Hitter of the Day: Rymer Liriano, OF, Padres (El Paso, AAA): 2-3, 2 R, 2 HR, BB
It’s been a crowded outfield for the Padres this year, which could explain why Liriano has been stick in Triple-A all season despite his success. The time back in the minors could be the best thing for him, however, as a player with loads of talent but a previously unrefined approach who made some adjustments this season. He’s already 24 but he’s lost developmental time in the past (a year to Tommy John surgery in 2013), but he should be in the Padres plans for next season.

Pitcher of the Day: Spencer Turnbull, RHP, Tigers (West Michigan, A-): 6 2/3 IP, H, 0 R, 2 BB, 12 K
Turnbull, the Tigers second-round pick last year, has had his ups and downs during his first full professional season. On the one hand, he’s had a healthy and effective season pitching every turn in the Whitecaps rotation. On the other hand, you’d like to see more strike-throwing and bat-missing in Low-A ball from a player with a mid-90s fastball who was coming out of the SEC. Turnbull’s body screams innings-eater, and there’s no reason to believe he can’t be that.

Best of the Rest

Gleyber Torres, SS, Cubs (South Bend, A-): 3-4, R, 2 2B. An advanced hit tool for his age and a solid approach at the plate are the obvious positives to take away from a strong introduction to full-season ball this year for Torres. His foot speed leaves something to be desired for someone trying to play shortstop, which suggests that he could have to slide over to second or third base. The latter will require much more power production than the former, which he could grow into even though homers aren’t likely to be his forte. Either way, those are concerns for much further down the road, as this season has been largely positive.

Alex Blandino, SS, Reds (Pensacola, AA): 3-5, R, HR, 2 K. The former Stanford product had no trouble jumping to High-A ball this year and even showed off some moderate power potential in the power-starved Florida State League. Then transition to Double-A, however, hasn’t been nearly as smooth. Now a month since his promotion, Blandino is just sniffing the Mendoza line, though he’s been able to maintain a strong contact approach at the plate. It’s a good example of getting a player’s feet wet at a new level at the end of a season, however, so he can make these adjustments now and hit the ground running in Pensacola next year.

Adam Walker, OF, Twins (Chattanooga, AA): 2-4, 2 R, HR, BB, K, SB. Walker is just so much fun. He couldn’t possibly care less about striking out, instead attacking every fastball like it’s a threat on his life and every curveball like it’s a fastball. He doesn’t identify pitches well at all, which is the reason for the high strikeout rates despite premium bat speed and strength—two of the most important components for hitting. The strikeouts are going to be a problem if he gets to the majors, and his weaknesses will be exploited to the fullest extent. But because of his raw power and ability to punish mistakes, he might just be able to do enough damage in between strikeouts to be productive.

Andrew Knapp, C, Phillies (Reading, AA): 2-5, R, HR, K. Knapp has been one of the hottest hitters in the minors since a mid-season promotion to Double-A, a move that is typically the most difficult transition within the minor-league ranks but appears to be giving Knapp no issues. A switch-hitting catcher, Knapp has always displayed plus power for the position. The biggest improvement since the promotion has been a cut in his strikeouts, which has allowed his power to play more consistently. Knapp was considered to be a fast mover when the Phillies took him in the second round in 2013, but an early stumble last year changed that timetable. Knapp’s second half, however, could be correcting his course.

Alen Hanson, 2B, Pirates (Indianapolis, AAA): 2-5, R, 2B, 3B, CS. The expectations that were set for Hanson after a monster breakout season in Low-A ball in 2012 were likely always too high, but he’s got the chance to be a solid player nonetheless. Now officially a full-time second baseman, Hanson is in a position he was always destined for but where his bat should still play. He still has more power potential than many at the keystone, and more speed than most, with the big question being whether or not his hit tool is strong enough to warrant everyday playing time. If not, being able to play shortstop in a pinch and getting some time at third base should set him up nicely for a utility role, something the Pirates value highly.

Fight Another Day

Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Pirates (Indianapolis, AAA): 1/3 IP, H, 6 R, 5 BB, K. When people question why Glasnow hasn’t been promoted this fall, this start will be the shining example. It’s not that he’s not good, it’s just that despite improved mechanics and incremental improvements with his control, he still has days where he just doesn’t have it. For Glasnow now, it’s all about consistency. The stuff is good; he just needs to show the Pirates he can show up to the park and throw strikes each time out.

Notable Prospect Starters

  • Robert Stephenson, RHP, Reds (Louisville, AAA): 3 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 2 BB, 4 K.
  • Amir Garrett, LHP, Reds (Daytona, A+): 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, BB, 2 K.
  • Brent Honeywell, RHP, Rays (Charlotte, A+): 4 1/3 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 5 BB, 2 K.
  • Kohl Stewart, RHP, Twins (Ft. Myers, A+): 6 IP, 4 H, 2 R (0 ER), 4 BB, 3 K.

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Any thought to the idea that Glasnow and Stephenson were disappointed that they are not getting called up and had a lack of focus last night? These guys are human beings after all.
I have no idea if that actually affected either one of those guys, but that is a possibility. We've heard players express disappointment after not getting called up in the past. We've also seen players not make a team out of spring training and struggle in Triple-A before they get recalled. I won't speculate about these two players in that regard but you're right about remembering the human element when it comes to young players. That's always a factor.
Hunter Renfroe continues to show he's made some necessary adjustments and I have to wonder what the Padres plans are going forward consideering, as you pointed out in re: Liriano, what's been their crowded outfield situation.

Renfroe's a guy I've been high on for quite some time and I think there's a chance he makes the kinds of adjustments that turn him -- after a year or two figuring it out at the next level (if history is any judge here) into a guy who can hover in the .280s while maintaining what is truly prodigious in-game power.

I suppose the question is, does he make those adjustments in San Diego, for some other club, or does he just kind of linger in AAA like Peter O'Brien...
Andrew Knapp's numbers since being moved up to AA Reading in late June almost defy belief. Has he really made that much of an adjustment, or is he just getting a big lift from the hitting environment there?

As a Phillies fan, I want to be positive, but Knapp's production seems so out of line that it makes me wonder about not just him, but also how much I should be hair-cutting the production there from JP Crawford, Nick Williams, Altherr, Quinn, etc. (obviously varying levels of talent/potential in that list).
Reading has never been thought of as Albuquerque East. The Eastern League is a pitcher's league and has never been the California League either.
Seeing Glasnow's line, I wonder what the record number of runs allowed on 1 hit is? I live in the Pittsburgh area and the number of people clamoring for Glasnow to be called up prior to last night is incredible.
I drove 150 miles, one way, to watch Aaron Sanchez pitch last year and his line was 0/0/6/5/4/0 with a HBP thrown in.