Hitter of the day: Corey Seager, SS, Dodgers (Oklahoma City, AAA): 6-6, 2 R, 2 2B, HR. Seager went 13-for-18 with two walks, three homers, and 27 total bases over his last four games; I think he enjoys hitting in Salt Lake City. Like with Joc Pederson last year, there may not be anything that Seager can do to force his way onto the Dodgers. If that proves to be the case, it looks like he’s gearing up for a big summer in the PCL.
Pitcher of the day: Justin Nicolino, LHP, Marlins (New Orleans, AAA): 7 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 7 SO. A season high in strikeouts for Nicolino, who has worked at least six innings in all but one of his 10 starts this year. He’s never going to miss many bats, but with a plus changeup and above-average command, he should survive as a backend starter at the highest level. He’s in line to make his big-league debut as soon as the need arises in Miami.
Best of the rest:
Rafael Devers, 3B, Red Sox (Greenville, Low-A): 3-5, R. Just 18 years old, Devers has taken to the South Atlantic League like a fish to water. One of the circuit’s youngest players, Devers is second in the league in doubles, and he can expect some of those to turn into homers as he matures physically and learns how to tap into his 70-raw power during games. He’s already shown improvement in recognizing off-speed pitches, and with plus bat speed and good feel for the barrel, he’s a nightmare for A-ball pitchers to deal with.
Trevor Story, SS, Rockies (New Britain, AA): 2-5, R, HR, SO. Story’s resurgence continues, as his big afternoon lifts his season line to .321/.413/.564. He’s also striking out (slightly) less frequently than he has since 2012, and while a hitch in his swing likely limits his hit-tool potential to about fringe average, he has enough other skills to carry him to the majors.
Forrest Wall, 2B, Rockies (Asheville, Low-A): 2-4, HR, SO. One of the top second-base prospects in the minors, the 19-year-old Wall has the athleticism of a shortstop. A high-school shoulder injury forced him to the keystone, but he has more physical projection and talent than most teenage second basemen. He has more stick than most too, and he has enough strength and loft behind his pull-happy swing to project at least fringe-average power down the line.
Jose Berrios, RHP, Twins (Chattanooga, AA): 7.1 IP, 9 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 7 SO. Another start, another seven impressive innings for Berrios. The short right-hander has fanned at least seven in six of his outings this year, as most Double-A hitters simply can’t touch his high-octane fastball or demonic curve. The Twins generally move their prospects slowly, so we shouldn’t be surprised if Berrios spends all of 2015 honing his command in Double-A.
Dariel Alvarez, RF, Orioles (Norfolk, AAA): 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR. A low BABIP dampens Alvarez’s overall numbers—.237/.267/.371 after yesterday—although there’s nothing in his peripherals to suggest that he’s much more than a fourth outfielder anyway. An aggressive swinger with a knack for getting the bat to the ball, the 26-year-old Cuban doesn’t walk and he won’t hit for much power. He’s capable of hitting balls out of the strike zone hard, however, and that’s a skill that could suit him well if the Orioles bring him up. One school of thought argues that free-swingers are less likely to face a rough adjustment period to the big leagues than hitters with good strike-zone judgement, as the latter will struggle while adapting to a larger zone and elite pitch framers. So, Alvarez has that going for him.
Gavin Cecchini, SS, Mets (Binghampton, AA): 3-4, 2B. Three more knocks for Cecchini, and it’s now only a matter of time before he displaces Wilmer Flores as the Mets starting shortstop. I’m kidding, although it is worth mentioning that the Louisiana native is hitting for more power than ever while posting the lowest strikeout rate of his career. With good positional instincts, a strong arm, and decent lateral range, Cecchini has the skills to play short in the big leagues, and it’s only looking more and more likely that his bat will allow him to reach his ceiling.
Kodi Medeiros, LHP, Brewers (Wisconsin, Low-A): 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 SO. The Brewers came under fire for tabbing Medeiros with the 12th overall pick last June. Many evaluators believed that the southpaw’s low arm slot and poor command suggested a future in the bullpen, and after reports of diminished velocity and inconsistent secondary offerings in his first pro outings last summer, Medeiros began to look like a low-ceiling, low-probability prospect. To date, the Hawaiian has done his best to change that perception in 2015. He’s struck out 52 hitters in 46 innings, but more importantly, he’s getting a lot of whiffs with his fastball and his slider is snapping and flashing plus again. There’s still a good chance he winds up in the bullpen—he probably won’t throw enough strikes to start—but the 18-year-old is far enough away that there’s at least a chance he learns to hone his arsenal.
A.J. Reed, 1B, Astros (Lancaster, High-A): 2-4, HR, BB. Reed has a swing designed for power and he plays half of his home games in one of the real launching pads in professional baseball. He’s having a good year—yesterday’s dinger was his 12th of the year and he’s walked 30 times in 200 plate appearances—but there’s no use reading too much into it.
Fight another day:
David Dahl, CF, Rockies (New Britain, AA): 2-3, 2 R, 1 SB, 1 SO, 1 Horrible Injury. Dahl was on his way to earning a place a notch higher in this series when he crashed into second basemen Juan Ciriaco while pursuing a short fly ball. He suffered a lacerated spleen, as well as a mild concussion and some bruising. Emergency surgery saved the spleen, though he’ll have to miss the rest of the season recovering.
Darnell Sweeney, CF, Dodgers (Oklahoma City, AAA): 0-6, 1 R, 1 SB, 3 SO. That’s seven strikeouts for Sweeney in his last three games, and 11 over the past six. Troublingly, he’s not hitting for much power right now; scouts have long been concerned that he had just enough pop to fall in love with it, a problem for a player without good raw power and a tendency to chase pitches off the plate. Sweeney made his seventh start in center field this year. He’s also played a bit of left field and a lot of second base as he prepares for a future as a utility player.
Andrew Heaney, LHP, Angels (Salt Lake City, AAA): 5.1 IP, 10 H, 7 R, 1 BB, 1 HR, 2 SO. A blip on the radar for the talented left-hander, who had pitched well all month before a tough afternoon against a good team. The homer was just the second Heaney has allowed all year and, naturally, Seager was the man who took him deep.
Notable pitching lines:
- Mark Appel, RHP, Astros (Corpus Christi, AA): 5.2 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 4 SO.
- Manny Banuelos, LHP, Braves (Gwinnett): 5 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 SO.
- Aaron Blair, RHP, Diamondbacks (Mobile, AA): 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 SO.
- Scott Blewett, RHP, Royals (Lexington, Low-A): 4 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 8 SO.
- Matt Boyd, LHP, Blue Jays (New Hampshire, AA): 7 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 4 SO.
- Ty Buttrey, RHP, Red Sox (Salem, High-A): 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 4 SO.
- Tyrell Jenkins, RHP, Braves (Mississippi, AA): 5 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 5 BB, 5 SO.
- Blake Snell, LHP, Rays (Montgomery, AA): 6.2 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 4 BB, 1 HR, 5 SO.
- Luke Weaver, RHP, Cardinals (Palm Beach, High-A): 4 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 4 SO.
- Joe Wieland, RHP, Dodgers (Oklahoma City, AAA): 4 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 1 BB, 6 SO.
- Tom Windle, LHP, Phillies (Reading, AA): 5.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 6 SO.
Tip of the cap:
Yasiel Balaguert, 1B, Cubs (South Bend, Low-A): 4-5, 2B, HR. That’s four extra-base hits in three days for the 22-year-old Cuban.
Thank you for reading
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