Hitter of the Day: Bradley Zimmer, OF, Indians (Akron, AA): 2-3, 3 R, 2 HR, BB.
Zimmer’s breakout first full season hasn’t slowed down much since he was promoted to Double-A, and most importantly, the power has actually picked up. With the ability to stay in center field, Zimmer won’t need a ton of pop, but he should develop more than enough power to make him a plus player at an up-the-middle position.

Pitcher of the Day: Reynaldo Lopez, RHP, Nationals (Potomac, A+): 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 11 K.
This is what upper-90s fastballs can do to an A-ball lineup when they’re commanded properly. Lopez’s arm is dynamic, but his secondary stuff is still lagging slightly behind the potential of his fastball. Still, in the Carolina League, fastball command is more than enough to get by, and on days when he has it going, Lopez can dominate with that pitch alone.

Best of the Rest

Byron Buxton, OF, Twins (Rochester, AAA): 4-5, 2 R, K. Injuries have kept Buxton from exhausting his prospect eligibility just yet, but he’s still every bit the player he was when he topped our prospect lists in years past. When healthy and playing regularly, he’s a dynamic dual-threat up-the-middle athlete with enough skill and athleticism to dominate on both sides of the ball. He was likely rushed by the Twins in the first place and a return to Triple-A isn’t the worst thing in the world for his development.

Rhys Hoskins, 1B, Phillies (Clearwater, A+): 4-5, 2 R, 2B, 3B. The only knock on Hoskins in his breakout first half was that he was old for his Low-A level. After a mid-season promotion, we can’t say that any more. Hoskins has managed to continue his power production into the Florida State League, a circuit that suppresses power more than any other. He’s continued to show an advanced approach at the plate, which has allowed him to limit his strikeouts without sacrificing power production. By continuing his success post-promotion, he’s helped legitimize himself as a prospect within the Phillies’ ever-strengthening system.

Brett Phillips, OF, Brewers (Biloxi, AA): 4-4, R, 2B, 3B, BB. Wednesday could represent the day Phillips announced himself to the Brewers organization. He’s struggled slightly since coming over at the trade deadline, but it’s the potential combination of power and speed that had the Brewers interested in him in the first place. With moderate power and an up-the-middle profile, Phillips projects as a potential everyday center fielder at the big-league level.

Mark Appel, RHP, Astros (Fresno, AAA): 8 IP, 4 H, R, BB, 8 K. Appel has always had the stuff to dominate games like this no matter which league he was in. The only question has been his ability to bring that stuff to the ballpark outing after outing. The pure stuff is top of the line, but he’s had starts like this before only to back them up with below-average outings. If he can string a few outings like this together, perhaps he could get himself in line to help the Astros down the stretch.

J.P. Crawford, SS, Phillies (Reading, AA): 2-3, 2 R, HR, BB, SB. Don’t underestimate Crawford’s power. It’ll never be a major aspect of his game, and might be his weakest tool, but he has enough of it to keep pitchers honest and potentially reach double digits in home runs in his prime. When coupled with the other potentially elite tools he possesses, the power creates yet another way he’ll be able to beat teams.

Notable Prospect Starters

  • Jorge Lopez, RHP, Brewers (Biloxi, AA): 8 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 8 K.
  • Braden Shipley, RHP, Diamondbacks (Mobile, AA): 6 2/3 IP, 3 H, 2 R, BB, 9 K.
  • Jarlin Garcia, LHP, Marlins (Jacksonville, AA): 6 IP, 3 H, R, 4 BB, 6 K.
  • Touki Toussaint, RHP, Braves (Rome, A-): 4 IP, 4 H, 5 R (4 ER), 2 BB, 2 K.
  • Sean Reid-Foley, RHP, Blue Jays (Dunedin, A+): 3 2/3 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 3 K.
  • Kohl Stewart, RHP, Twins (Ft. Myers, A+): 6 2/3 IP, 8 H, 0 R, BB, 5 K.

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Any updates on Robert Stephenson's early exit yesterday?
Supposedly it's "reportedly" a wrist injury. Louisville's newspaper website was kind of vague.
I read that it was a "wrist cramp". Wonder if that could be signalling another, more serious, issue.
Here's the Courier-Journal story
Have to say, even though it was against a weak-hitting team, Shipley finding his swing and miss stuff was heartening.
Hey Jeff, what is the upside on Shipley? Does he have a small chance at being as good as DeGrom?
Don't want to speak for Jeff (but hey, my name is Jeff, too), so I'll just give you my take as someone who's been very big on Shipley: upside is a number 2. He is late to pitching, and right now he's inconsistent with his delivery and command. I think eventually he'll hide the ball better and he certainly has the arm to sit at 92-94, and can reach the high 90s on occasion. I think there's a few more MPH to his fastball that he can add on a consistent basis once he finds his optimal mechanics.

The change is very good. Curve ball, as I've seen it, is very inconsistent -- but it's also very sharp when it's on and flashes plus: I've seen umps give up on the pitch or miss it altogether.

Once -- and IF -- Shipley can master his mechanics and become consistent with his delivery and release point; and once -- and IF -- he improves his command inside the strike zone; he has big upside. But it may take him another year or two before everything comes together, if it ever does. Very much like Eddie Butler with the Rox: you can see the talent. Now you have to see it translate consistently into solid overall performance.
Say goodbye to Greg Bird from the MLU...