May 13, 2009
Future Shock Blog
Honestly Orioles fans, help is on the way
Chris Tillman, RHP, Orioles (Triple-A Norfolk)
Tuesday's stats: 6 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 10 K
As if Adam Jones and George Sherrill weren't enough, the Orioles got even more in return for Erik Bedard, and Tillman could have as big an impact as any of them. A reader reports that Tillman was consistently at 94-95 mph on Tuesday while delivering his best start of the year, which lowered his ERA to 2.03 with 37 strikeouts in 31 innings. He's probably big league ready, but like battery-mate Matt Wieters, does calling him up really make a difference right now?
If you have no idea where it's going, the velocity doesn't matter
Jeremy Jeffress, RHP, Brewers (Double-A Huntsville)
Tuesday's stats: 1.2 IP, 4 H, 6 R, 5 BB, 1 K
The Brewers' top pick in 2006, Jeffress can throw as hard as anyone in the minors, often touching triple-digits, but his once below-average control is now firmly in nightmare territory, as in his last three outings, Jeffress has walked 15 over seven innings while giving up 15 runs. He's seemingly totally lost at this point, and the most disturbing thing is that he's never really been found. He's not a pitcher per so, just a guy who throws really hard.
On The Sopranos, they'd call him Tony the . . . ah, forget it
Antonio Bastardo, LHP, Phillies (Double-A Reading)
Tuesday's stats: 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 10 K
A five-foot-eleven southpaw, Bastardo is a changeup specialist with just enough velocity to set-up the pitch well. Scouts go back and forth as to whether he's a starter or reliever in the end, as do the Phillies. Since moving to the Reading rotation, Bastardo has been especially effective, allowing just 11 hits in 20.1 innings, so Philadelphia might be figuring out what his big league role is sooner rather than later.
Still wondering if he's for real?
Mike Stanton, OF, Marlins (High-A Jupiter)
Tuesday's stats: 1-for-4, HR (8), R, RBI, 2 K
Stanton his 39 home runs as an 18-year-old last year in his full-season debut, but a high strikeout rate and extreme hitters park still left a few doubters. Now in the Florida State League, where home runs go to die, he's gone deep in three straight games. As for the strikeout rate, what was once roughly one every three at-bats is now roughly once every four, so there is progress there as well.
Like father, like son
Jeremy Barfield, OF, Athletics (Low-A Kane County)
Tuesday's stats:3-for-4, 3 HR (4), 3 R, 7 RBI, BB
Unlike older brother Josh, Jeremy actually looks like his father, former Blue Jays slugger. At 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds, Barfield cuts an imposing presence at the plate, but last year's eighth-round pick was seen as extremely raw, and he looked it in his first seven games, as he went 3-for-22. In four games since, he's 11-for-17 with four bombs and 10 RBIs.
Juan Sulbaran, RHP, Reds (Low-A Dayton)
Tuesday's stats: 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 8 K
Aa 30th-round pick last year, Sulbaran got a $500,000 bonus when the Reds had to buy him away from both the University of Florida and a possible gambit that involved him pitching professionally in his home country of the Netherlands and hoping for free agency. He got some attention when he struck out Ivan Rodriguez in the World Baseball Classic, and now he's generating even more after missing the first month of the season with a blister problem. In three starts for the Dragons, Sulbaran has 20 strikeouts in 14 innings, while walking seven and showcasing a plus heater and projectable breaking ball and changeup. He also has a bit of a nasty streak, as those seven hit batters already aren't just related to control issues.
Kevin Goldstein is an author of Baseball Prospectus.
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