He’s Baaaaaaaaaaaaaack

Justin Smoak, 1B, Rangers (Double-A Frisco)
Tuesday’s stats: 2-for-3, K
After missing nearly a month with an oblique problem, Smoak beat up the Arizona Summer League for a couple days, but didn’t get a mention here. When you are an elite-level 22-year-old beating up on teenagers in a complex league, it just doesn’t count. This does, however, as last year’s first-round selection picked up where he left off, raising his season averages to a fantastic .331/.450/.506. Meanwhile, in big league news, Rangers first baseman Chris Davis is 4-for-30 with 14 whiffs in his last nine games. We’re just sayin’.

New level, same results

Pedro Alvarez, 3B, Pirates (Double-A Altoona)
Tuesday’s stats: 0-for-4, 3 K

Alvarez’ performance at High-A, which including a hitting line of .247/.342/.486 with more than a strikeout per game and 13 errors, wasn’t exactly screaming for a promotion. To be fair, he was getting constantly pitched around, and scouts who saw him noted his frustration. He certainly wasn’t pitched around in his Eastern League debut, but that didn’t help him much. It’s hardly time to write him off, but his stock is at least down somewhat.

New level, same results, only in a more positive light

Ike Davis, 1B, Mets (Double-A Bighamton)
Tuesday’s stats: 2-for-2, RBI, 2 BB

Davis’ remarkable turnaround from a downright concerning pro debut last year continued on Tuesday, as he reached base all four times in his Double-A debut. After hitting .288/.376/.486 at High-A St. Lucie in 59 games, including a .638 slugging percentage in June, Davis is finally looking like the player that earned a first-round selection last June, and the Mets first baseman of the future.

Shining in the spotlight

Tim Beckham, SS, Rays (Low-A Bowling Green)
Tuesday’s stats: 3-for-5, 3B, 2 K
Last night was All-Star day in the minors, as four leagues had their mid-season celebratory contest. While Beckham’s South squad lost 8-7 on a walk-off single by Pirates first baseman Calvin Anderson (who also won the home run contest), Beckham had the best overall offensive night with the game’s only three-hit effort. The first overall pick in last year’s draft, Beckham hit .288/.346/.415 in the first half of the season, and is also showing a better approach at the plate of late, while also driving the ball more. Basically, all systems remain go.

Bringing the heat

Henry Rodriguez, RHP, Athletics (Triple-A Sacramento)
Tuesday’s stats: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K
Rodriguez is known for two things. The first is velocity, as in short stints out of the bullpen, he sits at 96-99 mph while frequently touching triple-digits. The second, unfortunately, is constant control issues. He seems to be solving the second of late, as in his last four appearances, he’s struck out 10 over six innings while giving up only one hit and, more importantly, walking just two. Expect him back in the big leagues soon.

Sleeper Alert!

Sawyer Carroll, OF, Padres (Low-A Fort Wayne)

Tuesday’s stats: 4-for-4, R, 2 SB

A third-round pick last June, Carroll’s coming out party continued at the Midwest League All-Star game, as he earned “Star of Stars” honors with his perfect night at the plate. A big athlete with gap power, decent speed and an excellent approach, Carroll is batting .316/.410/.464 on the season, but has been ever better than that of late, going 22-for-53 (.415) in his last 15 games.