Hitter of the Night: Kyle Schwarber, OF, Cubs (Boise, SS): 3-4, 2 R, 2B, 2 HR, BB.
Short-season ball can be a nice, soft landing spot for newly drafted players to ensure they are put in the best possible situation for success upon their arrival in pro ball, but for the elite college hitters, like those drafted near the top of the first round, it’s simply not enough of a challenge. Schwarber won’t be spending his first Fourth of July as a professional baseball player in Idaho.
Pitcher of the Night: Tyrell Jenkins, RHP, Cardinals (Palm Beach, A+): 6 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K.
In his 2014 debut, the former supplemental first-rounder tossed six no-hit innings, dispelling concerns about the shoulder injury that cost him the first half of the season. I didn’t get to see him on Tuesday night, but I’ll have a first-hand report on his development soon.
Best of the Rest
Christian Bethancourt, C, Braves (Gwinnett County, AAA): 3-4, R, HR. The power that Bethancourt finally showed off last season hasn’t returned with quite the same gusto in 2014. He’s always going to make a ton of outs at the plate, but as long as he creates them behind the plate as well, the Braves will take it.
Tyrone Taylor, OF, Brewers (Brevard County, A+): 4-5, 2B, SB. Doubles are becoming quite a habit for Taylor, who now has 24 of them on the season after 33 last year. That’s the extent of his power for now, and he doesn’t project to be a big home run hitter, so he’ll need his hit tool to continue to develop to become a first-division player.
James Ramsey, OF, Cardinals (Springfield, AA): 4-5, 2 R, 2B, K. Sometimes it’s difficult to shed a label like “fourth outfielder” no matter what you do, but in his return to Double-A, Ramsey is doing his best to establish himself as more than just a role player. The power has taken a step forward this season, which is a good step in that direction, and the on-base skills remain intact.
Francisco Lindor, SS, Indians (Akron, AA): 3-6, 3 R, K. The Indians recent strong play and a weak AL Central aren’t going to help us see Lindor in the majors any sooner, as he needs an Asdrubal Cabrera trade to open up an opportunity for him. The power production has been pretty limited this season for Lindor, even by his standards, but he continues to control the strike zone, play stellar defense, and flash an 80-grade smile.
Ronny Rodriguez, 3B, Indians (Akron, AA): 3-4, 3 R, 2 2B, HR, BB. Rodriguez’s power still hasn’t finished the trip to Akron after a breakout campaign in the tough Carolina League in 2012, and he’s going to need to find it now that he’s playing more on the infield corners than up the middle. His plate discipline is an issue, too, but he does have some power potential and a great arm, making a utility role a strong possibility.
Cord Sandberg, OF, Phillies (Williamsport, SS): 2-5, 2 R, 3B, HR. Sandberg is built to hit for power, and it’s expected to come, but like many players who played multiple sports growing up, he’s still learning how to use his size and strength on a baseball field. He’s off to a good start in his first time off the complexes and has all the tools to put together a nice baseball package.
Kennys Vargas, 1B, Twins (New Britain, AA): 2-5, 2 R, HR, 2 K. Vargas will continue to get overlooked as a prospect because the offensive requirements when you are limited to first base are so steep, but he continues to hit and show off power in games, which will get him noticed eventually.
Jose Berrios, RHP, Twins (Fort Myers, A+): 7 IP, H, 0 R, 2 BB, 9 K. I can’t say enough good things about Berrios, who has been the best pitcher in the Florida State League this year (or certainly close to it, and definitely the best pitcher I’ve scouted this season). The only question mark surrounding him is whether or not he’ll be able to hold his velocity throughout this entire season or if he’ll wear down again like he did last year.
Notable Pitching Performances