On Friday, Flores celebrates his 19th birthday, so while he's as old as many recent high school draftees, he's hitting .313/.321/.429 in the tough Florida State League. As nice a hitter as he is, it's hard to see him as a truly top-of the-line prospect, as his highly aggressive approach needs to be addressed, and there's no way he stays a shortstop as he develops, but yes, the kid really can hit.
Almost lost in the shuffle with a loaded Rangers system, Kirkman might not be at the top of a Rangers prospect list, but he's high on the list of next to reach the big leagues. A fifth-round pick in 2005 out of a Florida high school, Kirkman has had his share of injuries and struggles during his career, but he's had a breakout season at Triple-A, with a 2.99 ERA and an opponent's average of just .233. With above-average velocity for a lefty, a good slider, and a six-foot-four frame built for stamina, he projects as a solid starter long-term, but his near future could be as an extra left-hander out of the bullpen.
Last year's breakout player had people worried early in the year that his 2009 showing was one of those California League mirages, but he's been one of the system's better hitters in the second half, batting .374 in 46 games since the calendar flipped to June. Whether he's a second-division starter or good fourth outfielder in the big leagues is still an open debate, but he's definitely for real.
Others Of Note:
- Yonder Alonso, 1B, Reds (Triple-A Louisville): 2-for-6, 2 2B, RBI, K. Hitting .357/.438/.643 in 70 at-bats since All-Star break; no future in Cincy at first baseman, so a big trade chip this off-season?
- Oswaldo Arcia, OF, Twins (Rookie-level Elizabethton): 3-for-5, 2 HR (14), 2 R, 3 RBI, K. 19-year-old Venezuelan has 14 home runs in 175 at-bats and overall line of .394/.437/.777; yet still is not a lock for Appy League triple crown.
- Blake Beavan, RHP, Mariners (Triple-A Tacoma): 6 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 2 K. Triple-A debut for big righty acquired in Cliff Lee deal; should be a back-rotation starter for the Mariners next year.
- Tim Beckham, SS, Rays (High-A Charlotte): 3-for-4, 2B, R, RBI, CS. Showing some real sings of home by hitting .340 in 29 games since July 1; .250/.344/.361 line and trending significantly upwards.
- Bobby Borchering, 3B, Diamondbacks (Low-A South Bend): 3-for-5, 2B, 3B, 3 R, 2 RBI, K. 2009 first-rounder continues late surge; 9-for-15 in last three games raises averages to .270/.333/.401.
- John Bowker, 1B/OF, Pirates (Triple-A Indianapolis): 3-for-4, 2 2B, RBI, K. Pirates system debut, and yes, he can still mash Triple-A pitching.
- Matt Carpenter, 3B, Cardinals (Double-A Springfield): 3-for-4, 2B, 3 R, BB, K. Up to .321/.416/.500 in 75 Texas League games; best hitter in the Cardinals system?
- Aroldis Chapman, LHP, Reds (Triple-A Louisville): 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K. Heading to the big leagues soon? Six strikeouts over four hitless innings in last three appearances.
- Aaron Crow, RHP, Royals (High-A Wilmington): 6.1 IP, 10 H, 8 R (6 ER), 2 BB, 4 K. First game since demotion and proof that not all Royals minor league news is good.
- Cito Culver, SS, Yankees (Rookie-level GCL Yankees): 3-for-4, HR (2), 2 R, RBI, 2 SB. First-round pick is up to .276/.336/.382 in 33 games; scouts are very impressed with tools.
- Matt Davidson, 3B, Diamondbacks (Low-A South Bend): 2-for-4, 2 HR (14), 2 R, 5 RBI, BB, K. As hot as Borchering, but better throughout the year; 14 total bases in last three games and up to .295/.378/.503.
- Jacoby Ellsbury, OF, Red Sox (Triple-A Pawtucket): 3-for-5, 2B, R, RBI. 8-for-17 without a strikeout in four Triple-A rehab games.
- Kyle Gibson, RHP, Twins (Double-A New Britain): 7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 7 K. Back on a roll after some early July struggles; 18 Ks over 16.1 innings in last three starts with just one run allowed.
- Eric Hosmer, 1B, Royals (Double-A Northwest Arkansas): 3-for-5, HR (8), R, RBI, K. Now at .338/.383/.714 in 20 Texas League games; power has arrived, and with it, elite prospect status.
- Corban Joseph, 2B, Yankees (Double-A Trenton): 2-for-3, 2B, 3B, 2 R, 2 RBI. Double-A debut after hitting .302/.378/.436 at High-A Tampa; not especially toolsy but can really hit.
- Max Kepler, OF, Twins (Rookie-level GCL Twins): 3-for-4, 2 2B, R, K. For a 17-year-old with his background, a .270/.330/.340 line is actually pretty impressive.
- Jason Kipnis, 2B, Indians (Double-A Akron): 2-for-3, 3B, 2 RBI; 2-for-4, R RBI, BB, K. Batting .420/.487/.652 since the All-Star break and .333/.412/.528 overall; highly under-rated talent.
- Brandon Laird, 3B, Yankees (Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre): 2-for-4, 2 2B, R, 2 RBI, K. Two big games so far for SWB Yanks; The organization's own version of Alonso in the sense that he's eternally blocked?
- Oswaldo Martinez, SS, Marlins (Double-A Jacksonville): 3-for-4, HR (4), 2 R, 3 RBI, SB. Slick defender is up to .309/.386/.408; has done wonders for his stock all year for proving there's a bat to go with the glove.
- Cameron Maybin, OF, Marlins (Triple-A New Orleans): 3-for-5, 2B, 2 R, RBI. Up to .317/.394/.444; it's too early to call a 23-year-old a bust, but as for his future, your guess is as good as mine.
- Jake McGee, LHP, Rays (Double-A Montgomery): 5.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K. One of the better rebound stories in the minors; 100 Ks in 88.1 innings with one of the best lefty fastballs around.
- Melky Mesa, OF, Yankees (High-A Tampa): 4-for-5, 2B, 2 RBI. Has raised batting average 20 points in a week by going 15-for-30 in six games; up to .268/.338/.477.
- Wade Miley, LHP, Diamondbacks (Double-A Mobile): 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 2 K. Excellent sleeper in a system desperate for them; 1.61 ERA in eight Double-A starts and a groundball machine.
- Brent Morel, 3B, White Sox (Triple-A Charlotte): 2-for-3, HR (4), R, RBI, K. Up to .300/.333/.438 in 56 Triple-A games; in line for September look and more serious appraisal next spring.
- Mike Moustakas, 3B, Royals (Triple-A Omaha): 3-for-5, R, 2 RBI. Finding his swing at Triple-A; 12 hits and 24 total bases in last seven games.
- Will Myers, C, Royals (High-A Wilmington) 4-for-4, 2 2B, 2 R, RBI. Left game with what looked like hamstring injury; batting .370/.487/.489 as a 19-year-old in High-A.
- Wilson Ramos, C, Nationals (Triple-A Syracuse): 2-for-4, 3B, 2 R, RBI. Third straight multi-hit game as he seems to be enjoying his change of scenery.
- Josh Reddick, OF, Red Sox (Triple-A Pawtucket): 2-for-5, HR (10), R, RBI. Maybe angered that I wrote about Kalish passing him on the depth chart; 13-for-24 with 25 total bases in last five games.
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Red Sox (Double-A Portland): 4-for-5, 3 2B, 3 R, 4 RBI, K. If you believe that doubles turn into home runs, this is your guy; 25 two-baggers in 298 Double-A at-bats.
- Derrick Robinson, OF, Royals (Double-A Northwest Arkansas): 3-for-4, 2B, HR (7), 2 R, 3 RBI, BB. Yet another piece of good news for Royals fans as pure burner has turned into baseball player with .290/.351/.386 line.
- Zach Stewart, RHP, Blue Jays (Double-A New Hampshire): 5 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 6 K. 1.59 ERA in last five starts; scouts still mixed as to whether brighter future lies in rotation or bullpen.
- Mike Trout, OF, Angels (High-A Rancho Cucamonga): 2-for-4, HR (2), R, RBI, SB. Six hits in last two games brings line up to .292/.370/.486.
- Jonathan Villar, SS, Astros (High-A Lancaster): Toolsy shortstop acquired from Phillies in Oswalt deal is 7-for-13 in three games since deal.
- Jemile Weeks, 2B, Athletics (Double-A Midland): 2-for-4, 2B, 2 R, BB, K. Yet another injury plagued year, but as always, when he's healthy he produces (.309/.386/.456).
- Joe Wieland, RHP, Rangers (High-A Bakersfield): 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 14 K. Doesn't pitch like the line suggests; but is far more than just a finesse pitcher with above-average stuff and downright sublime command.