Pitching Prospect of the Day (Year?): Jesse Biddle, LHP, Phillies (Double-A Reading): 7.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 16 K; This will be a frontrunner for pitching performance of the year. Fastball is solid-average and plays up with good command; curveball has a 65-grade ceiling; changeup could be plus; slider will be a usable major-league pitch; attacks hitters; has transformed a questionable body as an amateur into a very strong, well-built frame.

Position Prospect of the Day: Jorge Bonifacio, OF, Royals (High-A Wilmington): 4-6, 2B, 3B, 5 RBI; physically mature; classic right-field profile; power to all fields. When he is right, he has a short, compact swing and is able to use his natural strength. However, he will occasionally sell out for power and drop his back shoulder, an indication of trying to do too much at the plate.

Other notable prospect performances from April 22:

“The Good”

  • Javier Baez, SS, Cubs (High-A Daytona): 3-5, 2B, 2 R, RBI, K; when he is able to properly apply his raw ability and use his tools in games, he will have a plus-plus offensive profile.
  • Chris Bostick, 2B, Atheltics (Low-A Beloit): 2-4, 2B, 3B, 2 R; limited power; solid-average runner; will need to show the ability to play multiple infield positions to profile as a future utility man.
  • Luke Jackson, RHP, Rangers (High-A Myrtle Beach): 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K; easy plus fastball; solid-average curveball; developing changeup; profiles as a mid-rotation starter or late-inning reliever; 20.1 IP, 17 H, 3 ER, 9 BB, 22 K in four starts this season.
  • Erik Johnson, RHP, White Sox (Double-A Birmingham): 7.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 10 K; four-pitch mix (fastball/slider/curveball/changeup); fastball and slider have plus potential; curveball will be a usable pitch; changeup is still a work in progress; as with any White Sox prospect, the call to the big leagues could come at any point.
  • Nick Kingham, RHP, Pirates (High-A Bradenton): 5.0 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 6 K; essentially uses a two-pitch mix (sinking fastball/changeup); still working on consistently being able to spin his curveball; big frame and good posture creates a solid downhill plane.
  • Marcus Knecht, OF, Blue Jays (High-A Dunedin): 2-3, 2B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB, K; will struggle against quality pitching; mistake hitter; solid-average raw power; fringy runner; limited to a corner-outfield position defensively.
  • Jose Osuna, 1B, Pirates (High-A Bradenton): 3-4, 2B, HR, R, 3 RBI; plus raw power; gets pull-happy; easy plus arm strength will be wasted because he is limited to first base defensively; swing has holes that will be exploited at higher levels.
  • Devon Travis, 2B, Tigers (Low-A West Michigan): 4-5, 2B, 2 HR, 2 R, 5 RBI; physically mature; swing will be tested significantly by higher-level pitchers.
  • Dan Vogelbach, 1B, Cubs (Low-A Kane County): 2-4, HR, R, 2 RBI; make any joke you want about Vogelbach’s weight (listed at 250, and I’m going to say that’s a bit light), but he can flat out hit; elite raw power; good bat speed; plus potential hit tool; not going to offer much in the way of defensive value; very interesting fantasy prospect.
  • Adam Walker, OF, Twins (Low-A Cedar Rapids): 2-4, 3B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, K; big-time raw power; concerns about hit tool; solid-average runner; inexperienced in the outfield; .281/.339/.456 with 56 at-bats this season.
  • Jesse Winker, OF, Reds (Low-A Dayton): 3-3, 2B, R, 2 RBI, BB; makes hard contact; good bat speed; swing fit to produce line drives as opposed to home runs; limited to a corner-outfield position; proceed with caution.
  • Patrick Wisdom, 3B, Cardinals (Low-A Peoria): 3-3, 2B, HR, 3 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB; swing can get lengthy; hit tool will be tested by quality pitching; physically mature; plus power potential; potential to be an upper-tier defender at third.  
  • Alex Wood, LHP, Braves (Double-A Mississippi): 6.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 8 K; excelling in Double-A after the Braves decided to skip him past High-A; plus fastball and changeup will allow him to keep hitters off-balance and miss plenty of bats; could be useful in the big leagues this season; 22.0 IP, 14 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 25 K in four starts.

“The Bad”

  • Ismael Guillon, LHP, Reds (Low-A Dayton): 1.2 IP, 2 H, 6 ER, 6 BB, 3 K; This 21-year-old has a worrisome injury history and is struggling mightily with his command; 22 walks in 12.1 innings pitched this season.
  • Kyle Jensen, OF, Marlins (Double-A Jacksonville): 0-4, 4 K; Jensen’s swing can get long, and that explains the golden sombrero last night.
  • James Paxton, LHP, Mariners (Triple-A Tacoma): 1.2 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 0 K; long arm action; command problems; most believe he will need to move to the bullpen.
  • Sam Selman, LHP, Royals(High-A Wilmington): 2.2 IP, 5 H, 7 ER, 4 BB, 3 K; inconsistent mechanics; major fluctuation in fastball velocity; has trouble finding release point; stuff flashes; more of a project-type college pitcher.

“The Ugly”

Cody Buckel, RHP, Rangers (Double-A Frisco): 3.0 IP, 2 H, 3 ER, 6 BB, 1 K; delivery can get away from what it needs to be; thinks on the mound rather than just letting his natural ability show; 9.0 IP, 8 H, 12 ER, 22 BB, 9 K in four starts this season.

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Re: Devon Travis, can you elaborate on what you mean swing will be tested significantly at higher levels? Is that a comment on specific swing concerns, or just a generic age/level comment?
I saw Travis quite a bit as a collegian and then again before his hernia surgery in the NYPL last year. He's a nice little player but I have trouble profiling him as a big leaguer or significant prospect. He has a good approach at the plate and his hands work pretty well but I don't see the explosive bat speed that he will need for his offensive game to work at higher levels. His bat speed is more modest than anything, but he does have good strength and that does allow him to drive the ball when he makes contact. He has exceptional hands at second base, arguably the best hands of any infielder in the Tigers minor league system. He doesn't have great range and his footwork is just so-so. He will be able to play second base long term, but that's about it. He's not a good runner either. All told, he has to rake to be a prospect, and I don't see the offensive game playing to that level against better overall pitching, more consistent quality breaking balls and better velocity that can expose his modest bat speed.
Great detail there. Thanks, Mark.
Worth mentioning: Biddle was 2-3 with 2 doubles at the plate, at one point struck out 8 in a row, and was perfect through 6.1. It's early in the year, but it will be hard to top that single game performance unless you're a hitter in one of the Cal League launching pads. He hasn't made a Minor League Update yet, but Aaron Altherr has started the year well at Clearwater. If his hit tool becomes acceptable, does he have the power potential or other skills necessary to become at least an average player in a corner?
(How to avoid asking "when's he coming up...") Biddle's just moved up from hi-A to AA this year. And he's just 21. Fair to say that he'll stay at Reading for the full year, regardless of performance? (i.e. if Pettibone falters, Cloyd and Martin get their shots)
I keep thinking that Vogelbach should be nicknamed "Engelberg"