May 21, 2009
Future Shock Blog
Maybe this was real after all
Brandon Crawford, SS, Giants (Double-A Connecticut)
Wednesday's stats: 2-for-4, HR (1), R, RBI, SB
A fourth-round pick last June out of UCLA, Crawford was identified as a sleeper going into the year for his impressive set of tools, despite having never put it all together. A .371/.445/.600 line in 25 Cal League games created plenty of excitement, but a move to Double-A would be the real test. So far, so good, as Crawford is batting .366/.395/.537 in his first 10 Eastern League contests, and is close to officially earning the title of break out.
Welcome to the professional ranks
Tim Melville, RHP, Royals (Low-A Burlington)
Wednesday's stats: 6 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K
One of the top high school right-handers in last year's draft, Melville slipped to the fourth round due to bonus demands, but signed at the deadline for $1.25 million. The late signing prevented him from getting his debut in last year, and he began this year in extended spring training before reporting to Burlington last night, where he retired 17 of the 20 batters he faced. Six-foot-five and ultra-projectable, Melville already throws in the low 90s, features a plus curve, and could prove to be quite the steal.
The extra 'R' is for results
Jenrry Mejia, RHP, Mets (High-A St. Lucie)
Wednesday's stats: 7 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 7 K
At only six-feet tall and more than a bit skinny, Mejia hardly cuts an imposing figure on the mound. However, once he starts unleashing mid-90s heat with sink and touching 98, hitters are plenty intimidated. His size and lack of a deep arsenal has some thinking his future is in the bullpen, but in his last four Florida State League starts, he's allowed just one earned run in 26 innings, lowering his ERA to 1.82.
Power from unexpected sources
Scott Sizemore, 2B, Tigers (Double-A Erie)
Wednesday's stats: 2-for-5, HR (8), R, 2 RBI
Sizemore entered the year with one of these reputations as a guy who doesn't blow you away with his tools, but he swings a quick bat, works the count well and gives you maximum effort every time out. The fact that he's hitting .314 this year, isn't a big surprise, nor is the 23 walks and the .407 on-base percentage. It's the power, as last night's home run doubles his previous season high of four, and he's needed just 153 at-bats to get there. He's got a much brighter blip on the prospect radar these days, as scouts are buzzing a bit.
Getting the hang of things?
Engel Beltre, OF, Rangers (High-A Bakersfield)
Wednesday's stats: 2-for-3, HR (2), R, RBI, BB
Beltre was certainly the most exciting player in the Midwest League, as he was not only the youngest player in the league, but also possessed the best all-around set of tools with well above-average speed, raw power and arm strength. All of that was tempered by an unbridled approach that led to just 15 walks in 130 games. His out of control style caught up to him in the Cal League, as he hit just .178 in April, but he's made some adjustments, is laying off more breaking balls in the dirt and hitting .344/.403/.508 in May. He'll be 19 years old all season long, so the scary thing is there is still plenty of growth.
Making up for lost time
Hector Gomez, SS, Rockies (High-A Modesto)
Wednesday's stats: 3-for-4, 2 HR (4), 2 R, 4 RBI
A stress fracture in his leg and Tommy John surgery limited Gomez to a grand total of one at-bat last year, but the toolsy 21-year-old Dominican is quickly catching up. A defensive stalwart with a quick bat and wiry strength, Gomez power has come in spurts, as his four home runs on the year have come in a pair of two-homer games. Strangeness aside, his .304/.333/.533 start has Rockies officials very optimistic.
Kevin Goldstein is an author of Baseball Prospectus.
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