Hitter of the Night: Eugenio Suarez, SS, Tigers (Erie, AA): 2-5, 2 R, 2 HR, K.
We were hoping to see more from Suarez’s bat in a return trip to Double-A, and while he’s still hitting just .250 and doesn’t walk much, his pair of home runs on Thursday gives him five, halfway to his previous career high.
Pitcher of the Night: Steven Matz, LHP, Mets (St. Lucie, A+): 5 2/3 IP, 4 H, 0 R, BB, 6 K.
Matz used a fastball that sat 93-94 and a good changeup to carve through Palm Beach hitters on Thursday. He mixed in a hard curveball to keep hitters from both sides of the plate honest.
Best of the Rest
Gregory Polanco, OF, Pirates (Indianapolis, AAA): 3-4, 3 R, 2B, HR, BB, K. For as much talent as Polanco has, his power, as with many prospects, has been the last tool to develop. As his fourth home run of the season would indicate, it appears it is coming in very nicely—and just in time.
Maikel Franco, 3B, Phillies (Lehigh Valley, AAA): 3-4, 2 R, 2B, HR. Unlike fellow eventual 2014 call-up Polanco, Franco has gotten off to a rough start in his first taste of Triple-A. Not only had he not hit a home run before Thursday night, but he had just two total extra-base hits.
Joe Panik, 2B, Giants (Fresno, AAA): 2-3, R, HR, BB. Panik doesn’t have much pop offensively, but he does control the strike zone well and plays a solid second base.
Micah Johnson, 2B, White Sox (Birmingham, AA): 3-5, 2 R, 2B, HR, K. We said in our prospect lists that Johnson needed to take another step forward with the bat in order to be an everyday player. He’s now hitting .358, but more importantly, he’s controlling the strike zone better and is already halfway to his season-high home run total. We need to see more of it, but it’s a good start.
Peter O’Brien, C, Yankees (Tampa, A+): 2-4, 2 R, HR. After splitting his time between the squat and third base last year, O’Brien is primarily catching this season (though he has played three games in the outfield). Power is his only real tool and will have to be his calling card.
Dan Vogelbach, 1B, Cubs (Daytona, A+): 4-4, 2 R, HR. It took four hits to get Vogelbach’s batting average up over .200, but there’s not too much reason for concern. Vogelbach was born to hit, and even during his struggles, he hasn’t struck out at a high rate, walking almost as much as he fanned.
Jorge Polanco, SS, Twins (Fort Myers, A+): 2-4, R, 2B, HR. Polanco is having no trouble transitioning to the Florida State League, but is more of a line-drive hitter than a power producer.
Fight Another Day
Javier Baez, SS, Cubs (Iowa, AAA): 0-5, 2 K. It’s been a rough go of things since Baez has returned from the DL, and he’s now 3-for-17 with eight strikeouts over that stretch. Triple-A pitchers have been able to exploit his free-swinging approach, and he’s failed to get into a groove at the plate.
Mason Williams, OF, Yankees (Trenton, AA): 0-4, 4 K. Typically when Williams struggles, it’s by making weak contact and not with swings and misses. Then again, he had 18 strikeouts in 17 games in Double-A last year, so perhaps we’re seeing a new trend against better pitching.
Notable Pitching Performances*
- Mike Foltynewicz, RHP, Astros (Oklahoma City, AAA): 5 IP, 4 H, R, 2 BB, K.
- Deck McGuire, RHP, Blue Jays (New Hampshire, AA): 7 1/3 IP, 7 H, 3 R (0 ER), 2 BB, 8 K.
- Anthony DeSclafani, RHP, Marlins (Jacksonville, AA): 6 IP, 7 H, R, 2 BB, 7 K.
- Jonathon Crawford, RHP, Tigers (West Michigan, A-): 5 IP, 5 H, R, (0 ER), 3 BB, 3 K.
- Braden Shipley, RHP, Diamondbacks (South Bend, A-): 6 1/3 IP, 2 H, 3 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 6 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.