Hitter of the Day: Clint Coulter, OF, Brewers (Brevard County, A+): 2-4, 3 R, 2B, HR, BB. Coulter isn’t a favorite among scouts, given his lack of elite tools or premium athleticism. His move to the outfield didn’t take any pressure off of his bat either. Still, the converted catcher continues to hit despite hitting mechanics that make many question his ability to continue his success at higher levels. He would hardly be the first hitter to get away with an unorthodox swing, and despite the mechanical quirks, he does have good bat speed and feel for the barrel. The more he continues to hit, the more converts he’s going to have.
Pitcher of the Day: Aaron Nola, RHP, Phillies (Reading, AA): 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, BB, 7 K. Nola clearly isn’t getting challenged in the Eastern League, even as the weather warms up and the hitters find their groove. An incredible strike thrower, Nola is likely ready to handle a big-league challenge right now, but there is the argument of whether or not it’s best for both him and the Phillies to call him up when he’s ready to just handle the challenge or whether they should wait for when he’s ready to truly succeed. A bump to Triple-A is likely in order, if for no other reason than just to throw a wrinkle into things and see how he adapts (likely well). Nola was considered the most polished pitcher in last year’s draft and nothing he’s done as a professional has changed that opinion in anybody’s mind.
Best of the Rest
Miguel Sano, 3B, Twins (Chattanooga, AA): 3-5, R, 2 2B, K. Sano has been coming on strong of late, hitting .302/.373/.605 over his last ten games, though even when he’s hitting well, he still strikes out at close to a 30 percent clip. He’s never not going to strike out, so the only question for his future in the big leagues is just how much advanced pitching is going to be able to exploit that and how much of his raw power it’s going to cost him in games. To this point, it hasn’t been enough to worry, but the jump to the big leagues is the biggest in the game.
Brandon Drury, 2B/3B, Diamondbacks (Mobile, AA): 2-5, R, 2 2B, K. Drury is off to a slow start on the season, but he was impressive last fall in the Arizona Fall League as he began the transition to second base, a journey which he has continued this season. A natural third baseman, he doesn’t have the range you’d typically look for up the middle, but he has the hands to make the shift work and increase his versatility. He can still handle third, but the Diamondbacks are back-loaded at the hot corner and are looking for other avenues to get Drury to the big leagues. He may not be an everyday player, but he has good pop, and combining that with positional versatility could help him carve out a solid big-league role.
Alen Hanson, SS/2B, Pirates (Indianapolis, AAA): 3-5, R, 2B, BB, 2 K, 2 SB. Hanson broke out in his full-season debut in 2012, but has enjoyed more moderate success since. Most scouts believe he’s better suited for second base, but given the Pirates lack of success at shortstop over the past decade, they’ve given him every chance to succeed there as he develops, while also working him in at the keystone in a nod to realism. Hanson offers a package of solid hitting ability combined with plus speed to create an offensive player who can do a few things while likely hitting near the bottom of a strong lineup.
Jake Thompson, RHP, Rangers (Frisco, AA): 6 2/3 IP, 3 H, R, 0 BB, 8 K. Thompson has starts where his raw stuff dominates, but has backed them up this season with outings where it’s very hittable. When he’s on, his fastball/slider combination misses bats by the dozen.
Sean Reid-Foley, RHP, Blue Jays (Lansing, A-): 3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 7 K. This isn’t a great start, obviously, but I don’t have a “what the hell?” category, so here it goes. The Jays are bringing Reid-Foley along slowly, and he’s yet to go more than four innings in any outing as a professional, partly because of the pitch count restrictions on him and partly because he walks so many guys and runs up high counts. The pure stuff that got him selected in the second round last year is still quite evident, as are the concerns with his command, largely due to mechanical issues that even the Blue Jays were concerned with before selecting him last year. He’s got a potent arm but it’s going to be a long road to refine it.
Clint Frazier, OF, Indians (Lynchburg, A+): 2-4, 2 R, HR. There have been concerns about Frazier’s contact issues from day one, but those have actually taken a step forward this season. The bigger issue is that, even with some improvement in his strike-out rate from last year, he still strikes out a lot and hasn’t shown the power production you’d like to see to compensate for it. We tolerate strikeouts when they come with big power numbers, but Frazier’s have been only moderate to this point and are down this year from last season. Simply put, if he’s going to strike out a ton, we need to see some power out of him to make up for it.
K.J. Woods, 1B, Marlins (Greensboro, A-): 2-3, R, 2B, HR, 2 BB, K. The positives about Woods are easy to see. He’s massive, in both a good and bad way, but he offers plus raw power that he’s beginning to learn how to use in the games. He has plus bat speed and a good swing path, which give him a chance to hit if he can recognize pitches, which he’s showing some ability to do at the low levels. At 19, there’s still a ton of projection left for Woods, but he’s got some tools to work with, all of which reside in his bat.
Michael Conforto, OF, Mets (St. Lucie, A+): 2-5, 2 R, HR, K. Polish, power, almost a finished product…yada, yada, yada. He’d better get used to the Seinfeld references if he’s going to play in New York.
Trea Turner, SS, Padres (San Antonio, AA): 3-4, R, 2B, HR. Turner is playing like a guy who’s trying to get traded. Wait… With four home runs already on the season, however, he is showing a bit more pop than expected, and offering a strong approach at the plate, something which can help alleviate a swing that some scouts question.
Jeff Hoffman, RHP, Blue Jays (Dunedin, A+): 5 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 0 BB, 3 K. In his first start as a professional, roughly a year removed from Tommy John surgery, Hoffman essentially laid out the TJ blueprint: His stuff has returned but the command and feel of it isn’t all the way back yet. That’s typically the last part of the arsenal to return, but for him to be touching 97 mph with his fastball and breaking off even a few of the devastating curveballs that made him a potential 1:1 pick last season is a huge step in the right direction for both Hoffman and the Jays.
Notable Prospect Starters
- Lucas Giolito, RHP, Nationals (Potomac, A+): 7 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 9 K.
- Matt Wisler, RHP, Braves (Gwinnett, AAA): 6 IP, 5 H, 4 R, BB, 4 K.
- Luke Weaver, RHP, Cardinals (Palm Beach, A+): 5 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 6 K.
- Tyler Kolek, RHP, Marlins (Jupiter, A+): 4 2/3 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 2 K.
Ok, it’s time…and Joey Gallo homered.
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is a possible SS. He plays at 2nd all the time now and should take over for
Walker very soon, maybe he up in September.
Seems like he's come out of nowhere the last couple years, but I've heard no chatter about him in prospect circles.