The minor-league season is upon us. After the pageantry of major-league Opening Day (and opening series, opening night, and more home openers to come), the minor-league season kicked off with a bang on Thursday night all across the country. With radar guns and rug rats in tow, scouts and parents alike descended on all levels of minor league parks to catch a glimpse of the stars of tomorrow.
Hitter of the Day
Mookie Betts, 2B, Red Sox (Portland, AA): 4-4, 3 R, HR. The only tool in which Betts is not above average is power, so when that’s on display, it’s really fun to watch.
Pitcher of the Day
Henry Owens, LHP, Red Sox (Portland, AA): 6 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 9 K. Unfortunately, it’s going to all be downhill from here for Owens, after he tossed a rain-shortened no-hitter on Opening Day. Owens gave us a glimpse of what he can do when his command is on, which is use his 6’6” frame to create a difficult-to-hit downward plane and keep hitters off balance.
Best of the Rest
Matt Davidson, 3B, White Sox (Charlotte, AAA): 3-3, 2 2B, BB. Davidson still has some flaws, but he offers significantly more power potential than any of the White Sox’ other third-base options. It won’t be long before he’s playing there.
Randal Grichuk, OF, Cardinals (Memphis, AAA): 3-4, 3 R, 2B, HR, BB, K. Grichuk is determined not to get overshadowed by Stephen Piscotty and Oscar Taveras in a prospect-laden Memphis outfield, and may just be able to do it.
Anthony DeSclafani, RHP, Marlins (Jacksonville, AA): 6 IP, 2 H, R, 3 BB, 7 K. Once thought to be somewhat of (but not completely) a throw-in in the Marlins latest fire sale, DeSclafani has established himself as a legitimate prospect who will be usable at the major-league level.
Aaron Sanchez, RHP, Blue Jays (New Hampshire, AA): 5 IP, H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K. We’ve been asking for a few years now how good Sanchez could be if he refines his command. We may be about to find out.
Kris Bryant, 3B, Cubs (Tennessee, AA): 1-3, 2 R, HR, BB, K. Bryant’s home run came off of Reds rehabbing starter Mat Latos, who then, for what it’s worth, plunked Bryant his next time up.
Micah Johnson, 2B, White Sox (Birmingham, AA): 2-4, 2 R, 3B, HR, BB, K. Known for his speed, there are questions about Johnson’s hit tool and his ability to stay at second base. This year is his first real test facing advanced pitching.
Kaleb Cowart, 3B, Angels (Arkansas, AA): 5-6, 3 R, 2B, HR, BB. Cowart is back in Double-A in hopes of developing the power that he’ll need to match the swing-and-miss in his game. This is a good start.
Eddie Butler, RHP, Rockies (Tulsa, AA): 5 IP, 3 H, R, BB, 5 K. Get used to stat lines like this one.
Rafael Montero, RHP, Mets (Las Vegas, AAA): 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K. Montero didn’t do anything in spring training to dissuade the Mets from calling him up as soon as the Super Two deadline passes, and this start won’t hold him back either. He has little left to prove in the minors.
Fight Another Day
Allen Webster, RHP, Red Sox (Pawtucket, AAA): 3 2/3 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 4 K. Webster carried over a poor spring into the first start of the regular season.
Lucas Sims, RHP, Braves (Lynchburg, A+): 4 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 3 K. Sims’ fastball has a lot of life, and sometimes he has trouble commanding it.
Eric Jagielo, 3B, Yankees (Tampa, A+): 0-4, 3 K. Not the Florida State League debut the Yankees’ 2013 first-round pick was hoping for.
Trevor Williams, RHP, Marlins (Jupiter, A+): 0 IP, 3 H, 2 R. Williams faced only three batters, all of whom reached base, before being struck in the arm by a line drive and removed from the game.
Franchy Cordero, SS, Padres (Fort Wayne, A-): 0-4, 4 K. Cordero was impressive on the backfields this spring, but his full-season debut couldn’t have gone worse.
Notable Pitching Performances*
- Marcus Stroman, RHP, Blue Jays (Buffalo, AAA): 4 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, BB, 4 K.
- Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP, Orioles (Bowie, AA): 5 IP, 8 H, 5 R (4 ER), 2 BB, 2 K.
- Manny Banuelos, LHP, Yankees (Tampa, A+): 3 IP, BB, 3 K.
- Miguel Almonte, RHP, Royals (Wilmington, A+): 5 2/3 IP, H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K.
- Nick Travieso, RHP, Reds (Dayton, A-): 6 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 3 K.
*The point of the Minor League Update is to keep you, the reader, up to speed on how prospects are doing throughout the minor league season with scouting reports and explanations along with a daily stat line. Sometimes, however, you just want to know the result, especially with pitchers who were neither spectacular nor terrible on a particular night. This is that section.
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