Hitter of the Day: Steven Moya, OF, Tigers (Toledo, AAA): 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, K.
Moya’s top-of-the-charts power hasn’t played in games this year nearly as well as it has in the past, thanks to more experienced competition that didn’t struggle to figure out the book on the Tigers’ hulking slugger. His complete lack of pitch recognition has held him back and should ultimately be the death knell in his development, keeping him on the Quad-A train back and forth from the majors.
Pitcher of the Day: Austin Brice, RHP, Marlins (Jacksonville, AA): 8 IP, H, 0 R, BB, 13 K.
Brice has a big-time arm and is just 23, and he’s more than capable of missing bats at this level on a nightly basis. What we haven’t seen from him consistently, however, is the ability to stay within the strike zone from night to night. The lack of command has been what’s held him back his entire career, and outside of Monday night, Brice’s walk rates this season have been on par with the issues that have typically plagued him. Still, it’s impressive to see what he’s capable of when he throws strikes.
Best of the Rest
Nelson Rodriguez, 1B, Indians (Lynchburg, A+): 3-4, 2 R, 2B. It’s the power that’s so intriguing about old “Nellie,” who’s actually not all that old at all. Having just turned 21, Rodriguez is actually showing excellent power production for a player of his age in a tough-hitting Carolina League. There are some holes in his swing that are concerning, as evidenced by his elevated strikeout rates, and coming in around 250 pounds is always concerning for a player still so young. Still, playable power is rare and Rodriguez has it.
J.T. Riddle, SS, Marlins (Jupiter, A+): 3-4, 3 R, 2B, HR, BB. One look at Riddle’s tall, thin frame and the easy scouting comment is to say that if he can put on 10-15 pounds of muscle, he could really do some damage at the plate. Of course, since he’s already 23, that’s much less likely to happen. It would also probably render him too slow to play short stop. As he is, he can handle the position well and features good gap power with enough pop to occasionally sneak one out of the ballpark thanks to good barrel control and strong wrists. It’s an interesting combination of skillset and physical package, and one that could profile well in a utility role in the majors.
Manuel Margot, OF, Red Sox (Portland, AA): 4-6, 2 R, 2 2B, SB (DH). I’m not sure what’s more impressive, Margot’s skillset or his application of it in games. What he was doing in High-A ball as a 20-year-old in the first half of the season spoke volumes about his abilities, and now he’s taken his act to Double-A, where he is one of the youngest players at the level but is still maintaining his productivity in the early going. His combination of power, speed, and defense may be unmatched within the minor-league ranks.
Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Pirates (Altoona, AA): 3 2/3 IP, 2 H, 2 R (0 ER), 2 BB, 7 K. Glasnow’s return from an oblique injury rendered more of the same from the Pirates pitching prospect. He continues to miss bats at elite levels but also struggles mightily with his fastball command, both within the strike zone and surrounding it. We couldn’t expect Glasnow to improve in this area while hurt, nor is his first start back the place to judge his progress, but it’s been a major concern and he’s gotten further along the developmental ladder without improving on it than anyone would like to see. He’s incredibly talented, but it’s an issue that he’ll have to overcome, and he has not yet shown any signs of doing so.
Sean Manaea, LHP, Royals (Wilmington, A+): 5 IP, 6 H, 3 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 8 K. Manaea’s 2015 debut was more impressive in person than the stat line would suggest, though the missed bats should indicate the stuff he had Monday night. Our own Tucker Blair was in attendance, saying:
#Royals Sean Manaea 92-94 mph w/ boring action; command spotty; easy and loose delivery; flashed avg CH 84-85 mph; above avg SL 82-84 mph
— Tucker Blair (@TuckerBlairON) June 29, 2015
That’s a pretty filthy combination of stuff from a left-hander, with the major concerns now being the return of his command and keeping his left shoulder healthy.
Aaron Nola, RHP, Phillies (Lehigh Valley, AAA): 5 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 K. Nola didn’t have his best stuff on Monday, but that is a common occurrence with starting pitchers throughout a long season. One test every pitcher has to overcome is how to get by on those days when the arm isn’t feeling 100 percent, and Nola showed that he has the ability to do that. Nola won’t walk three guys in a game very often—in fact the three walks on Monday ties a career high from his very first professional start just over a year ago. But his ability to pitch around himself last night is an impressive step, and one of the few remaining between him and the big leagues.
Notable Prospect Starters
Ashe Russell, RHP, Royals (Burlington, R): 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 4 BB, K.
Luke Weaver, RHP, Cardinals (Palm Beach, A+): 6 1/3 IP, 5 H, 3 R, BB, 5 K.
Tyler Kolek, RHP, Marlins (Jupiter, A+): 5 IP, 5 H, 3 R (2 ER), BB, 3 K.
Kohl Stewart, RHP, Twins (Fort Myers, A+): 6 IP, 7 H, 3 R (2 ER), BB, 2 K.
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