July 17, 2009
Future Shock Blog
What's the name of this prospect? Explosivo!
Jason Heyward, OF, Braves (Double-A Mississippi)
Thursday's stats: 4-for-6, 2 2B, HR (1), 2 R, RBI
In his first 10 Double-A games, the 19-year-old outfielder is batting .417/.476/.639. He's suddenly developing at a tremendous pace, and one has to wonder if he's suddenly in line for a September look, as one of the reasons he stayed with the big league team so long this spring is that manager Bobby Cox just liked watching him play so much.
Enjoying his new home
Brandon Allen, 1B, Diamondbacks (Triple-A Reno)
Thursday's stats: 1-for-3, HR (2), R, RBI, BB
Allen spent most of 2009 with the White Sox, proving that last year's breakout was a very real thing. That was enough for the White Sox to flip him to Arizona this month to pick up Tony Pena for their bullpen, and Allen has continued to rake, now going 6-for-14 with 13 total bases and six RBIs in his first five Pacific Coast League games.
Waking up from a nightmare
Wilkin Ramirez, OF, Tigers (Triple-A Toledo)
Thursday's stats: 2-for-4, HR (10), R, 2 RBI, BB
After hitting .303 at Double-A last year with 19 home runs and 27 stolen bases, Ramirez entered the year as one of the top position players in the Tigers system sorely lacking in them. He was having a fine year until the calendar flipped to June, where he had about as miserable a month as one can have, batting .146 with 37 strikeouts in 89 at-bats. The good news is his July has been as good as his June was bad, as he's now 23-for-52 with a 1.233 OPS in 13 games .
Finally coming around?
Travis D'Arnaud, C, Phillies (Low-A Lakewood)
Thursday's stats: 4-for-5, 2B, 2 R, RBI, BB
I took a chance prior to the season, ranking D'Arnaud as the No. 4 prospect in the Phillies system prior to the season, and it wasn't looking good, as D'Arnaud's batting average was hovering around the Mendoza line until mid-June. A talk with a scout, who said, "How can a guy that good be hitting only .200?" gave some hope, and things finally seem to be coming around. The 2007 supplemental first-round pick is now 11-for-24 with five doubles in his last five games.
A surprising amount of polish for a diamond in the rough
Logan Watkins, 2B, Cubs (Short-season Boise)
Thursday's stats: 5-for-6, 2B, 3 R, RBI
The Cubs gave Watkins a $500,000 bonus last year based on the amount of athleticism he packed into his 5-foot-11 frame, but what they didn't expect was such a sound approach and smooth line drive swing. You want hot? How's 16-for-23 in his last five games and an overall batting line of .344/.415/.409?
Michael Tonkin, RHP, Twins (Rookie-Level GCL Twins)
Thursday's stats: 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 15 K
Ignore the fact that Tonkin was a 30th-round pick last year out of a California high school, focus on the fourth-round level bonus he received, and his ceiling is even higher than that. At 6-foot-7, Tonkin oozes projection, he already up to 94 mph with his fastball and, as you can see, when he's on, he's fabulous. A complicated delivery with a lot of moving parts needs to be smoothed out so he can be on more.
Kevin Goldstein is an author of Baseball Prospectus.
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