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August 6, 2009

Future Shock Blog

August 6

by Kevin Goldstein

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Great, now what do you do with him?

Pedro Martinez, RHP, Phillies (Double-A Reading)
Wednesday's stats: 6 IP, 5 H, 4 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 11 K
If anyone was wondering if ol' Pedro had anything left in his arm, the answer was a resounding yes. While he was hardly flawless, he nonetheless whiffed 11 of the 23 batters he faced. His fastball had some surprising giddy-up in it, touching 93 mph at times. Meanwhile, in the big leagues, J.A. Happ threw a shutout, so there's not exactly any room at the inn when it comes to the Phillies' rotation right now. One way or another, he'll be in the big leagues soon and, one way or another, he'll likely help the Phillies in October.

How can a guy hitting .329 have holes in his swing?

Chris Carter, 1B, Athletics (Double-A Midland)
Wednesday's stats: 3-for-4, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB, K
If there's a knock against Chris Carter, it's that he strikes out too much and, to be fair, he has already accumulated 102 punch-outs in 107 games. At the same time, he has gone borderline insane offensively, and with that has come a much reduced rate of swings and misses. In the midst of a 20-game hitting streak during which he's gone 37-for-79 (.468) with 24 runs, 21 RBIs and more walks (12) than strikeouts (11), the 22-year-old is firmly placing himself as one of the top sluggers in the minors with an overall batting line of .329/.425/.556.

Rolling, rolling, rolling . . .

Christian Friedrich, LHP, Rockies (High-A Modesto)
Wednesday's stats: 5.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R (0 ER), 3 BB, 10 K
Double-digit strikeout games are a bit of a rarity in the minors due to limited pitch count, so one is pretty special, three in a row is pretty insane, and that happening in the high-octane California League is borderline wacky. Friedrich did just that on Wednesday, lowering his Cal League ERA to a miniscule 1.50. With 128 whiffs in 93 1/3 innings across two levels, the guy certainly knows how to miss bats.

The quest for 30/30

Grant Desme, OF, Athletics (High-A Stockton)
Wednesday's stats: 3-for-4, 2 HR (14), 2 R, 3 RBI
After barely playing in his first two years due to a slew of injuries, Desme continues to make up for lost time. With a month to go in the season, he now has 25 bombs and 35 stolen bases in 38 attempts. The 129 whiffs in 109 games is a massive concern, but this kind of power/speed combinations don't exactly grow on trees.

Scouts nailed this one

Tommy Mendonca, 3B, Rangers (Short-Season Spokane)
Wednesday's stats: 3-for-4, 3 HR (7), 3 R, 3 RBI, K
A second-round pick in June out of Fresno State, Mendonca's reputation coming into the draft was as a guy with big-time power and a propensity for strikeouts. The first part of that equation was certainly on display Wednesday night, as Mendonca is now batting .305/.341/.568 in 30 games. However, with the single strikeout, he now has 43 in 118 at-bats. He has lots to like, but he also has lots to be concerned about.

Sleeper Alert!

Trayvon Robinson, OF, Dodgers (High-A Inland Empire)
Wednesday's stats: 2-for-5, 3B, HR (13), 2 RBI, K
A tenth-round pick in 2005 out of Crenshaw High in south-central Los Angeles, the same school that produced Darryl Strawberry, Robinson has been slow to develop, as he arrived as a raw athlete with a long way to go in becoming a baseball player. Sometimes those players just suddenly click, and Robinson is doing exactly that this year, with a .309/.377/.500 line that includes career high totals in the walk (46) and stolen base (41) columns. One additional note: It's hard to find players who actually hate their nickname, yet Robinson has achieved that goal, as teammates have nicknamed him "Seal" due to his facial resemblance to the pop star.


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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