Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Rays shortstop Daniel Robertson and Brewers lefty Josh Hader.
Hitter of the Day:Daniel Robertson, SS, Rays (Montgomery, AA): 4-6, 4 R, 2 2B, HR
Robertson is a shortstop who shows plus contact skills. In an age when players strike out at massive rates, Robertson manages to make contact better than most and has generally done it with more authority than most middle infielders. Some will question whether or not he can remain at shortstop, but his arm will allow him to stay on the left side of the infield.
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One aspect of minor-league life is substandard housing. It doesn't have to be that way.
There's a question that has always perplexed me as an analyst of baseball. Iterations of it have certainly perplexed others, and enough has been written on the topic to fill half a Barnes & Noble. You can add this article to the list, though my hope isn't necessarily to analyze the same issue that others have; I'm not going to look at what's fair, what's right, what players deserve. Rather, I'm going to envision a future that's better than what we have now.
The topic is life in the minor leagues. The question that has always perplexed me is why teams don't invest more in their minor-league facilities and players. There are countless components to this, many of which have been covered in great depth by writers with far greater talent and wit than I possess. Take, for example, this terrific analogy from our own Russell Carleton. It offers a perplexing question about the success rates for lower-pedigree minor-league players:
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi and Reds lefty Amir Garrett.
Hitter of the Day:Andrew Benintendi, OF, Red Sox (Greenville, A-): 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, BB, K
As though an already stacked Red Sox farm system needed another potential impact bat, it appears they may have landed one in this year’s draft. Selected seventh overall just two months ago, the undersized Benintendi doesn’t scream power hitter. But the former Arkansas Razorback could be just that, with a balanced skill set that could see him hit for power and remain in the middle of the field.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Indians outfielder Clint Frazier and Brewers righty Jorge Lopez.
Hitter of the Day:Clint Frazier, OF, Indians (Lynchburg, A+): 3-4, 3 R, 2 HR
Frazier seems to have found just enough balance in himself as a hitter to let the talent that got him selected fifth overall in 2013 come out on a consistent basis. The strikeouts will always be a part of his game given the length and ferocity involved in his swing, but he’s reined the swing-and-miss in just enough to allow the power to play more consistently, which is a huge step for his development. Any time a young player makes a noticeable improvement in his biggest area of weakness, it’s a huge developmental green light.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Phillies outfielder Cornelius Randolph and Astros righty Francis Martes.
Hitter of the Day:Cornelius Randolph, OF, Phillies (GCL Phillies): 5-7, R, 2B, BB, K, 2 SB (DH)
If you’re going to draft a left fielder in the first half of the first round, you’d better hope he can hit. So far, the early returns look great for the Phillies and Randolph. Considered one of the best high-school bats in the country this past spring, Randolph has transitioned extremely well to professional ball and the Gulf Coast League. The hit tool is the most difficult tool to project, but Randolph’s natural hitting abilities have been evident for a while and look to be carrying over. He’s going to have to hit for some power in order to be a corner outfielder, but there’s plenty of time for that to come. For now, he’s off to a great start.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Rays outfielder Garrett Whitley and Cardinals lefty Corey Littrell.
Hitter of the Day: Garrett Whitley, OF, Rays (GCL Rays): 3-3, 3 R, 2B, HR, 2 BB.
Drafted 13th overall this past summer, Whitley was selected that high based partially on his athletic, up-the-middle profile. Being a northern prospect, his exposure to elite levels of competition was limited in comparison to other draftees, which could explain some of his struggles during his initial transition to professional baseball. Still, he’s shown glimpses, and there’s no reason to worry just yet. Games like he the one he had on Thursday provide a strong example of what he can do.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Indians outfielder Bradley Zimmer and Nationals righty Reynaldo Lopez.
Hitter of the Day: Bradley Zimmer, OF, Indians (Akron, AA): 2-3, 3 R, 2 HR, BB.
Zimmer’s breakout first full season hasn’t slowed down much since he was promoted to Double-A, and most importantly, the power has actually picked up. With the ability to stay in center field, Zimmer won’t need a ton of pop, but he should develop more than enough power to make him a plus player at an up-the-middle position.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi and Cardinals righty Luke Weaver.
Hitter of the Day: Andrew Benintendi, OF, Red Sox (Lowell, SS): 3-5, 2 R, 2 HR.
The seventh-overall pick shouldn’t have too much of an adjustment period in the lower levels of professional baseball, especially coming out of the SEC like Benintendi did and given that his acclimation has taken place exclusively in short-season ball. Benintendi has handled his initial assignment as well as could be expected, showing off some power production while controlling the strike zone exceptionally well. Getting his feet wet in Low-A ball in the last few weeks of the minor-league season wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if the Red Sox want to consider moving him quickly next year.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Rays first baseman Jake Bauers and White Sox righty Frankie Montas.
Hitter of the Day: Jake Bauers, 1B, Rays (Montgomery, AA): 2-5, 2 R, HR.
Before his promotion to Double-A, Bauers was the best first baseman in the Florida State League. His power production might not scream “prototypical 1B,” but the thump is there and he has a swing geared toward unleashing it. The hit tool allows the entire package to play up, and he’s doing it all as a teenager in Double-A, showing that you can produce despite being exceptionally young for your level (he’s younger than Raul Mondesi).
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Rangers third baseman Joey Gallo and Cardinals righty Jack Flaherty.
Hitter of the Day:Joey Gallo, 3B, Rangers (Round Rock, AAA): 3-4, 3 R, 3 HR, K.
Well, it wasn’t as if he lost his power. Gallo is just fine. In fact, he’s the same player he was before he was got his cameo in the majors and during it. He’s always going to strike out and always going to hit a ton of home runs in between. The question is how much of each and if he can find a way to mitigate for the former that doesn’t completely hinder the latter.