Prospect of the Day:
Ian Happ, 2B, Chicago Cubs (High-A Myrtle Beach): 4-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI, SB, K.
Oh nothing, Happ just added over 300 points to his OPS in one night, no big deal. The long balls were the first two of the season, and he did all of his damage hitting left-handed. The right-handed stroke hasn’t come around yet (one for 13, five strikeouts), but we hung dual 6s on his hit tool for a reason. The base-running instincts have shown well thus far in three successful stolen base efforts as well.
Others of Note:
Michael Chavis, 3B, Boston Red Sox (Low-A Greenville): 3-5, 2 R, HR, 4 RBI, K. Let’s jump through a few Red Sox standouts up front, shall we? Yesterday’s loss on Patriots’ Day was a cruel moment of missed magic, so we’ll give The Nation the pick-me-up they need. After a rough full-season debut last year Chavis has come out crushing in a return engagement with Sally pitching. Yesterday’s homer (his second in two days) reportedly threatened parked cars, and he’s managed to corral his swing-and-miss thus far in the early going.
Luis Alexander Basabe, CF, Boston Red Sox (Low-A Greenville): 3-5, 2 R, 2 RBI. One of the younger players in the Sally, sweet Basabe had gotten off to a sour start before yesterday’s three-hit game. I’ve already preemptively trademarked “Basa-bae,” incidentally, so back off.
Yoan Moncada, 2B, Boston Red Sox (High-A Salem): 2-3, 2 BB, 2 R, RBI, 2 SB, K. Yesterday’s performance carries Moncada’s OPS into four digits on the young season, with 12 stolen bags in 15 tries. He did commit his third error already, but all the early signs point to him continuing his emergence as one of the elite prospects in the game.
Lewis Brinson, CF, Texas Rangers (Double-A Frisco): 1-5, BB, HR, 2 R, RBI, SB, K. Colin wrote about this dream boat’s progress with the hit tool yesterday, and he flashed that delicious power-and-speed combo yesterday in the first game of a double-header.
Dustin Fowler, CF, New York Yankees (Double-A Trenton): 3-5, 2B, R, RBI, K, CS. Fowler has carried over an impressive AFL performance into excellent early production following an aggressive Eastern League assignment. The instincts in center and plus foot speed provide a strong base line, and the hit tool keeps humming along towards its plus potential as well.
Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, Pittsburgh Pirates (Low-A West Virginia): 4-6, 2 BB, 2 R, HR, 5 RBI. Hayes’ monster effort in a 16-inning marathon included his first professional home run. He’ll be one of the more interesting first-rounders to watch in full-season ball this year, and so far, so good.
Reese McGuire, C, Pittsburgh Pirates (Double-A Altoona): 2-5, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI. I mean, it’s 33 plate appearances, so, you know. But! They’ve been excellent plate appearances, including one measly whiff to seven walks along with yesterday’s inaugural dinger. His status as one of the elite defensive catching prospects remains intact, and any sign of offensive life is a big deal after last year’s… unpleasantness in the box.
Tyler Mahle, RHP, Cincinnati Reds (High-A Daytona): 7 IP, ER, 3 H, 9 K. Will Haines wrote some nice (and some cautionary) things about Mahle’s first start of the season in last week’s Ten Pack, and his performance yesterday warranted all of the good. He’s not just a pitchability and command guy, as the heater will sit comfortably in the plus velocity range, and the command helps his whole arsenal play.
Dansby Swanson, SS, Atlanta Braves (High-A Carolina): 3-5, 2B, R, RBI, SB. If my first two vintages of this column are any indication, I’m going to spend a lot of time writing about the reigning top-overall pick this summer. He’s up to .341/.408/.477 with six doubles in his first 49 plate appearances.
Edwin Diaz, RHP, Seattle Mariners (Double-A Jackson): 5 IP, ER, 2 H, BB, HRA, 8 K. Seattle’s number two prospect has done some work in his first three starts of the year, yielding just three runs while whiffing 24 batters and issuing just two walks in his first 16 frames. Top-shelf arm speed and late movement on his fastball and slider make for a strong foundation, and he’s continued to show signs of refined command in the early going.
D.J. Peterson, 1B, Seattle Mariners (Double-A Jackson): 3-4, 2 R, HR, RBI. Peterson needed a game like this about as badly as anyone can need a game like this so early in the year. After a disastrous 2015 he showed poorly in the AFL before posting an ugly start in his first 10 games, so yesterday’s outburst had to relieve some mental pressure.
Greg Allen, CF, Cleveland Indians (High-A Lynchburg): 2-3, 2 BB, 4 R, RBI, 3 SB. A former sixth-rounder out of San Diego State, Allen fits the mold of a versatile fourth outfielder with a chance for more. His solid bat-to-ball with a slappy stroke and advanced zone command add up to a strong on-base profile, and he’s put his plus-or-better speed to work already, swiping 13 bags in as many tries on the young season. The hustle and defensive effort in center draw praise, and he makes for an interesting little follow buried in a system full of them.
Mark Appel, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies (Triple-A Lehigh Valley): 6 IP, ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 6 K. Lost in the hand-wringing about what Appel can’t do is what he can, and Phillie fans have to like what he’s done across three starts now. The raw stuff’s always been there, and so has the possibility that it all eventually clicks. In case you missed it, our Prospect Debate piece on him this off-season is a must-read.
Gabriel Guerrero, RF, Arizona Diamondbacks (Double-A Mobile): 3-5, 2 R, 2B, 3B, 4 RBI, K. Long considered a massive project with uncertain projection, Guerrero has made more contact and driven the ball with authority so far. His bad-ball tendencies and hyper-aggressiveness will never make him an on-base machine, but if the thump finds a way to play Guerrero can fight his way to a big-league future.
Kyle McGowin, RHP, Angels of Anaheim (Double-A Arkansas): 7 IP, H, BB, 9 K. Another week, another excellent start by McGowin on my night to write the Update. See last week’s note for the goods, and note his 20 whiffs to five walks amid just nine hits allowed in his first 15 1/3 innings.
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