Hitter of the Night: Aaron Judge, OF, Yankees (Tampa, A+): 2-4, 2 R, HR, K.
What’s most impressive about Judge is that he doesn’t sell out for his power. He doesn’t need to because of his size and strength, but he wouldn’t be the first super-sized hitter to feel the need to overswing to try to hit home runs. Instead, Judge uses his size and leverage for good plate coverage and tries to hit the ball back up the middle and to the gaps, running into plenty of home runs when they come to him rather than forcing the issue. The result is power production combined with a strong approach and a good all-around hitter.
Pitcher of the Night: Lucas Giolito, RHP, Nationals (Hagerstown, A-): 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K.
At this point, Giolito has nothing left to prove in the South Atlantic League. If he’s not being promoted this season, it’s not based on ability but rather something in the Nationals’ developmental plan for him.
Best of the Rest
Franklin Barreto, SS, Blue Jays (Vancouver, SS): 2-2, 2 R, HR, BB. Barreto may not be too long for the infield, but even if he ends up in center field as some scouts believe, his bat will be enough to carry him. Few question the hit tool and despite being undersized, he should hit for moderate power.
Christian Bethancourt, C, Braves (Gwinnett County, AAA): 3-5, 2 R, 2B, HR. Bethancourt’s fringy hit tool and complete lack of plate discipline will likely prevent him from ever providing any impact on offense, but his arm is a legitimate weapon and one that could keep him in the lineup despite the amount of outs that he’s going to make. The best role for him, however, will likely be as a backup.
Kodi Medeiros, LHP, Brewres (AZL, R): 5 IP, 2 H, R (0 ER), 0 BB, 7 K. This was by far the best performance as a professional for this year’s 12th-overall pick, as he’s struggled to throw strikes in six previous outings and had yet to last longer than 2 1/3 innings in any appearance to this point. Medeiros has a power arm, but he was considered a high-risk pick by many at the time of his selection.
Aledmys Diaz, SS, Cardinals (Palm Beach, A+): 2-3, R, 2B, HR. After missing almost a year-and-a-half of competitive baseball, then missing the majority of this season due to injury, Diaz has struggled with his timing in his first stint as a minor leaguer. The rust is understandable and Cardinals coaches rave about his pure hitting ability and professional approach, noting that he’s routinely spraying balls from gap to gap in batting practice.
Christian Arroyo, SS, Giants (Salem-Keizer, SS): 2-5, 2 R, 2B, HR, K. The Giants challenged Arroyo, a first-rounder in 2013, with a more aggressive assignment to a full-season league based largely on the quality of his hit tool, but he struggled mightily at Augusta to begin the season. He joined the short-season Northwest League at its beginning in June and has hit well, perhaps earning another shot at redeeming himself in the South Atlantic League in the final few weeks of the season.
Rafael Bautista, OF, Nationals (Hagerstown, A-): 3-5, 2 R, HR, BB. It’s not his game, but Bautista has the strength and natural bat speed to keep pitchers honest with the occasional home run. It keeps him from adding to his lofty steals total, but he’s got enough pop that he could slug over .400 at some point and be more than just a pure speed guy.
Luis Heredia, RHP, Pirates (West Virginia, A-): 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K. Heredia has missed a phenomenally low number of bats this season, striking out just 3.7 batters per nine innings entering Monday night. His five-strikeout performance was a season high for the 6-foot-6 former Mexican professional pitcher who seems like he’s been around forever but just turned 20 over the weekend. He hasn’t yet become the impact pitching prospect the Pirates were hoping for, but it’s also still incredibly early in the process.
Byron Buxton, OF, Twins (Fort Myers, A+): 1-3, R, HR, K. One hit isn’t usually enough to make the update, even when it is a home run, but the Twins are hoping that this particular hit is the final one that Buxton ever has as a member of the Fort Myers Miracle. The game’s top prospect was promoted to Double-A after the game despite hitting just .240 on the season. He’s still getting his timing back and, more importantly, still regaining strength in his wrist from the injuries that kept him out for a large part of this season. 2014 will be a lost year for Buxton, but the tools are still evident and he’s still in Double-A by age 20, whether he played his way there this season or not.
Fight Another Day
Joc Pederson, OF, Dodgers (Albuquerque, AAA): 0-5, 3 K. Pederson is going to strike out a fair amount, but the contact issues aren’t drastic and they come with strong on-base skills and plenty of power, so they won’t limit his production. Patient power hitters have days like this. You just accept them and move on.
Notable Pitching Performances