Hitter of the Night: Maikel Franco, 3B, Phillies (Lehigh Valley, AAA): 3-5, 2 R, HR.
Franco’s ability to get the bat on the ball is both his greatest strength and his biggest weakness. He doesn’t strike out a lot for a guy with good power, but with that comes a lot of bad contact and streaky hitting. Thus far, he’s paired good months with atrocious ones, though he’s backing up a strong July with a solid August to this point, as he attempts to salvage what has been a disappointing 2014 campaign.
Pitcher of the Night: Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Pirates (Bradenton, A+): 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 11 K.
Glasnow’s control has wavered this year, which is the only reason he’s still in the Florida State League. He looked like he was taking a step forward, walking more than two batters in an outing just once in a nine-game stretch before walking four batters apiece in back-to-back outings ahead of Thursday night’s start. Even when he’s putting extra guys on base, he doesn’t struggle too badly because he doesn’t get hit hard, but that’ll be more and more difficult to get away with as he moves up the organizational ladder. He’ll likely never be a big control guy, but if he can just limit the free passes slightly, he could be quite dominant.
Best of the Rest
Preston Tucker, OF, Astros (Oklahoma City, AAA): 3-5, 2 R, HR, BB. There had been a slight drop-off in production for Tucker since being called up to Triple-A, but it’s a small sample size and a game like this gets him right back on track. He’s going to have to hit to justify playing time because he doesn’t offer a ton of other skills, but he’s hit at every level thus far.
Tyrell Jenkins, RHP, Cardinals (Palm Beach, A+): 6 IP, 3 H, R, BB, 7 K. When Jenkins’ command is on and his slider is working, he can miss bats. He hasn’t done that enough as a professional, which is why his strikeout totals have been so remarkably low, but when he’s on, he has swing-and-miss stuff.
Kyle Schwarber, OF, Cubs (Daytona, A+): 3-4, 3 R, HR, 2 BB, K. The Cubs finally found a level to challenge Schwarber after promoting him twice since drafting him, but even during his relative struggles, Schwarber has controlled the strike zone well.
Duane Underwood, RHP, Cubs (Kane County, A-): 6 IP, 4 H, R, BB, 7 K. It’s taken Underwood a few seasons to get to full-season ball, but the developmental time appears to have been well spent. He just turned 20 and has the ingredients to be a starting pitcher, but there’s still a lot of work to be done on the refinement of his fastball command and on his secondary pitches.
Clint Frazier, OF, Indians (Lake County, A-): 4-6, R, 2B, K. Frazier struggled during the first half but got back on track with a hot month of July. His average has dipped again in August, but he’s still controlling the strike zone better and is working deeper counts of late, which is a positive sign.
Rafael Bautista, OF, Nationals (Hagerstown, A-): 3-5, R, SB. Bautista isn’t going to hit for much power, though he may develop enough down the road to keep the bat from getting knocked out of his hands. Still, his game is based around speed. His stolen base on Thursday gives him 60 on the season against only 10 times caught.
Rymer Liriano, OF, Padres (El Paso, AAA): 3-5, 3 R, 2B, 3B, BB, K. Liriano didn’t light the world on fire in Double-A this season after missing all of 2013 due to Tommy John surgery, but he’s been on fire since his promotion to Triple-A, hitting .462 in 13 games at the new level.
Rafael Devers, 3B, Red Sox (GCL, R): 2-5, R, HR, K. You really couldn’t ask for Devers to do anything more in his stateside debut than he’s done thus summer, hitting for power and average while controlling the strike zone.
Adam Walker, OF, Twins (Fort Myers, A+): 2-4, R, HR. Walker has one of the best raw power tools in the minors, but he continues to struggle with his approach and pitch recognition, and that will likely hold him back. Still, don’t throw him a fastball.
Fight Another Day
Raul Mondesi, SS, Royals (Wilmington, A+): 0-4, 3 K. It’s not shocking to see Mondesi struggle this season with the bat, given that he’s just 18 in an aggressive assignment in a tough hitters’ park in Wilmington. Still, 95 strikeouts to just 19 walks in 85 games is concerning. The pure hitting ability is there and is evident in batting practice, but its translation into game production is still quite far off.
Notable Pitching Performances
- Julio Urias, LHP, Dodgers (Rancho Cucamunga, A+): 4 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 5 K.
- Andrew Heaney, LHP, Marlins (New Orleans, AAA): 6 IP, 5 H, 4 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 8 K.
- Noah Syndergaard, RHP, Mets (Las Vegas, AAA): 5 IP, 7 H, 4 R (2 ER), 4 BB, 4 K.
- Sean Manaea, LHP, Royals (Wilmington, A+): 5 2/3 IP, 5 H, 5 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 5 K.
- Carlos Rodon, LHP, White Sox (Winston-Salem, A+): 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, BB, 3 K.
- Ian Clarkin, LHP, Yankees (Tampa, A+): 5 IP, 7 H, R, BB, 4 K.
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