Hitter of the Day: Clint Coulter, OF, Brewers (Brevard County, A+): 3-4, 2 R, 3 2B, BB, K.
Coulter may not be the most polished hitter with the most polished swing, but he generates good bat speed and his strong frame leads to good power production, even in the tough Florida State League. He’s also taking to the outfield nicely, and while it’s not always fundamentally sound and natural, he’s a better athlete out there than was expected from the converted catcher.

Pitcher of the Day: Lucas Giolito, RHP, Nationals (Potomac, A+): 7 IP, 0 H, 0 R, BB, 7 K.
This is the best pitching prospect in the game at its finest, and yes, that’s a tease for the upcoming #BPTop50. When he’s commanding everything, his combination of two plus-plus pitches is certainly unhittable for Carolina League hitters and won’t be much more fun for big-leaguers.

Best of the Rest

Cole Tucker, SS, Pirates (West Virginia, A+): 4-5, 3 R, 2B, BB, SB, CS. Tucker has had some ups and downs in his first season as a professional, in large part because the Pirates handed him an aggressive assignment right to full-season ball less than a year removed from high-school competition. He’s handled it admirably, and in June, he added a power component to his game that he’s now carried over into July. He’s not clearing the fences very often just yet, but he’s reaching the gaps with more frequency, which is a step in the right direction.

Gleyber Torres, SS, Cubs (South Bend, A-): 3-5, 2 R, K, 2 SB. There’s no getting around the significance of what Torres is doing this season as an 18-year-old in full-season ball. The consistency with which he’s hit throughout the season is remarkable, but now he’s beginning to hit for some power as well, which is even more impressive.

Lazaro Leyva, RHP, Orioles (Aberdeen, SS): 2 1/3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, BB, 4 K. The 20-year-old Leyva was impressive on Wednesday night, touching 99 mph during his stint, according to our own Tucker Blair, who was in attendance:

It’s a relief profile with max effort in the delivery, but a premium arm nonetheless.

Willy Adames, SS, Rays (Charlotte, A+): 2-4, R, HR, K. The tool set for Adames has always been impressive, even before the Tigers sent him to the Rays last year in the David Price trade, but he’s made progress this season in turning those tools into actual production. His power is being suppressed by the Florida State League, but he’s putting together better at-bats and showing a more refined approach. In short, he’s improving at his weaknesses, which is always a strong developmental sign.

Alex Blandino, SS, Reds (Daytona, A+): 3-4, 2 R, 2B, HR, K. Considered a high-floor potential shortstop when the Reds selected him 29th overall last year, Blandino does everything well but nothing spectacularly. He controls the strike zone quite well and has enough power to keep pitchers honest. That should be more than enough, however, to be an everyday shortstop given the state of the position in the majors right now.

Seth McGarry, RHP, Pirates (GCL Pirates): 4 IP, 0 H, 0 R, BB, 3 K. The former FAU Owl was plucked out of Boca Raton, Florida, by the Pirates in the eighth round this year. McGarry was a reliever in college, but the Pirates are going to work him as a starter until be proves he can’t handle it. A fantastic athlete, he also has a solid three-pitch arsenal that could work in a rotation. He’ll only be in the GCL long enough to build up his endurance before heading to West Virginia.

Fight Another Day

Frederis Parra, RHP, Cardinals (GCL Cardinals): 5 2/3 IP, 16 H, 11 R, 0 BB, 3 K. A year ago, I came across Parra dominating the Gulf Coast League and it felt like finding a diamond in the rough. Fast-forward to Wednesday, and I saw a completely different story. His entire arsenal was a down a grade, if not more, and his fastball was particularly hittable, sitting at 88 mph, primarily down the middle and easily destroyed by a GCL Mets lineup full of teenagers. It was painful to watch, and not just because of the 101-degree heat index.

Kyle Crick, RHP, Giants (Richmond, AA): 2/3 IP, H, R, 3 BB, K. In a move that has been a long time coming, the Giants used the hard-throwing Crick as a reliever for the first time this year. His complete lack of command has long suggested a relief role, but unfortunately, his first attempt out of the ‘pen ended with more of the same.

Notable Prospect Starters

  • Daniel Norris, LHP, Blue Jays (Buffalo, AAA): 7 IP, 6 H, 6 R (4 ER), 2 BB, K.
  • Jarlin Garcia, LHP, Marlins (Jupiter, A+): 6 1/3 IP, 8 H, 5 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 3 K.
  • Joe Ross, RHP, Nationals (Syracuse, AAA): 5 IP, 4 H, R, BB, K.

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I was at the Buffalo Bisons game last night. The defense behind Daniel Norris was terrible, several plays that should have been made that cost him earned runs (not charged as errors).

Alex Anthopolos was on the radio broadcast and was happy with the fact that there were only 2 walks. Norris may get a spot start in 5 days since the Jays don't have an off day before the all-star break and would like to give the 5 man rotation an extra days rest.
Something up with the Leyva description, showing a bunch of webcode.
Should have been this tweet embedded.
Cool, fixed now, thanks!
I know he's only in High-A, but what is a reasonable timeline for Giolito? September 2016? sooner?
I don't understand state of the position comments for position players (excepting catcher). Every position is a defense / offense trade off to get the most value for the team. Every position is interconnected because guys can and do change positions.

Blandino is good enough given the state of the majors. The state of the position is irrelevant.
It could not be more relevant. There are only so many players who can handle shortstop defensively. Because the skill set is more rare, there are fewer players capable of playing the position. With a smaller pool of players eligible for the position, the bar can't possibly set as high as it is for offensive production overall in the game.

Projecting future position is essential to gauging how much pressure will be on the bat.
Jeff - I finally found out how to track my comments (couldn't be easier) and I don't use Twitter because I didn't grow up with it and don't want another thing to be connected to at all times. So, it has taken me a while to get back to you Surely no one else is checking this page.

My point is very hard for me to explain so I may not do it justice. To me, there are a finite number of starting position player spots in MLB and not a finite number of starting "shortstop" spots. If you have two "shortstops," or guys capable of playing shortstop you just move one to another position if the combination of bat/glove plays at that position. The amount of talent (offense + defense) to play somewhere as a starter seems to me to be relative to MLB as a whole and not to the particular position.

I think your initial comment assumes that SS is "down" compared to previous levels. However, wouldn't teams ensure that they put the optimal lineup out there. So, shifting better overall players (O + D) from 3b to SS would make sense. And shifting better overall 1b or OF to 3b would make sense. And so on, down the defensive spectrum. Your starting SS roster spot is connected to every other position in my mind and is someone that is not beating out all the other potential SS's but all potential MLB starters.
And for Blandino specifically, it sounds like his combo of O + D is enough to make him an MLB starter. It just happens to be that it makes the most sense for him to start at SS given how his D can be of greater use in that position.

Blandino's O + D is a better combo to become a starter than lets just say Steven Moya for example. Although if Moya were a starter caliber player (lets say his hit tool was a ton better) he could be a 1b and could potentially shift everyone over on the defensive spectrum so that your matt chapman beat out Blandino for a starting shortstop job. Or something like that hypothetically.
And last point I guess is that being "an everyday shortstop given the state of the position in the majors right now" is relative to the state of the position in some ways.

But, the more important question and the one that we care about as fans and that makes players money and teams winners is producing "an everyday player." Maybe I confused things by not making that distinction up front. That's why I write so much on "state of MLB" as a whole.