I love this time of year. Hot Stove talk. NFL and College Football are in full swing. The NBA season is underway. And Baseball Prospectus has begun to release Top 10 Prospect Rankings, starting with the Astros. Oh yeah, and there's still plenty of baseball being played around the world.
- Cody Asche, 3B, Phillies (Peoria): 3-for-4, 2 2B, 2 RBI. Only Kevin Frandsen sits ahead of Asche on the Phillies’ 3B depth chart, but the 22 year-old is at least a half-year away from the big leagues. An .824 OPS with 12 HR and 11 SB in 130 games between Double-A Reading and Hi-A Clearwater in his first full pro season gives the team hope that they’ll have a homegrown talent manning the hot corner for the first time since Scott Rolen did from 1996-2002.
- Seth Blair, RHP, Cardinals (Surprise): 4 IP, ER, 3 H, BB, 2 K. The 46th pick in the 2011 draft, Blair hasn’t been able to find the strike zone very often as a pro (78 BB, 15 hit batters in 101.1 IP). He was in control, however, during his latest AFL start. After walking eight batters in 13.1P over his first four starts, he walked just one hitter and allowed just his 2nd ER in 17.1 IP.
- Robbie Erlin, LHP, Padres (Peoria): 4 IP, 0 R, 3 H, BB, 4 K. A rash of injuries decimated the Padres' pitching staff in 2012, and Erlin couldn’t take advantage because he was sidelined himself with elbow tendinitis at a time when the the team was desperate enough to give Kip Wells seven starts. The 22 year-old also missed out on a chance to pitch in the spacious confines of Petco Park. The fences are being moved in, so his home park will now be less pitcher-friendly. I doubt it will be much of a problem. His 7.36 K/BB ratio in the minors should translate well to any ballpark.
- Dee Gordon, SS, Dodgers (Licey-DWL): 2-for-4, 2B, SB (6): Hanley Ramirez’s acquisition and the emergence of journeyman Luis Cruz knocked Gordon down the depth chart, much to the dismay of SB-starved fantasy baseball players. The 24 year-old has speed to burn, as evidenced by his 4 triples and 5 stolen bases through 13 games with Licey. The problem is that he doesn’t get on base enough to take advantage of his wheels (.280 OBP in 87 games last season). He does have a .410 OBP in his first 13 DWL games, which is encouraging, I guess.
- Sean Ochinko, C, Blue Jays (Salt River): 2-for-4, HR (1), 3 RBI, 2 R. The Jays might have the most catching depth in all of baseball and Ochinko was buried on that list at the start of the offseason. But the trade of Yan Gomes to Cleveland bumps him up one spot. A potential offseason trade of starter J.P. Arencibia to make room for prospect Travis d’Arnaud could also help move him up the chart, at least until A.J. Jimenez returns from Tommy John surgery.
- Jimmy Paredes, OF, Astros (Cibao-DWL): 2-for-5, HR (3), 3 RBI, R: Although he’s starting to show some power the past few seasons (23 HR between Triple-A and Double-A in 2011-12), to go along with a career .289 BA in six minor league seasons and 116 SB over the last three, Paredes walks very little and strikes out very much. Not a great combination. I hope the Astros didn’t ask him to work on trying to draw some more walks during the DWL. They’d be very disappointed thus far (0 BB, 7 K in 38 at-bats).
- Jimmy Reyes, LHP, Rangers (Surprise): 2 IP, 0 R, H, 0 BB, K: One of two pitchers in the AFL to have not allowed an earned run (C.J. Riefenhauser is the other), Reyes has his streak up to 10 innings after tossing two scoreless on Monday. He hasn’t walked a hitter, either. But that’s no surprise. Reyes has walked only 26 hitters in 144.2 IP since being drafted in the 7th round if the 2010 draft.
- Kolten Wong, 2B, Cardinals (Surprise): 2-for-5, 3 R, K, 2 SB (5): The 22 year-old Wong posted a .911 OPS in 47 games in the Lo-A Midwest League after being drafted in the 1st Round of the 2011 draft. He made the jump to Double-A in 2012 and held his own with a .754 OPS. So does he make the jump from Double-A to the majors in April? My guess is no, but he could be the Cardinals’ #2 hitter by mid-July.