Hitter of the Night: Daniel Palka, 1B, Diamondbacks (South Bend, A-): 3-4, 2 R, 2B, 2 HR, K.
Palka is an advanced college bat with plus power who is still facing younger competition but isn’t dominating it the way he should. He’s also obviously blocked in the Diamondbacks organization.
Pitcher of the Night: Taijuan Walker, RHP, Mariners (Tacoma, AAA): 9 IP, 4 H, 0 R, BB, 8 K.
I typically ignore prospects who have already reached the majors in order to focus on the prospects who don’t get as much attention, but the point of this piece every day is to keep you up to speed on what’s happening in the prospect world, and Taijuan Walker is what’s happening. This start, and the fact that the Mariners allowed him to throw 109 pitches, should signal to anyone who wants to listen that he’s ready to take his place in the Mariners rotation.
Best of the Rest
Daniel Norris, LHP, Blue Jays (New Hampshire, AA): 5 2/3 IP, 3 H, R, 3 BB, 10 K. In our #BPTop50 Debate Series, I had the unenviable task of arguing against Norris. Starts like this made that an extremely difficult task.
Dalton Pompey, OF, Blue Jays (Dunedin, A+): 2-5, R, 2B, 3B. Pompey has come back down to Earth a little bit after a scorching hot start to the season and there’s still a big gap between his left and right-handed swings, but the tools are all still there and the drop-off hasn’t been huge. Even his more reasonable production has been impressive.
Albert Almora, OF, Cubs (Daytona, A+): 3-5, R, HR. I also had the joy of arguing against Almora in our #BPTop50 Debate Series, but at least he gave me a weak performance this season to work with. Unfortunately for me, his ceiling is still through the roof, and he offers a skill set unlike most in the minors. Right now the knock is the approach at the plate, which is currently limiting the hit tool’s in-game translation, but when he puts it all together, we’ll see more nights like this.
Orlando Arcia, SS, Brewers (Brevard County, A+): 5-5, 2 R, 2 2B, 3B, SB. You know it’s a good game when you can raise your batting average 14 points this deep into the season. Being just 19, there is still a ton of time for Arcia’s bat to come around, but it’s not showing a lot of promising signs, Tuesday night notwithstanding. The player offers little power and only moderate place discipline, leaving all of his value residing in his glove, which is an asset.
Nick Ahmed, SS, Diamondbacks (Reno, AAA) 5-6, 3 R, 2 2B, HR. Every now and then, the Pacific Coast League tosses in a game like this one, where one team scores 18 runs and a few prospects take advantage of the strange alignment of the universe that causes multiple touchdowns to be scored in a baseball game and pad their numbers. Ahmed has never hit the way the Braves expected when they selected him in the second round in 2011 or the way the Diamondbacks did when they traded for him, though his numbers in the PCL this year look good. He’s also never impressed me at shortstop, though he remains there. It’s a utility profile at best thanks to his speed and athleticism.
Austin Brice, RHP, Marlins (Jupiter, A+): 5 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 9 K. Rainouts have twice prevented me from catching Brice in Jupiter, but reports have him as making progress towards transitioning from thrower to pitcher. He just turned 22 and is throwing more strikes, but that has come with missing fewer bats as well.
Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Pirates (Bradenton, A+): 7 IP, H, R, 2 BB, 6 K. Hitters simply do not square Glasnow up. His combination of velocity and extreme downward plane make his fastball extremely difficult to hit, meaning that if he doesn’t put base runners on by himself, he has success. He’s doing a better job lately of doing exactly that and as a result, this was his first run allowed in June.
Manuel Margot, OF, Red Sox (Greenville, A-): 2-4, 2 R, 3B, HR, K. Margot may not offer big-time power or have the smoothest hit tool, but he does control the strike zone well, walking almost as often as he strikes out, and he offers the speed and defense profile to offer solid value as he develops.
Fight Another Night
Zach Lee, RHP, Dodgers (Albuquerque, AAA): 4 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 4 BB, K. Lee’s strikeouts are down by almost two per nine, and those additional balls in play in PCL parks aren’t going over well.
Tim Anderson, SS, White Sox (Winston-Salem, A+): 0-4, 2 K. Anderson is immensely talented, but his raw background and extremely aggressive approach at the plate will lead to some days like this.
Notable Pitching Performances
Edwin Escobar, LHP, Giants (Fresno, AAA): 7 IP, 7 H, 2 R, BB, 8 K.
Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP, Orioles (Bowie, AA): 7 IP, 6 H, R, BB, 4 K.
Miguel Almonte, RHP, Royals (Wilmington, A+): 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, BB, 5 K.
…and Kris Bryant homered again. Seriously, I’m not making this up.