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August 3, 2009

Future Shock Blog

by Kevin Goldstein

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The next big thing?

Martin Perez, LHP, Rangers (Low-A Hickory)
Sunday's stats: 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 9 K
Only 18 years old and already heading a full-season team's rotation, the Rangers had strictly managed Perez' workload this year. He has been limited to just five innings all year, which has rarely allowed him to have the one huge day on a statistical level. His season totals loom awfully large, as he has a 2.33 ERA and 105 strikeouts in 92 2/3 innings, and is limiting the Sally League to a .233 batting average. A bit small for a power pitcher, any concerns about his size are quickly brushed aside once he unleashes his sinking fastball and power curve, but of which already rate as plus offerings.

Making a good first impression

Jess Todd, RHP, Indians (Triple-A Columbus)
Sunday's stats: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K
The player to be named later from the Cardinals in the Mark DeRosa deal, Todd was converted to a closer role this year and was on the brink of the big leagues before being sent to Cleveland. So far, he has retired 12 of 13 batters he faced since the trade, including seven by strikeout, and his short, stocky frame and impressive sinker/slider combo had one scout comparing him to a right-handed Randy Myers.

Big step backwards

Josh Fields, RHP, Mariners (Double-A West Tenn)
Sunday's stats: 2.1 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 1 K
A first-round pick as a college senior last year, Fields' mid- to-upper-90s velocity and wipeout slider had many believing he could reach the big leagues by the end of the year. Instead, we enter the last month of the season and his Double-A ERA sits at 6.48. Even more a matter of concern is the fact that the fastball has generally been in the 88-91 mph range, leaving scouts wondering what the big deal was in the first place.

Finally finding a home?

Todd Frazier, 2B, Reds (Double-A Carolina)
Sunday's stats: 2-for-4, 3B, RBI, K
A supplemental first-round pick in 2007, Frazier was a shortstop in college and began there as a pro, but since than he's taken a slow road on the downside of the defensive spectrum, moving to third base, followed by an outfield corner outfield and, at times, first base. As an infielder he was an impressive offensive prospect, but as a left fielder or first baseman he was average at best. Suddenly at second base since the end of July and hitting .302/.357/.497 overall, the Reds suddenly are dreaming on Frazier turning into a Jeff Kent-esque offensive-oriented second baseman.

Batting average isn't everything

Reese Havens SS, Mets (High-A St. Lucie)
Sunday's stats: 4-for-6, 2B, HR (10), 2 R, 4 RBI, K
A first-round pick last June out of South Carolina, Havens' full-season debut hasn't been filled with a lot of highlights, save for last night's onslaught. He's missed significant time to injuries and is hitting just .237 on the year, but a closer look gives you reasons to be an optimist, including ten home runs and 37 walks in 241 at-bats. There's no reason to write him off at this point.

Sleeper alert!

Koby Clemens, C, Astros (High-A Lancaster)
Sunday's stats: 3-for-4, 2B, HR (14), 2 R, 3 RBI, K
The fact that Clemens was the son of Roger certainly played a role in the Astros selecting Koby in the eighth round in 2005, and he did little to justify the selection, nor his $380,000 bonus, until this year. The offensive haven that is Lancaster's Clear Channel Stadium is a perfect place for a breakout, and the 22-year-old converted third baseman is doing just that, batting .340/.415/.617 with 88 RBI in 84 games. The ballpark is certainly playing a role, but there is some kind of real progress being made here as well.

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

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