Hitter of the Night: Preston Tucker, OF/1B, Astros (Corpus Christi, AA): 2-5, 3 R, 2 HR, BB, K.
I touched on Tucker yesterday, but he followed up that performance with an even better one. He’ll need to keep hitting, as almost all of his value will come from his bat, but he has excellent bat-to-ball skills, which can make up for a lot of weaknesses. He also doesn’t have the massive strikeout totals that typically plague power hitters.
Pitcher of the Night: Jonathan Gray, RHP, Rockies (Tulsa, AA): 5 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 7 K.
There have been reports that Gray’s fastball and slider are both down a tick from their 70-grade possibilities, but that doesn’t mean their ceilings aren’t still there. His two-pitch combo is still as dangerous as that of any pitcher in the minors, though it would be nice to see a little more dominance from a recent third-overall pick.
Best of the Rest
Michael Feliz, RHP, Astros (Quad Cities, A-): 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K. After a rocky start to the season, Feliz now has his ERA down to the 3.00 mark with yet another scoreless start. The 20-year-old Dominican with a mid-90s fastball has allowed just one run total in his last four starts.
Mitch Haniger, OF, Brewers (Huntsville, AA): 2-3, 2 R, 2 HR, BB. Double-A is the big test for a hitting prospect, but Haniger isn’t passing it any better than he did his Florida State League test last season. This is the type of power that some scouts believe is in him, but before Tuesday, he wasn’t even showing the same doubles power he had in previous years. He’ll need to begin showing improvement in that area soon if he wants to be an everyday corner outfielder.
David Washington, 1B/OF, Cardinals (Palm Beach, A+): 3-5, 2 R, HR, K. I’ve seen Washington a dozen times this year, and there are days when he looks like the most dangerous hitter in the Palm Beach lineup and others when he’s an easy out. He has big-time power but a long, one-dimensional swing. He probably doesn’t have the hit tool to make it, but the power is intriguing. He’s also beginning to see some time in the outfield, which is an adventure.
Matthew Duffy, SS, Giants (Richmond, AA): 4-5, 2 R, 2B, 2 SB. No longer can we chalk Duffy’s success up to being an advanced player taking advantage of inexperienced pitching, nor can we attribute anything to a hitter-friendly environment. Duffy is now at an appropriate level for his age and in Richmond, which is a difficult place to hit but is hitting .330 with solid on-base skills and control of the strike zone. He has little to no power, but he does enough other things well to warrant keeping an eye on.
Garin Cecchini, 3B, Red Sox (Pawtucket, AAA): 3-5, 2 R, HR. His stint in the majors was brief, but it won’t be long before he’s back. He provides his value in ways different from your prototypical third baseman, but he provides it nonetheless. If he can stay at third base, he can be a first-division regular. If he has to move to left field, he’ll struggle to hit for the power needed for the position.
Alex Gonzalez, RHP, Rangers (Frisco, AA): 5 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K. When the Rangers drafted Chi Chi last year, they were thought to be getting an advanced college pitcher, and that’s exactly what they got. He wasn’t a big bat-misser in A-ball, but he brought the same strike-throwing mentality to his first Double-A start on Wednesday.
Fight Another Day
Hunter Harvey, RHP, Orioles (Delmarva, A-): 2 IP, 5 H, 7 R (6 ER), 4 BB, 2 K. After his last start, in which he failed to get out of the fifth inning, I said there was nothing to worry about for Harvey and that it was just a bad outing by a young pitcher. That remains the same remains today, but when we see two bad starts in a row, it means something has changed, whether it’s in his mechanics, pitch execution, or something else. Harvey will get it straightened it, but he appears to be in his first rough patch as a professional after dominating for the first two months of the season.
Franmil Reyes, OF, Padres (Fort Wayne, A-): 0-4, 2 K. Large hitters with large swings have large holes that can be exploited. After a hot start to the season, Reyes has gone homerless in his last 13 games.
Luis Heredia, RHP, Pirates (West Virginia, A-): 4 2/3 IP, 2 H, 5 R (0 ER), 5 BB, K. Heredia has gotten a lot of bonus points as a prospect for a while because of his advanced feel for his age, but at some point we have to see some results. He’s back in West Virginia for the second straight year (where he’s still just 19-years-old), but his inability to throw strikes is concerning.
…and Joey Gallo homered.