Hitter of the Day: Richie Shaffer, 3B, Rays (Durham, AAA): 2-2, R, 2B, HR, 2 BB, SB.
That’s a great all-around game from a player who’s not all that well rounded. You can ignore the stolen base, as that’s an anomaly: Shaffer is not a very good runner. Power and patience are his calling cards, and the combination helps make up for a long swing that leads to high strikeout totals and will likely be exposed further at the major-league level. Still, Shaffer can put a charge into the ball and should do some damage between the swings and misses.
Pitcher of the Day: Amir Garrett, LHP, Reds (Daytona, A+): 7 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K.
Garrett is slowly going through the refinement process, and his velocity comes effortlessly from his large frame. That, coupled with his athleticism, gives him a chance to remain a starter. Unfortunately, both of his secondary pitches still need to take significant steps forward in their consistency in order to make that happen. He can get there, but it’s a matter of how long the Reds want to wait for the 23-year-old to reach the big leagues.
Best of the Rest
Rowdy Tellez, 1B, Blue Jays (Dunedin, A+): 4-5, SB. Tellez is known for his power, and it’s evident as soon as you see the big-bodied first baseman, but what becomes apparent over longer looks is the bat control, which is better than expected. This isn’t just a free-swinging power hitter: Tellez is a good all-around hitter who can manipulate the barrel within the strike zone. Don’t read into the stolen base, though—he’s incredibly slow.
Jomar Reyes, 3B, Orioles (GCL Orioles): 3-4, 2 R, 2 2B. This was a rehab start down in the GCL for Reyes, who is on his way back from a thumb injury that curtailed a breakout season almost two months ago. Reyes was off to a great start as an 18-year-old in full-season ball this spring, and his bat was receiving rave reviews before the injury, which shouldn’t have any lingering effects once he gets his timing back.
Greg Bird, 1B, Yankees (Scranton/W-B, AAA): 2-5, 2 R, 2B, HR, 2 K. Bird gets knocked for not having the kinds of tools that often get players high ratings on prospect lists, but his raw power is well worthy of such high regard and it plays well in games. Hitters with big power and a patient approach often have big strikeout numbers due to big swings and deep counts, but Bird has been able to maintain moderate contact rates throughout his minor-league career. It’s not a fancy profile, but it’s one that’s going to make for a productive major-league hitter.
Michael Fulmer, RHP, Mets (Binghamton, AA): 5 IP, 6 H, 0 R, BB, 9 K. Fulmer has a strong track record of throwing strikes, though at times he struggles with his command within the strike zone. His plus breaking ball is the great equalizer for him, giving him the ability to miss enough bats to batters of either handedness. The development of a third pitch and the improvement of his command will determine whether or not he’ll be able to remain a starter.
David Dahl, OF, Rockies (New Britain, AA): 3-5, R, 2B, SB. Dahl’s return from a frightening spleen injury earlier this year is a great sign all around, making any on-field success a silver lining. The talent has never been a question for Dahl, but the lost development time is beginning to add up, making it that much more important that he was able to get back on the field this season.
Brett Phillips, OF, Astros (Corpus Christi, AA): 3-5, R, 3B, HR. Phillips broke out this season in the California League and was promoted around a month ago to Double-A. He’s continued to hit well, but unsurprisingly, his power has taken a step back, both because of the increased level of competition and the lack of extreme hitters’ parks. His approach remains somewhat unrefined despite his tools, and the better breaking balls of the Texas League have exposed that to an extent. His defense and athleticism will keep him on the field, but how he adjusts his approach to the higher level of competition will determine where he ends up in a big-league lineup.
Notable Prospect Starters
- Robert Stephenson, RHP, Reds (Louisville, AAA): 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 5 K.
- Jordan Guerrero, LHP, White Sox (Winston Salem, A+): 6 IP, 6 H, 2 R, BB, 11 K.
- Jesse Biddle, LHP, Phillies (Lehigh Valley, AAA): 5 2/3 IP, 4 H, R, 4 BB, 5 K.
- Michael Mader, LHP, Marlins (Greensboro, A-): 6 IP, 3 H, R, 2 BB, 4 K.
- Franklyn Kilome, RHP, Phillies (Williamsport, SS): 3 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K.