Hitter of the Day: Joey Gallo, 3B, Rangers (Frisco, AA): 3-4, 3 R, 2B, 2 HR, BB. This is Gallo at his best, when he avoids strikeouts, controls the strike zone, and drives the baseball. When he does all that, he’s an absolute monster. It’s only when he fails to put the baseball in play that he can be contained.
Best of the Rest
Jomar Reyes, 3B, Orioles (Delmarva, A-): 4-4, R, 2 2B, 3B. It’s Reyes’ bat at such such a young age that has scouts excited, as it projects to hit for plus power with some refinement. He’ll need every bit of that bat, however, as he’s already a bottom-of-the-scale runner at 18 and will likely have to give up third base at some point for a move across the diamond. Still, as an 18-year-old handling an aggressive full-season assignment admirably, there’s a lot to like with Reyes.
Carlos Correa, SS, Astros (Fresno, AAA): 2-6, 2 R, HR, K. Correa is knocking on the door, and no one, including the Astros, is expecting Triple-A to provide him with a significantly more difficult challenge than the rest of the minor leagues has. Still, there are lessons to learn and refinement to be had in his final few weeks as a minor leaguer which make this assignment more than just about service time.
A.J. Reed, 1B, Astros (Lancaster, A+): 2-3, 2 R, 2B, HR. Reed has some holes in his swing that lead to some strikeout issues, but he also has good patience and power to spare, making him a potential three-true-outcomes candidate. The Astros will take that, and a few more months of success could see him end the season in Double-A.
Peter O’Brien, C, Diamondbacks (Reno, AAA): 2-5, 2 R, 3B, HR, 2 K. O’Brien is a mistake hitter, but he does a lot of damage with the mistakes he gets. He has below-average bat speed, causing him to guess at pitches. When he guesses right, he has legitimate over-the-fence power, but the holes in his swing and approach limit the utility of the hit tool. Additionally, there is always, of course, the matter of where he’ll play on the field, though it likely won’t be catcher.
Mac Williamson, OF, Giants (Richmond, AA): 2-3, 3 R, HR, 2 BB, K. After a season away, Williamson is handling the return to game-speed admirably. Sure, at 24 he’s old for the Eastern League (for a prospect), but with almost a full season missed last year due to Tommy John surgery, he’s been left playing catch-up. His previous power isn’t as prevalent in Richmond as it was in the California League, but no one’s really is.
Bradley Zimmer, OF, Indians (Lynchburg, A+): 2-3, 2 R, HR, BB. Despite his size, Zimmer doesn’t project to be a big power hitter thanks to a balanced, whole-field approach that favors his hit tool. He’s not a total wash in the power department, however, and with his size he’s still going to manage to run into a few home runs even without trying to drive the ball. He swings and misses a little more than you’d like to see out of a player who is attempting to sacrifice power for hit utility, but it’s not at a completely worrisome level.
Gavin Cecchini, SS, Mets (Binghamton, AA): 2-5, 2 R, 2B, HR. After a down year split between Low-A Savannah and High-A St. Lucie last year, Cecchini is rebounding this season with a strong showing at Double-A Binghamton. Always a contact-oriented approach, Cecchini is making better contact this season and fewer weak outs. He’s never going to be a power hitter, but an advanced approach at the plate can help make up for that. And no, he’s not ready to be the Mets’ shortstop in the big leagues, so don’t ask.
Austin Meadows, OF, Pirates (Bradenton, A+): 3-5, 2 R, HR. Meadows is similar to Zimmer in that he’s a big guy you’d expect to hit for power, but doesn’t because of his approach. Meadows keeps his power to the gaps, but his hit tool is ahead of where Zimmer’s is and he makes significantly more, and better, contact on a consistent basis. He’ll still run into his home runs on the pull side from time to time, but his main value will come from coupling a patient approach with a hit tool that could have him flirting with .300 for years.
Forrest Wall, 2B, Rockies (Asheville, A-): 2-3, 2 R, 2 HR, BB. Wall has a big swing and big bat speed, both of which help him generate power despite not having a huge frame. A high-school pick last year, the Rockies challenged the 19-year-old Wall with a full-season assignment and he has rewarded them thus far. He hasn’t hit for big power yet, but there should be more to come as the season progresses.
Byron Buxton, OF, Twins (Chattanooga, AA): 2-5, 2 R, HR, SB. It’s been a long, slow road back for Buxton, who is still getting his timing back and his legs underneath of him. No matter how you train in the offseason, game speed is still different. Still, seeing him homer and steal a base in the same game reminds us all of the unique skill set Buxton offers and what he can become when he’s at full strength.
Fight Another Day
Kyle Crick, RHP, Giants (Richmond, AA): 1 2/3 IP, 3 H, 3 R (2 ER), 4 BB, 3 K. The raw stuff has never been an issue with Crick, but its in-game utility has long been in question, and scouts have doubted his ability to stick in a big-league rotation since early in his pro career. He’s done little to progress since then, continuing to throw elite stuff with well below-average command. The result is high pitch counts, short outings, and a trajectory heading directly into a middle relief role if he doesn’t make some adjustments.
Notable Prospect Starters
- Parker Bridwell, RHP, Orioles (Bowie, AA): 6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 9 K.
- Marco Gonzales, LHP, Cardinals (Memphis, AAA): 6 IP, 5 H, R, 2 BB, 7 K.
- Trey Ball, LHP, Red Sox (Salem, A+): 5 IP, 4 H, 3 R (1 ER), BB, 2 K.
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