Greg Bird, 1B, Yankees (Scottsdale): 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, K. The key to Bird’s success is finding the right balance point between being patient and being passive. He has a tremendous eye at the plate, but there are times when he lets hittable pitches go by instead of trying to do damage, which I noted earlier in the year after seeing him in the Florida State League. As he learns to attack more of these pitches without expanding the strike zone and swinging at pitchers’ pitches, however, he has the potential to do enough damage to be an everyday first baseman, as the power is legitimate and the ball comes off his bat with ease.
Patrick Kivlehan, 1B, Mariners (Surprise): 2-3, 2 R, 2B, HR, BB. Kivlehan is a late-bloomer in the baseball world after playing more football while at Rutgers, but he offers plus right-handed power, a desired commodity in the game today. The Mariners have had him at third base, but he’s destined for first base where he’s playing this fall. It’s going to be all about the power for Kivlehan, and just how much of it will play in games against better competition. He could be a guy who hits his ceiling at Triple-A, but if the power continues to show, he’ll get his chances.
Robbie Ray, LHP, Tigers (Glendale): 3 IP, H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K. Ray pitched well despite some issues battling the pitcher “shot clock” on Thursday, but his stuff took a step back this season after coming over to the Tigers as the centerpiece of the Doug Fister trade. His strikeout rate dropped dramatically this season in his first taste of Triple-A, and while he generates weak contact and ground balls with his sinker, he does so with too many additional baserunners thanks to a poor walk rate. If the Tigers have a rotation spot open up next year, he’ll get a shot at it, but he probably belongs in the back end somewhere.
Dan Vogelbach, 1B, Cubs (Mesa): 2-4, 2 R, 2B. The re-emergence of Anthony Rizzo this season all but cemented Vogelbach’s future as being with another team, as the portly slugger is limited to first base defensively and frankly isn’t even very good at that. What he is good at, however, is driving a baseball, and he’s going to make a good DH someday. When he’s going good, he has power to all fields and uses a good approach to put himself in good hitter’s counts. He’s going to be in Double-A next season and should be a key component when the Cubs eventually decide to trade for some pitching.
Edward Salcedo, OF, Braves (Peoria): 3-4, 2B. For a long time, it’s been about tools and time for Salcedo. He’s tantalized scouts with his raw abilities and been given the benefit of the doubt because he’s been young and still had plenty of time in front of him to turn those skills into production. After this year, however, now 23 and with a full season of Triple-A in which he hit .212 behind him, it’s not looking like that’s ever going to happen. Playing more outfield than third base for the first time isn’t a step in the right direction either.
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