June 30, 2009
Future Shock Blog
From shortstop of the future to trade chip?
Reid Brignac, SS, Rays (Triple-A Durham)
Monday's stats: 3-for-4, 3 2B, R, RBI
Back when the Rays traded for Jason Bartlett prior to the 2008 season, he was seen as little more than a placeholder for Brignac, but after Bartlett shored up the defense on last year's American League champs while taking a huge step forward offensively this year, one wonders if Brignac is suddenly one of most valuable properties Tampa has when it comes to possible deals. He can play the position, he's pretty much big league ready, and with a trio of consecutive three-hit games, the bat is looking better than it has in three years.
Logically, he should have five hits tomorrow
Michael Taylor, OF, Phillies (Double-A Reading)
Monday's stats: 4-for-5, 2 2B, RBI, K
After two hits on Saturday and three on Sunday, Taylor upped the ante a bit with his second four-hit effort of the season (he also had a five-hit game in May). One of the more frequent names to show up on the Minor League Updates this year, it's for good reason, as he's now 18-for-33 in his last eight games and batting .351/.414/.600 overall. All of sudden, he's in the picture for some kind of look at the end of the year, and could get the opportunity to at least force some difficult decisions by the Phillies next year in a crowded outfield picture.
Going above and beyond
Tyler Flowers, C, White Sox (Double-A Birmingham)
Monday's stats: 4-for-4, RBI, BB, SB
Sure he reached base in all five plate appearances, but how cool is it that a 250-pound catcher stole a base while gunning down Mobile's only attempting thief? Now batting .346/.447/.641 in 23 June games, Flowers could be moving up soon, and with a White Sox team possibly on the verge of a major overhaul, Flowers' future will certainly play a role in many big decisions that are made.
Trying to get his groove back
Chris Marrero, 1B, Nationals (High-A Potomac)
Monday's stats: 3-for-5, 2B, HR (10), R, 2 RBI, K
A first-round pick in 2006, Marrero had a breakout campaign in his full-season debut, but last year's showing was a combination of too many visits to the buffet table and a broken leg, as he hit just .250/.325/.453 in 70 games. Back at Potomac this year, Marrero got off to a slow start, but now has three home runs in his last two games while hitting .288/.345/.458 overall.
Are we taking him seriously yet?
Pat Venditte, RHP and LHP, Yankees (High-A Tampa)
Monday's stats: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K
Sure it's a novelty act on a lot of levels, but after putting up a 1.47 ERA at Low-A Charleston to go with 40 strikeouts and two walks in 30.2 innings, everyone's favorite ambidextrous pitcher had a perfect Florida State League debut, getting three straight groundballs to preserve a 6-1 victory. The stuff still fails to impress, but as long as he keeps getting it done, he'll keep moving up the ladder and getting chances to prove his doubters wrong.
Derrik Gibson, SS/2B, Red Sox (Short-Season Lowell)
Monday's stats: 3-for-3, 2B, R, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 2 SB
A second-round pick last June, Gibson has true leadoff skills, as he understands the strike zone very well for a teenager. He has already drawn 10 walks against just 34 at-bats while featuring plus-plus speed. While it's very early, it sure looks like he can hit too, as he's now 16-for-34 in ten games with the Spinners.
Monday's box score reports
Kevin Goldstein is an author of Baseball Prospectus.
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