Hitter of the Day: Andrew Benintendi, OF, Red Sox (Lowell, SS): 3-5, 2 R, 2 HR.
The seventh-overall pick shouldn’t have too much of an adjustment period in the lower levels of professional baseball, especially coming out of the SEC like Benintendi did and given that his acclimation has taken place exclusively in short-season ball. Benintendi has handled his initial assignment as well as could be expected, showing off some power production while controlling the strike zone exceptionally well. Getting his feet wet in Low-A ball in the last few weeks of the minor-league season wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if the Red Sox want to consider moving him quickly next year.
Pitcher of the Day: Luke Weaver, RHP, Cardinals (Palm Beach, A+): 7 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K.
Weaver is too good for the Florida State League and is running out of ways to prove it. His fastball command is beyond what A-ball hitters can handle, and his changeup provides a legitimate weapon for hitters who bat from either side. His breaking ball needs work, but he’s got the stuff to remain a starter and should be able to handle it despite his slender build. He’s been ready for a new challenge for a few months now and could use a start or two in Double-A before the season is over.
Best of the Rest
Mike Papi, OF, Indians (Lynchburg, A+): 3-5, R, 3 2B, K. Papi’s pedigree as the 38th-overall pick last season is already wearing off, and his profile as a corner outfielder without any power isn’t a good one. His strongest attribute is his plate discipline, but even I won’t use that as justification for optimism when it comes without an average hit tool or any power. The tools have shown better than they’ve played in games, especially the raw power, but if he doesn’t hit more consistently, none of it will play at a level any higher than he’s already at right now.
Jomar Reyes, 3B, Orioles (Delmarva, A-): 2-5, R, 2 2B, K. Back after a month-and-a-half off, Reyes has returned to the stride he hit earlier in his first full season as a professional. Still just 18, he’s handled his initial assignment well, though he hasn’t shown off his full power potential in games just yet. It’s there, however, and is showing up in terms of doubles power for the time being, with more likely to come. He’s not a premium athlete, and third base will be a stretch even in his early years, but the bat has the potential to carry him regardless of position.
Josh Bell, 1B, Pirates (Indianapolis, AAA): 3-5, R, 2 2B. Recently promoted to Triple-A, Bell is now on the cusp of the majors despite still tapping into his raw skills. He’s shown plus hitting ability throughout his professional career despite some mechanical issues in his swing from both sides. He’s hit at every level, even if the power hasn’t kicked in just yet, though he’s shown signs in his swing of gearing it more toward power production. Even though he’s now just a phone call away, that doesn’t mean he’s ready to answer the Pirates’ first-base woes just yet, and he will likely need at least half of next year in Triple-A before they can count on him.
Jesse Winker, OF, Reds (Pensacola, AA): 3-5, 3 R, 2B, HR, K. It takes a long time to make up for two months as slow as the ones Winker had to begin his season, but he’s been doing his best since to make us forget them. Despite Tuesday’s home run, he hasn’t shown the consistent power production that he’ll need for a corner -utfield position, but there should be more in there than he’s shown this year. Still, his hitting acumen has remained strong, as has his strike-zone control, and there’s reason to be confident that his power production will still tick up.
Jacob May, OF, White Sox (Birmingham, AA): 4-5, 2 R, 2B, 3B, HR. More athlete than baseball player to this point despite having reached Double-A, May is still learning how to translate his tools into production. He’s a plus runner, which makes him a plus defender in center field, but there are questions about how the bat will play. He offers almost no power and has an aggressive approach at the plate, which means that he’ll need to hit .300 in order to be an everyday player. Even without that, however, his speed and defense could enable him to carve out a big-league role.
Notable Prospect Starters
- Aaron Blair, RHP, Diamondbacks (Reno, AAA): 4 2/3 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K.
- Sean Manaea, LHP, Athletics (Midland, AA): 5 2/3 IP, 5 H, 4 R (2 ER), 4 BB, 6 K.
- Lucas Sims, RHP, Braves (Mississippi, AA): 6 IP, 4 H, R, 3 BB, 6 K.
- Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Pirates (Indianapolis, AAA): 6 IP, 4 H, R, 3 BB, 5 K.
- Tyrell Jenkins, RHP, Braves (Gwinett County, AAA): 6 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 5 K.
- Tyler Kolek, RHP, Marlins (Greensboro, A-): 5 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 3 K.
- Erick Fedde, RHP, Nationals (Auburn, SS): 4 1/3 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 2 BB, 3 K.
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