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July 16, 2014

Minor League Update

Games of Tuesday, July 15

by Jeff Moore

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Prospect of the Night: Dylan Cozens, OF, Phillies (Lakewood, A-): 4-5, 2 R, 2 HR.
Cozens looks the part of a big-time power hitting prospect, and there are nights when he backs it up. It’s easy to see why the Phillies were intrigued by his package of tools and used a second-round pick on him in 2012, and it’s also easy to see why it was the Phillies who liked him the most. His home run, to dead center off of a Lucas Giolito fastball, was one of the more impressive things I’ve seen this year, especially coming in Lakewood, where the ball does not carry well at night. He’s at his best when he stays up the middle and drives the ball to the gaps. When he gets pull-happy, his bat leaves the strike zone too much, and he loses power because he generates too much topspin. There are some pitch recognition issues that may never get worked out and he’s aggressive, a combination that leads to a ton of bad contact, strikeouts, and a low batting average. There’s some room for improvement in that regard, but likely not too much. Still, he’s an intriguing guy who is still learning how to use his size and athleticism in a baseball way, and when he puts it together in short stints, it’s very impressive to watch.

Best of the Rest

Alex Yarbrough, 2B, Angels (Arkansas, AA): 2-3, R, HR. Yarbrough can do some things very well, which, in the Angels system, makes him a top prospect. He has some major flaws, however—namely an extremely aggressive approach at the plate and not enough power to compensate for it. He has good gap power, but he’s left his over-the-fence power behind since moving on from the California League. He should hit enough to get to the majors, but it’s probably more of a utility profile as a hitter, which is a problem, because he doesn’t have a utility profile defensively.

Maxwell Muncy, 1B, Athletics (Midland, AA): 2-4, R, HR. Yesterday in this space, I talked about how Max Muncy hasn’t hit for enough power to be a first baseman since leaving the California League. Last night, Max Muncy homered for the second straight game. Max Muncy hates me. Or this could all just be a coincidence. Two in a row for Muncy is a good start, and he does need to hit for more power. Left-handed hitters with strong on-base skills do have a way of carving out major league roles, however, even with a limited profile. He’s not an everyday first baseman, but there may be a role for him somewhere on a major league roster, and not just because he homered again last night. Note: I have him listed as Maxwell today, because that’s how he’s listed in our database, and I like when the links appear in the article.

Max Pentecost, C, Blue Jays (Vancouver, SS): 2-3, 2 R, 2B, K. Not that we were worried about such a thing, but yes, Pentecost can hit in Canada. He proved that on Tuesday in his first game off of the Blue Jays complex in Dunedin and since being promoted to short-season Vancouver. Pentecost did exactly what a top pick out of college should do in the GCL—hit extremely well—hitting .364 in 22 plate appearances. He’s transitioning well and shouldn’t have too much trouble with the Northwest League.

Malik Collymore, 2B, Cardinals (GCL, R): 2-3, R, 2B, K, SB. A 10th-round pick out of an Ontario high school in 2013, Collymore is repeating the GCL after struggling to make the transition last year. This season has gone much better and he’s flashing some playable tools to go along with what is already a solid build. He’s a good athlete for his size (well built, not tall) but needs refinement at second base. He has good bat-to-ball skills and pitch recognition. He’s going to be a slow mover due to his limited baseball background growing up in Canada, but the potential for a nice player is there.

Rafael Rodriguez, OF, Giants (Augusta, A-): 2-3, 2 R, HR, BB. Here are the facts: Rodriguez got the biggest international bonus the Giants have ever given out in 2009. It took him until last year to reach full-season ball. He’s 6-foot-5. Last night’s home run was his 14th as a professional in 1,335 plate appearances. He has a career .298 on-base percentage. These are the facts, and they are undisputed.

Spencer Kieboom, C, Nationals (Hagerstown, A-): 3-4, 2 R, 2B. I saw Kieboom for a two-game stint two weeks ago and came away mildly intrigued. He’s old for his level, which is why you need to take his .335 batting average with a grain of salt, and has a 45-to-8 K:BB ratio, which is why you need about another pound of salt to go on top, but he can do a few things. I went into more detail here.

David Dahl, OF, Rockies (Asheville, A-): 3-5, R, 3 2B, 2 K. Dahl is a doubles machine, now with 32 on the season. As prospects develop, both physically and mentally, some of those doubles tend to turn into home runs. That’s a great sign for the Rockies.

Jeff Moore is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
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