Notes on 12 prospects playing in either the Arizona Fall League or the Venezuelan Winter League.
One of the good things about scouring minor league box scores this time of the year is finding familiar names still plugging away and hoping for another chance in the big leagues. And I am happy to announce that there's been a Runelvys Hernandez sighting in the Dominican Winter League! The 34 year-old former Royals and Astros starter, who has a career line of 25-36 with a 5.50 ERA in 82 big league starts (none since 2008), is currently pitching for the Leones del Escogido. Hey, Royals fans. Remember that one time when Runelvys was your Opening Day starter, and he threw like six shutout innings and beat Mark Buehrle and the White Sox? That was awesome. Here are some notable performances from Thursday:
This past weekend saw some improved control, some extended hitting streaks, and a few prospects who might be worth watching after all.
Manny Banuelos, LHP, Yankees (Triple-A Empire State)
On April 12, in his second start of the year, Banuelos walked six over two innings and then hit the disabled list with a minor back injury. The back was clearly affecting his delivery, but control was an issue in 2011 as well, and whether it's getting healthy or just a good run, he's suddenly turned into a strike-throwing machine. Since his return to the rotation—and including six outstanding innings on Sunday—Banuelos has reeled off 14 2/3 innings without issuing a walk, and he's done it without ratcheting down his stuff in terms of velocity or break. It's too early to get excited here, but with both Banuelos and Betances pitching well of late, maybe the Yankees will trust their own this year when a need arrives.
While Bryce Harper is the cream of the crop in right field, as it turns out, there are other legit corner outfielders in the minors.
Well, friends, this is it, the final installment in the series (although I am planning on doing a recap article, so I guess that’s not entirely true). It’s been an exercise within an exercise, and by this point in the minor-league season, the initial lists in the series are obsolete. I’d hang myself with the arbitrary noose of the process, but I thought it was fun to compile, and the constant [read: pestering] correspondence with my sources strengthened my willingness to correspond with my sources. Let’s call it professional growth.
Throughout the 11-part series, I’ve tried to put a spin on traditional rankings by mixing up the formula, either by manipulating the display or profiling players based on characteristics other than their present skill level. At times the waters were murky, but I’m a lake man, so I prefer the dangerous swill of that liquid to the pellucid waters of the norm. I wanted to create conversation and consternation, rather than consensus and contentment. One of my biggest pet peeves is the need to make everything black and white, right or wrong, good or bad. Baseballs might come in a box, but the end result should never fit comfortably back into one, so I try to encourage the debate that stems from dissatisfaction, even when the debate is firmly rooted in general ignorance and internet chest inflation.
Fans and scouts alike have a long history of prematurely judging players, and there are a few examples of prospects who have been judged to early this year.
Quick question: At the beginning of the season, who had Tim Beckham pegged to play in this weekend's Futures Game? The answer is nobody, and his selection for the contest is proof of a very important point when it comes to player development: Sometimes, things simply take a while. We can easily get excited about 18-year-old Bryce Harper in Double-A, or 19-year-old Mike Trout tearing up the Texas League, but those are the exceptions. The journey from draft day to the big leagues is, more often than not, one filled with detours and on-the-fly adjustments, even for the top pick in the draft.
A 2010 pick talks about the draft and signing process.
Welcome to professional baseball, Bryce Brentz. A slugging 21-year-old outfielder out of Middle Tennessee State University, Brentz was selected by Boston with the 36th-overall pick in this month’s draft and is beginning his career tonight with short-season Lowell. Brentz talked about the scouting and signing process, and his expectations of pro ball, during Spinners media day on Thursday.
BP's in-house guru takes his shot at projecting how team's top picks go next week.
1. Washington Nationals: This is now a no-brainer. Over the course of the spring, we've slowly gone from "Will they take Harper?" to "Will they sign Haper?" to "How much will they pay Harper?" He's going No. 1, and you could even end up seeing a creative deal that, on paper, gets him more than Stephen Strasburg received.