Hitter of the Day: Harrison Bader, OF, Cardinals (State College, SS): 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, K.
I wasn’t a huge fan of Bader’s swing when he was at the University of Florida, but there’s no doubting his production in college, and this is a heck of a professional debut. He shows good power and a good feel for the barrel, but there’s a prolonged weight transfer that concerns me. If he can control that against better offspeed stuff, however, the Cardinals could have a steal in the third round.
Pitcher of the Day: Rob Kaminsky, LHP, Cardinals (Palm Beach, A+): 7 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K.
Kaminsky is the epitome of a limited left-hander, but like the majority of the ones who have had extended success, Kaminsky really knows how to pitch. The ceiling is limited because he’s a high-80s/low-90s lefty without a good breaking ball, but his command and changeup give him a chance to compete as a back-end starter.
Best of the Rest
Aaron Judge, OF, Yankees (Scranton/W-B, AAA): 4-4, 3 R, 2B, BB. It didn’t take long for Judge to make the adjustment to Triple-A, where he’s also handling an assignment as the world’s largest center fielder. Staying up the middle is a bit of a stretch, but Judge doesn’t get nearly enough credit for his defensive abilities. He’s a plus right fielder with a plus (and potentially plus-plus) arm, which is not only strong but tremendously accurate. It’s easy to look at his size and assume he’s about nothing but power, but Judge’s game is much more well-rounded than you’d expect.
Henry Owens, LHP, Red Sox (Pawtucket, AAA): 7 1/3 IP, 2 H, R, 2 BB, 4 K. Owens has battled himself and his control this season, so it’s good to see him in the zone and not surprising to see him be effective when he is. No one has doubted Owens’ stuff at any point along the way, but his inconsistencies that have spurred skepticism. Sometimes it’s really simple, and for Owens it comes down to control. If he can throw strikes, he can be effective.
Michael Conforto, OF, Mets (Binghamton, AA): 3-5, 2 R, HR, K. Conforto is good, but he’s not great, and that’s important for Mets fans to remember. As the U.S.S. Sinking Ship continues to make a beeline for Queens, there are calls for players like Conforto to be the saviors. Again, Conforto is good, but that’s not the role he’s going to play. He’s not the answer, but a piece on a good team. He’s likely an everyday player, but not the kind you build a lineup around. That’s not an insult. Everyday players aren’t all that common within a farm system. But given that he’s a Met, things are bound to be blown out of proportion.
Bradley Zimmer, OF, Indians (Lynchburg, A+): 2-3, 2B, 2 BB, K. Zimmer is driving the lead float in the underrated prospect parade—that is, until the release of the #BPTop50 on Monday. He’s talented across the board, and while none of the tools may scream at you, the combination of them makes for a legitimate impact player. Stay tuned. You’re going to be hearing a lot more about Zimmer.
Braxton Davidson, OF, Braves (Rome, A-): 3-5, 2 R, 2 2B, BB. In his first full season, Davidson is showing an incredibly advanced approach at the plate for a 19-year-old. Davidson is not going to offer much of anything with the glove, so the bat will have to carry him, but with plus bat speed and a strong feel for the strike zone, the early returns tell us there’s a good chance it’ll do so.
Jacob Gatewood, SS, Brewers (Helena, R): 3-5, 2 R, 2B, HR, K. After spending the first three months of the season being utterly lost at a level he had no business seeing less than year after being drafted, Gatewood followed in the footsteps of other prospects the Brewers have traditionally (and nonsensically) over-tested and then demoted them, going down to Helena. The Rookie-level league is a more appropriate challenge for the powerful but tremendously free-swinging Gatewood, who can be exposed with decent offspeed stuff. He won’t see too much of that in Helena, so this will be a good test for his power and a good opportunity for him to get some confidence back.
Aramis Garcia, C, Giants (Augusta, A-): 3-4, R, 2B, HR, BB. After a slow start, Garcia is beginning to come around. He’s still not hitting for average, but he’s controlling the strike zone quite well and running into his fair share of power production. He won’t have to hit a ton to be an effective big leaguer, thanks to strong defensive skills behind the plate and his ability to handle a pitching staff.
Notable Prospect Starters
- Sean Reid-Foley, RHP, Blue Jays (Lansing, A-): 5 IP, 7 H, R, 2 BB, 6 K.
- Austin Gomber, LHP, Cardinals (Peoria, A-): 6 1/3 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 8 K.
- Tyler Beede, RHP, Giants (Richmond, AA): 7 IP, 4 H, R, 3 BB, 5 K.
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