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Friday

Gleyber Torres, SS, Cubs (Kane County, A-): 3-5, R, 2 2B, K, SB. There’s no question about Torres’ bat, though there are some doubts about his eventual overall profile. Unlike many of the game’s young shortstop prospects, Torres doesn’t project to be a strong defender at the position. In fact, he may not remain there at all, due to a lack of foot speed that limits his range. If he has to shift to third base, the bat may not have enough power, but at least one scout has told me Torres might be a strong offensive second baseman, which wouldn't be the worst result in the world either.

Luke Weaver, RHP, Cardinals (Palm Beach, A+): 7 2/3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 8 K. There were questions about Weaver coming out of Florida State, with many scouts wondering how his thin frame would handle the workload of a starting pitcher. Well, he’s still skinny, but the stuff comes out of his arm effortlessly, putting little strain on his arm or frame. His fastball command alone is too much for the Florida State League to handle, and he’s in need of a tougher test for the remainder of the year.

Jesse Biddle, LHP, Phillies (Lehigh Valley, AAA): 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, BB, 7 K. They Jekyll and Hyde routine continues for Biddle, and given that it’s been an on-going show for a few years now, it’s not likely to end any time soon. There are days when Biddle can be dominant—like he was on Friday—and these days typically coincide with his fastball command, which when present allows his breaking ball to play off the heater and gives hitters a powerful one-two punch to consider. When he throws strikes, the bat-missing rate spikes and he’s excellent. When he can’t command the fastball, he’s very hittable. Consistency is a bigger obstacle than development at this point for Biddle.

Sean Newcomb, LHP, Angels (Inland Empire, A+): 5 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 8 K. Newcomb still struggles to throw strikes consistently, but his stuff is good enough that he’s routinely getting away with it. His fastball/breaker combination is more than A-ball hitters can handle and allows him to get out of jams when he gives up extra baserunners. Already promoted once this season, Newcomb needs another challenge so that the bases on balls begin to hurt him.

Saturday

Brent Honeywell, RHP, Rays (Port Charlotte, A+): 9 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 9 K. Honeywell has continued to throw strikes at an elite level since his promotion to High-A ball, but his outing on Saturday was the first time he showed the dominance that he displayed in the Midwest League earlier in the season. With a unique repertoire, Honeywell has broken out this year, his first full season since being selected in the second round last year.

Jarlin Garcia, LHP, Marlins (Jupiter, A+): 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, BB, 6 K. Garcia boasts a live left arm, one that will play in the big leagues in some capacity. However, he features the same flaws that make scouts question whether or not he can remain a starter: a thin frame, some effort in the delivery, and the lack of a quality offspeed pitch. On the other hand, his fastball/slider combination can be death to left-handed hitters. There’s still time for him to develop a passable change-p and add strength, so it’s not time to write him off as a starter just yet, especially with his ability to miss bats.

Henry Owens, LHP, Red Sox (Pawtucket, AAA): 6 IP, 4 H, R, 2 BB, 9 K. It’s all about control for Owens, whose stuff has never really been questioned. What was once a major issue for Owens seemed to have improved in recent years, before the walks returned this season. He doesn’t have to have elite walk numbers given his ability to miss bats, but they have to be better than they’ve been this year. Saturday’s outing is a good example of what can happen when he throws enough strikes.

Michael Conforto, OF, Mets (Binghamton, AA): 2-3, R, HR. Conforto has been unfairly labeled as the answer to the Mets offensive woes and savior to a dying season, neither of which meshes with his profile. The disappointment will be unfair, given that he’s a solid hitter and good prospect who should be a nice piece to add to the Mets lineup. Given the Mets current situation, he would likely be an improvement in left field, but to expect him to come in and carry the lineup or solve their offensive issues is unrealistic.

Clint Frazier, OF, Indians (Lynchburg, A+): 3-4, R, 2B, HR. I like when young players make improvements to address their biggest weaknesses. Entering the season, Frazier’s biggest issue was his massive strikeout rate, with far too many swings and misses to allow his raw power to adequately play in games. He still strikes out a lot, but the rate has been much more manageable this season, and he’s shaved it without having to be more aggressive. The overall result is a better all-around hitter.

Sunday

Greg Bird, 1B, Yankees (Scranton/W-B, AAA): 4-5, K. This could be the start of the adjustment for Bird, who has started slow in his first stint at most levels until he develops a better idea of pitchers’ plans for him. A smart hitter, Bird can fall into the trap of being too passive at the plate, though he seems to have found a much better balance in that regard. Once he has adjusted his approach at each level, the power has followed.

Jake Bauers, 1B, Rays (Montgomery, AA): 3-5, 2 R, HR, K. Bauers continues to impress and is looking more and more like the future solution to the Rays’ first-base problem. With a smart approach for such a young hitter, Bauers allows his smooth swing produce power despite his lack of elite size and strength. It’s more bat speed and trajectory than brute force, which should only set him up to hit for more power as he fills out.

Gavin Cecchini, SS, Mets (Binghamton, AA): 4-6, R, HR. After some inconsistent performances and injury issues over the past two years, Cecchini is finally putting together the kind of offensive season the Mets expected from him when they made him the 12th-overall pick in 2012. He’s a good athlete who is figuring out how to use that athleticism as a hitter. What he’s not, however, is the Mets shortstop of the future, because he’s not likely to remain a shortstop. His actions don’t match his athleticism, though he should be able to handle a shift to center field, where his bat would play as well.

Frankie Montas, RHP, White Sox (Birmingham, AA): 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, BB, 8 K. Montas spent all of one day in the big leagues and did not appear in a game, shuttling back to Double-A where he still belongs. Armed with as live an arm as any prospect in the minors, he still needs to take steps forward in his refinement and command; even his triple-digit fastball becomes hittable when it flattens out and misses within the strike zone. There is still a chance he can remain a starter, though that will take much more time in the minors. The more likely outcome is that he ends up a high-leverage reliever, though even that will take some more time.

Rafael Devers, 3B, Red Sox (Greenville, A-): 2-5, R, HR. There’s not much Devers can’t do with a bat in his hands, and he’s showing that this season as an 18-year-old in Greenville. His only flaw as a hitter is an aggressive approach that could be exploited to a certain extent at higher levels, but his barrel control is so good that he’s able to get away with it and doesn’t swing and miss very often. If he can develop a slightly more refined approach—something that all 18-year-olds need to work on—he could tap completely into his raw power and become one of the game’s truly elite hitters.

Thank you for reading

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heterodude
7/20
Yohander Mendez threw 5 innings of shutout ball on Friday night. His pitch counts are starting to trend upwards, so I'm intrigued by how he'll perform going forward.
Hookalakah
7/20
Jeff, you mention the clamor for Conforto to save the Mets' season each time you profile him. I read about the Mets all day long, and I have yet to hear the clamor. What am I missing?
moore315512
7/20
You must stay off of Twitter which, if so, I commend you.
moore315512
7/20
For a more direct answer to your question, here are some links to prominent Mets writers calling for his promotion.

https://twitter.com/michaelgbaron/status/622123237443522560

https://twitter.com/dplennon/status/622065031828635648

https://twitter.com/robertbrender/status/621763957834055680

Again, my point isn't that they're wrong or that he's not good, just that he's being unfairly labled as the answer to all of their problems.
BarryR
7/20
AS I see it, the spectacular weakness of the Mets lineup is actually making it harder for them to bring up Conforto. They don't want this inexperienced minor leaguer, who, at his best profiles as a #6 or maybe #5 hitter, being called up as the savior for the Mets offensive problems and find himself batting cleanup on a team battling for a playoff spot. That's an awful lot of pressure to put on a kid. If d'Arnaud were healthy (one of the most common phrases Mets fans get to type), he could bat cleanup and Conforto could be put in the six hole, where his probably small, yet significant, improvement to our offense would be fine.
oldbopper
7/21
You must also never listen to WFAN because that is all that everybody talks about in regards to the Mets. Incidentally I just returned from watching Conforto play at New Britain. In 3 at bats, he walked taking two close pitches at 2-2, absolutely roped a double off the right field wall then sent the CF to the 400' sign to make a leaping catch. SSS for sure, but very impressive.
fawcettb
7/20
I didn't realize Twitter was an analytic tool.
moore315512
7/20
I didn't say it was. I said he was unfairly labled, which is what Twitter does best. I should have specified that this was in the public's eye but I thought that was implied.
proteinwisdom
7/20
Snell had another 5 IP 0R 2H 7K performance, for those who may have missed it. They took him out after about 80 pitches, though.
dougkm
7/20
And, Mark Appel was awful again. He just does not miss bats. Not good for an older 1/1.
oakiegu007
7/20
Barreto was 3-4 with 2HR and a BB, for those interested in good games :)
chapmantime
7/21
It should be mentioned that Torres has a fairly sizeable contingent of believers in the glove. It's hardly a sure thing that he'll move.