Of Betances' 11 starts this year, eight of them could arguably be described as dominant, with none more so than last night's when Betances retired the last 14 batters he faced, nine via the strikeout. With a fastball that is all the way back (94-98 mph) and control that we've never seen before, the 22-year-old has whiffed 68 over 57 innings while allowing just 31 hits and walking 15. Only an ugly track record when it comes to staying healthy prevents him from being labeled with an elite tag.
It's been a darn good year overall for the Yankee farm system, and one of the brightest points of light has been Laird, who entered the year as a nice little hitter with some upside, and is now considered one of the better offensive prospects in the system. After batting .291/.355/.523 in the Eastern League, you couldn't have asked for a better Triple-A debut, but much like Jesus Montero, it's hard to figure out where his big league future lies if he remains a Yankee.
A high-ceiling arm who joined the Rangers on Saturday in the just-under-the-deadline Jarrod Saltalamacchia trade, Mendez can certainly bring the heat, and that was evidenced in his system debut when he touched 97-98 mph while showing a rare ability to throw strikes. If that can become more consistent, and he can advance his fringy breaking ball, he could become more than just someone to dream on.
After giving up five runs and allowing 11 base runners in less than five innings during his Southern League debut, Teheran proved that he belonged in Double-A as a 19-year-old by getting the first 17 outs in a combined no-hitter of Mobile. The Braves are in first place now, but there's no reason to think that all of their young pitching won't make them even better down the road.
Others Of Note:
- J.P. Arencibia, C, Blue Jays (Triple-A Las Vegas): 2-for-4, HR (31), 3 R, RBI, 2 BB, K. 26 home runs in last 56 games; it's almost becoming boring . . . almost.
- Brandon Beachy, RHP, Braves (Triple-A Gwinnett): 6 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 K. Breakout player with 12 whiffs over 10 innings in a pair of Triple-A starts; could play a big league role next year.
- Nick Blackburn, RHP, Twins (Triple-A Rochester): 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K. First minor league appearance since 2007; inability to miss bats finally caught up to him, as it does to everyone.
- Jabari Blash, OF, Mariners (Rookie-level Pulaski): 4-for-5, 2 2B, HR (1), 3 R, 2 RBI, K. Ultra-athletic, ultra-raw eighth-round pick with first big pro game; 14 Ks in 28 at-bats.
- Bobby Borchering, 3B, Diamondbacks (Low-A South Bend): 4-for-5, 2 RBI, K. 2009 first-round pick has been a major disappointment this year; hitting just .265/.330/.390 and not a good defender.
- Ryan Brett, 2B, Rays (GCL Rays): 2-for-4, 2B, RBI, BB, K, SB. Third-round pick is a little scrapper with speed and gap power; 13-for-26 in first nine games as a pro.
- Rashun Dixon, OF, Athletics (Low-A Kane County): 3-for-5, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 K, CS. Every once in a while he seems to be figuring things out; up to .257/.361/.392 and still loaded with tools.
- Jon Gilmore, 3B, White Sox (High-A Kinston): 2-for-4, 2 R, 2 RBI. 21-year-old former Brave is leading minor league in hits as part of .336/.370/.424 line; as you can see he offers little in secondary skills, and defense is below-average as well.
- Reggie Golden, OF, Cubs (Rookie-level AZL Cubs): 2-for-5, 2B, R, BB, 2 K. Pro debut for second-round pick; big-time tools in small package.
- Billy Hamilton, 2B, Reds (Rookie-level Billings): 3-for-4, 3B, R, RBI, 2 SB. 2009 draftee is generating some explosive scouting reports; 24-for-50 with 10 stolen bases during current 11-game hitting streak and .335/.389/.463 overall.
- Brett Jackson, OF, Cubs (Double-A Tennessee): 1-for-3, HR (3), R, RBI, BB, 2 K. Batting .290/.403/.486 in 30 Double-A games; showing glimpses of power but doing most of his damage against lefties.
- Trevor May, RHP, Phillies (Low-A Lakewood): 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 9 K. Rebound from Florida State League washout continues; 51 Ks in 35 innings.
- Jenrry Mejia, RHP, Mets (High-A St. Lucie): 4 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K. Working way back from shoulder strain, and working way back into a starter's workload.
- Melky Mesa, OF, Yankees (High-A Tampa): 2-for-5, HR (15), R, 3 RBI. Above-average power and speed, good defense with a plus arm, the only problem is he's not a very good hitter; .261/.333/.469 overall.
- Michael Olt, 3B, Rangers (Short-season Spokane): 2-for-3, HR (5), R, 2 RBI, BB. Supplemental first-round pick is bulky third baseman with power, patience and defensive skills; .281/.376/.464 in 40 games.
- Rafael Ortega, OF, Rockies (Short-season Casper): 4-for-5, 3 R, RBI, K, SB, CS. 19-year-old Venezuelan sleeper has speed and surprising power; 12-for-23 in last five games and .354/.387/.507 overall.
- Carlos Peguero, OF, Mariners (Double-A West Tenn): 1-for-2, 2B, HR (19), 2 R, 2 RBI, BB, K, CS. Great first half marred by equally brutal second half; batting just .143 (12-for-84) since July 1 with 40 strikeouts.
- Michael Pineda, RHP, Mariners (Triple-A Tacoma): 6 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 7 K. 53 whiffs in 46 Triple-A innings while limiting the Pacific Coast League to a .186 batting average; could be bringing upper 90s heat to a September audition.
- Wilson Ramos, C, Nationals (Triple-A Syracuse): 2-for-4, R, RBI. 4-for-11 since trade; your 2011 big league starter?
- Josh Reddick, OF, Red Sox (Triple-A Pawtucket): 4-for-5, 2 2B, HR (9), 2 R, 5 RBI. 8-for-15 with 15 total bases since Kalish got called up to the big leagues. Coincidence? Probably, but others have been driven by such things.
- Cameron Rupp, C, Phillies (Short-season Williamsport): 2-for-3, 2B, HR (4), R, 4 RBI, 2 BB. Third-round pick out of Texas has good power and arm strength, but is big and slow, even for a catcher; .252/.348/.443 in 32 games.
- Kyle Russell, OF, Dodgers (Double-A Chattanooga): 3-for-3, 2 HR (5), 3 R, 2 RBI, BB. Best game since promotion; still at just .225/.293/.404 in 42 Southern League games.
- Tanner Scheppers, RHP, Rangers (Triple-A Oklahoma City): 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K. In his last four appearances, he's whiffed eight over seven innings while giving up just three hits; expect him in the big leagues soon.
- Sebastian Valle, C, Phillies (Low-A Lakewood): 2-for-4, 2B, HR (12), R, 3 RBI. 20-year-old Mexican catcher with plus power and big holes in swing; .255/.295/.420 in 93 games.
- Rick VandenHurk, RHP, Orioles (Triple-A Norfolk): 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 4 K. Oriole system debut; almost certainly will get a September look.
- Andy Wilkins, 1B, White Sox (Rookie-level Great Falls): 3-for-4, 2B, HR (5), 3 R, RBI, BB. Fifth-round pick is bat-only first baseman, but up to .341/.431/.560 in 23 games.