Hitter of the Day: Orlando Arcia, SS, Brewers (Biloxi, AA): 3-4, R, 2 2B, BB, 2 SB.
It’s the all-around versatility of Arcia’s game that makes him such an outstanding prospect, and that was reflected in his offensive night on Thursday. Arcia doesn’t offer a ton of pop, but he has enough for shortstop, where it’s more than acceptable that it comes in doubles form. He’s also a strong runner and is learning to steal bases more efficiently. Of course, that doesn’t even account for his defensive prowess, which outshines his bat on most evenings. None of the tools are exceptionally loud, but the overall package is one that should yield a very good major-league shortstop.
Pitcher of the Day: Merandy Gonzalez, RHP, Mets (GCL Mets): 7 IP, 0 H, 0 R, BB, 6 K.
An unheralded 2013 international signee, the 19-year-old Gonzalez is stateside for the first time and off to an impressive start. He’s got a track record of throwing strikes, or at least as much of a track record as a teenager can have, and he’s held GCL hitters completely at bay through four appearances. Early doesn’t even begin to describe the stage of his development, but things have been positive thus far.
Best of the Rest
Joe Munoz, 3B, Diamondbacks (Kane County, A-): 4-5, R, 2B, 3B, K, SB. Munoz has enough raw power to handle third base after sliding over there from shortstop last year, but the swing-and-miss in his game is preventing it from manifesting itself consistently, even in doubles form. He’s not a consistent enough defender, though he does have a left-side arm, to get away with being a below-average offensive player, so he’ll need his hit tool to take significant steps forward in order to allow his power production to play and make up for the other holes in his game.
Tyler Naquin, OF, Indians (Columbus, AAA): 2-5, R, 2 2B. The prospect world may not be excited about Naquin, as so often happens when highly drafted college bats don’t immediately take the minor leagues by storm, but Naquin isn’t that kind of player. Naquin’s qualities become more apparent over extended looks, making it easier to appreciate the consistent hard contact and assortment of average to above-average tools that give him the potential to be a solid all-around contributor.
Jorge Mateo, SS, Yankees (Charleston, A+): 2-4, 3B, 2 SB, CS. The stolen-base total is the one that jumps off the page for Mateo, with two more on Thursday giving him 56 on the season. He’s running rampant on the South Atlantic League at the moment, and his elite speed is a legitimate threat, but he’s going to need much more than that moving forward. He has some skills with the bat, but he offers very little power and his pitch recognition is lacking at present. Because of the speed, his hit tool doesn’t need to reach the same levels that other powerless hitters would require, but it will need to take multiple steps forward.
Jen-Ho Tseng, RHP, Cubs (Myrtle Beach, A+): 8 IP, 2 H, R, 0 BB, 5 K. The step up in competition level hasn’t been smooth for Tseng this year, as he has seen his strikeout rate plummet and his walk rate spike. Still, he’s just 20 and handling the Carolina League just fine. His stuff doesn’t jump out at you, even though he holds the potential for multiple above-average offerings, but he’ll need to be more consistent from start to start moving forward.
Kyle Parker, OF, Rockies (Albuquerque, AAA): 4-5, R, 2 2B, K. Perhaps going through some Triple-A fatigue, Parker hasn’t shown his trademarked power this year as frequently as he has in the past. That’s an issue because he really doesn’t much else. He can play either corner-outfield spot or first base, but at 25, he has been unable to crack the Rockies' backlog of players currently filling those needs.
LaMonte Wade, OF, Twins (Elizabethton, R): 3-4, 2 R, HR, 2 BB. The former Maryland Terp played a huge role in their recent run of success, coming on strong in their regional victory this spring. Always known as a strong athlete, scouts were generally surprised at the developmental step forward his bat took while in college, particularly in his final season. Snagged in the ninth round, Wade doesn’t project to hit for consistent power, but he’s an up-the-middle player who can do a lot of things well. If he continues to take developmental steps forward with the bat, he could be a steal in that spot.
Aramis Garcia, C, Giants (Augusta, A-): 2-5, R, HR, 2 K. Garcia was the other way around, firmly entrenching himself on the draft landscape before the 2014 draft and going to the Giants in the second round out of FIU. He hasn’t hit as a professional the way many thought he would, but that’s slowly changing as he acclimates himself to the rigors of professional life behind the plate. June was his best offensive month as a professional, during which he hit .282/.386/.494 with four home runs. He won’t have to hit a ton thanks to his glove work behind the plate, but he has the potential to hit enough to warrant everyday playing time down the road.
Fight Another Day
Luis Heredia, RHP, Pirates (Bradenton, A+): 5 IP, 8 H, 9 R, 2 BB, K. Signed while very young, but still very expensive, Heredia has not taken any of the developmental steps forward the Pirates were hoping for when the plucked the 16-year-old out of the Mexican professional league. Now, still just 20, Heredia is missing bats at an alarmingly low rate.
Notable Prospect Starters
- Touki Toussaint, RHP, Braves (Rome, A-): 5 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 5 K.
- Tyler Kolek, RHP, Marlins (Greensboro, A-): 5 IP, 3 H, 2 R (1 ER), 3 BB, 3 K.
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