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Justin Nicolino, LHP, Blue Jays (Short-season Vancouver): 5 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 9 K.

The Jays love projectable arms, and Nicolino is evidence for why. While he had average velocity in high school, he was a skinny six-foot-three and expected to fill out and gain velocity. Already up to 94 mph one year later and showcasing plus command, he's been creating some big buzz in the Northwest League beyond last night's dominant outing, as in 34 innings, he's allowed just 18 hits and whiffed 47 batters. His secondary pitches are still a work in progress, but Nicolino's stock is way up.

Others Of Note:

  • Tim Beckham, SS, Rays (Double-A Montgomery): 2-for-5, HR (6), 2 R, 3 RBI. Has slowed since impressing first half; .275/.335/.395 in 89 games.
  • Dante Bichette, 3B, Yankees (Rookie-level GCL): 3-for-4, 2 R, 4 RBI. Hit .151 in his first 16 games but is 14-for-35 (.400) in eight games since.
  • Jesse Biddle, LHP, Phillies (Low-A Lakewood): 6 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 8 K. Among the hottest pitchers in the Sally League as velocity has returned to 91-94 mph levels; 34.2 IP, 21 H, 5 R, 18 BB, 42 K in last six starts.
  • Jorge Bonifacio, OF, Royals (Rookie-level Burlington): 4-for-5, HR (4), R, 2 RBI. 18-year-old Dominican with plenty of hitting ability and raw power; .330/.357/.578 in 28 games.
  • Ryan Brett, 2B, Rays (Rookie-level Princeton): 2-for-5, 3B, R, 2 RBI. Little second baseman with bat speed and wheels; .308/.357/.471 in 26 games.
  • Chih-Hsien Chiang, OF, Red Sox (Double-A Portland): 2-for-5, HR (17), 2 R, RBI. Hitting .435/.487/.783 in 17 July games and .331/.388/.648 overall; wish scouting reports were as good as the numbers.
  • Cito Culver, SS, Yankees (Short-season Staten Island): 3-for-5, 2B, 3 R, K. Eight hits in last three games and up to .308/.383/.392.
  • Delino DeShields, 2B, Astros (Low-A Lexington): 3-for-4, RBI, BB. Late-season hotness continues; 10-for-17 in last four games, .350 in July and .228/.310/.331 overall.
  • Zeke DeVoss, 2B, Cubs (Short-season Boise): 2-for-4, 2B, SB, CS. Third round pick has reached base 10 times in four games and stolen seven bases.
  • Derek Dietrich, SS, Rays (Low-A Bowling Green): 1-for-2, HR (13), R, 3 RBI, BB. Hitting .357/.447/.714 in July and .295/.364/.506 overall, but it's hard to excited about a 22-year-old from a big college program (Georgia Tech) putting up big numbers in the Midwest League.
  • Reymond Fuentes, OF, Padres (High-A Lake Elsinore): 4-for-5, 3B, HR (2), 2 R, 2 RBI, BB, CS. First season with Padres has been defined by inconsistency more than anything else; .278/.350/.351 in 85 games.
  • Dee Gordon, SS, Dodgers (Triple-A Albuquerque): 2-for-3, 3B, R, RBI, BB. Hitting .351/.393/.509 since returning to minors; still in line for big league job in '12.
  • Taylor Green, 3B/2B, Brewers (Triple-A Nashville): 2-for-3, HR (14), 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB. Deserves a shot to be the left-side upgrade the Brewers are looking for; .320/.404/.548 in 88 games.
  • Didi Gregorius, SS, Reds (High-A Bakersfield): 3-for-4, HR (4), R, 3 RBI. 21-year-old Dutchman has true shortstop tools; three home runs in last five games and .282/.316/.414 overall.
  • Billy Hamilton, SS, Reds (Low-A Dayton): 3-for-5, 3B, 4 R, RBI, BB, SB (72). Hitting .316/.393/.342 in July; will be fun to see if he can get to 100 stolen bases.
  • Gorkys Hernandez, OF, Pirates (Triple-A Indianapolis): 3-for-4, 2 R, RBI. Not a breakout, but at least a bounce-back, .289/.340/.398 in 84 games.
  • Chad James, LHP, Marlins (High-A Jupiter): 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K. Two straight wins after beginning the year with a bad luck 0-13 record; 3.40 ERA in 20 starts.
  • Ryan Lavarnway, C, Red Sox (Triple-A Pawtucket): 2-for-5, HR (12), R, 2 RBI, 2 K. It's getting kind of ridiculous; seven home runs in last nine games and .377/.445/.746 in 34 International League games.
  • Brett Lawrie, 3B, Blue Jays (Triple-A Las Vegas): 3-for-5, 2B, RBI, K, SB. Back-to-back three-hit games and up to .354/.411/.663 in 56 games; on track for a big league call up again?
  • Jake Lowery, C, Indians (Short-season Mahoning Valley): 3-for-4, 2B, 2 R, 6 RBI, BB. Fourth-round pick can certainly hit, but ability to stay behind the plate might define his future.
  • Jeff Malm, 1B, Rays (Short-season Hudson Valley): 2-for-5, 2 HR (10), 2 R, 3 RBI, K. 20-year-old 2009 draftee has massive power potential; .308/.452/.645 in 31 games.
  • Brett Marshall, RHP, Yankees (High-A Tampa): 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 8 K. Best start of the year, but has been pitching especially well of late; 15 IP, 9 H, 2 BB, 19 K in last three starts due to much improved command.
  • Brian Matusz, LHP, Orioles (Triple-A Norfolk): 3.2 IP, 8 H, 8 R (7 ER), 3 BB, 2 K. Still not getting out of the upper-80s.
  • Devin Mesoraco, C, Reds (Triple-A Louisville): 3-for-4, 2B, R, RBI, K. Was under .300 for a couple of days, but back-to-back three-hit games took care of that; .305/.378/.508 overall.
  • Will Middlebrooks, 3B, Red Sox (Double-A Portland): 2-for-4, 2 2B, R, RBI. Eight of last nine hits have gone for extra bases; .310/.354/.522 in 71 games.
  • Beau Mills, 1B, Indians (Double-A Akron): 1-for-4, HR (11), 2 R, 2 RBI, BB, K. Too little, too late for former first-round pick? Six home runs in last 11 games and hitting .300/.358/.522 overall.
  • Adrian Nieto, C, Nationals (Short-season Auburn): 3-for-4, HR (4), 2 R, 2 RBI, K. Has been pleasant surprise after being all but written off; .292/.375/.469 in 27 games.
  • Rafael Ortega, OF, Rockies (Low-A Asheville): 2-for-4, 2B, R, BB. Now hitting .337/.349/.548 in 22 games since the All-Star break; small but toolsy.
  • Tyler Pastornicky, SS, Braves (Triple-A Gwinnett): 2-for-5, R, 2 RBI. 5-for-14 in three Triple-A games; if you want to read into promotion, he could be in line for close look next spring.
  • Martin Perez, LHP, Rangers (Triple-A Round Rock): 3.1 IP, 11 H, 6 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 1 K. One good start and one horrible one at Triple-A as New Orleans went 11-for-19 against Perez last night.
  • Adys Portillo, RHP, Padres (Low-A Fort Wayne): 5.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K. Has a 6.21 ERA in 16 starts, but also 72 strikeouts over 62.1 innings.
  • Nick Ramirez, 1B, Brewers (Short-season Helena): 2-for-4, HR (8), 2 R, 2 RBI, K. Getting wacky with six home runs in last five games; .396/.411/.736 in first 20 pro games.
  • Daniel Renken, RHP, Reds (Low-A Dayton): 5.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 10 K. Not nearly as good on a stuff level as his 137 strikeouts over 107.2 innings, but has good secondary stuff and command.
  • Julio Rodriguez, RHP, Phillies (High-A Clearwater): 7 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 10 K. Doesn't get the hype of other members of Clearwater rotation but has solid across-the-board stuff and excellent feel; 3.17 ERA in 19 starts while limiting Florida State League to .189 average.
  • Austin Romine, C, Yankees (Double-A Trenton): 2-for-4, 2 RBI, CS. 11 hits in last six games and up to .299/.362/.402 in 63 games; power has been disappointment this year.
  • Eddie Rosario, OF, Twins (Rookie-level Elizabethton): 1-for-4, HR (9), R, 2 RBI, K. On another power surge with home runs in three straight games; .297/.362/.627 in 29 games overall.
  • Jonathan Singleton, 1B, Phillies (High-A Clearwater): 2-for-4, HR (8), R, 2 RBI, K. Seemed to be putting it all together in June, but hitting just .258/.315/.387 in July.
  • Oscar Taveras, OF, Cardinals (Low-A Quad Cities): 3-for-5, 2B, 3 R, 5 RBI, BB. A ridiculous 23-for-39 (.590) in his last nine games and .396/.440/.585 overall; becoming the guy I'm regretting not putting on the Top 50 with each passing day.
  • Michael Taylor, OF, Athletics (Triple-A Sacramento): 3-for-4, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB, SB. Certainly real progress with .278/.349/.464 line in 54 games.
  • D'Andre Toney, OF, Royals (Rookie-level AZL): 4-for-5, 2 2B, 4 R, SB. Speedster is looking far less raw than expected; .380/.463/.648 in 22 games.
  • Ronald Torreyes, 2B, Reds (Low-A Dayton): 5-for-5, 3 R, RBI, BB. 12-for-15 in last three games and now more than just flirting with .400; .402/.444/.547 in 28 games.
  • Kolten Wong, 2B, Cardinals (Low-A Quad Cities): 2-for-5, 2 R, BB, K, SB. Outstanding pro debut continues; .349/.426/.523 in 21 games.
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MEDAFAP
7/22
Wasn't Matusz's average fastball velocity for 2010 in the high 80s? Without talking to scouts, it makes more sense to me that lost command is dictating how badly he's pitching these days... what have you heard?
harderj
7/23
According to FanGraphs, 89.9 in 2010 and 91.5 in 2009. http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=2646&position=P#pitchtype
AadikShekar
7/22
Kevin, when's the last time a Giants player made your update? ;) Is the farm that bad (Wheeler aside)?
dtrainmets
7/22
Gary Brown
Infrancoeurgible
7/22
mattymatty2000
7/22
Quite the extensive list. Thanks, Kevin.
zasxcdfv
7/22
Didi Gregorios - up there with Odor.
benharris
7/22
His full name is pretty cool too. I think it's Mariekson Gregorius.
tbecker
7/22
Thanks for the extra long update. These are always an enjoyable read.
uptick
7/22
it looks like the Tribe finally listened to you and called Kipnis up
uptick
7/22
Kevin -- I saw where Sean West threw 130 pitches last night...how common is it for someone in the minors to throw that many pitches in a game?
kgoldstein
7/22
It never happens. It was a scoring error when they missed a reliever. He threw 77.
sam19041
7/22
Kevin, how would you compare/contrast Gary Brown and Reymond Fuentes? Both seem to fit a similar profile, and may patrol CF for West Coast teams with spacious outfields. Ceiling? Development progress / ETA? Thanks!!
biteme
7/22
Brown is faster and far more advanced as a hitter. Higher ceiling, higher floor. Am I right, KG?
jeffr92
7/23
Brown has the higher floor and is the better prospect but I wouldn't say higher ceiling.
antonio
7/22
These updates are a great "quick hit" on interesting performances in the minors. The Future Shock blog and articles are among the first sources I check out each day. Great work.
hotstatrat
7/22
In preparation for Brett Lowrie, perhaps, the Jays are trying Travis Snider in center. Eric Thames has been a huge hit and has earned a corner spot. Snider is back up and looking good. I don't think they want to put either young player at DH. They wouldn't want to waste Bautista there either, but that's where he's beeen playing just to go easier on his ankles. True centerfielders Rajai Davis and Corey Patterson have been OK, but they're not impact players. The point is the outfield is getting so crowded, the best fit for Lowrie right now may be second base with Bautista at third - unless Aaron Hill can regain his 2009 form. Any chance Lowrie will take over at second-base?
acmcdowell
7/22
Thames' hot start isn't completely backed up by a lot of his underlying numbers (K:BB, BABIP), especially for average. He certainly has power, but I think he's likely to regress to an average around .250. Given the question marks around Snider and Thames, and the fact that Corey Patterson is still Corey Patterson, I don't think the OF is nearly as crowded and there is more than enough room to move Bautista back there, especially if the Jays think that 3B is Lawrie's long-term position.
mrdannyg
7/22
I think it goes Thames/Snider/Bautista from left to right, and Lawrie at 3B. Encarnacion can DH most days. Davis can be a pinch-runner/defensive replacement. He'll get his share of starts in centre too, with Snider moving to LF, and Thames sitting or DH'ing. God, I hope it is Patterson that gets DFA'ed. If he does, we've still got Snider/Thames/Davis for 2 positions, but that's not such a terrible position to be in. Snider as an everyday CF is scary. I think he'll be well below average there.
zasxcdfv
7/22
Lawrie is a bad second baseman (and not much of a third baseman, either).
rawagman
7/22
From everything I have read on Lawrie, there seems to be zero chance he breaks double digits in game played at 2B in his career. Patterson will probably lose his job (him or McCoy). I think the Jays are setting themselves up to creatively platoon. Snider at all three outfield spots, Bautista between 3B and RF, Thames is the outfield corners and at DH (he's a pretty bad outfielder). Davis is a solid CF and great on the basepaths but is sittable.
harderj
7/23
Yes, but for now he qualifies at 2b in fantasy ;-). How is Snider in CF?
rawagman
7/23
SSS, of course, but not bad. He is surprisingly athletic, routes have been good. I actually missed yesterday's game, if anything was there to change my opinion. Most of his poor plays earlier in the year in LF were more brain farts than anything else. Angle of the ball much different in CF. Anyways, he's passable for now, but maybe not when the Jays are ready to contend.
drewsylvania
7/25
Snider in center? He's not a good corner OF.
BillJohnson
7/22
So Kevin, if you got a do-over on the top 50, where *would* Oscar Taveras fit? Because yeah, he's getting interesting.
TheGoat0211
7/22
Did I miss the NL West draft recap?
asstarr1
7/22
KG, please be careful, you've included at least two Brewers on your list three times this week. People might get the impression they've moved up to the second worst farm system.
drewsylvania
7/25
Along similar lines, here's a breakdown by team of today's list (fyi, snark incoming): Rays 4 Yankees 4 Phillies 3 Royals 2 Red Sox 3 Astros Cubs Padres 2 Dodgers Brewers 2 Reds 5 Pirates Marlins Blue Jays Indians 2 Orioles Nationals Rockies Braves Rangers Twins Cardinals 2 Athletics Looks like Kevin switched allegiances (yet again!) and is now a staunch Reds loyalist!