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May 20, 2009

Future Shock Blog

May 20

by Kevin Goldstein

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Hey, I made a promise . . .

Josh Vitters, 3B, Cubs (Low-A Peoria)
Tuesday's stats: 3-for-5, HR (7), 2 R, 2 RBI, SB
Yesterday I said that if Vitters keeps doing it, I'll keep talking about it, so I'm holding up my end of the bargain as the 2007 first-round pick recorded his fourth consecutive game of at least three hits and a home run, something that hasn't happened in the majors as far as our game log data is complete, which is the early 1950s. In case you missed it, the game before that was also a three-hit effort, only with no bomb. So that's now 15-for-22 with three doubles, four home runs, in his last five contests, raising his OPS more than 200 points with a batting line of .371/.408/.598. .

When are two home runs kind of like more than two home runs?

Fernando Martinez, OF, Mets (Triple-A Buffalo)
Tuesday's stats: 2-for-4, 2 HR (7), 2 R, 2 RBI
When they both come off of Minor League Update regular Clay Buchholz, one of the best pitchers in the minor leagues. . The 20-year-old Dominican did just that on Tuesday night, giving him three home runs in his last two games and with seven in just 37 contests, he's only three away from tying his career season-high while batting .343/.395/.700 in 19 May games.

He is the walrus, we're not sure about the egg-man thing

Brett Wallace, 3B, Cardinals (Triple-A Memphis)
Tuesday's stats: 2-for-3, BB
Dubbed "The Walrus" by scouts due to his thick lower half, Wallace is quickly making a push at getting his chance at solving the Cardinals' year-long third base problem. With David Freese having ankle surgery this week, Wallace moved up to Triple-A and is now 8-for-17 in four games for the Redbirds. He'll never make Cardinals fans forget about Scott Rolen defensively, but he sure can hit.

It rhymes with Porky's

Gorkys Hernandez, OF, Braves (Double-A Mississippi)
Tuesday's stats: 3-for-5, R, 2 RBI, SB
With Jair Jurrjens already making the trade of Edgar Renteria to the Tigers look like highway robbery, don't forget that the Braves got Hernandez as well. A pure speedster with a tremendously quick bat, Hernandez has been one of the hottest hitters in the Southern League of late, going 22-for-51 in his last 12 games to raise his season averages to .349/.404/.434 while showing a far more patient approach than we've seen in the past.

Not quite spectacular, but more than solid

Justin Smoak, 1B, Rangers (Double-A Frisco)
Tuesday's stats: 2-for-5, HR (6), R, 3 RBI
Smoak hasn't gotten much attention in the daily highlights this year. He hasn't had a lot of those monster games, with just a pair of three-hit contests on the season, but he's been as consistent as anyone in the minors, reaching base in 34 of 36 games this year as part of a crazy good .338/.461/.534 line in the Texas League. Nothing wrong with noting some season-long work as opposed to the one big day.

Sleeper alert!

Matt Sweeney, 3B, Angels (Rancho Cucamonga)
Tuesday's stats:
Sweeney put himself on the prospect map in 2007 with an impressive full-season debut at Low-A Cedar Rapids that included a memorable home run off Clayton Kershaw in the Midwest League All-Star game, but 2008 was a lost year for him, as a minor ankle injury turned into a major one, which turned into surgery that cost him the season. Back, and currently in the midst of a 11-game hitting streak in which he's gone 16-for-42, Sweeney is looking like an offensive force with a .319/.394/.543 batting line, but scouts still think he'll have to move to first base before all is said and done.


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

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

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G. Guest

I was pretty sure you were going to highlight Desmond Jennings with his 3-4, BB, K night last night + 10 Game hit streak + .400 avg on the season.

Gorkys was a nice treat though. :)

For those wondering, Rancho Cucamonga is High-A.

May 20, 2009 10:06 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

Jennings had been great, but I also want to use this to get new names in there as well. I think Jennings has already been in here three times (and certainly earned it), while Gorkys has not. It's kind of like the Smoak call.

May 20, 2009 10:48 AM
 
G. Guest

I appreciate the new names as much as the 'old standbys'; I had just checked on Jennings this morning and thought to myself "I bet KG puts this in the MLU."

It will not be the last time I wrong today.

May 20, 2009 11:25 AM
rating: 0
 
jlebeck66

goo goo g'joob

May 20, 2009 10:21 AM
rating: 1
 
Jay Taylor

How long do you think the Cubs will wait to move Vitters to AA? Is he expected to spend the whole year in A?
Is it ok for me to start getting excited at the prospect of the Cubs system producing a hitter?

May 20, 2009 10:40 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

I could see him moving up to High-A Daytona later this year, but not AA this year.

As far as being excited, I had the guy as the No. 34 prospect in baseball coming in, so you should have already been excited, now even more so.

May 20, 2009 10:50 AM
 
Aaron/YYZ

Kevin, I know heading into the season you were a little down on FMart in the "Being young for your league only counts for so much if you never produce" sense. Any thoughts on his overall progress turning potential into results this year?

May 20, 2009 10:44 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

Highly optimistic.

May 20, 2009 10:50 AM
 
Max

On Fernando.
Crasnick says the following on the WWL's website: "There are also industry rumblings that he's older than 20. No surprise there."

Have you heard anything like this?

May 20, 2009 11:37 AM
rating: 0
 
Dan

Troy Patton's ERA makes him look like a future Ace, but his peripherals make him look more like a 5. Is reality somewhere in the middle?

May 20, 2009 11:33 AM
rating: 0
 
Paul5418

How about the entire Class High A High Desert team - led by Alex Liddi.

May 20, 2009 12:12 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

Liddi and Dunigan have both been mentioned in the past -- but remember, this is High Desert we're talking about. Dunigan's OPS is 474 points higher at home, while Liddi's is 385 points higher.

May 20, 2009 12:42 PM
 
losermix

re: Martinez - Do you think that this is a sign that Martinez is finally reaching his potential or just two (VERY) hot weeks? Also, regardless of whether the Mets bring him up, do you think he'll be at all ready to play in the big leagues this year? That walk rate is awfully troubling...

May 20, 2009 12:58 PM
rating: 0
 
fielding99

Do you think the Padres would give up Peavy for F-Mart?

May 20, 2009 13:42 PM
rating: -2
 
jlebeck66

How stupid should I feel for not having checked my Beloit schedule? Peoria comes to town, and Vitters gets 12 hits and 4 homers... Doh!!

Brett Lawrie comes through this weekend though. Seeing him Saturday.

May 21, 2009 07:13 AM
rating: 0
 
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