Hitter of the Day: Eloy Jimenez, OF, Cubs (Eugene, SS): 3-6, 3 R, 3 HR, K (DH)
Big-time power has always been projected for Jimenez and is why he was the top name on the international market in the summer of 2013. The raw pop that earned him millions has yet to click in game action, but that’s understandable as the hulking left fielder is still just 18 and already in short-season ball. Tuesday’s outburst almost doubled his season total, but it could be a catalyst for more production.
Pitcher of the Day: Sean Newcomb, LHP, Angels (Arkansas, AA): 7 IP, 0 H, 0 R, BB, 6 K
We’ve been wondering since he ventured into pro ball what Newcomb could do to opposing hitters if he threw more strikes. We found out on Tuesday that the answer is he could dominate them. His big frame and plus fastball/slider combination can be deadly when he’s able to set up the latter with well-placed versions of the former. He hasn’t been able to throw enough strikes consistently as a professional, but it also hasn’t slowed him down much. Still, it’s fun to dream on what he’ll be if he can make even marginal strides in that department.
Best of the Rest
Raimel Tapia, OF, Rockies (Modesto, A+): 4-7, 3 R, 2 3B, HR, K (DH). Tapia’s raw hitting abilities have never been in question, though there are some concerns about just how much power he’s going to develop and how much his aggressiveness will hinder him against better competition. For now, neither is slowing him down one bit, as he continues to hit over .300 everywhere he goes.
Julio Urias, LHP, Dodgers (Tulsa, AA): 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K. There is nothing not to like about Urias’ skill set as a pitcher. The only negative thing we can say about him isn’t even his fault—it’s that we can’t be sure about his durability and ability to take the ball every fifth day over the course of an entire season—because the Dodgers haven’t let him try to do so yet. That’s likely to come next season, which despite his success could include a return to Double-A, simply because he’s continuing to progress and approach the big leagues without having built up said durability yet.
Corey Seager, SS/3B, Dodgers (Albuquerque, AAA): 2-5, R, HR, K. On the other end of the spectrum from Urias we have Seager, whose continued presence in the minors is hard to believe. No, he hasn’t torched Triple-A to the same standard he’s set for himself at previous levels, but it’s hard to believe he wouldn’t be the Dodgers’ best option at shortstop right now. It’s a testament to the amount of leeway veteran players are given, but don’t be surprised to see him work his way onto the Dodgers postseason roster if he gets an opportunity to prove himself during a September call-up.
Tony Kemp, 2B/OF, Astros (Fresno, AAA): 2-4, 2 R, HR, BB, CS. It’s not surprising that Kemp, who is generously listed at 5-foot-6, doesn’t offer much power, but with a solid build and good strength, he’s not having the bat knocked out of his hands either. He has just enough pop to keep pitchers honest, and his lack of over-the-fence production is due as much to his contact-oriented swing as a lack of actual raw power. The approach works for him, as it increases his contact rates and allows him to use his speed. It may not be an everyday profile, but with the ability to play both second base and center field and use his speed on the bases as well as at the plate, he’ll find a big-league role soon.
Drew Jackson, SS, Mariners (Everett, SS): 3-5, R, 2B, SB. Jackson is thus far looking like the steal of the draft. A fifth-round pick who fell in part because of a poor sophomore year at Stanford, Jackson nonetheless has top-end speed and a plus-plus arm and the ability to stick at shortstop. The currently building hype isn’t just because he’s dominating short-season ball (though it doesn’t hurt), as a top player from a big program should have no problem transitioning to that level. His skill set is a rare one for a player taken that late, and he’s made the Mariners look quite smart thus far.
Notable Prospect Starters
- Lucas Giolito, RHP, Nationals (Harrisburg, AA): 6 2/3 IP, 5 H, 2 R, BB, 8 K.
- Mark Appel, RHP, Astros (Fresno, AAA): 6 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 4 BB, 5 K.
- Blake Snell, LHP, Rays (Durham, AAA): 5 IP, 5 H, R, 0 BB, 3 K.
- Kevin Ziomek, LHP, Tigers (Lakeland, A+): 6 IP, 3 H, R, 0 BB, 5 K.
- Casey Meisner, RHP, Athletics (Stockton, A+): 5 IP, 3 H, R, 0 BB, 5 K.
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