Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Mariners catcher Wayne Taylor and Braves righty Lucas Sims.
Hitter of the Night: Wayne Taylor, C, Mariners (Pulaski, R): 4-4, 4 R, 2 2B, HR, BB.
It’s almost not fair to count the damage big-time college hitters do in short-season leagues right after getting drafted. Their experienced approach typically helps them take advantage of much younger pitchers, but this was a really impressive game from the Mariners 16th-round pick this year out of Stanford. Taylor is now 12-for-23 with three home runs as a professional.
Pitcher of the Night: Lucas Sims, RHP, Braves (Lynchburg, A+): 7 IP, 0 H, R (0 ER), 4 BB, 6 K.
Sims’ evening was his best start of the year and included a season-high in strikeouts, redirecting what had been suspiciously low strikeout totals compared to last year. It came at a good time for the Braves, too, as there were likely more than a few teams with their eyes on Sims as a potential trade piece, as the Braves look to add to their 2014 club. Despite his numbers this season, Sims still has the stuff and build to project as a potential no. 2 starter.
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Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Yankees right-hander Luis Severino.
Hitter of the Night: Renato Nunez, 3B, Athletics (Stockton, A+): 4-4, 2 R, 2 HR, BB.
Nunez cares not for your questions about his hit tool or concerns about whether or not he can stay at third base. He’s just going to show off his plus power and worry about the rest later.
Pitcher of the Night: Luis Severino, RHP, Yankees (Tampa, A+): 6 IP, 0 H, 0 R, BB, 6 K.
Severino’s powerful arsenal was too much for the South Atlantic League to handle, warranting a promotion to the Florida State League last week. His first start had its ups and downs, but this one did not. There are still some questions about him remaining a starter, but so far he’s having no problem attacking lineups multiple times through the order with his fastball/slider combination.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Diamondbacks first baseman Daniel Palka and Mariners righty Taijuan Walker.
Hitter of the Night: Daniel Palka, 1B, Diamondbacks (South Bend, A-): 3-4, 2 R, 2B, 2 HR, K.
Palka is an advanced college bat with plus power who is still facing younger competition but isn’t dominating it the way he should. He’s also obviously blocked in the Diamondbacks organization.
Pitcher of the Night: Taijuan Walker, RHP, Mariners (Tacoma, AAA): 9 IP, 4 H, 0 R, BB, 8 K.
I typically ignore prospects who have already reached the majors in order to focus on the prospects who don’t get as much attention, but the point of this piece every day is to keep you up to speed on what’s happening in the prospect world, and Taijuan Walker is what’s happening. This start, and the fact that the Mariners allowed him to throw 109 pitches, should signal to anyone who wants to listen that he’s ready to take his place in the Mariners rotation.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including A's infielder Renato Nunez and Giants lefty Ty Blach.
Hitter of the Night: Renato Nunez, 3B, Athletics (Stockton, A+): 4-5, 2 R, 3 2B, HR.
Nunez showed off the power in his game last year as a 19-year-old in full-season ball for the first time and has taken it to another level this year, now with 33 extra-base hits on the season. More importantly for his development, however, he’s taken a more patient approach to hitting, striking out less and working more walks. His profile is still a question, as he appears destined for first base, where his bat will have to carry him. But it showing signs of being able to do so.
Pitcher of the Night: Ty Blach, LHP, Giants (Richmond, AA): 6 IP, 8 H, R, BB, 9 K.
In a Richmond rotation filled with bigger-name prospects like Kyle Crick and Adalberto Mejia, it’s the less-heralded Blach that is having the best season. He works with a back-end arsenal that rarely misses bats (his nine strikeouts were a season high by a wide margin), but throwing a ton of strikes, having a plus changeup, and being left-handed is a solid recipe for success at any level.
The Cardinals call up last year's first-round pick to patch a battered rotation.
The Situation: With Jaime Garcia now their third starting pitcher on the disabled list, the Cardinals once again turn to a first-rounder from just one year before to help bolster their starting rotation, calling up left-handed pitcher Marco Gonzales to make his major-league debut on Wednesday.
Notes on prospects who stood out this weekend, including Nomar Mazara, Corey Seager, Jose Peraza, and a Cardinals righty who shined in his stateside debut.
Friday, June 20
Carlos Correa, SS, Astros (Lancaster, A+): 1-4, 2 R, HR. In what feels like it’s being written posthumously, Correa hit what may be his final home run of the 2014 season before suffering a leg injury on Saturday. He’ll be fine, but it might bring an end to what has been a fantastic season.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Rockies shortstop Trevor Story and Pirates righty Tyler Glasnow.
Hitter of the Night: Trevor Story, SS, Rockies (Modesto, A+): 3-3, 2 R, 3B, HR.
Story returned from a month on the DL (broken finger) with gusto, falling a double short of the cycle. Before the DL stint, he was performing more like the dynamic offensive player that he was thought to be entering last season, though he still hasn’t shown the power he’s thought to have to go with the strikeouts he already racks up in bunches.
Pitcher of the Night: Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Pirates (Bradenton, A+): 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K.
Control has been an issue for Glasnow, but he hasn’t allowed a run in four straight starts and has permitted just two runs total in his last six outings. He’s still raw, making up for missing the first month of the season and missing a ton of bats, all of which the Pirates will take.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including White Sox second baseman Micah Johnson and Pirates righty Nick Kingham.
Hitter of the Night: Micah Johnson, 2B, White Sox (Charlotte, AAA): 4-4, 2 R, HR, SB.
While he’s not stealing bases at nearly the rate or effectiveness of his 84-steal 2013 campaign, he is still getting on base at a good clip and is doing it against better competition, or at least he was until a promotion to Triple-A. The minors’ highest level had given him some troubles until Wednesday, when he entered the night hitting just .218. He’s been moved along aggressively despite questions about his defense and whether his hit tool will allow him to get on base enough to use his legs, but a patient-enough approach at the plate has helped to combat the latter thus far.
Pitcher of the Night: Nick Kingham, RHP, Pirates (Indianapolis, AAA): 7 IP, 4 H, R, 0 BB, 2 K.
The Pirates sure do love drafting and developing tall, prep right-handers and perhaps no one fits the mold better than the 6-foot-5 Kingham. He’s been excellent at every level and stellar in his first two Triple-A starts, providing the Pirates with additional depth in a season that has seen them tear through starting pitching. The ceiling isn’t the highest on Kingham—it’s that of a mid-rotation starter—but he should give them a better shot to win games than Vance Worley, Jeff Locke, or Brandon Cumpton.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Cubs outfielder Kyle Schwarber and Cardinals righty Tyrell Jenkins.
Hitter of the Night: Kyle Schwarber, OF, Cubs (Boise, SS): 3-4, 2 R, 2B, 2 HR, BB.
Short-season ball can be a nice, soft landing spot for newly drafted players to ensure they are put in the best possible situation for success upon their arrival in pro ball, but for the elite college hitters, like those drafted near the top of the first round, it’s simply not enough of a challenge. Schwarber won’t be spending his first Fourth of July as a professional baseball player in Idaho.
Pitcher of the Night: Tyrell Jenkins, RHP, Cardinals (Palm Beach, A+): 6 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K.
In his 2014 debut, the former supplemental first-rounder tossed six no-hit innings, dispelling concerns about the shoulder injury that cost him the first half of the season. I didn’t get to see him on Tuesday night, but I’ll have a first-hand report on his development soon.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Tigers outfielder Steven Moya and Twins righty Trevor May.
There are a few leagues on their all-star breaks this week, but luckily for us, short-season leagues began to help pick up the slack.
Hitter of the Night: Steven Moya, OF, Tigers (Erie, AA): 3-5, 2 R, HR, K.
Moya is a massive human being and has great raw power that is actually playing more in games than it ever has before. That said, he still has a horribly aggressive approach at the plate and a complete lack of pitch recognition, which will ultimately hold him back.