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Hitter of the Day: Cornelius Randolph, OF, Phillies (GCL Phillies): 5-7, R, 2B, BB, K, 2 SB (DH)
If you’re going to draft a left fielder in the first half of the first round, you’d better hope he can hit. So far, the early returns look great for the Phillies and Randolph. Considered one of the best high-school bats in the country this past spring, Randolph has transitioned extremely well to professional ball and the Gulf Coast League. The hit tool is the most difficult tool to project, but Randolph’s natural hitting abilities have been evident for a while and look to be carrying over. He’s going to have to hit for some power in order to be a corner outfielder, but there’s plenty of time for that to come. For now, he’s off to a great start.

Pitcher of the Day: Francis Martes, RHP, Astros (Lancaster, A+): 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, BB, 6 K
Two plus pitches are more than enough to get by, even in a ridiculously hitter-friendly environment like Lancaster. The key is Martes’ ability to keep the ball off the bat in the first place, which he’s doing exceptionally well. With premium velocity and a potential plus-plus breaking ball, Martes has the stuff to excel in any role on a pitching staff.

Best of the Rest

Nick Plummer, OF, Cardinals (GCL Cardinals): 3-3, 2 R, 2B, 2 BB. Things have not gone as smoothly for the Cardinals first-rounder, but there have been plenty of signs that suggest that confidence for the future is warranted. As an up-the-middle player, the bar isn’t set nearly as high for Plummer’s bat as it is for Randolph’s. He’s shown strong contact skills despite some high strikeout totals, and his feel for the barrel is better than his low batting average suggests. His approach is befitting of a potential leadoff man, and while he can be too passive at times, there’s no reason to believe he won’t find a happy medium. The numbers don’t look great, but there have been plenty of positives for Plummer as a professional.

Miguel Andujar, 3B, Yankees (Tampa, A+): 3-7, 3 R, HR, BB. A naturally aggressive player with a big, violent swing, it’s unlikely that Andujar will ever hit for a high average and he isn’t likely to be a big on-base guy. Despite my reputation, however, I like him anyway. Andujar has a rare combination of speed, raw power, and arm strength that leaves a lot of doors open for him. Of course, all will close if he can’t hit more consistently, but at just 20, there’s still plenty of time for him to make those adjustment. If he does, he could boast a dynamic skill set.

Luke Weaver, RHP, Cardinals (Palm Beach, A+): 5 1/3 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K. I’m running out of ways to say it, but Weaver is too good for the Florida State League and needs a new challenge. It’s not that his ceiling is that high, and this isn’t the same situation as his first-half teammate Alex Reyes faced where his stuff was just too good; in this case, Weaver is just more developed as a baseball player than his level of competition can handle. Fastball command alone is enough to get by in A-ball, and Weaver’s command is very strong. His changeup gives him a second weapon that is almost unfair against High-A hitters. His ceiling remains that of a mid-rotation starter, but he’s been ready for a tougher challenge for a few months now.

Touki Toussaint, RHP, Braves (Rome, A-): 6 IP, 5 H, R, 2 BB, 5 K. Still very much in the midst of transitioning from thrower to pitcher, Toussaint has good days and bad. Luckily, the good ones are extremely good. As is the case for so many young pitchers, it all comes back to fastball command. The defenders of the trade that saw him head to the Braves (of which there were very few) will point out the extreme risk in Toussaint’s game, and in that case, they are correct. There is still a huge gap between his talent and a major-league career. But the overall arsenal, if it all comes together, is incredibly enticing.

Mallex Smith, OF, Braves (Gwinnett, AAA): 3-6, 3 R, 2 3B, K. Smith is an electric player with an exciting skill set, but like so many players who post gaudy stolen-base numbers in the minors (217 in 370 games), his ability to unleash his best tool on big-league competition will be completely reliant on his hit tool. Smith should hit enough to be a big leaguer for a long time, given what he can do with his legs and his glove, but whether he’s a regular in a lineup remains to be seen. His hit tool projects as that of a fourth outfielder, but his speed allows it to play up, meaning he could play every day hitting near the bottom of a strong lineup.

Notable Prospect Starters

  • Tyler Kolek, RHP, Marlins (Greensboro, A-): 5 IP, 4 H, 4 R (3 ER), 3 BB, K.
  • Aaron Blair, RHP, Diamondbacks (Reno, AAA): 6 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 4 K.
  • Miguel Almonte, RHP, Royals (Omaha, AAA): 5 IP, 7 H, 3 R, BB, 5 K.
  • Beau Burrows, RHP, Tigers (GCL Tigers): 2 1/3 IP, 3 H, 3 R (2 ER), 3 BB, 3 K.
  • Erick Fedde, RHP, Nationals (Auburn, SS): 4 2/3 IP, 4 H, 0 R, BB, 4 K.

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Burlap
8/18
Martes ended up 7 IP, 5 H, O ER, BB, 9 K on the night.
Potvin63
8/18
How does Ryan McMahon, with 2 HR, a double and 4 RBI last night not make the list at all much less not get hitter of the day?!
moore315512
8/18
Submission time was a little earlier than normal last night. He only had one home run at the time. Chime in west coast guys!
rweiler
8/18
Mac Williamson, apparently fully recovered from his thumb injury, 5 for 5 with a HBP, 2 BB, a 2B and a grand slam.
Potvin63
8/18
Unacceptable! Just kidding, didn't realize submission time was earlier than normal. Regardless McMahon is putting up a tremendous 2nd half, should start next season in Double A and could reach Colorado next September or early in 2017.
ORWahoo
8/18
How about this for a west coast line: Missoula's lead-off shortstop Isan Diaz went 4-4 last night with 2 doubles and a home run. He's now sporting a 355/430/610 line so far the for the Osprey.
OuagadougouGM
8/18
How about some love for Tyler White? 33rd round draft pick but has a career OPS of 910 over 3 years. Yesterday he went 4 for 5 with a double, homer, and six RBI for AAA Fresno.