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September 11, 2009

Future Shock Blog

September 11

by Kevin Goldstein

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I'm going to do some experiments with the MLU for the rest of the year, so feedback on the different formats you'll see here and there are appreciated.

In Person Report

Tim Melville, RHP, Royals (Low-A Burlington)

Thursday's stats: 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 3 K
Background: Melville was a fourth-round pick in 2008 (DOB: 10/9/89); he signed for $1.25 million bonus. He entered spring of 2008 as one of-if not the best-high school righty in the draft, but inconsistent performance led to some concerns. Joining the Burlington rotation in late May, Melville posted a 3.79 ERA in 21 starts (97.1-89-43-96). No dramatic splits or ground-ball rate, but his strikeout rate increased throughout season.

Physical Description/Mechanics: Listed at 6-foot-5 and 210 pounds, he might be bigger than that. He has a thick, sturdy frame with big legs and wide shoulders. Melville throws from an upright delivery with a high release point that lets him take advantage of his height; there is clean arm action, a smooth and effortless delivery. He uses his lower body well, with no obvious undue stress on the joints.

Stuff Report: His fastball sat at 92-93 mph, with plenty of 94s thrown in every inning. It has some boring action at times, coming in a bit on lefties. He has a tendency to elevate the pitch sometimes, but its velocity and movement are impressive. The curveball is a true out pitch when he commands it, coming in as a 75-78 mph big, big breaker that he froze batters with while also using it as a chase pitch. His command of the pitch came and went throughout the night, and he flattened some early in the game. As the night went on, it become harder, with more spin. He also threw a handful of 80 mph changeups; he has some feel for changing speeds, but he needs to work on his arm action.

2010 Destination: High-A

MLB ETA: 2012

Major League Ceiling: Good third starter, and maybe even a bit more.

Summary: It's really just a matter of achieving consistency. In the innings when the velocity, command, and curveball were all there, he was right up there with the best pitchers I saw in the league this year, but his performance needs to be mitigated by the fact that Kane County's lineup is just plain bad.

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Quick Hits

Tyler Greene, SS, Cardinals (Triple-A Memphis)

Thursday's stats: 2-for-4, HR, 2 R, RBI, BB, K, CS
Is this guy a sleeper of some sort? The 2005 first-round pick has had an up-and-down career and is already 26, but in just 89 Triple-A games this year, he has 15 home runs, 31 stolen bases and an 851 OPS.

Chris Carter, 1B, Athletics (Triple-A Sacramento)

Thursday's stats: 1-for-4, HR, RBI, 2 K
Two playoff games and two home runs for Carter; I'm very interested in seeing what kind of look he gets next spring.

Wilson Ramos, C, Twins (Double-A New Britain)

Thursday's stats: 4-for-5, 2B, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI
He's had an injury-plagued season, but he hit .333/.368/.472 down the stretch once healthy. The Twins obviously don't need catching, so he could be their top trade chip.

Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B, Indians (Double-A Akron)

Thursday's stats: 3-for-3, R, BB
He went 5-for-6 in two post-season games, and I have yet to find a scout who doesn't adore everything about his swing.

Jeff Bianchi, SS, Royals (Double-A Northwest Arkansas)

Thursday's stats: 2-for-5, HR, R, RBI, K
Like Carter, he's hit two homers in two playoff games. He's 22 years old, and hit for .300+ averages at High- and Double-A with gap power and 22 stolen bases. He might not be a shortstop, but he's definitely some kind of prospect.

David Lough, OF, Royals (Double-A Northwest Arkansas)

Thursday's stats: 4-for-5, 2B, HR, 2 R, RBI, K
Breakout confirmed...

Wynn Pelzer, RHP, Padres (High-A Lake Elsinore)

Thursday's stats: 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 7 K
A nice sleeper pick as an athletic right-hander who held his own in the Cal League with above-average velocity and a solid slider.

Christian Friedrich, LHP, Rockies (High-A Modesto)

Thursday's stats: 5 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 10 K
He got hit around a bit, but Friedrich continued to miss bats at an outstanding rate; he's still one of the top lefty prospects around.

Tommy Mendonca, 3B, Rangers (High-A Bakersfield)

Thursday's stats: 2-for-5, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 3 K
The second-round pick showed everything he can do in one night, delivering tons of power and an alarming strikeout rate.

Rudy Owens, LHP, Pirates (High-A Lynchburg)

Thursday's stats: 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K
A breakout pitcher in the Pirates' system continued to shine; his fastball and changeup are both very impressive.

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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