Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Marlins outfielder Kyle Jensen and Astros righty Mike Foltynewicz.
Hitter of the Night: Kyle Jensen, OF, Marlins (New Orleans, AAA): 5-5, 4 R, 2 2B, 2 HR.
As a 25-year-old right-handed hitting corner outfielder whose only above-average tool is power, Jensen is on the periphery of the prospect world. It takes a heck of a day for a player like that to make it on to the MLU—something along the lines of five hits, four of them for extra bases. Jensen is a bench player/Quad-A guy who will probably get his chances in the majors but never land extended playing time.
Pitcher of the Night: Mike Foltynewicz, RHP, Astros (Oklahoma City, AAA): 6 IP, H, R, 2 BB, 12 K.
We’ve been waiting to see Foltynewicz go deeper into a game, something he hasn’t had a chance to do too often in the Astros’ piggyback starter system. He hasn’t compiled the big strikeout numbers you’d expect from someone who routinely hits triple digits on the radar gun. Monday’s dozen were a career high.
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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.
Of all the prospects in the minors, Baez’s status might have the most volatility, with the skill set to blossom into a superstar and the deficiencies that could terminate the dream before it begins. With elite bat speed and the type of raw power that can find a home in the middle of any major-league lineup, Baez could end up as the top prospect in the game. But his one-speed-fits-all approach on both sides of the ball can be limiting: His aggressive, see-ball-hit-ball mentality at the plate often puts him behind in counts and vulnerable to offerings out of the zone, and his tendency to rush the actions and the throws makes him error prone despite his exquisite hands at shortstop. Baez is warming up and is a good candidate to explode this summer, with a chance to sneak into the top 10 prospects in the game. But the Double-A test is looming on the horizon, and without more nuance to his game and a more refined approach, Baez could take a big step back against better competition. The talent is extreme. The risk is just as extreme. —Jason Parks
Harry breaks down the PITCHf/x debuts of two promising Astros arms.
Here at Baseball Prospectus, we don't hold grudges. So, when the Astros hired Mike Fast, no one took it out on their prospect rankings. Even when they hired Kevin Goldstein, and a real opportunity to get back at the poachers was presented, things remained cordial.
Now our old friends work for a club that doesn't get much love. But they did trot out a pair of pitchers in the last couple weeks that Jason Parks covered in his 2013 rankings. With a little bit of PITCHf/x data in hand, let's talk about Paul Clemens and Mike Foltynewicz. We'll give them a little love, tough love if required, but nothing like the love Gio Gonzalez shows his hand.
A trio of perplexing pitchers leads off today's Ten Pack.
Dylan Axelrod, RHP, White Sox (Triple-A Charlotte)
The fact that Axelrod even reached the big leagues is quite an achievement. A 30th-round pick in 2007 by the Padres, Axelrod lasted a year and a half before landing in Indy ball, but all he did was get better. His primary skill is the ability to throw strikes. He pounds the strike zone with an 88-91 mph fastball, has a decent slider, and a somewhat-less-than-decent curve. He has no changeup, but he hits his spots and keeps hitters off balance; while that's the kind of pitcher who should hit a wall, he just hasn't yet. With 7 2/3 shutout innings on Sunday, he now has a 1.08 ERA in four starts for the Knights to go with 26 strikeouts and just four walks. He's already a great scouting find for the White Sox, and has to upgrade that status by becoming a usable arm as a No. 5 starter or middle reliever, which exceeds any expectation ever put on him.