The minor-league playoffs are winding down, but the weekend still saw some big names in action.
Friday, September 5th
Noah Syndergaard, RHP, Mets (Las Vegas, AAA): 4 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 3 BB, 3 K. We can make all the excuses we want for Thor —shoulder injury here, an elbow injury there, pitching in Vegas, etc.—but the simple facts are that this has been a disappointing season for the Mets’ top pitching prospect. That doesn’t damn him for the future—he’s still the same stud he always was, and he’ll probably be the guy atop our Mets list in a few months—but it was certainly fair to think that he’d be in the majors by now.
Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP, Red Sox (Portland, AA): 6 2/3 IP, 3 H, 3 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 6 K. After regressing in the first part of the season, underwhelming those who thought highly of him coming into it, Rodriguez has kicked it into another gear since joining the Red Sox at the trade deadline. He still profiles as a middle-of-the-rotation starter, but the version with the Red Sox looks a lot closer to reaching that ceiling than the guy the Orioles traded away.
Odubel Herrera, 2B, Rangers (Frisco, AA): 2-3, R, 2B, BB, K. Herrera doesn’t offer a lot of offensive potential, but a plus hit tool goes a long way, especially for a 22-year-old. He’s played mostly second base, but he’s able to play anywhere in the infield and could make for a valuable utility man with strong bat-to-ball skills and good speed.
Saturday, September 6th
Vincent Velasquez, RHP, Astros (Lancaster, A+): 6 IP, 2 H, 3 R (2 ER), 4 BB, 9 K. Right now, Velasquez is a fastball/changeup pitcher, but those pitches are good enough to miss a ton of bats at his current level of competition. He’ll need a third pitch and better command of that fastball as he moves forward, but it’s a start that a lot of pitchers would like to have.
Clint Frazier, OF, Indians (Lake County, A-): 2-4, R, 2B. Frazier has come on strong down the stretch, but there are still concerns about players who strike out more than 160 times in Low-A ball, where he hasn’t faced swing-and-miss stuff that frequently.
Sunday, September 7th
Brandon Nimmo, OF, Mets (Binghamton, AA): 3-5, 3 R, 2B. Nimmo struggled in his transition to Double-A, but even during those struggles, he managed to post a .339 OBP, which is what Nimmo is going to do. He’s heating up during the playoffs and remains the best position-player prospect in the Mets system—and that includes Dilson Herrera, who is already in the majors. Nimmo went 3-for-5 on Saturday as well.
Paul Blackburn, RHP, Cubs (Kane County, A-): 5 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K. Blackburn has gotten results all season, and it’s hard to argue with a 20-year-old having a solid year in full-season ball, but the stuff is underwhelming and won’t miss a ton of bats at the highest level. He may be able to stick toward the back end of a rotation, but he’s likely more of a swingman than anything else.
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