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April 16, 2014

Minor League Update

Games of Tuesday, April 15

by Jeff Moore

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Hitter of the Night: Joc Pederson, OF, Dodgers (Albuquerque, AAA): 4-4, 2 R, 2B, 2 HR, BB.
This is the kind of power production the Dodgers are going to need from Pederson if/when he shifts to a corner outfield position, though barring injuries, that won’t be happening in L.A. any time soon. Pederson looks like he’s close to being ready to help a major-league team right now, which could make him among the most sought-after prospects this July.

Pitcher of the Night: Andrew Heaney, LHP, Marlins (Jacksonville, AA): 6 IP, H, 0 R, BB, 5 K.
The Marlins are still searching for a minor-league level that will provide Heaney with a challenge, but it doesn’t look thus far like they’ve found it in the Southern League. He could continue to move quickly, even by Marlins standards.

Best of the Rest

George Springer, OF, Astros (Oklahoma City, AAA): 3-4, 4 R, HR, BB. You’ve been spared another rant about service time manipulation. The Astros called Springer up to the majors late last night.

Mike Foltynewicz, RHP, Astros (Oklahoma City, AAA): 5 IP, 4 H, ER, 2 BB, 6 K. Unlike Springer, his teammate and run supporter, Foltynewicz is not in the minors because of financial considerations. The power-armed Foltynewicz, capable of hitting 100 mph on the radar gun with ease, is still learning how to use his velocity for effective pitching purposes. After back-to-back starts in which he failed to get out of the third inning, Folty was more pitcher than thrower on Tuesday night, a promising sign that the Astros will need to see more of if he wants to remain a starter.

Mikie Mahtook, OF, Rays (Durham, AAA): 4-5, R, 2B, 3B, K. The former LSU star now has nine hits in the last two days.

Wilmer Flores, SS, Mets (Las Vegas, AAA): 2-4, R, 2B, HR. Flores is ready to hit in the majors and should be on the Mets roster, playing as often as they can manage to work him into the lineup. He has nothing left to prove in Triple-A.

Luke Jackson, RHP, Rangers (Frisco, AA): 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 8 K. After a horrific outing his last time out, Jackson demonstrated why the Rangers are so high on him and just how good he can be when he throws strikes.

Rock Shoulders, 1B, Cubs (Daytona, A+): 2-4, 2 R, 2B, HR, K. The best name in minor league baseball is off to a slow start at his new level, but he does offer plus power. It probably won’t be enough to justify everyday play at first base, but he sure is fun to talk about in the meantime.

Eric Jagielo, 3B, Yankees (Tampa, A+): 2-4, 3 R, HR, BB. Jagielo is still striking out more than once per game and isn’t drawing many walks to go with it, but his power is for real and the approach isn’t hurting him yet. It will be interesting to see if the Florida State League makes any adjustments his second time through.

Nomar Mazara, OF, Rangers (Hickory, A-): 2-2, R, HR, BB. Even though he’s loaded with potential, the Rangers elected to have Mazara repeat Low-A ball this season after posting a .692 OPS there as an 18-year-old last year. An aggressive hitter, he’s already walking slightly more and striking out slightly less than last year, perhaps signaling an improvement in his approach. It could also just be small-sample-size randomness.

Fight Another Day

Kevin Gausman, RHP, Orioles (Norfolk, AAA): 3 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 3 BB, K. After looking good in his first start of the year, Gausman’s outings have gotten progressively worse each time he’s toed the rubber, culminating in this outing, in which he failed to record an out in the fourth inning. So far this year, it’s been his typically excellent control that has let him down.

Jeff Moore is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
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