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A minor league update consisting solely of players from the game I attended last night in Beloit, Wisconsin.

Kennys Vargas, 1B, Twins (Low-A Beloit): 1-for-3, HR (9), R, RBI, BB, 2 K.

Vargas has become a bit of a pop-up player in the Midwest League this year as after just 21 games, he's hitting .278/.422/.736 with nine home runs and 17 walks in just 72 at bats, and 14 of his 20 hits going for extra bases, including the nine bombs. That's obviously impressive, and his home run on Monday night was a blast to center field. That said, there are a lot of things to like about him, and also a lot of red flags. He has tremendous power, which should be no surprise when you consider his listed size of six-foot-five and 272 pounds. That's 272 pounds for a player who earned as suspension at the end of last year for taking a weight loss supplement that was on the list of banned substances. Signed in 2009 as a non-drafted free agent for $85,000, Vargas put up solid numbers in three years of short-season baseball, so at 22 he's not exactly the youngest player in the league, and his line from Monday's game shows every aspect of his game. The massive power showed up in his home run, his good approach is there with a walk, and the fact that breaking balls make him look like a little leaguer is there with the two strikeouts. That's also kind of all that matters, as he's a poor fielder and well below-average runner. All he can do is keep hitter, and all the Twins can do is keep moving him up until he stops hitting. Despite the 1158 OPS, he merely falls into the mildly interesting pile, but is worth keeping an eye on.

Others Of Note:

Mason Melotakis, LHP, Twins (Low-A Beloit): 1 IP, 1 H, 2 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 1 K.

The Twins 2nd-round pick in June, Melotakis signed for $750,000, and he's a left-handed power reliever who sat at 92-93 and touched 95 with a promising 79-81 mph slider.

Austin Reed, RHP, Cubs (Low-A Peoria): 2 IP, 3 H, 1 R (0 ER), 2 BB, 2 K.

A 12th round pick in 2010, Reed doesn't have great numbers this year out of the bullpen, with a 3.60 ERA and 45 strikeouts in 55 innings, but you do sit up a bit when he touches 96 mph while generally sitting at 92-94. Command/control is an issue.

Miguel Sano, 3B, Twins (Low-A Beloit): 2-for-4, HR (24), R, RBI.

I've reached the point where I can't go see Sano without seeing him go deep, and his 24 home runs is fifty percent more than any other player in the league, and he leads in the RBI race by 14. He remains a mixed bag, but it's hard to walk away from power that earns 70-80 grades from scouts, as well as one of the league's best approaches at just 19 years of age, as he also leads the circuit with 74 walks. He goes to the plate looking to crush a balls, and his .259 batting average with 129 strikeouts in 397 at-bats is certainly a cause for concern, and there's simply no way he stays at third base. As a right-fielder with those kind of secondary skills, he still projects just fine.

Jorge Soler, OF, Cubs (Low-A Peoria): 2-for-3, 2B, R.

You don't want to judge any player on just one look, but especially a guy like Soler. A few months ago he was a Cuban refugee, and now he's a guy with millions of dollars in his pocket playing baseball in Wisconsin. That's a big adjustment, mentally, but Peoria is a great fit for him, as Soler is being guided along by Chiefs batting coach Barbaro Garbey, a fellow Cuban. On just one game, I certainly get it. He's a big, athletic outfielder who catches your eye the second he takes the field. He he tremendous hands and wrists, with a remarkably short swing for a power hitter, and a swing that helps explain his excellent contact rate. He wasn't challenged in the field and he put up a middling 4.4 time to first on a double-play ball, and he's a bit of a strange runner who stays on the balls of his feet. Not enough data to really make a call here, but again, I get it.

Matt Tomshaw, LHP, Twins (Low-A Beloit): 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K.

Beloit's starter was a 23-year-old 42nd-round pick from last years draft. Not exactly the pedigree one looks for, but he's fun to watch, and mowed down hitters with a deep repertoire and impressive location. Tomshaw doesn't have much velocity at 88-90 mph, but he can add sink and run to the pitch and hits both sides of the plate effectively. He has a solid curveball and good changeup, and he mixes his pitches well, is seemingly always ahead of the hitter and is very aggressive. With a 2.59 ERA and three straight excellent starts, I don't feel like I saw a fluky one-day thing, and it wouldn't shock me to see Tomshaw continue to find success with an outside shot at making it as a reliever.

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delatopia
8/14
Re Soler, don't all people who are sprinting stay on the balls of their feet? Heel striking is unnatural for running, only good for walking, and to run flat footed is to increase resistance because maximizing surface contact with the ground increases drag (if we wanted to design cars to maximize gas mileage, automobile tires would be the width of bicycle tires). Perhaps it's because he's a relatively big player, possibly with decent speed for his size, that makes his stride look different? I don't mean to question your judgment here, just wondering aloud.
kgoldstein
8/14
Sure, but he's especially up there. Way up on his toes almost.
briankopec
8/14
I believe that's called 'prancing'. Barbaro Garbey...little known fact: Every pack of 1985 Topps baseball cards was required to have at least 1 Barbaro Garbey. Or so it seemed.
comish4lif
8/14
Kennys hit a long, high home run to right center on Sunday as well.
nils707
8/14
Kevin, you mentioned (either twitter or during the broadcast or both) that you wanted to see Eddie Rosario. I'll assume you saw about what you'd expect, but what did you see with his defense at second base? If forced to guess, do you think he'll stay there long-term?
kgoldstein
8/14
He wasn't tasted, and when you talk to scouts it seems the jury is still out.
nils707
8/14
Whoops, I guess I missed that he was DH yesterday. But thanks for the scouts take!
bheikoop
8/15
What's Plan B for Rosario and how does his bat play out there?
jfribley
8/15
With Sano is it that his ceiling is lowering some, or are our expectations of what he is needing a check, in the sense that perhaps he's simply a three true outcomes player? With that approach, is there any hope he develops better contact skills, or is that just not in the cards?
hotstatrat
8/15
If it is so obvious that Sano is not going to be a Major League thirdbaseman, why aren't the Twins trying him somewhere else? (This is a sincere question - not an indictment of Kevin's observation, which I appreciate. I am wondering if he thinks the Twins are being unrealistic or there might be some other reason the Twins haven't moved him to rightfield or firstbase, yet. Wouldn't the extra experience be helpful?)
GregLowder
8/15
Maybe some other team values him as a third baseman?
kringent
8/15
If the rule of thumb is that you play a guy at his highest value defensive position until he absolutely proves he can't play there, then I think we have to assume he hasn't done that yet w/r/t 3B. Scouts are projecting him to move off the position, and that's their job and I'm sure they're probably right, but it's an organizational decision and teams are likely to hold out as long as they can. The (however small) chance that he sticks at 3B has to be worth more to the Twins than giving Sano extra experience at a lesser defensive position. This seems perfectly rational to me.
jfranco77
8/15
Subtle different between "not going to stay at 3B" and "not currently a 3B" I guess.
Oleoay
8/15
"That's 272 pounds for a player who earned as suspension at the end of last year for taking a weight loss supplement that was on the list of banned substances." *laminates that*