Hitter of the Night: Tommy Murphy, C, Rockies (New Britain, AA): 4-5, 2 R, 2B, 2 HR. After missing most of 2014, Murphy is spending part of his third-straight season in Double-A, making him old for the Eastern League at 24. Before the injury, Murphy profiled as a prospect who could stick behind the plate while also providing some pop. Our own Al Skorupa was in attendance last night and saw much of the same.

Pitcher of the Night: Jose De Leon, RHP, Dodgers (Rancho Cucamunga, A+): 7 IP, H, 0 R, BB, 12 K. De Leon has essentially done little since turning pro other than strike out batters in bushels. He’s taken his bat-missing fastball/slider combination to the California League, where keeping the baseball out of play is even more essential. That strategy has worked well for De Leon, who the Dodgers have brought along slowly. There are developmental issues for the former 24th-rounder, like the development of a third offering, but his swing-and-miss stuff us undeniable.

Best of the Rest

Nomar Mazara, OF, Rangers (Frisco, AA): 4-4, R, 2B, 3B. Mazara hasn’t shown off his trademark power yet this season. Not only has he yet to homer, but his pair of extra-base hits on Tuesday were only his second and third of the year. There’s little reason to worry, however, as he’s still managing to hold his own as a recently turned 20-year-old in Double-A, and we all know the raw power is there.

Jorge Flores, 2B, Blue Jays (New Hampshire, AA): 4-5, R, 2B. At 5-foot-5, Flores is never going to deliver any power with the bat, but he’s a slick fielder up the middle and offers good bat control and feel for the barrel. He continues to hit for average at every level and can play on either side of second base, giving him a pair of major-league skills that will find him a role somewhere.

Jose Peraza, 2B, Braves (Gwinnett, AAA): 3-4, 3B, 2 SB. Peraza doesn’t have any power either, but the ability to hit for average, a plus glove (that would still be at SS in any other organization) and elite speed make for an everyday profile. The Braves aren’t getting much out of second base right now, but Peraza just turned 21 and is still overly aggressive at the plate. He’ll likely be up at some point this season, but there’s no need to rush him.

Austin Gomber, LHP, Cardinals (Peoria, A-): 8 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K. Gomber was a highly touted college lefty entering last spring, but fell short of expectations at FAU, allowing him to slip to the Cardinals in the fourth round. Naturally, they’ve figured out how to get him back to his old self. There’s some effort in his delivery, but the Cardinals appear to have smoothed that out, allowing him to once again pound the strike zone. If he’s back to his old college self, he’s way too good for the Midwest League and should be heading to Palm Beach soon.

Matt Wisler, LHP, Braves (Gwinnett, AAA): 5 1/3 IP, 5 H, R, BB, 7 K. Wisler bounced back from a few rough starts in a row, including a real stinker his last time out, to give the Braves a glimpse of what kind of starter they traded for this winter. Wisler doesn’t dominate or miss a ton of bats very often, but he does live around the strike zone and relies on strong command of his fastball for success.

Casey Gillaspie, 1B, Rays (Bowling Green, A-): 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, K. As a first-round college pick, it was no surprise to see Gillaspie have success in short-season ball last year. It is somewhat surprising, however, to see him get off to such a slow start in the Midwest League this season, hitting .225/.292/.438 entering the night. He’s still hit for some power, however, and controlled the strike zone adequately, meaning that Tuesday’s outburst could be a sign of things to come. He does offer above-average power potential, though whether or not it will be enough to make him an everyday first baseman remains to be seen.

Wilmer Difo, 2B, Nationals (Harrisburg, AA): 2-4, 3 R, 2B, 3B. We as a team have raved about Difo for the better part of a year now, with the major caveat being that he has been old for his level of competition since breaking out last season. The tools are obvious, but just how much credit for his success was due the result of taking advantage of younger competition remained to be seen until he was challenged at higher levels. Recently promoted to Double-A, Difo is now getting that chance and is off to a good start, hitting .368 over his first five games. All of the same things we saw from him in A-ball remain evident.

Maikel Franco, 3B, Phillies (Lehigh Valley, AAA): 3-5, R, HR. Franco is an exceptionally streaky hitter, something which often comes with the territory of overly aggressive hitters. His combination of plus barrel feel and aggressive approach have led to impact power production, but also lots of weak contact and outs. There’s not much incentive for the Phillies to call him up before the Super Two deadline in June, but with over 650 Triple-A plate appearances under his belt, there’s likely not too much development left for him in Lehigh Valley. At this point, he essentially is what he is, warts and all.

Cheslor Cuthbert, 3B, Royals (Omaha, AAA): 3-3, R, HR, BB. In his sixth professional season, but still just 22, Cuthbert has never developed the power that some projected him to have—and that he’ll need, if he’s to be an everyday third baseman, and the bat certainly won’t play at first. Still, he’s off to his best start as a professional and is still young enough to salvage something out of his abilities.

Fight Another Day

Nick Howard, RHP, Reds (Daytona, A+): 3 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 4 BB, 7 K. The control issues for Howard have been puzzling, given that he never had any major issues before. A closer in college, Howard is starting for the Reds. This is his third rough start in a row, and he has yet to walk fewer than four batters in an outing this year.

Jesse Biddle, LHP, Phillies (Reading, AA): 4 IP, 10 H, 5 R, 2 BB, 6 K. Biddle has been a much better version of himself this season after battling the lingering effects of a concussion last year. He’s been throwing more strikes and once again missing bats, returning to his mid-rotation projection potential. He’s still hittable when up in the zone because the fastball isn’t overpowering, but the curveball can be a great equalizer when it’s on.

Notable Starting Pitchers

  • Steven Matz, LHP, Mets (Las Vegas, AAA): 6 IP, 9 H, 2 R, BB, 7 K.
  • Henry Owens, LHP, Red Sox (Pawtucket, AAA): 6 IP, 5 H, R, 2 BB, 3 K.
  • Luis Severino, RHP, Yankees (Trenton, AA): 6 IP, 6 H, 3 R, BB, 5 K.
  • Dylan Bundy, RHP, Orioles (Bowie, AA): 1 IP, H, BB, K.

…and Carlos Correa did awesome things (3-4, R, HR, 2 SB).

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And Joey Gallo didn't strike out....2 days in a row! Still no HR though, but they'll come.
Why did Bundy go only 1 inning?
There was an hour rain delay after the first inning.
Has anyone had eyes on Trevor Story yet? I'm specifically curious about the noted hitch in his swing and issues recognizing spin. K%/BB%/CT% are way up so far but I'm curious if any developmental improvements have been seen?
I'm also very interested in this. Even after ~100 PA, his plate discipline numbers and power at SS are intriguing to say the least
I am a half season ticket holder for Rock Cats games and have watched Story tear the cover off the ball in the 4 games I have attended. While I am an expert at analyzing the golf swing I make no such claim regarding baseball but he has been showing power to all fields, drawing walks and not fanning an inordinate number of times. The only thing I know about range is that is where you hit balls before going on the course but the infield at New Britain is awful and it is difficult to assess defense when half the grounders take a bad hop but if Wilmer Flores can play SS, Trevor Story probably can as well. It will be very interesting to see if he can keep it up, but watch Murphy who has looked very, very good.
Has anyone laid eyes on Austin Gomber? Does the scouting report back up that he could be a premium pitching prospect, or is he another college arm carving up inexperienced hitters?
The tweets from BPro colleagues are a nice enhancement to the columns, Jeff. Good stuff.