Hitter of the Day: Victor Robles, OF, Nationals (Auburn, SS): 4-5, R, 3B, HR, K.
Robles is a name that you’re going to be hearing about more and more over the next few years. Having just turned 18, he’s already worked his way out of the Gulf Coast League after torching it for a month. He’s immensely talented, with his only real flaws at this point being a general lack of pro experience and a need for the strength that comes with age. As an up-the-middle defender with plus bat speed and already-refined swing mechanics, he’d be atop my acquire list if I were a team talking trade deals with the Nationals, though I doubt they’d have any interest in parting with him.
Pitcher of the Day: Jeff Hoffman, RHP, Blue Jays (New Hampshire, AA): 5 1/3 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K.
The reports on Hoffman are as inconsistent as, well, a pitcher returning from Tommy John surgery, though the reports may vary more than the player in question. There is always an adjustment curve on the recovery path that leads to ups and downs in pitch execution. Hoffman’s inconsistencies, however, predate his injury, going back to his time at ECU. There were scouts who thought he had the stuff to be selected 1-1 before he got hurt. There were others who said they couldn’t take a guy that high unless he showed that stuff more consistently. Fast forward to today and there are concerns that he doesn’t miss enough bats for a player with his stuff while others point out that the Blue Jays are limiting the usage of his breaking ball in favor of working on his fastball command. The concerns are, and have always been, legitimate, but so has the stuff. Much as we were when he was in college, we remain in wait-and-see mode with Hoffman.
Best of the Rest
K.J. Woods, 1B, Marlins (Greensboro, A-): 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, BB. If you’re going to be physically limited to first base, you have to hit for power. Someone got that memo to Woods, who has shown the power potential this year that made him a fourth-round pick in 2013. His swing can get long, which infuses a lot of swing and miss into his game, but in between whiffs, he’s doing his damage.
Lucas Giolito, RHP, Nationals (Potomac, A+): 6 IP, 4 H, R, 2 BB, 6 K. Now that the handcuffs have been taken off of Giolito, there’s really nothing left not to like about him. The most impressive part is his ability to throw strikes with such electric stuff, but gaining on that trait is his ability to work deep into games (by minor-league standards) despite striking out a high number of batters. As his changeup continues to make strides, he’ll eliminate what is really the only remaining flaw in his game.
Chance Sisco, C, Orioles (Frederick, A+): 2-4, R, HR, K. Most scouts believe that Sisco will have to move from out behind the plate sooner rather than later, which would mean the bat has to carry him. Most also believe that the bat is strong enough to do so, though just how well it will play at his new position depends greatly on what position that ends up being. For now, the Orioles are keeping him behind the plate, but there are few who see that working out long term.
Trey Michalczewski, 3B, White Sox (Winston-Salem, A+): 3-4, 2 2B. Michalczewski has handled an aggressive assignment to the Carolina League this season well, with some understanding of the strike zone, but he hasn’t done as much damage as you’d like to see on pitches in the zone, instead continuing to have to battle through the swings and misses. There’s plenty to like here, and power is often suppressed by the Carolina League, so it’s not a major concern just yet, but he’s going to have to provide some pop to offset the whiffs.
Jose Berrios, RHP, Twins (Rochester, AAA): 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, K. Not missing bats isn’t a concern for Barrios, who has shown the ability to get plenty of strikeouts when necessary. His refinement has come a long way, however, and he’s developed the ability to generate groundballs and limit his pitch counts as well. In short, he’s continuing to become a pitcher, and there’s not too much development left to go.
Notable Prospect Starters
- Jairo Labourt, LHP, Blue Jays (Dunedin, A-): 5 IP, 8 H, 2 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 7 K.
- Braden Shipley, RHP, Diamondbacks (Mobile, AA): 6 IP, 9 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K.
- Erick Fedde, RHP, Nationals (Auburn, SS): 3 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 3 K.
- Jarlin Garcia, LHP, Marlins (Jupiter, A+): 7 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 0 BB, K.
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