. Adam fits the classic back-end-starter profile; 19.0 IP, 16 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 20 K in last three starts.
  • Javier Baez, SS, Cubs (Double-A Tennessee): 2-3, 2B, HR, R, RBI, BB, K. Scouts that I’ve spoken to feel that Baez may have the fastest bat in the minors. If Baez is able to improve his approach at the plate, the hit tool could grade near the top of the scale, and he offers potential easy plus power. Defensively, Baez may end up at third, but even if he is forced to move there, the bat will be plenty good enough.
  • Billy Hamilton, CF, Reds (Triple-A Louisville): 2-4, 2 3B, R. I was recently asked a few questions about Hamilton and how much he would have to hit to be an everyday player. I responded with something to the effect of, “Hamilton will have to hit less than just about anyone because of his game-changing speed. If he is able to get on base around 32 percent of the time, he can be a difference maker. Hamilton will also have an abnormally high BABIP just because he is going to put pressure on the defense and beat out balls that others would not.” I believe the Reds will give Hamilton the opportunity to prove himself everyday in center field in 2014; .390/.419/.512 with 1 2B, 2 3B, and 4 SB in last 41 at-bats.
  • A.J. Jimenez, C, Blue Jays (Double-A New Hampshire): 3-4, 2 2B, R, 4 RBI, BB. The consensus among scouts that I’ve spoken to about Jimenez is that he is a no-doubt big-leaguer. Most question if the bat is ever going to be enough for him to be an everyday-type catcher. Defensively, Jimenez can get a little lackadaisical at times, but once his arm is completely healthy, he has a rocket behind the plate. The swing is contact-oriented. Going forward, Jimenez is going to force the Blue Jays hand if he keeps putting up positive performances, and should get a chance to contribute in the big leagues in 2014.
  • Tommy La Stella, 2B, Braves (Double-A Mississippi): 2-4, HR, R, 2 RBI. La Stella has a knack for making consistent contact. He does not offer much more than gap power, but will sneak the occasional ball out of the ballpark. He is a second baseman all the way, and is in his first year of the upper minors at age 24. If La Stella can offer a plus hit tool, I believe he has an everyday future.
  • James McCann, C, Tigers (Double-A Erie): 3-4, 2B, HR, R, 2 RBI, K. I saw McCann play one game earlier this year. He has ability and could be an asset defensively. I question whether his offense will ever be enough to get him in the lineup every day, but he should be a useful backup catcher.
  • Daniel Norris, LHP, Blue Jays (Low-A Lansing): 5.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K. I’ve always been a big fan of Norris and can say I’ve seen him near his best. Norris offers a fastball that works in the low 90s and can touch more when needed, and a curveball and changeup with plus potential. This year, Norris has also added a slider that is developing into an effective pitch. Norris profiles as a middle-of-the-rotation starter.
  • Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP, Orioles (Double-A Bowie): 5.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K. I’ve written a complete scouting report on Rodriguez. In short, I feel that he is a starter all the way, but lacks frontline stuff.
  • Luis Severino, RHP, Yankees (Low-A Charleston): 5.0 IP, 4 H, 3 Er, 0 BB, 9 K. Severino is a young arm in the Yankees system that features a fastball that can touch the mid 90s and a slider with solid-average potential. Severino still has a lot of mechanical things he needs to clean up, and will need to develop a third pitch before he puts himself in the upper tier of Yankees prospects. He has a promising young arm and should be a pleasure to watch develop.
  • Jake Thompson, RHP, Tigers (Low-A West Michigan): 5.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 8 K. Thompson offers a fastball that works in the low 90s and a slider with easy plus potential. The slider is Thompson’s bread-and-butter pitch, and he will go to it frequently. Thompson has some mechanical smoothing out to do, and will also need to develop a changeup if he wants to stick as a starter. If he does not do those things, it will be he could still pitch high-leverage innings in the bullpen; 54.0 IP, 49 H, 17 ER, 22 BB, 58 K in last 11 starts.
  • Charlie Tilson, OF, Cardinals (Low-A Peoria): 4-7, 2 HR, 3 R, 2 RBI. Tilson was a prospect primed for a good season after being injured in 2012, and he has performed well in Low-A. He offers a skill set that gives him the potential for a solid-average hit tool, easy plus running ability, and the possibility of being able to handle center in a pinch. Something must have gotten into Tilson tonight, because power is not usually a part of his game.
  • Nick Williams, OF, Rangers (Low-A Hickory): 2-2, 2B, HR, R, RBI, 2 BB. The other day, Williams did not have a strong performance at the plate, but all in all, the scouts that I’ve spoken with feel that he may be the best hitter on the Hickory roster. Williams does not do much else on the baseball field naturally, and will have to be developed slowly.

“The Bad”

  • Domingo Santana, RF, Astros (Double-A Corpus Christi): 0-4, BB, 4 K. Swing-and-miss issues may always keep Santana from reaching his ceiling.
  • Luis Urena, OF, Pirates (Low-A West Virginia): 0-4, 3 K. Not the type of day Mr. Urena wanted to have.

“The Ugly”

Angelo Gumbs, 2B, Yankees (Low-A Charleston): 0-3, 2 K. I really thought this was the year that Gumbs was going to put it all together. However, I just want to let everyone know that I’m still on this ship, and I’m not jumping off until it has completely sunk, which it has not. (I know there were way too many commas in that last sentence.)

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

Related Content:  Prospects,  Minor Leagues,  Lucas Sims,  Jabari Blash

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