Updates on Rymer Liriano, Kyle Schwarber, Jesse Winker, and more.
Hitter of the Night: Rymer Liriano, OF, Padres (El Paso, AAA): 3-4, 3 R, 2 HR. Liriano has long been a favorite of scouts because of the body/athleticism/tools combination he projects. While he reached the upper level of the minors (and the majors for a cameo last season), he still has yet to show an approach at the plate that will allow that skill set to manifest itself. He was exposed last season versus major-league pitching, and his road to at-bats at Petco is now blocked with a full outfield, but a season in Triple-A to refine things isn’t the worst thing in the world for the 24-year-old.
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Updates on Monte Harrison, Brent Honeywell, Tyler Kolek, and more.
Hitter of the Night: Monte Harrison, OF, Brewers (Wisconsin, A-): 2-3, 3 R, 2 HR, BB, K. The 2014 second-round pick delivered a strong showing in 50 games at rookie ball last summer. However, it’s been a rough start for Harrison in his first taste of full-season ball. He’s been exploited by more advanced pitchers and hasn’t shown the same patient approach he did in the complex league. His size and quick-twitch athleticism give him the potential for a premium power/speed combo, but having split time with football as an amateur has left him raw and unrefined at present. There will be days like this, where Harrison looks like the best player on the field and others where he looks lost, making for a long, but potentially rewarding developmental road for he and the Brewers.
Updates on Nick Gordon, Carlos Correa, Billy McKinney, and more.
Hitter of the Night: Billy McKinney, OF, Cubs (Myrtle Beach, A+): 2-5, R, HR, BB. McKinney has been overlooked within the Cubs farm system since joining their ranks last season because his tools don’t scream as loudly as those of Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, or the newly promoted Addison Russell, but in most systems, a player who just completed a successful season in High-A ball as a 19-year-old would be near the top. Now 20, McKinney is back in the Carolina League after being promoted aggressively before the 2014 season, and has now managed to appear in all three High-A leagues within a 12-month span. McKinney’s best tool is his bat, and he has the chance to hit in the .290-.300 range in the big leagues. A simple swing and strong approach, McKinney doesn’t hit for a ton of power but makes up for it with a strong feel for the barrel and high contact rates. With the inevitable depletion of the Cubs system due to graduations, McKinney should be getting a lot more attention as the season progresses, as well as an eventual promotion to Double-A.
Updates on Corey Seager, Julio Urias, Mark Appel, and more.
Hitter of the Day: Corey Seager, 3B, Dodgers (Tulsa, AA): 2-4, 2 R, 3B, HR. Great hitter, off to a fantastic start, yada yada yada. There’s not much else to say about Seager’s bat that hasn’t already been said. He’s just a great hitter. It’s worth noting, however, that he did play third base on Thursday night. Many have suggested that he has been destined to move there out of athletic necessity, but not all agree, myself included. He won’t be Andrelton Simmons at short, but he has enough range to handle it in his 20s. The Dodgers may be thinking short-term, however, and if they have any part of 2015 in their minds for Seager, they want to at least get him some experience at third base in case he needs to fill in for Juan Uribe at some point.
Updates on Trevor Story, Alex Reyes, Kohl Stewart, and more.
Hitter of the Day: Trevor Story, 2B/SS, Rockies (Tulsa, AA): 3-3, 3 R, 2 2B, 3B, 2 BB. If 2014 was a step back in the right direction for Story, then 2015 is heading towards being a giant leap. Story got back on track last season in the California League, but wasn’t able to carry it over after a promotion, leaving questions about how much of his success was hitting environment-inflated. He’s answering them thus far this season, carrying over an impressive AFL stint into Double-A success. Story is a quick-twitch athlete with bat speed to spare, but issues putting it to good use from time to time. He can be streaky, with holes in his swing and approach that are going to limit his hit tool at the major-league level, but in between he should do a lot of damage for a middle infielder.
Hitter of the Day:Preston Tucker, OF, Astros (Fresno, AAA): 2-5, 3 R, 2 HR, K. Tucker isn’t the kind of guy that gets scouts talking, as his tools generally don’t jump off the field at you. But it’s impossible to argue with his production, which has always included big power numbers dating back to his days as a Florida Gator. He may not profile as an everyday player on a first-division team, but power is a scarce commodity in today’s game and Tucker has it. That alone will find him a role on a big-league roster sometime soon.
Notes on Byron Buxton, Corey Seager, Nomar Mazara, and more.
Byron Buxton, OF, Twins (Chattanooga, AA): 4-6, R, 2B, 3B, CS. It feels like it’s been forever since we’ve been able to rave about Buxton. Sure, he’s still the top prospect in all of baseball, but it doesn’t feel like it right? It’s difficult to be overlooked when you’re at the top, but given the plethora of Cubs prospects dominating the prospect landscape, the strength of the Twins system surrounding Buxton, and the general lack of attention span of all of us, it’s easy to see why we’ve forgotten about Buxton to a certain extent. After an injury-riddled 2014 campaign, we’re still in virtually the same place we were a year ago with Buxton. With a Double-A challenge lying ahead of him, a healthy season of Buxton will tell us a lot about his development. Clearly, the tools are still well intact.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including, Matt Olson, Trevor Williams, and Steven Matz.
Welcome back to the start of another wonderful baseball season, now fully underway with the commencement of the minor-league schedule last evening. What that means in this space, of course, is another season of the Minor League Update.
Eyes on the Phillies, Blue Jays, Yankees and Pirates.
Driving around the state of Florida sucks. It’s no wonder so many teams made the migration to the Cactus League over the past decade. The travel is considerably easier in Arizona, where no two complexes are more than an hour away from one another.