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August 5, 2009

Future Shock Blog

August 5

by Kevin Goldstein

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The true sign of a superstar

Jason Heyward, OF, Braves (Double-A Mississippi)
Tuesday's stats: 2-for-3, HBP
There's an old scouting adage, that it's not what players do when the entire team is hitting, it's what they do in losses when the rest of the team isn't hitting, The M-Braves managed just one runs on seven hits last night, but that didn't stop Heyward from reaching base three more times, upping his averages to .422/.505/.722 in 27 Southern League games. What else can one say? The guy is just a monster.

Is there a pitching version of the Josh Vitters rule?

Daniel Hudson, RHP, White Sox (Double-A Birmingham)
Tuesday's stats: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K
Basically, as long as Hudson keeps putting goose eggs up on the scoreboard, he's going to keep earning a mention. Now 7-0 in nine starts since his promotion to Double-A, Hudson has fired 26 scoreless innings in his last four outings, while giving up just 12 hits, walking four, and striking out 30. With above-average command of above-average stuff, he's now the best pitching prospect in the system after the Sox sent four arms to the Padres for Jake Peavy.

You want hot?

Pedro Alvarez, 3B, Pirates (Double-A Altoona)
Tuesday's stats: 3-for-6, 2 2B, HR (8), 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 K
On July 10th, Alvarez went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts, dropping his Eastern League batting average to a lowly .214. Since then, he's been among the most dangerous hitters on the circuit, batting .380/.470/.690 in his last 20 games, while also making just one error in the field. Despite all of the moves the Pirates have made over the last 12 months, Alvarez remains the centerpiece of their system. He could be in line for a very serious look next spring.

Proving worthy of the big promotion

Buster Posey, C, Giants, (Triple-A Fresno)
Tuesday's stats: 2-for-4, 2B, HR (1), 2 R, 4 RBI, BB
After spending the first two-thirds of the season in the California League, batting a healthy .326/.428/.540, the Giants double-jumped him to Triple-A in order to better prepare him for what could be a 2010 Opening Day assignment in the big leagues. After struggling initially, he's beginning to find his timing against far more advanced pitching, hitting his first Pacific Coast League home run last night. With as many walks (10) as strikeouts in 66 at-bats and seven doubles, many scouts think he's nearly ready for that big jump.

Still something there

Kyle Skipworth, C, Marlins, (Low-A Greensboro)
Tuesday's stats: 2-for-3, 2 HR (7), 3 R, 3 RBI, BB
The sixth overall pick in last year's draft, Skipworth's full-season debut has been a disappointment by any measurement, as even with his best game of the year last night, he's batting .207/.261/.348. One of those bombs was estimated at 450 feet, and that's the thing. You don't need more than two hands to measure the number of 19-year-old who can display that kind of pop (even if it's rarely), so you can't give up on him yet, despite the overall numbers.

Sleeper alert!

Sebastian Valle, C, Phillies (Short-Season Williamsport)
Tuesday's stats: 2-for-3, 2B, R, 2 RBI, K
Signed out of Mexico in 2007, Valle began the year in the South Atlantic League, but at 18, he was simple overmatched in a full-season league, batting just .217 in one home run in 41 games. The Phillies brought him back to extended spring, made some adjustments in his swing, and he has been one of the New York-Penn League's best since reporting to Williamsport, batting .352/.382/.624. His fantastic bat speed and projectable power excite scouts, but his defensive reviews are a bit troubling, with many wondering if he can stay behind the plate long term.


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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