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June 2, 2009

Future Shock Blog

June 2

by Kevin Goldstein

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Movin' on up . . .

Yonder Alonso, 1B, Reds (Double-A Carolina)
Monday's stats: 3-for-4, 2 2B, 2 R, 3 RBI, BB, K
The Reds top pick in 2008, Alonso was in the midst of a 14-game hitting streak in the Florida State League, batting .302/.378/.503 overall, when he got moved up to Double-A, where his debut in the Southern League was a rousing success. It's far too early to speculate about Joey Votto, so look at this move as the Reds simply hedging their bets, if anything. .

Houston, we have liftoff

Ross Seaton, RHP, Astros (Low-A Lexington)
Monday's stats: 9 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K
A projectable, six-foot-four righty who got an over-slot bonus of $700,000 in the third round last year, Seaton hasn't missed a ton of bats this year, striking out just 30 in 59 innings, but you can't see he hasn't been effective. Including the best start of his pro career on Monday, Seaton has allowed zero or one earned run in eight of ten outings, and his 2.44 ERA ranks seventh in the Sally League. His fastball, slider and changeup all rate as average, and he could become scary if one develops into an out pitch.

Next time, he's might get the chance instead of Bailey

Matt Maloney, LHP, Reds (Triple-A Louisville)
Monday's stats: 9 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 10 K
A third-round pick in 2005 by the Phillies who came over in a 2007 trade, Maloney has never been run up the ladder as a prospect, as he generally sits in the upper 80s and depends far more on location and movement as opposed to overwhelming stuff. The thing is, he's exceptionally good at what he does, allowing just three earned runs over 37 innings in his last five starts. He could be getting a look very soon, and should work fine as a back-of-the-rotation starter. .

Hard to get a hold of

Lucus Duda, 1B/OF, Mets (Double-A Binghamton)
Monday's stats: 1-for-1, R, 2 RBI, 4 BB
Dude presents a strange set of skills. He's one of the better pure hitters in the Mets' system, and at six-foot-four and 225 pounds he certainly looks the part, but he's never really hit for power, and has just two home runs in 160 at-bats this year. He's suddenly added extreme plate discipline to his repertoire, however, walking 11 times in his last seven games, and 34 times overall in 46 games, giving him an overall line of .294/.415/.400. It's not going to work at first base, and a sudden occasional move to left field doesn't really help him much, as the offensive expectations don't change much, so if anything, we're just letting you know he's out there as a 'maybe' kind of guy.

Making advances

Mike McKenry, C, Rockies (Double-A Tulsa)
Monday's stats: 1-for-3, HR (6), R, 2 RBI
McKenry had a breakout season in the California League, but Double-A has proven to be much more of a challenge. Making slow and steady improvements throughout the year, McKenry has gone deep in back-to-back games and all of a sudden has a pretty impressive line of .258/.355/.477 in 37 games. It hard to see him ever passing Chris Iannetta on the Colorado depth chart, but scouts are convinced he's a big leaguer.

Sleeper alert!

Danny Espinosa, SS, Nationals (High-A Potomac)
Monday's stats: 3-for-4, CS
A 9-for-16 run in his last five games have lifted Espinosa's batting average to .259, but that hardly tells the whole story here. A third-round pick last year out of Long Beach State, Espinosa is a solid, fundamentally sound defender who is loading with secondary skills at the plate, as 19 of his 43 hits have gone for extra bases (including nine home runs), while he's also drawn 28 walks against 166 at-bats, giving him an overall line of .259/.385/.482. He's kind of the anti- Christian Guzman, where he's worth for more than his batting average, as opposed to far less.


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

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

BP Comment Quick Links

buffum
(458)

Lucus Duda as Mark Teahen?

Jun 02, 2009 09:33 AM
rating: 0
 
DGBL

Apparently, Seaton might not be throwing his slider this year, a pitch BA called "devastating." In an interview, Lyles said pitchers only throw a FB, CB and a change in Lexington. In another interview, Seaton said "I’m trying to master the curve ball and bring back the slider after I master the curve ball."

Jun 02, 2009 09:42 AM
rating: 3
 
jesse.burkhart

So Alonso's call-up immediately makes him the No. 1 Mudcat prospect. But with Juan Francisco's all-or-nothing mentality and Todd Frazier's move to the outfield, is Chris Heisey - who has a chance to play a more demanding defensive position, center field - making a case to be No. 2?

Jun 02, 2009 10:38 AM
rating: 0
 
G. Guest

Matt Maloney = Clayton Richard ?

Jun 02, 2009 11:31 AM
rating: 0
 
boards

Do the minor leagues not report pitch counts? Every box score I've looked at for minor league games does not list pitc counts for the pitchers. It does include batters faced and GB-FB splits.

I understand the need to control the work young pitchers are doing in the minors, particularly the lower levels. That's why I'd like to know how many pitches Seaton threw in his complete game. I like seeing the occasional complete game out of a minor leaguer (as it seems quite rare). Kudos for letting the kid stretch it out and get the complete game shutout, but not if stretching it out means they let him go 130 pitches (which I doubt). I'd also like to know how this game's pitch count will affect his next outing or the if he had been held back in prior outings.

In contrast, Madison Bumgarner, who was born the same month as Seaton, has been held to 6 innings in his first three AA outings and 5 in the last outing. Given his performance, I'd assume he was on a strict pitch or inning count, I'd like to see if his pitch counts are fluctuating or staying consistent with the similar number of innings.

In short, I'd like to be able to tell how organizations are developing their starting pitchers' workloads. To what degree are they slowly (or not so slowly) stretching them out or are they being extremely conservative across the board or only with certain pitchers. I can't tell that from any of the game information that I have found. I've tried MiLB.com, BA, and baseball-reference.

Anyone have any other ideas that might have this data?

Jun 02, 2009 11:59 AM
rating: 0
 
sdshelby

I saw all four games of Augusta at Lexington. I wasn't paying as close attention last night since I was with a couple friends and their one-year-old son. But due to some combination of Seaton pounding the strike zone and Augusta not taking too many pitches, I suspect that Seaton's pitch count was pretty low last night. I would not be surprised if it was under 90. In the 9th inning, Seaton threw three pitches, getting an out on each of the three pitches.

Jun 02, 2009 14:10 PM
rating: 1
 
hessshaun

Is the park in Louisville a cavern?

Jun 04, 2009 06:44 AM
rating: 0
 
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