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Neftali Soto, 1B, Reds (Double-A Carolina): 2-for-4, 2 HR (24), 2 R, 4 RBI, K.

Soto began the year as a player who had stiffened up to the point where he was a first base only player without enough bat to profile as anything more than a good organizational player. He was probably still seen as that as late as the All-Star break, but since then, he's been the minor league's biggest home run machine, blasting 19 bombs in 39 games to raise his season totals to .282/.337/.609 in 77 games overall. He's a dead-red hitter with a poor approach and no tools after the bat, other than a good arm that is wasted at the position, but he's generating some buzz.

Others Of Note:

  • Raul Alcantara, RHP, Red Sox (Rookie-level GCL): 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K. Has gone five-plus innings while allowing one our fewer hits in half of his eight starts; 0.84 ERA with league hitting .139 against him.
  • Xander Bogaerts, SS, Red Sox (Low-A Greenville): 2-for-4, 2 2B, R, 2 RBI. 18-year-old is raw, yet big and athletic; .235/.310/.490 line is arguably more impressive than in looks.
  • Bryce Brentz, OF, Red Sox (High-A Salem): 1-for-4, HR (14), R, 3 RBI, 2 K. Fourteen home runs in 165 High-A at-bats; .255/.310/.576 in 43 Carolina League games.
  • Parker Bridwell, RHP, Orioles (Short-season Aberdeen): 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K. Can dominate off stuff or struggle due to command issues; 4.12 ERA with 52 Ks in 43.2 innings.
  • Travis D'Arnaud, C, Blue Jays (Double-A New Hampshire): Hitting .377/.434/.594 since the break; hard not to love a highly athletic catcher with plus hit tool and power.
  • Brett Eibner, OF, Royals (Low-A Kane County): 2-for-3, 2 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB. Finally healthy and getting the hang of it? 13-for-33 w/ four doubles and three home runs in last nine games; .220/.344/.457 overall.
  • Scooter Gennett, 2B, Brewers (High-A Brevard County): 3-for-6, R, 3 RBI, K, SB. Hard not to love a 5-foot-9 second baseman named Scooter; .353 since the break and .297/.333/.393 overall.
  • L.J. Hoes, OF, Orioles (Double-A Bowie): 2-for-3, 2B, R, 2 RBI, 2 BB, K. 16 total bases in last five games to lift OPS more than 50 points to .326/.389/.455; continued power surge to lead to more believers as a corner bat.
  • Drew Hutchinson, RHP, Blue Jays (High-A Dunedin): 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 8 K. Has been good or better in seven of eight Florida State League games; 45.1 IP, 35 H, 11 BB, 46 K.
  • Austin Hyatt, RHP, Phillies (Double-A Reading): 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 12 K. Command and control right has excellent changeup and 143 strikeouts in 124.1 innings; at some point his performances over-ride the lack of stuff.
  • Brett Jackson, OF, Cubs (Triple-A Iowa): 2-for-3, 2 R, 2 BB. .268/.384/.521 line should get him a September call-up, but only one outfield job is open in 2012 due to Soriano and Byrd contracts.
  • Jeff Locke, LHP, Pirates (Double-A Altoona): 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 6 K. 25 IP, 15 H in last four starts; 4.22 ERA in 22 games overall still below expectations.
  • Jason Martinson, SS, Nationals (Low-A Hagerstown): 2-for-3, 2B, HR (13), 2 R, 3 RBI, 2 BB. Semi-sleeper alert! 2010 fifth-round pick has some power, some speed and a whole lot of swing-and-miss; .256/.361/.432 in 101 games.
  • Will Middlebrooks, 3B, Red Sox (Double-A Portland): 3-for-5, HR (15), 2 R, 2 RBI, K. Snaps out of 1-for-16 slump; .300/.344/.519 overall.
  • Ariel Ovando, OF, Astros (Short-season Greeneville): 4-for-5, 3B, 2 R, BB. Doesn't turn 18 until September and already driving balls; .299/.340/.460 in 23 games.
  • Stolmy Pimentel, RHP, Red Sox (High-A Salem): 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K. Twelve innings without an earned run in last three starts after crashing out at Double-A.
  • Gary Sanchez, C, Yankees (Low-A Charleston): 3-for-4, 2 HR (14), 2 R, 3 RBI, K. Explosivo! Four home runs in last three games has season line of .251/.327/.463 looking much more impressive.
  • Noah Syndergaard, RHP, Blue Jays (Short-season Vancouver): 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 6 K. Northwest League debut after putting up 1.41 ERA in seven Appy League games.
  • Kolbrin Vitek, 3B, Red Sox (High-A Salem): 3-for-4, R, 2 RBI, BB. Just one home run in 101 games and not impressive defensively; .284/.350/.371 overall.
  • Brett Wallace, 1B, Astros (Triple-A Oklahoma City): 4-for-4, 2 2B, R, 3 RBI, BB. First minor league game since July 28, 2010.
  • Tony Wolters, SS, Indians (Short-season Mahoning Valley): 5-for-6, 2 R, RBI, K. Snaps out of 1-for-15 slump; .308/.397/.407 in 43 games.
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Scott44
8/04
KG - A lot of higly regarded/priced IFA's making their state-side debuts (Alfaro/Ovando/Castillo, etc.), from what you're hearing who is leading the class?
SimplyFalco
8/04
Can't begin to understand why Brett Wallace was sent down. I realize he's not great shakes, but what else do the Astros have going on at the major league level to try that's better?
Dhario
8/04
I like the decision of moving fat ass Carlos Lee to 1B and have JD Martinez in LF. Wallace's bat just doesn't play at 1B. He makes Casey Kotchman look like Babe Ruth.
boards
8/04
Have you seen Lee play first base? He makes ME look like Keith Hernandez...minus the porn 'stache, of course. Seriously, the Astros had a groundball directly at the 2B the other night that went 4-1 because Lee took a step and then just stood there.
alskor
8/06
Have you seen Lee play OF?
crperry13
8/04
Wallace was getting shredded. I suspect the move was to A) shake him up a little bit because his media comments lately have been complacent, and B) let him work on his swing with less pressure.
khenry0105
8/04
Honestly, it's just another example of the ineptitude of the Astros front office. First, they sign Lee to that ridiculous contract and stick him in the outfield. Then when they should be moving him to 1B, they trade for a top 1B prospect in Wallace. Sure, Wallace's bat may not play well at 1B, but where else is he going to play?
dwachtell
8/04
Nowhere? It's looking more and more likely that Brett Wallace is among the 99.9% of people who lack the necessary set of skills to be a major league baseball player. He doesn't have to play anywhere.
khenry0105
8/04
I agree, it may end up that way. However, they believed in him enough to trade for him and unless they deal him, they shouldn't give up on a guy they envisioned as their long term solution after 460 career ABs.
crperry13
8/04
I think it's a little early to presume the Astros are giving up on Wallace. I suspect it's more to clear his head and to free up AB in the outfield for JD Martinez and Jason Bourgeois.
sam19041
8/04
Wow. 6 red sox farmhands make the grade for the writeup. Must be nice to have a system like that!
drewsylvania
8/04
Well, FWIW, Pimentel had a good start after a demotion and Vitek's been generally lousy for a first-round pick. But it's great to see writeups on everybody. Almost wonder if Kevin put in so many Sox just to spite the people who claim he has East Coast bias...
SGreenwell
8/05
Also, IIRC, don't the minor leagues have different schedules than the majors? From just a quick glance at that, it doesn't seem like a ton of West Coast teams played, so maybe it was a travel or off-day of some sort, or rain canceled a slew of games.
antonio
8/05
KG, I know that comps are usually a mug's game, but does Hutchison remind you of anyone? I'm curious as to what kind of pitcher he is. He's about average height (6'2") and fairly slight (165 lbs), but has decent velocity and good strikeout numbers. His control is apparently very good, and he rarely allows HRs. And he's young for the league. It's an intriguing combination.
yadenr
8/05
He reminds me of Jason Park's favorite body type. I am growing my child to match said numbers, have Jason scout him, and retire with his signing bonus.
momansf
8/05
so...many...Red Sox....
Pluthero
8/05
Re: Lee - He actually plays a very competent first base. I've been very impressed watching him over there. Re: Wallace - Wade said he sent Wallace and Johnson down to AAA to learn to make adjustments. Both players have looked lost after Johnson had such a good 2010 and Wallace had a great April. They'll both likely be back after OKC's season is over.