August 18, 2009
Future Shock Blog
A new way of doing things?
Chris Young, OF, Diamondbacks (Triple-A Reno)
Monday's stats: 1-for-3, HR (1), 3 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB, K
Between Young and Milwaukee's J.J. Hardy, we might be seeing a new trend. Got a young star suddenly struggling in the big leagues? Send him to the minors. Not only does it give him an opportunity to figure things out, but it also just might get you an extra year of cost control. Conspiracy theories aside, Young seems to be getting the bat going at least, reaching base ten times in his first four games while blasting his first Triple-A home run in more than three years.
Replacing Victor Martinez?
Lou Marson, C, Indians (Triple-A Columbus)
Monday's stats: 2-for-4, RBI
Coming over from Philadelphia in the Cliff Lee deal, Marson was seemingly just starting to hit at Triple-A before the deal went down, and he's hasn't skipped a beat since. With back-to-back multi-hit games, he's now batting .340/.404/.383 in his first 13 games with the Clippers. An on-base machine with little power, he's lining himself up well to compete for the big league job this spring.
Meanwhile, in other new Tribe news
Nick Hagadone, LHP, Indians (Low-A Lake County)
Monday's stats: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K
Another player received at the deadline, Hagadone continues to impress in his return from Tommy John surgery, as he's now limiting opposing batters to a .154 batting average while recording 45 strikeouts in 33 2/3 innings. He'll be kept on a short leash for the remainder of the season, but he could be poised for a 2010 breakout.
Where there's smoke . . .
Josh Vitters, 3B, Cubs (High-A Daytona)
Monday's stats: 3-for-4, 2B, RBI; 2-for-3
After setting the Midwest League on fire during the first half of the year, Vitters' Florida State League experience has yet to reach even a smoldering stage. It took him 29 games to launch his first home run in the pitching-friendly environs of Florida, but he followed that up with a 5-for-7 double-header and he hasn't struck out for five games.
The value of a head start
Mike Trout, OF, Angels (Rookie-Level AZL Angels)
Monday's stats: 2-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI, BB, SB
While plenty of youngsters finally signed their first contract on Monday, Trout continued to blow away scouts with his pro debut. A toolsy player who was seen as quite raw due to a rural New Jersey background, Trout hasn't surprised anyone with his well above-average speed, as evidenced by six triples and 11 stoles bases in 31 games, but his patient approach and quick bat have been a bit of a revelation, as he's now 30-for-68 (.441) in his last 16 contests and batting .373/.434/.548 overall.
Adron Chambers, OF, Cardinals (High-A Palm Beach)
Monday's stats: 2-for-4, 2B, 3 RBI
Despite hitting just .238 in his full-season debut last year at Low-A Quad Cities, scouts couldn't help but to at least be intrigued by Chambers' raw tools. Raw was the key word here, but clearly something has started to click, as Chambers is batting .324 since the All-Star break and .294/.375/.414 overall. With 15 triples, 20 stolen bases and a solid walk rate, he's gone from intriguing to a guy some see as a future bench outfielder, or maybe even second division starter.
Kevin Goldstein is an author of Baseball Prospectus.
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