Amed Rosario, SS, Mets (St. Lucie, A+): 4-5, SB. We knew Rosario would be in over his head in St. Lucie this season, so what we needed to see from him was the ability to survive. He’s done that quite well, making strides and adjustments throughout the year to keep his head above water. He’s still a glove-first player, with legitimate questions about what kind of power he’ll produce, but the fact that he’s holding his own at 19 after jumping a full level is a strong sign for his bat.
Rafael Devers, 3B, Red Sox (Greenville, A-): 4-4, R, BB, SB. There may not be a better combination of hit tool and in-game power in the minors, and if there is, the list is short. Devers is young, still somewhat raw (though not for his age), and far away from the majors, but he’s awfully talented with a bat in his hands. He may not stay at third base for too long, but he’s one of the few bats strong enough that we wouldn’t hold it against him terribly if he has to play first.
A.J. Reed, 1B, Astros (Lancaster, A+): 2-4, 2 R, HR, BB, K. There isn’t anything left for Reed to prove in the California League, which is likely why the Astros promoted him over the weekend. He’ll get a better test in Corpus Christi, where we’ll get a better feel for whether he’s just an advanced bat exploiting inferior competition and hitter-friendly environments or if he has been grossly underestimated as a pure hitter.
Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Pirates (Altoona, AA): 6 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K. As we’ve known for some time now, Glasnow can be dominant when he throws strikes. Those instances are just too few and far between. He doesn’t have to have great command of his pitches, because the quality of his stuff is enough to miss bats so long as he can consistently hit the strike zone. He’s throwing considerably more strikes this year, especially since returning from injury, which could signal a turning of the tide.
Jose De Leon, RHP, Dodgers (Tulsa, AA): 6 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 10 K. Regardless of level, De Leon continues to miss bats. There are some command issues presently for the late-blooming prospect, but he simply doesn’t get squared up consistently no matter the level of competition.
Trea Turner, SS, Nationals (Syracuse, AAA): 3-6, 2 R, 3B, HR, K, CS. Turner’s bat has come a long way since his college days just a year ago, showing a more consistent swing and more power than virtually anyone expected from him. He’s still not going to be an impact bat, but he may hit enough to settle atop a big-league lineup.
Nick Plummer, OF, Cardinals (GCL Cardinals): 2-3, 2 R, 2 2B, 3 BB, K. Plummer’s professional career has gotten off to an inconsistent start, but he shows signs of becoming exactly the kind of player the Cardinals thought he could be when they drafted him 23rd overall. He embraces the leadoff profile and has a patient approach at the plate, one that actually gets him trouble at the GCL level, where his knowledge of the strike zone surpasses that of the umpires ringing him up. The barrel feel and approach could make him a solid leadoff hitter and up-the-middle player.
Michael Mader, LHP, Marlins (Greensboro, A-): 8 IP, 3 H, 0 R, BB, 4 K. It’s been a rollercoaster season for Mader in his first full year as a professional. His 7.32 ERA in June was only outdone by an 8.80 spot in April, but they sandwiched a solid 3.56 showing in May. With his fastball command being as erratic as it is, this is to be expected. When he commands the pitch, he can succeed.
Hunter Renfroe, OF, Padres (San Antonio, AA): 5-6, 4 R, 2 2B, 3B, HR, K. After a slow start, June was good and July has been even better for Renfroe, especially after a night like he had on Saturday. He’s made adjustments on pitches that confounded him early in the season, allowing his tremendous raw power to play in games. He’ll still struggle against better breaking stuff at the major-league level, limiting his hit-tool utility, but if these adjustments are for real, it won’t be enough to keep his power from playing consistently.
Corey Seager, SS, Dodgers (Oklahoma City, AAA): 2-4, 2 2B, BB. Just call him up already. Seager hasn’t dominated Triple-A the way he did at every other minor-league level, but that’s irrelevant. He’s held his own, he’s just 21, we know he can hit, and he’s ready to do it against major-league competition. The only thing blocking him from the major leagues at this point is veteran reverence.
Dominic Smith, 1B, Mets (St. Lucie, A+): 2-4, 2 R, HR, K. Well, I asked, and Mets fans came through in droves, notifying me enthusiastically about Dom Smith’s first pulled home run of the season. It’s notable because that’s where the majority of his raw power lies, and it’s his opposite-field approach that has hindered his in-game home run production to this point. One home run does not a power hitter make, of course, but it is another positive sign in his overall development on top of the hot stretch he’s been enjoying.
Nick Longhi, 1B/OF, Red Sox (Greenville, A-): 4-5. In a crowded and stacked Greenville infield, Longhi often gets overlooked despite his big-bonus background. Part of the reason is his corner profile, as he’s currently splitting time between first base and right field, and the issues with that are magnified by his lack of present power. There should be more on the way as he learns how to handle professional pitching, but he’s already close to maxed-out physically, so any power improvement will have to come from mechanical and developmental adjustments.
Javier Guerra, SS, Red Sox (Greenville, A-): 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, BB. Listed at 155 pounds and likely not tipping the scales at much more, Guerra doesn’t look like a power hitter. Two more home runs on Sunday give him 11 on the season, which is no doubt aided by his home stadium in Greenville. He does have more power than his body type suggests, however, with very strong wrists that provide most of the muscle.
Greg Bird, 1B, Yankees (Scranton/W-B, AAA): 2-3, 2 R, HR, 2 BB, K. While his RailRiders (yes, that’s what they’re called) teammate Aaron Judge got the attention at the Futures Game, Bird continues to work his way back from a shoulder injury that cost him roughly a month. Recently promoted, Bird is adjusting to Triple-A pitching—and more importantly, to how more-experienced pitchers attack his patient approach. At each level, he’s had to toe the line between being patient and passive, but he’s made the necessary adjustments at every stop thus far.
Stephen Piscotty, OF, Cardinals (Memphis, AAA): 2-4, 2 R, HR, BB. Playing in the PCL certainly helps, but regardless of the reason, Piscotty is showing more power this season, a necessary development in his journey to the big leagues. He’s been ready, but without opportunity through no fault of his own. Spots on a major-league roster can’t create themselves, but home runs have a way of opening them up.
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