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August 4, 2009

Future Shock Blog

August 4

by Kevin Goldstein

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Just confusing

Drew Stubbs, OF, Reds (Triple-A Louisville)
Monday's stats: 3-for-4, 3 R, 2 RBI, BB, SB
So the Reds keep throwing Willy Taveras out in center field pretty much every day, despite the fact that he's pulling off the rare double threat of both an on-base percentage and slugging percentage under .300. Meanwhile, Stubbs is now batting .281/.370/.375 at Triple-A, and his numbers are brought down by a June slump. He's nearly as fast as Taveras, a better basestealer (42-for-49 in his attempts), and arguably the best defensive center fielder in the minor leagues. Basically, he's just a flat-out better baseball player on every level and deserves a shot.

Starting off on the right foot

Jason Kipnis, OF, Indians (Short-Season Mahoning Valley)
Monday's stats: 2-for-2, 3B, 2 R, RBI, SB
A second-round pick in June out of Arizona State, most thought Kipnis would go higher than 63rd overall, but he signed quickly for a $575,000 bonus and then saw his debut delayed by a minor elbow injury. Given just two at-bats last night in his first professional game, Kipnis singled in his first at-bat, stolen second, and came around to score later in the inning, then lashed a triple in his second at-bat (scoring later again), before getting the rest of the night off. He has a smooth swing, gap power, solid speed, and could end up making many teams wonder why they passed on him.

Not him, the other guy

Shane Peterson, OF, Athletics (Double-A Midland)
Monday's stats: 2-for-4, K
When the A's flipped Matt Holliday to the Cardinals, all anyone could talk about in the return package was third baseman Brett Wallace, last year's first-round pick who was already at Triple-A. However, don't forget about Peterson. Last year's second-round pick by the Cardinals out of Long Beach State, Peterson combines a downright pretty line-drive swing from the left side with above-average speed, and he's hitting .341/.400/.488 in 10 games since arriving on Midland's roster.

Just needs to stay healthy

Drew Cumberland, SS, Padres (Low-A Fort Wayne)
Monday's stats: 3-for-6, RBI
A supplemental first-round pick in 2007, a slew of ailments limited Cumberland to just 58 games in his pro debut. This year, the injury bug has struck once again, as he has played only 56 games so far in 2009. The frustrating thing is that when he plays, he's really good. A flashy athlete with a good approach, an excellent feel for contact and great instincts for the game, Cumberland is batting .308/.394/.408 in his limited playing time, and he has not many adjustments away from taking off as much as he simply needs to stay away from the trainer's table.

Call me crazy, I still believe in the guy

Jai Miller, OF, Marlins (Triple-A New Orleans)
Monday's stats: 3-for-3, 2B, HR (10), R, RBI, 2 BB
Now in his seventh year as a pro, Miller's prospect light faded some time ago, but he's still a relatively young at 24 and batting .294/.360/.515. He makes up for a high strikeout rate with decent on-base skills and solid all-around athleticism. If you are looking for a cheap bench outfield option, you could do worse than Miller.

Sleeper Alert!

Keon Broxton, OF, Diamondbacks (Rookie-level Missoula)
Monday's stats: 1-for-4, HR (6), R, 4 RBI, 2 K
A third-round pick this June out of a small Florida community college, Broxton is a pure tools bet, an excellent athlete who one scout compared physically to a defensive back in center field. His 45 strikeouts in 137 at-bats show that he's still raw like sushi, but with six triples and six home runs in 138 at-bats, he has also been one of the Pioneer League's most exciting players.


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

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

BP Comment Quick Links

basejaw

Kevin, I know its off topic, but did you see Feliz' debut last night? I know it was the A's, but it made the implosion by CJ Wilson a little easier to stomach. He was utterly dominant!

Aug 04, 2009 08:51 AM
rating: 0
 
Ira

Let me add a OMFG to that. What the NFL gameday called his strikeout pitches to the first two batters he faced "fastballs" were actually 90 MPH changeups. His fastball reminded me of... well... I guess it reminded me of the stories of Nolan Ryan's fastball from the 70's. the surprise of his two innings wasn't the 4 strikeouts, it was that the last two guys managed to make contact.

Aug 04, 2009 10:29 AM
rating: 0
 
basejaw

I know...did you see the movement on those to changes. Pure nastiness.

Aug 04, 2009 10:38 AM
rating: 0
 
billm21

Watching him pitch on TV reminded me of the first time I saw him in person, shortly after the Rangers acquired him. The Rangers staff in Instructional League really didn't know who he was. He came in the game in the 9th inning throwing pure cheese, striking out the first two batters and getting the last hitter on a weak ground ball to second base. The explosiveness of his pitches just overwhelms you.

Aug 04, 2009 11:41 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

I told ya he was good.

Aug 04, 2009 11:22 AM
 
buffum
(458)

Is there a functional difference between Kipnis and Trevor Crowe? I'm not all that thrilled with the Crowe version, nice weekend notwithstanding.

Aug 04, 2009 09:11 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

I understand the comp, but I do think there are differences. I think Crowe probably has a better approach, but I think Kipnis might be a more sound pure hitter.

Aug 04, 2009 11:23 AM
 
timburns116

Kevin, I'd like to see Stubbs too, but they Taveras for a second year, they want Stubbs to hit for power (and he isn't), and, most importantly, he's not on the 40 man (although I understand Edinson Volquez was just nice enough to clear a spot.

I don't much understand those reasons, but those are the ones they give. I suspect it might have something to do with Dusty's faith in Taveras and an arbitration clock for stubbs, but I could be wrong.

Aug 04, 2009 12:00 PM
rating: -1
 
guernsey
(50)

Walt Jocketty was queried about Stubbs a couple of weeks ago, and his response was that Drew was 'working on some things'. Later an unnamed scout told a Cincy writer that the scout figured the Reds were leaving Stubbs in AAA so as 'not to expose his holes'. In other words, Stubbs has greater trade value as a AAA prospect than as a failed major league debut.

Aug 04, 2009 12:24 PM
rating: 0
 
vtadave

Broxton - any relativese in the big leagues?

Aug 04, 2009 14:36 PM
rating: -1
 
Fresh Hops

Was the Reds interest in Taveras ever anything but just confusing? Seriously, why not put Jay Bruce out there and see if he develops the instincts to exceed his body?

Aug 04, 2009 21:58 PM
rating: 0
 
Conjunction

Any chance we'll see a writeup on the Feliz appearance? There's an information overload on the kid right now, but still... it makes my baseball pants super-happy.

Aug 05, 2009 05:48 AM
rating: 0
 
BERSMR

I've always thought of batting average on balls in play as something on which you could get lucky, perhaps for an extended period. But contact is a skill, and when you have only struck out 2 times in your last 37 at bats, around 10% on over your last 100 at bats, and your name is Chris Carter, that says to me that something important and different is going on with him. Whether he can maintain an improved contact rate at the next level is what we now need to know--isn't he ready for a shot at AAA, wouldn't a little acceleration ahead of one level a year be in order here?

Aug 07, 2009 05:01 AM
rating: 0
 
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