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Hitter of the Day: Lewis Brinson, OF, Rangers (High Desert, A+): 2-3, 2 R, 2 HR, BB. Brinson is the epitome of a scout-splitter, a player who you can ask five scouts about and get five different projections and five different opinions. Look no further than our own team for an example. There is little to doubt in Brinson’s raw tools, with the only real question being how the development of his hit tool will allow them to play in games. He’s making big strides in that regard, however, continuing to limit his strike-out rate (which was once off the charts) to a level where it will allow his power to play in games. If he can continue that trend after he makes the jump to Double-A, we’re talking about a legitimate impact prospect.

Pitcher of the Day: Victor Alcantara, RHP, Angels (Inland Empire, A+): 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, BB, 4 K (91 pitches). For all of his progress last season, Alcantara’s endeavors in the California League have been adventurous, as they are for so many pitching prospects. His velocity is still far and away his calling card, and there are nights it will be enough to dominate even in a hitter-friendly league. But without secondary and tertiary offerings, he’s struggled to keep hitters from teeing off on most nights.

Best of the Rest

Luis Guillorme, SS, Mets (Savannah, A-): 3-5, R, 2 2B, 2 K. Guillorme is a defense-first prospect, which would be the case even if he was a strong hitter because of the elite strength of his glove. He offers virtually no power at the plate, even to the gaps (his doubles on Wednesday were his second and third of the year). That said, he is controlling the strike zone quite well in his first taste of full-season ball and because of what he can offer on defense, the bar is set quite low for him offensively.

Jake Bauers, 1B, Rays (Charlotte, A+): 1-5, 2 R, HR, BB. Because it was a three-team deal that involved players like Wil Myers and Steven Souza, no one seemed to notice Bauers heading from the Padres to the Rays. I like to think the Rays prefer it that way. People are going to notice now, as Bauers has taken his fluid swing and patient approach at the plate and turned himself into a legitimate first-base prospect, something rare in today’s game. His full power potential hasn’t blossomed yet in games, and it may fall short of what we’re typically used to seeing from first basemen, but he’s a good all-around hitter who should provide enough offense to play there every day.

Trevor Story, SS, Rockies (New Britain, AA): 2-3, R, 2B, HR, BB. There’s been a lot of up-and-down in Story’s developmental arc, but he seems to have settled into a place where we know what kind of player he is. Story is going to swing and miss, but in the meantime, he offers more power production than most of the game’s top shortstop prospects. There are questions about whether or not he can remain at shortstop, but if he can’t, he can slide over to the other side of the keystone where he already has experience and would make one heck of a second baseman. Either way, the offensive bar is low at both positions, and even with some holes in his swing, Story will be able to clear it regardless of where he plays.

Raul Mondesi, SS, Royals (Northwest Arkansas, AA): 3-4, 3 R, 3B, SB. There are two ways to look at Mondesi. On the one hand, he’s an extremely physically talented player who can be an elite defender at shortstop and has elite speed, and just hasn’t hit because the Royals have inexplicably continued to promote him unnecessarily. On the other hand, even with the built-in excuse of being extremely young for his levels, can we really excuse things like a career .295 on-base percentage from a player with a leadoff/speed profile? Both views of Mondesi are correct, making him extremely hard to gauge. He has all the tools to be both a good hitter and a great shortstop, but at some point, we need to see him do it. That said, he’s not yet 20 and is in Double-A. That’s not fair to him, or to those of us trying to grade him, but it’s also not an automatic excuse. As it has been for so long, the jury remains out on Mondesi, but the talent remains very real.

D.J. Peterson, 1B, Mariners (Jackson, AA): 2-4, R, 2B, HR. It’s been a horribly disappointing season for Peterson, who was expected to be one of the quickest moving and most major-league ready bats in the 2013 draft. He had been living up to that expectation too, until a complete face plant at the start of this season. He’s been playing more first base than third, and perhaps the pressure of what is required from first basemen has gotten to him. It’s not a lack of skill, as Peterson offers enough power to be above average at third and hold his own at first while also offering impressive hitting acumen. His track record is strong enough to expect him to bounce back, but it’s been a rough 2015 season.

Brett Phillips, OF, Astros (Lancaster, A+): 2-5, 2 R, 3B, HR, K. Things have not been rough for Phillips, though the pitchers facing him would offer a different opinion. The center-field prospect has flown largely under the radar for most of his time as a professional, but those days are over in a way that only a .944 OPS can end them. He’s not without flaws, but there are few in the minors who can rival his power/speed/defense combination.

Fight Another Day

Gabriel Ynoa, RHP, Mets (Binghamton, AA): 3 IP, 7 H, 8 R, BB, 2 K (57 pitches). It hasn’t been an easy transition to the upper minors for Ynoa, who was coming off a strong season in the Florida State League last year. His fastball velocity is still intact, as our own Tucker Blair had him at 91-94 and touching 95 on Wednesday night, but his slider was “inconsistent the entire evening” and he “struggled to command both pitches.” His secondary offerings were a work in progress even last year when he was pitching well, but it doesn’t sound like that progress has been made.

Jose De Leon, RHP, Dodgers (Tulsa, AA): 3 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 3 BB, 5 K (73 pitches). All pitchers have these nights, even guys like De Leon who has run into very few hiccups over the past two years. Even when he struggles, however, the man can still miss bats with the best of them.

Notable Prospect Starters

  • Luis Severino, RHP, Yankees (Scranton/W-B, AAA): 5 1/3 IP, 4 H, 2 R, BB, 4 K (95 pitches).
  • Michael Feliz, RHP, Astros (Corpus Christi, AA): 4 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 3 BB, 2 K (79 pitches).

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It makes me sad that there are never any Tigers on these write-ups. I know we deal a lot of them, but man...not much help on the horizon.

It's going to be rough when we're old, can't sign anyone, and the contracts of Verlander, Martinez, even Miggy to some extent, etc. eat away at the souls of Tiger fans.

Philadelphia Phillies part deux.
Good to hear about DJ Peterson, whom it happens I asked about yesterday. Now that we've gotten that one out of the away -- and I sincerely hope he does get on a roll (right now, his li'l brother is hitting much better than he, and it seems a change of organizations has really helped him) -- I'd still like to know if Braden Shipley has seen an unexplained drop in velocity, or if there's some other reason (command, maybe?) that he isn't missing as many bats as a guy who supposedly touched 98 with a plus to plus-plus change probably should. I was able to watch him pitch twice this year, and in one outing his curve looked very impressive -- freezing hitters and, from what I could see, even freezing the home plate ump on at least 2 occasions. Even if he's not yet consistent with his curve, it flashes plus to me, and a three pitch combo like he reportedly has should lead to more strikeouts. So. What's the rumpus?