Things continue to look up for Bumgarner, as the velocity is starting to return to his game. He's not quite where he was during his breakout 2008 campaign, but upper 80s has been replaced with consistent low-90s, and if anything his previous struggles taught him how to pitch without his best stuff, and he's coming out of it as a better overall pitcher. His stuff is above-average now, and if he gets all the velocity back and starts lighting up radar guns by touching the mid-90s again, he could be back in the big leagues.
At what point does one trust a hot start? Well, it depends on the player, and in Moustakas' case, I'm ready to fire up the bandwagon. The other-wordly bat speed was always there, and now has come the improved approach, and for the first time in three years, he's finally playing in a park and league that doesn't totally crush hitters. His .370/.450/.728 line is not only one of the most pleasant surprises in the minors this year; it's one of the easiest to believe in as well.
Lou Marson has a sub-.300 on-base percentage and slugging for Cleveland, meanwhile Carlos Santana is taking acting classes. I kid you not, as the Indians' top prospect is re-enacting mound meetings and discussions with umpires in order to improve his English and overall communication skills. As far as baseball goes, he's simply stopped making outs, as in his last two games, the Dominican has gone 3-for-3 with three home runs and four walks. Now at .333/.461/.626, I don't care if Santana is studying with Lee Strasberg, it's pretty much time to get him up.
One scout who recently saw Viciedo said he liked him better than last year, saying, "the more I see him, the more convinced I am that he's going to be a good big leaguer." There are still plenty of holes in his game, as he's walked a grand total of four times this year, and yes, he's still fat, but he's also just 21 years old and batting .288/.322/.511 in Triple-A. There's something here, but it's not without its warts.
It was around this time last year when Vitters went a bit crazy at Low-A Peoria, hitting home runs in eight of ten games. While nobody is predicting another run of that nature, the point here is that Vitters continues to hit since taking Starlin Castro's roster spot at Double-A, batting .393/.393/.607 in eight game since the move. That's not a typo on the on-base percentage, as he's yet to draw a walk, but don't automatically make the assumption that no walks = no prospect. It's a true weakness in his game, and one that needs to be addressed on some level, but it's not going to keep a bit this good from advancing.
Others Of Note:
- Brandon Belt, OF, Giants (High-A San Jose): 2-for-4, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, K. Mini-slump pulled him under .400, but he's now 10-for-19 in his last five games and back up to .392.
- Adron Chambers, OF, Cardians (Double-A Springfield): 2-for-3, 2B, HR (2), R, RBI, 2 BB, K. Despite the fact that I put him in the Cardinals Top 11, he's still a bit of a sleeper. Six runs and nine hits in his last five games and up to .281/.374/.421.
- Adieny Hechavarria, SS, Blue Jays (High-A Dunedin): 2-for-5, R, 2 RBI, 2 E. Despite the pair of miscues, early reports are that the glove is legitimately outstanding.
- Brad Lincoln, RHP, Pirates (Triple-A Indianapolis): 7 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 10 K. Three straight very good starts, and very good overall in six of eight outings while on the same schedule as Charlie Morton . . . I'm just sayin'.
- Jesus Montero, C, Yankees (Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre): 1-for-2, HR (3), R, 4 RBI, BB, K. Will grand slam get his bat going? One has to wonder if he'd be the Yankees designated hitter right now if he got off to a better start.
- Juan Oramas, LHP, Padres (High-A Lake Elsinore): 8.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 9 K. Took perfect game into ninth inning. Short Mexican lefty with great control and ability to spin it; could have future relief possibilities.
- Carlos Peguero, OF, Mariners (Double-A West Tenn): 3-for-5, HR (12), 3 R, 2 RBI, K. First home run in ten days, but still batting .333/.420/.638. A bit of a bat-only prospect, but he's proving that everything he did last year wasn't solely a product of High Desert.
- Adam Warren, RHP, Yankees (High-A Tampa): 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 0 K. 18 ground ball outs in a seven inning shutout is remarkable, but zero whiffs? As a big league exec put it to me on Monday, "groundball rates are a secondary characteristic, guys who miss bats get you rings."