Hitter of the Day: Tim Anderson, SS, White Sox (Birmingham, AA): 3-5, 2 R, 2B, 3B, SB
Anderson has once again put together a successful season while defying the laws of plate discipline, though we can see some minor signs of his approach working against him. For one, his power production dropped off substantially this season in terms of all types of extra-base hits. Additionally, while his hitting over .300 again and his natural hit tool will lead to more balls hit hard and thus, when combined with his speed, a higher-than-normal BABIP, his .386 mark this season still suggests some luck that won’t be there at higher levels. Still, Anderson is pure intrigue and athleticism and continues to have success despite his approach. It’s no longer accurate to call him inexperienced, as he now has over 1,200 professional plate appearances under his belt, but he’s clearly still learning how to use his talents on the field.
Pitcher of the Day: Cody Reed, LHP, Reds (Pensacola, AA): 8 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 8 K
When he was acquired by the Reds at the trade deadline, Reed was overshadowed by World Series participant Brandon Finnegan as the more heralded power-armed left-hander in the deal. But Reed has been the better pitcher of the two since the transaction took place, and may have the better chance of remaining a starter. Reed will need to continue the development of his change-up, but with a tall frame and a fastball/slider combination that misses bats, he should be a potent bullpen arm, even if he can’t remain in the rotation.
Best of the Rest
Kyle Tucker, OF, Astros (Greenville, R): 3-4, R, 2B, 2 SB. The transition to pro ball hasn’t been completely smooth for Tucker, who many believed to be the best pure prep hitter in this year’s draft. He’s actually hit better and more consistently since getting off the complex and into the Appalachian League, which is a unique twist on things, though with his limited pro experience, it’s not surprising to see him hit better simply by getting more at-bats, regardless of the competition level. There’s not too much to be concerned with regarding Tucker’s hit tool, but it’s a good reminder of the extreme learning curve between amateur and pro ball.
Forrest Wall, 2B, Rockies (Asheville, A-): 3-6, 3 R, 2B, 3B, BB. Attempting to discredit that last point is Wall, who hit the grounding running as a professional and really hasn’t looked back. With the ability to square the ball up consistently and plus speed, Wall has a lot going for him offensively. He’s also a good defender at the keystone. He’s not going to hit for a ton of power, but he can put a drive into one when the pitcher makes a mistake. Overall, it’s a solid package.
Hunter Dozier, 3B, Royals (NW Arkansas, AA): 3-3, 2 R, 2B, BB, SB. It just hasn’t come together for Dozier this year, and in fact, has been a significant struggle in what has now become a year-and-a-half of time in Double-A. The strong approach and pitch recognition he was lauded for having at the lower levels of the minors haven’t translated against better pitching, and it’s zapped what power he has as well. Already 23, there’s no real reason that he should be struggling to this extent in Double-A other than that he’s failed to make the necessary adjustments to a new level of competition.
J.P. Crawford, SS, Phillies (Reading, AA): 2-4, 2 2B, 2 K. It’s easy to get over-excited about Crawford, but it’s important to remember that he’s still just 20 and there’s plenty of development left to be done. Sure, he’s handling Double-A fantastically, but with little rush and only half of a season there this year, there’s no reason to start penciling him into next year’s Opening Day lineup (not that anyone has yet, I’m just prepping for the off-season). Crawford is amazingly refined for his age, but not yet by major-league standards. He’s just closer than most 20-year-olds. Another 500 minor-league plate appearances or so could lessen the learning curve in the majors by a calendar year.
Clayton Blackburn, RHP, Giants (Sacramento, AAA): 7 1/3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 9 K. Blackburn has long been under-appreciated thanks to a lack of elite, high-end raw stuff, but he has a long track record of showing he knows how to get the most out of what he has as well as of taking the ball every fifth day. Strong and durable, Blackburn is built to eat innings at the back of a rotation and is just about ready to take on that role in the big leagues.
Notable Prospect Starters
- Steven Matz, LHP, Mets (Binghamton, AA): 5 1/3 IP, H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 K.
- Mark Appel, RHP, Astros (Fresno, AAA): 4 1/3 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 4 K.
- Julio Urias, LHP, Dodgers (Oklahoma City, AAA): 1 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 4 BB, 2 K.
- Jose Berrios, RHP, Twins (Rochester, AAA): 6 IP, 4 H, R, 0 BB, 5 K.
- Jake Thompson, RHP, Phillies (Reading, AA): 7 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 4 K.
- Braden Shipley, RHP, Diamondbacks (Mobile, AA): 7 1/3 IP, 6 H, 2 R, BB, 7 K.
- Taylor Guerrieri, RHP, Rays (Montgomery, AA): 5 IP, 5 H, 0 R, BB, 2 K.
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