Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Rockies third baseman Ryan McMahon.
Mac Williamson, OF, Giants (San Jose, A+): 2-4, 3 R, 2B, HR. We know Williamson has power. The question is whether he will hit. There’s some serious swing-and-miss to his game, but thus far in a repeat of the California League, he’s controlling the strike zone better than he did last year.
Zoilo Almonte, OF, Yankees (SWB, AAA): 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, K. I’m almost afraid to mention Almonte because I talked about him a lot this winter, but a pair of home runs is a day worthy of any update. With the injuries the Yankees have already put up with, Almonte is just a pulled hamstring or tweaked quad away from being called on for big-league duty.
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Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Astros first baseman Jonathan Singleton and Blue Jays righty Marcus Stroman.
Hitter of the Night: Jonathan Singleton, 1B, Astros (Oklahoma City, AAA): 3-5, 2 R, 2B, 3B, HR, K.
Apparently the mantle of “best hitter in Oklahoma City” isn’t too much for Singleton to handle now that George Springer is in the big leagues. He won’t be too far behind Springer, though the Astros will probably wait until June to promote him.
Pitcher of the Night: Marcus Stroman, RHP, Blue Jays (Buffalo, AAA): 5 1/3 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 9 K.
Remember when Stroman struggled badly this spring and everyone worried about whether a short pitcher would be able to generate enough downward plane to miss bats? Well, he’s still short. When Stroman keeps the ball down, he’s lights out, thanks to a plus change-up. He can get hurt when he misses up, but who doesn’t?
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson and Marlins lefty Andrew Heaney.
Hitter of the Night: Joc Pederson, OF, Dodgers (Albuquerque, AAA): 4-4, 2 R, 2B, 2 HR, BB.
This is the kind of power production the Dodgers are going to need from Pederson if/when he shifts to a corner outfield position, though barring injuries, that won’t be happening in L.A. any time soon. Pederson looks like he’s close to being ready to help a major-league team right now, which could make him among the most sought-after prospects this July.
Pitcher of the Night: Andrew Heaney, LHP, Marlins (Jacksonville, AA): 6 IP, H, 0 R, BB, 5 K.
The Marlins are still searching for a minor-league level that will provide Heaney with a challenge, but it doesn’t look thus far like they’ve found it in the Southern League. He could continue to move quickly, even by Marlins standards.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Astros outfielder George Springer and Royals lefty Sean Manaea.
Hitter of the Night: George Springer, OF, Astros (Oklahoma City, AAA): 2-3, R, HR
There’s not much left for me to say about Springer, who is clearly ready for a big-league challenge, but I’m going to continue to include him in the MLU when he does well to point out the absurdity of a system that encourages a team to keep an obviously superior player in the minors while putting an inferior major-league product on the field.
Pitcher of the Night: Sean Manaea, LHP, Royals (Wilmington, A+): 5 IP, 4 H, 0 R, BB, 5 K.
Manaea sat between 90-92 with his fastball on Monday and hit 95, and he missed bats with his slider. He’s still learning to be consistent with his stuff and how to use all of it, but his power arm is one that can’t be taught. (H/t to @CJWittJr for the velos).
Notes on prospects who stood out during the past three days, including Rangers third baseman Joey Gallo and Pirates outfielder Gregory Polanco.
Friday, April 11
Mike Montgomery, LHP, Rays (Durham, AAA): 5 IP, 3 H, R, BB, 5 K. It should tell us something about where Montgomery stands within the Rays organization that, even after two solid starts to begin this season and with a rash of injuries to their majo- league pitching staff, Montgomery is still in Triple-A. He’s off to a good start, missing bats and throwing strikes, but his inconsistent mechanics and fringy off-speed stuff still have him destined for a bullpen role.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Rangers third baseman Joey Gallo and Marlins lefty Andrew Heaney.
Hitter of the Night: Joey Gallo, 3B, Rangers (Myrtle Beach, A+): 4-4, 4 R, 2B, 2 HR.
Gallo features the best raw power in the minor leagues, and it translated into game power on Thursday night in a big way. It’s hard enough to hit a ball out of Wilmington’s Frawley Stadium, but Gallo managed to put one of his over the scoreboard in left-center field.
Pitcher of the Night: Andrew Heaney, LHP, Marlins (Jacksonville, AA): 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, BB, 8 K.
Heaney was expected to be on the fast track this season if he got off to a hot start, and that’s exactly what he’s done. With two plus pitches (fastball, slider), he’d probably be able to hold his own in the majors right now, but if his changeup catches up with the rest of his stuff, he’ll fit in as a solid no. 2 behind Jose Fernandez.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Royals outfielder Brett Eibner and Red Sox lefty Henry Owens.
Hitter of the Night: Brett Eibner, OF, Royals (Ohama, AAA): 5-5, 3 R, 2B, 2 HR.
Eibner is on the fringes of prospect territory these days as a 25-year-old who hit .243 in Double-A last year, but what he can do is hit for power, and when he cuts down on the swings and misses, he can really be an impact player. It just hasn’t happened nearly enough at the upper levels of the minors to this point.
Pitcher of the Night: Henry Owens, LHP, Red Sox (Portland, AA): 6 2/3 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 9 K.
The 21-year-old Owens kept his ERA at 0.00 on the young season with his second straight nine-strikeout performance. When he’s being consistent with his mechanics, Owens generates tremendous downward plane that is difficult to square up and features two potential plus off-speed pitches.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including outfielders Courtney Hawkins, Billy McKinney, and Joc Pederson.
Best of the Day
Jesus Aguilar, 1B, Indians (Columbus, AAA): 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, K. The general consensus on Aguilar over the years has been that his hit tool is going to hold his power back enough to keep him from being an everyday player, and that as a right-handed-hitting first-base-only player, he doesn’t fit well on the bench. If that’s going to be wrong, he needs to put up really great offensive numbers, because his defense and baserunning will provide little to no value. If Aguilar keeps hitting like he did this winter and is thus far this season (now hitting .563), he’s going to prove us all wrong.
Notes on the prospects who stood out on a day when rain washed away action in half of the country.
A typically light Monday schedule and rain throughout the East and limited the amount of minor-league action we have to choose from, but that doesn’t mean I can’t give you something to read at your desk this morning.
Notes on the prospects who stood out over the weekend, including Reds right-hander Robert Stephenson and four top shortstops.
Friday, April 4
Kevin Gausman, RHP, Orioles (Norfolk, AAA): 4 2/3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K. Gausman was on a strict pitch count, leaving the game after 71 pitches, and it’s likely that the Orioles are going to build his endurance up early in the minor-league season so that he has something left in the tank for when he’s in the majors down the stretch, hopefully in meaningful games.
The minor-league season is upon us. After the pageantry of major-league Opening Day (and opening series, opening night, and more home openers to come), the minor-league season kicked off with a bang on Thursday night all across the country. With radar guns and rug rats in tow, scouts and parents alike descended on all levels of minor league parks to catch a glimpse of the stars of tomorrow.
Hitter of the Day Mookie Betts, 2B, Red Sox (Portland, AA): 4-4, 3 R, HR. The only tool in which Betts is not above average is power, so when that’s on display, it’s really fun to watch.