Perfect, At Least For a While
Mike Montgomery, lhp, Royals (High-A Wilmington)
The top prospect in the Royals system, many thought Montgomery might begin the 2010 season as high as Double-A, and now the 20-year-old is doing his best to earn his way there. Six-foot-five and highly athletic, Montgomery's lower-90s fastball gets as high as 94 mph, and his curveball and changeup are both even better this year than last. He's plenty good now, still loaded with projection, and should be moving as fast as many expected soon, with a big league ETA of 2011.
Also Flirting With History
While he wasn't perfect like Montgomery, Perez didn't allow a hit in his first six innings either on Tuesday night before surrendering a seventh-inning single to top Phillies prospect Domonic Brown. He doesn't have Montgomery's power stuff, and he's four and a half years older, but with an 88-92 mph sinker and effective slider, he's a groundball machine who should end up a usable big league arm in either a starting or relieving role.
Forgotten About Too Soon
Rosario generated significant hype heading into 2009, but injuries limited him to just 58 games and a mediocre .266/.297/.404 line for High-A Visalia. At just 21, he's a very young catcher for the upper levels, and he remains one of the few backstop prospects in the game with above-average potential both at the plate and behind it. With above-average power and a plus arm, he needs to address an impatient approach that could became a problem at Double-A, but so far his aggressiveness is paying off with ten total bases in his first four games.
The nephew of Mariners reliever Jesus Colome, Alex was the talk of the New-York Penn League last year, with some scouts calling him the highest upside arm the circuit had seen for years. With a mid-90s fastball that can reach 97 mph at times and a plus power curveball, Colome struck out six over just three innings in his season debut for the Hot Rods, but also gave up six runs. On Tuesday, he made up for it by retiring 18 of the 19 batters he faced to enter into the argument of the Midwest League's best arms.
Stats and Scouts Agree, This Guy is Good
Entering the year with career averages of .319/.428/.542, it's hard to understand why Darnell isn't more of a household name. He has the numbers to attract the attention of the more statistically minded, especially in the on-base department, while scouts see a big, athletic third baseman with a quick bat, plus power, a strong arm and at least average speed. The Padres have moved other players in their system to different positions in order to keep Darnell at the hot corner, and he's still hitting, still reaching base, and as of last night, hitting for power in his first taste of Double-A pitching. He deserves more attention, so hopefully this is a start.
Oscar Tejada, 2b, Red Sox (High-A Salem)
Signed four years ago our of the Dominican Republic for just over half a million, Tejada has always tantalized with tools, while disappointing with performances, batting just .259/.306/.340 in a pair of seasons at Low-A Greenville. Forced to High-A almost just for a change of scenery, Tejada is still young for his level, having just turned 20 last December, and the bat speed is finally turning into hits, with a 9-for-17 mark in his first four games. With speed that is better suited for the right side of the infield (he originally came up as a shortstop), maybe some comfort on the defensive front is leading to the same at the plate.
Others Of Note:
- Koby Clemens, 1b, Astros (Double-A Corpus Christi): Two home runs last night and 16 total bases in six games. Maybe last year was for real, and it better be now that he's a first baseman.
- Jason Donald, 2b/ss, Indians (Triple-A Columbus): 9-for-20 in five games, still not sure where big league future lies.
- Kyle Gibson, rhp, Twins (High-A Fort Myers): Bounced back from rough first start to toss six shutout innings, striking out six.
- Jeremy Hellickson, rhp, Rays (Triple-A Durham): In two starts for the Bulls, he has more strikeouts (13), than base runners allowed (11) in 11.1 innings.
- Hector Noesi, rhp, Yankees (High-A Yankees): Not a crazy stud, but above-average stuff and command has led to 16 strikeouts and just five hits allowed in his first 12 innings.
- Myrio Richard, of, Athletics (Low-A Kane County): 2009 SWAC Player of the Year was the talk of camp this spring; hit his first home run yesterday and is now 8-for-23 with half of his hits going for extra bases.