Hitter of the day: Corey Seager, SS, Dodgers (Oklahoma City, AAA): 4-5, 2 R, 2 2B, 1 BB. And with that, Seager’s slump appears to be over. The 21-year-old homered twice two nights ago, and added four hits and a pair of doubles to his two-day offensive barrage last night, turning last week’s struggles into a forgotten blip. Seager’s walk last night shouldn’t be overlooked: over-aggressiveness is one of the few weaknesses in his game, and it’s always good to see him work a free pass against a pitcher with big-league experience (Nick Tropeano). He’s running out of things to prove in the minor leagues, although the Dodgers surplus of infielders will likely keep him in Triple-A for most of the season.
Pitcher of the day: Stephen Gonsalves, LHP, Twins (Cedar Rapids, Low-A): 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 12 SO. A fourth-round pick in 2013, Gonsalves has rewarded the Twins for drafting him out of high school. The lefty is devastating Midwest League bats with an explosive three-pitch mix—his fastball touches the mid-90s and his changeup and curve flash above average—and last night marked the third time this season he’s notched double-digit strikeouts. On the year, he’s fanned 66 hitters in 48 innings while posting a microscopic 1.31 ERA.
Best of the rest
Jorge Alfaro, C, Rangers (Frisco, AA): 1-5, HR, 2 SO, CS. Frisco fans were lucky enough to see the entire Jorge Alfaro experience last night, as the 21-year-old backstop flashed both his remarkable abilities and over-eager approach at the dish. The dinger was the Colombian’s fourth of the season, although he has a higher slugging percentage this year than he did in 2014, when he bashed seventeen of them. The man with the loud tools also showed off his rocket arm, whipping a throw to third to gun Patrick Wisdom down by several steps, his eighth victim in 28 starts.
Nomar Mazara, RF, Rangers (Frisco, AA): 1-4, HR, BB. Mazara’s problem with left-handed pitching has been one of the few knocks on his game, so it was nice to see him homer off of a southpaw last night. It’s hard to believe that it took him until May 26 to hit his second homer of the year, but it’s tough to be too concerned while he’s hitting over .300 with 20 walks as a 20-year-old in Double-A. Given his plus bat speed and hand-eye coordination, along with his advanced approach, it’s a good bet that Mazara develops into a power threat as his wiry frame fills out.
Mason Williams, CF, Yankees (Scranton-Wilkes Barre, AAA): 2-4, R, 2 2B. Reports of inconsistent mechanics and poor makeup have dimmed the 23-year-old’s star over the past year and a half, but Williams has quietly performed well in the early part of the 2015 season. In 40 games between two levels, Williams has hit well over .300 and with two doubles last night, he now has 11 extra-base hits on the season. None of them are homers though, and he still looks like more of a fourth outfielder than any kind of impact player.
Jordan Foley, RHP, Yankees (Charleston, Low-A): 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 9 SO. A power arm drafted out of Central Michigan, Foley has impressed in his first taste of full-season ball. Making just his fourth start—he was on the shelf for a month before last night’s outing—Foley allowed just one hit and struck out nine in five innings, giving him 23 whiffs in 19 frames this season. Command will be key for the right-hander as he climbs the minor-league ladder; with three pitches that flash average and a fastball that sits comfortably in the low 90s, he has the raw arsenal to start if he can throw quality strikes consistently.
Ozhaino Albies, SS, Braves (Rome, Low-A): 2-3, 3 R, 2 BB, 1K. The catalyst behind Rome’s come-from-behind win last night, Albies continues to hold his own as an 18-year-old in the Sally League. Albies will never have much power, so it’s important for him to contribute in other ways. With two knocks and a pair of walks, we got a glimpse of how he can impact games at the plate. He’ll need to turn some of those singles into doubles eventually—plus-plus speed will help—and it’ll be interesting to see if he can rope a few more extra-base hits as he acclimates to the level over the course of the season.
James Ramsey, CF, Indians (Columbus, AAA): 2-3, 2B, HR, 1 BB, SO. Ramsey isn’t the most exciting prospect in the game, but after a slow start, the Florida State product is blossoming in May. He has two homers, four doubles, and nine walks in his last ten games, and has shown enough defensively to stick in center field for Columbus. He’s probably a corner outfielder at the next level, but his simple stroke and strong arm should allow him to hit the ground running whenever a spot opens up for him in Cleveland.
Jake Bauers, 1B, Rays (Charlotte, High-A): 2-4, 2B, HR, BB, SO. I’m a sucker for fringe prospects, so naturally, I’m fascinated by Bauers. The 19-year-old first basemen was Tampa Bay’s seventh-round pick out of a California high school in 2013, and he’s surprised evaluators with his advanced approach and ability to produce quality at-bats against older competition. There aren’t many 19-year-olds who can hang with the men in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League, but for Bauers to develop into a top prospect, he’ll need to drive the ball with regularity; yesterday’s dinger was just his fifth of the season.
Wei-Chieh Huang, RHP, Diamondbacks (Kane County, Low-A): 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 8 SO. The 20-year-old right-hander made his professional debut for Kane County, dominating a talented Quad Cities lineup with a fastball that reached the mid-90s while mixing in his slider, changeup, and curveball. Signed out of a Taiwanese college last winter, Huang remains more of a mystery than your typical minor-league pitcher. More outings like this will put him on the prospect radar and push him out of A-ball sooner rather than later.
Fight another day:
Tyler Kolek, RHP, Marlins (Greensboro, Low-A): 4 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 4 BB, 2 SO. This makes two rough outings in three trips to the hill for Kolek, who has walked nine hitters in his last three starts, none of which went longer than five innings. He’s learning to control a violent delivery and developing secondary offerings that can work off of his impressive fastball, building-block refinements that were always going to take time. The Texan’s overall numbers this season, particularly his 28/21 SO/BB ratio in 40 innings, suggest that he’ll be spending the year in Greensboro.
Dylan Bundy, RHP, Orioles (Bowie, AA): We hope that Bundy will fight another day soon. After experiencing shoulder discomfort following his last outing, the right-hander was scratched from his scheduled start last night, and will have an MRI on his shoulder today. Bundy himself doesn’t believe the issue is too serious; fingers crossed that his self-assessment proves correct.
D.J. Peterson, 1B, Mariners (Jackson, AA): 0-4, SO. His batting average has dropped below .210, and with 42 strikeouts and just one homer, it’s fair to say that 2015 has been a year to forget for Peterson thus far. He’s facing advanced arms for the first time while learning to play first base, and while that’s not an easy combination of tasks, it doesn’t explain why his season has gone so dramatically south. Breaking balls out of the zone have always given him trouble, and are killing him right now.
Notable pitching prospect lines:
- Yency Almonte, RHP, White Sox (Kannapolis, Low-A): 6 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 5 SO
- Jesse Biddle, LHP, Phillies (Reading, AA): 5 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 0 SO
- Alec Asher, RHP, Rangers (Round Rock, AAA): 5.1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 6 SO
- Luis Severino, RHP, Yankees (Trenton, AA): 5 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 9 SO, 2 BB
- Jake Thompson, RHP, Rangers (Frisco, AA): 6 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 SO
- Vincent Velasquez, RHP, Astros (Corpus Christi, AA): 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 8 SO
- Jonathan Gray, RHP, Rockies (Albuquerque, AAA): 6 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 2 SO
… and Carlos Correa homered again.
Thank you for reading
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