Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Padres outfielder Rymer Liriano and Tigers righty Spencer Turnbull.
Hitter of the Day: Rymer Liriano, OF, Padres (El Paso, AAA): 2-3, 2 R, 2 HR, BB
It’s been a crowded outfield for the Padres this year, which could explain why Liriano has been stick in Triple-A all season despite his success. The time back in the minors could be the best thing for him, however, as a player with loads of talent but a previously unrefined approach who made some adjustments this season. He’s already 24 but he’s lost developmental time in the past (a year to Tommy John surgery in 2013), but he should be in the Padres plans for next season.
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Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson and Reds lefty Cody Reed.
Hitter of the Day: Tim Anderson, SS, White Sox (Birmingham, AA): 3-5, 2 R, 2B, 3B, SB
Anderson has once again put together a successful season while defying the laws of plate discipline, though we can see some minor signs of his approach working against him. For one, his power production dropped off substantially this season in terms of all types of extra-base hits. Additionally, while his hitting over .300 again and his natural hit tool will lead to more balls hit hard and thus, when combined with his speed, a higher-than-normal BABIP, his .386 mark this season still suggests some luck that won’t be there at higher levels. Still, Anderson is pure intrigue and athleticism and continues to have success despite his approach. It’s no longer accurate to call him inexperienced, as he now has over 1,200 professional plate appearances under his belt, but he’s clearly still learning how to use his talents on the field.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Padres outfielder Hunter Renfroe and Pirates righty Yeudy Garcia.
Hitter of the Day:Hunter Renfroe, OF, Padres (El Paso, AAA): 3-5, 2 R, 2B, HR, K
A hot summer salvaged a horrible start to the season for Renfroe, who took some time to make the adjustments so many struggle with at the Double-A level. His swing mechanics, namely a lot of movement and a large weight transfer, hinder his overall hit tool and his ability to stay back on breaking balls, but he hits a fastball as well, and as far, as any prospect in the minors. He should do plenty of damage on those alone to warrant everyday playing time in the majors pretty soon, while also having the chance for more production should he continue to adjust to professional pitching.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including D'backs outfielder Peter O'Brien and Twins righty Jose Berrios.
Hitter of the Day:Peter O’Brien, OF, Diamondbacks (Reno, AAA): 3-4, 3 R, 2B, 2 HR
About a month ago, it looked like we’d be seeing O’Brien in mop-up duty for the Diamondbacks in September. Now, with their big-league club inching its way back into the NL West race, that may not be as foregone a conclusion as it once was. The bigger obstacle is a now-crowded Diamondbacks outfield and O’Brien’s limited positional versatility, which has already slowed down his asent to the big leagues. Also slowing him down, though not limiting his in-game power as much as you’d expect, is his free-swinging approach at the plate. It’s going to give him issues at the next level, but as long as he can run into enough home runs in between chasing pitches out of the zone, he could deliver Evan Gattis DH-type production.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Cubs outfielder Eloy Jimenez and Angels lefty Sean Newcomb.
Hitter of the Day:Eloy Jimenez, OF, Cubs (Eugene, SS): 3-6, 3 R, 3 HR, K (DH)
Big-time power has always been projected for Jimenez and is why he was the top name on the international market in the summer of 2013. The raw pop that earned him millions has yet to click in game action, but that’s understandable as the hulking left fielder is still just 18 and already in short-season ball. Tuesday’s outburst almost doubled his season total, but it could be a catalyst for more production.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Phillies outfielder Nick Williams and Red Sox wunderkind Anderson Espinoza.
Hitter of the Day: Nick Williams, OF, Phillies (Reading, AA): 4-6, 4 R, 2B, HR, K.
So let’s get right to the point on Williams. I was lower than anyone on him entering this season and now I’m fully on board, largely because his plate discipline was a complete abomination before this year and he’s made improvements in that area. That said, his improvements in that regard have been somewhat overstated, fueled by an incredible 16-walk May. In fact, his walk rate since June 1 is 4.7 percent, which is exactly what it was last year at Myrtle Beach. No one has ever expected him to be a patient hitter. It’s just not in his DNA. But with his raw hitting ability, he doesn’t need to be very patient, or even have average discipline. He just needs to not be on the extreme side of general hitting aggressiveness. So if he can work his way from “so obscenely aggressive it limits his ability” to “just enough of an approach to let his hit tool play,” he’s got a chance to hit .300 in the big leagues, which is really all that matters.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Rays shortstop Daniel Robertson and Brewers lefty Josh Hader.
Hitter of the Day:Daniel Robertson, SS, Rays (Montgomery, AA): 4-6, 4 R, 2 2B, HR
Robertson is a shortstop who shows plus contact skills. In an age when players strike out at massive rates, Robertson manages to make contact better than most and has generally done it with more authority than most middle infielders. Some will question whether or not he can remain at shortstop, but his arm will allow him to stay on the left side of the infield.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi and Reds lefty Amir Garrett.
Hitter of the Day:Andrew Benintendi, OF, Red Sox (Greenville, A-): 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, BB, K
As though an already stacked Red Sox farm system needed another potential impact bat, it appears they may have landed one in this year’s draft. Selected seventh overall just two months ago, the undersized Benintendi doesn’t scream power hitter. But the former Arkansas Razorback could be just that, with a balanced skill set that could see him hit for power and remain in the middle of the field.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Indians outfielder Clint Frazier and Brewers righty Jorge Lopez.
Hitter of the Day:Clint Frazier, OF, Indians (Lynchburg, A+): 3-4, 3 R, 2 HR
Frazier seems to have found just enough balance in himself as a hitter to let the talent that got him selected fifth overall in 2013 come out on a consistent basis. The strikeouts will always be a part of his game given the length and ferocity involved in his swing, but he’s reined the swing-and-miss in just enough to allow the power to play more consistently, which is a huge step for his development. Any time a young player makes a noticeable improvement in his biggest area of weakness, it’s a huge developmental green light.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Phillies outfielder Cornelius Randolph and Astros righty Francis Martes.
Hitter of the Day:Cornelius Randolph, OF, Phillies (GCL Phillies): 5-7, R, 2B, BB, K, 2 SB (DH)
If you’re going to draft a left fielder in the first half of the first round, you’d better hope he can hit. So far, the early returns look great for the Phillies and Randolph. Considered one of the best high-school bats in the country this past spring, Randolph has transitioned extremely well to professional ball and the Gulf Coast League. The hit tool is the most difficult tool to project, but Randolph’s natural hitting abilities have been evident for a while and look to be carrying over. He’s going to have to hit for some power in order to be a corner outfielder, but there’s plenty of time for that to come. For now, he’s off to a great start.