Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Astros outfielder Danry Vasquez and Rockies righty jon Gray.
Hitter of the Night: Danry Vasquez, OF, Astros (Lancaster, A+): 3-3, 3 R, 3 HR. Vasquez is an intriguing hitting prospect who still has a long way to go, but who some believe has more power than he’s shown in games thus far. A three-homer game on Wednesday is a good start, but it gives him just four on the season. The hit tool is going to have to carry Vasquez, but he’ll need to start turning more of his doubles into home runs.
Pitcher of the Night: Jonathan Gray, RHP, Rockies (Tulsa, AA): 5 2/3 IP, H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K.
This is more like the dominant Gray we were hoping to see from college. The Rockies have had him working on stuff, so don’t put too much stock in his numbers. The power arm that got him drafted so high is still very much intact.
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Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Phillies outfielder Dylan Cozens.
Prospect of the Night: Dylan Cozens, OF, Phillies (Lakewood, A-): 4-5, 2 R, 2 HR.
Cozens looks the part of a big-time power hitting prospect, and there are nights when he backs it up. It’s easy to see why the Phillies were intrigued by his package of tools and used a second-round pick on him in 2012, and it’s also easy to see why it was the Phillies who liked him the most. His home run, to dead center off of a Lucas Giolito fastball, was one of the more impressive things I’ve seen this year, especially coming in Lakewood, where the ball does not carry well at night. He’s at his best when he stays up the middle and drives the ball to the gaps. When he gets pull-happy, his bat leaves the strike zone too much, and he loses power because he generates too much topspin. There are some pitch recognition issues that may never get worked out and he’s aggressive, a combination that leads to a ton of bad contact, strikeouts, and a low batting average. There’s some room for improvement in that regard, but likely not too much. Still, he’s an intriguing guy who is still learning how to use his size and athleticism in a baseball way, and when he puts it together in short stints, it’s very impressive to watch.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Cubs outfielder Albert Almora and Diamondbacks righty Ben Eckels.
With no Triple-A games in action and rainouts lightening the schedule around the country, we don’t have as deep of an Update as we usually do. There’s nothing to fear, however. If we made it through January and February, this is a piece of cake.
Hitter of the Night: Albert Almora, OF, Cubs (Daytona, A+): 5-7, 4 R, 2B, 3B, HR.
Yep, that’s a cycle. Almora is coming on strong of late after a horrid start to the season. His aggressiveness at the plate is still a concern, but there are some guys who are talented enough, and do enough other things well, to get away with it. Almora may just be one of those guys.
Notes on prospects who stood out over the weekend, including Cubs third baseman Christian Villanueva and Rockies outfielder Raimel Tapia.
Friday, July 11
Christian Villanueva, 3B, Cubs (Tennessee, AA): 2-4, R, HR. Villanueva was struggling in his first taste of Triple-A this season, which made it easy to send him down a level to make room for Kris Bryant. Still, Villanueva is a legitimate prospect in his own right who gets overshadowed in the Cubs system. He's getting back on his feet in Tennessee and will get another shot at Triple-A soon.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Cubs third baseman Jeimer Candelario and Pirates righty Nick Kingham.
Hitter of the Night: Jeimer Candelario, 3B, Cubs (Kane County, A-): 3-4, R, 2 2B, HR.
After a solid season of holding his own against older competition last year, Candelario struggled mightily this year in the Florida State League and hasn’t returned to form upon a return to Low-A ball. His big Thursday night helps.
Pitcher of the Night: Nick Kingham, RHP, Pirates (Indianapolis, AAA): 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, BB, 4 K.
Whether it’s as an audition for a rotation spot in Pittsburgh or in order to increase his trade value, Kingham continues to make his case for being major league ready despite just six starts in Triple-A. It’s not the sexiest ceiling, but Kingham should be a major league starter for a long time.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Rangers outfielder Nick Williams and Mets righty Gabriel Ynoa.
Hitter of the Night: Nick Williams, OF, Rangers (Myrtle Beach, A+): 4-5, 2 R, 2 2B, 3B, BB.
It remains to be seen how Williams’ hit tool will play against better pitching with more of a plan to exploit his aggressiveness, but few can match his pure hitting combination of bat speed and feel for the barrel.
Pitcher of the Night: Gabriel Ynoa, RHP, Mets (Binghamton, AA): 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 9 K.
Ynoa isn’t overpowering, but when his command is on, he can be extremely effective. He has plus control, but he’s still refining his ability to throw good strikes and working on an effective breaking ball. At 21, however, and already in Double-A, he has plenty of time to work those things out.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including the Rangers' Nick Williams and the Twins' Alex Meyer.
Hitter of the Night: Nick Williams, OF, Rangers (Myrtle Beach, OF): 3-5, 3 R, 2 HR, K. If you know one thing about Williams, it’s his hit tool, but part of what makes it so exceptional is his natural bat speed, which will also lead to some power production. More power will come from Williams getting himself in better hitter’s counts, something he may never do with any frequency, but even if he doesn’t, his raw talent should give him moderate power production to go along with a plus batting average.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Yankees slugger Peter O'Brien and Giants righty Kyle Crick.
Hitter of the Night: Peter O’Brien, C, Yankees (Trenton, AA): 2-3, 4 R, 2 HR, BB. O’Brien has split time behind the plate, at first base, and in right field since being promoted to Trenton. He has struggled to make the contact he was making in Tampa, but he’s hit for plenty of power nonetheless, which is why the Yankees continue to find opportunities to get his bat into their lineup. His right-handed power is legitimate, but his extreme 14-to-86 BB:K ratio is worrisome and has been exploited by Double-A pitching.
Pitcher of the Night: Kyle Crick, RHP, Giants (Richmond, AA): 5 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 10 K.
The ability to miss bats is what makes Crick so enticing and why the Giants continue to keep him as a starter, though even on his best days, needing 99 pitches to get through just five innings leaves his bullpen with a lot of outs to get.
Running down the prospects who stood out over the Independence Day weekend.
Thursday, July 3
Jose Peraza, 2B, Braves (Mississippi, AA): 3-5, 2 R, 2 2B, K. SB. There’s virtually no power in Peraza’s game, but if he’s going to hit over .350, it won’t matter. He won’t, of course, do that at higher levels, but he has handled his promotion to Double-A with aplomb.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Rangers outfielders Lewis Brinson and Nomar Mazara.
Hitter of the Night: Nomar Mazara and Lewis Brinson, OF, Rangers (Hickory, A-): 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, K.
We have identical yet impressive stat lines for a pair of Rangers outfielders, both of whom offer some power projection along with plate discipline issues. Brinson, however, should stick in center field.
Pitcher of the Night:Alex Reyes, RHP, Cardinals (Peoria, A-): 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 7 BB, 10 K.
I can almost assure you that this will be the season high for walks by a pitcher of the night, but no runs and double-digit strikeouts in five innings get it done for Reyes. The walks are a concern, as they've been an issue longer than just Wednesday night, but you can't deny the potential in the arm. It's just got a long way to go, that's all.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Nats outfielder Steven Souza and Phillies righty Aaron Nola.
Hitter of the Night: Steven Souza, OF, Nationals (Syracuse, AAA): 3-5, 2 R, 2 HR.
What Souza is doing in Triple-A this year is nothing short of incredible, and while it’s also not sustainable, especially at the major league level, he does have good pop and on-base skills and can play all three outfield positions. A logjam in Washington means he’s not going to get a chance to prove it at the major league level anytime soon, but if I were a potential trading partner with the Nationals, I’d be inquiring about Souza in just about any deal. He should carve out a nice niche on a major league roster.
Pitcher of the Night: Aaron Nola, RHP, Phillies (Clearwater, A+): 4 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K.
It won’t get the fanfare that his first start got, but this was considerably more impressive and was closer to what the Phillies were expecting from Nola than his first outing. It only went four innings as he works himself back into game shape and the Phillies limit his workload, but that’s an impressive start for a guy who was pitching in the SEC a month ago.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Phillies third baseman Zach Green and Red Sox righty Anthony Ranaudo.
Hitter of the Night: Zach Green, 3B, Phillies (Lakewood, A-): 4-8, R, HR, K.
Green hasn’t shown much of the power he’s going to need in order to make it at third base, but his size should allow him to grow in to more of what we saw in the NYPL last season. The bat speed is there for more power, but the hit tool may limit it’ transition to in-game production.
Pitcher of the Night: Anthony Ranaudo, RHP, Red Sox (Pawtucket, AAA): 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K.
There are still some questions about Ranaudo’s future, but there’s little left for him to prove in the minors, and he has answered some questions about his inconsistency with yet another strong season thus far. If the Red Sox trade Jake Peavy and Felix Doubront proves ineffective again, Ranaudo could be the one to get the call.