In his last 13 games, Belt is hitting .500 (23-for-46), with an on-base percentage over .600 and a slugging percentage pushing four-digits thanks to last night's game in High Desert. And yet, he's still in High-A. In case you are wondering if he's blocked, the first baseman at Double-A Richmond is Michael Ambort, a 25-year-old 2006 draftee who has a .280 on-base percentage. I don't know what part of a .394/.509/.633 battling line doesn't say, "I'm completely wasting my time at this level."
He's in his fifth professional season, yet last night's outing was only the 51st of his career. Still, he's just 22 years old, and he's still a six-foot-eight righty with a big ceiling. Whatever magic the Yankee coaching staff has pulled with Andrew Brackman of late, it seems to have work off on Betances as well, as he's throwing strikes and dominating, allowing five hits in 12 innings while striking out 13 and, most surprising, walking just one while consistently getting into the mid-90s with his fastball.
The fact the Lyles is merely pitching well in the Texas League as a 19-year-old is impressive enough, but on Tuesday he proved that he can dominate in this league as well at times with his best outing of the year. While he doesn't have one massive offering, his fastball, curve and changeup all rate as above-average, and that alone make him extremely rare for a player so young.
After a strong showing in the Northwest League last year, Rincon's full-season debut was among the most anticipated in the system, but the first two months were a bit of a bust, as going into June he was hitting a lowly .220/.288/.325. The 19-year-old Dominican remains a disaster at third base, committing 23 errors in 57 games, but he's made some adjustments at the plate and his hitting skills are finally showing up. 21-for-52 in August (.404), Rincon has one of the better swings in the Midwest Leagues, and it's finally showing up on the stat sheet.
Others Of Note:
- Jonathan Albaladejo, RHP, Yankees (Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre): SV, 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K. 1.14 ERA in 28 games overall, but nearly untouchable in June (7 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 13 K).
- J.P. Arencibia, C, Blue Jays (Triple-A Las Vegas): 3-for-5, 2B, 2 K. Twelve hits in last six games, including four home runs, have pushed season number up to .280/.327/.551.
- Joe Benson, OF, Twins (High-A Fort Myers): 4-for-4, 3 2B, 3 R. I talk to scouts, so I know I'm not even close to the only person who likes this guy, I just wonder if anyone with the Twins feels the same way.
- Chris Carter, 1B, Athletics (Triple-A Sacramento): 2-for-3, 2B, HR (15), R 2 RBI. More hot than cold this year, but hitting .302/.360/.674 in June.
- Drew Cumberland, SS, Padres (High-A Lake Elsinore): 3-for-4, 2 2B, R, 2 RBI, BB, K, SB, CS. Hit .357 in April, .381 in May and now .403 in June. At .381/.418/.563 overall in 56 games, this is one of the biggest breakouts of the year.
- Grant Green, SS, Athletics (High-A Stockton): 4-for-6, 2B, 4 R, K. Hitting .319/.382/.553 in June; defensive reports haven't been kind.
- Aaron Hicks, OF, Twins (Low-A Beloit): 3-for-5, 2 2B, 2 R. Hot-and-cold hitter is hot again, going 8-for-16 in last four games with six doubles. .257/.374/.401 line shows overall progress.
- Shooter Hunt, RHP, Twins (High-A Fort Myers): 0.2 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 2 BB, 2 K. Uh-oh.
- Jiwan James, OF, Phillies (Low-A Lakewood): 3-for-5, CS. 26-for-66 (.394) in last 15 games; if tools are really clicking he has monstrous potential.
- Mycal Jones, SS, Braves (High-A Myrtle Beach): 2-for-6, HR (1), R, 2 RBI, 2 K, CS. 12-for-25 since promotion; tons of tools but a bit behind on the age curve.
- Matt Moore, LHP, Rays (High-A Charlotte): 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 9 K. When he throws strikes, he has the kind of stuff to dominate; he's just not throwing strikes enough.
- Logan Morrison, 1B, Marlins (Triple-A New Orleans): 3-for-5, 2B, R, RBI, 2 K. Batting .404 in last 12 games and .331/.423/.554 overall; just one Gaby Sanchez slump away from the call?
- Jeff Samardzija, RHP, Cubs (Triple-A Iowa): 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K. Nine innings without allowing an earned run in two starts with 11 strikeouts; could get another look with desperate Cubs team.
- Oscar Tejada, 2B, Red Sox (High-A Salem): 3-for-4, 2 R, RBI, BB. 17-for-39 (.436) in last ten games and .333/.354/.519 overall; the nitpicker would point out that he's not walking will missing all the average and surprising power.
- Travis Wood, LHP, Reds (Triple-A Louisville): 7 IP, 4 H, 2 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 10 K. Coming on strong in last six starts with 41 IP, 23 H, 8 BB, 40 K; if the Reds have a need, he should be next to get the call.