Hitter of the Day: Yoan Moncada, 2B, Red Sox (Greenville, A-): 1-2, 3 R, 2B, BB, 2 SB. We’ve gotten only glimpses of his shining talent thus far in his brief professional career, but fans in Greenville on Monday got a glimpse of the full Moncada. He has a unique combination of speed and power for such a young player, and when coupled with his physical development, it’s easy to see why he was, and still is, so highly regarded. Despite some early struggles, there is absolutely no luster off of his prospect shine.
Pitcher of the Day: Luke Weaver, RHP, Cardinals (Palm Beach, A+): 6 IP, H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K. My first look at Weaver might have been my last, and pitchers with his level of refinement don’t often remain in the Florida State League. As Chris Mellen and I discussed on Raw Projection, fastball command is usually enough to be pretty effective in High-A ball, and Weaver certainly has it. He’s not overpowering, but there’s enough on it to miss some bats, sitting routinely in the 92-94 range and touching 95. His changeup is his best off-speed pitch, offering more deception than movement at this point but showing as an above-average offering. The curveball is a work in progress, but his fastball/changeup combination is ready to handle Double-A soon.
Best of the Rest
Max Kepler, 1B/OF, Twins (Chattanooga, AA): 4-5, R, K. Despite a lackluster season in 2014 and a promotion to Double-A anyway, Kepler is handling the aggressive assignment well and fulfilling the potential his frame and skills have always suggested he could reach as a hitter. He’s built like a prototypical power hitter, though he doesn’t produce like one, even in his current stretch. His power comes more in the form of gap power, but his control of the strike zone helps make up for the lack of homers by bringing along his hit tool. He’s playing primarily first base this season (though he’s not bad in the outfield), which means that while doubles are nice, he’s going to have to eventually hit the ball over the fence in order to play every day.
Adam Brett Walker, OF, Twins (Chattanooga, AA): 4-5, R, 2 2B, K. Walker, on the other hand, has no issue hitting the ball over the fence, so long as the pitcher throws it straight. He showed that power off last season despite playing in the cavernous Florida State League, and he’s carried it over to Double-A. He’s still a mess at the plate in terms of the approach, but the silver lining is that even at an advanced minor-league level, he’s still managed to be a productive power hitter in spite of his swing-and-miss flaws, which is something.
Franklin Barreto, SS, Athletics (Stockton, A+): 3-5, R, 2B, SB. Barreto gets somewhat of a break for his struggles this season due to the massive jump from the Northwest League to the California League that he’s had to endure, as the challenge hasn’t helped his raw skill set translate into on-field success this season. He does show glimpses of the pure hitting skill that the A’s sought out this offseason, but the consistency hasn’t been there just yet. Still, at just 19, he gets a slight break.
Reynaldo Lopez, RHP, Nationals (Potomac, A+): 5 1/3 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 8 K. Lopez doesn’t miss the insane number of bats that you’d expect from a minor leaguer with a fastball that touches 100 mph, but he’s already taken steps forward with his command over the past year, which indicates that those strikeouts will come. He’s still refining his off-speed offerings, which will help set up the fastball better in the future and keep hitters from teeing off.
Kaleb Cowart, 3B, Angels (Salt Lake, AAA): 3-4, R, 2B, HR. Cowart is one of the most perplexing prospects I’ve come across, because he looks the part in every scouting sense yet just doesn’t produce. He’s had success in the past, posting an .810 OPS between two A-ball levels as a 20-year-old in 2012, but he hasn’t been able to replicate it. The body and frame are fantastic, and the swing is even good, but at some point, if guys don’t hit, they’re probably not going to, no matter what your eyes say.
Pedro Payano, RHP, Rangers (DSL Rangers, DSL): 6 IP, 3 H, R (0 ER), 0 BB, 10 K. The Rangers signed Payano for $650,000 in the summer of 2011, the same summer they signed Nomar Mazara at the same age. Mazara is currently in Double-A while Payano has yet to even come stateside, which is a credit to the former more than it’s a knock on the latter.
Yorman Rodriguez, OF, Reds (Louisville, AAA): 2-5 R, HR, BB, K. Rodriguez continues to tantalize and tease, having never developed into the power-hitting corner outfielder that his frame and raw skills would suggest. He still provides glimpses, however, of what caused the Reds to make him a big-bonus sign over seven years ago. He’s never consistently hit for the power that is needed to accompany the holes in his swing and high strikeout rates, but despite being around for seemingly forever, he’s still somehow just 22. Even with over 2,400 minor-league plate appearances, there’s still a chance he could figure it out.
Notable Prospect Starters
- Blake Snell, RHP, Rays (Montgomery, AA): 5 IP, 6 H, 3 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 8 K.
- Tyrell Jenkins, RHP, Cardinals (Mississippi, AA): 7 IP, 5 H, R, 2 BB, 4 K.
- Tyler Kolek, RHP, Marlins (Greensboro, A-): 5 IP, 3 H, R (0 ER), 3 BB, 4 K.
- Casey Meisner, RHP, Mets (Savannah, A-): 6 2/3 IP, 5 H, 4 R, BB, 5 K.
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