Prospect of the Day:
Aaron Blair, RHP, Atlanta Braves (Triple-A Gwinnett): 7 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 10 K.
Blair probably could have gone another inning (he threw just 87 pitches), but it’s mid-April, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. Scouts tell me he showed three plus pitches tonight, and he was placing a plus fastball wherever he wanted to put it. Atlanta is atrocious this year, and Blair should be up to show why the future is much brighter at some point this summer.
Others of Note:
Sam Travis, 1B, Boston Red Sox (Triple-A Pawtucket): 4-for-5, 3 R. Would you prefer a little more power from your first baseman of the future? Sure. Do you care when he’s this advanced everywhere else? Not really.
Jharel Cotton, Los Angeles Dodgers (Triple-A Oklahoma City): 5 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K. Cotton really struggled against Memphis, but he was back to throwing strikes and missing bats Tuesday night during a rain-shortened outing.
Rio Ruiz, 3B, Braves (Triple-A Gwinnett): 3-for-4, R, 2B. The bounce back from the disappointing 2015 season continues for Ruiz, though there are still questions about where he’s going to play defensively.
Christian Walker, OF, Baltimore Orioles (Triple-A Norfolk): 3-for-7, 3 R, 2B, HR, 3 K. We mentioned it before but it bears repeating: If Walker can stay in the outfield, his value increases exponentially.
Yoan Lopez, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks (Double-A Mobile): 6 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K. Lopez was disappointing in 2015, but with his arm strength and at just 23 years of age, there’s plenty of time to fulfill the promise.
Sean Newcomb, LHP, Braves (Double-A Mississippi): 5 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 7 K. It never has and it never will be a question of stuff; it’s a question of whether he can throw enough strikes. Tonight’s stat line illustrates both.
Bradley Zimmer, OF, Cleveland (Double-A Akron): 3-for-4, 2 R, 3B, SB, K. Twenty teams passed on this guy in the first round. Still not sure how that happened.
J.P. Crawford, SS, Philadelphia Phillies (Double-A Reading): 1-for-1, 2 R, 4 BB, SB. I say this without hyperbole: He’d be the fourth best hitter on the Phillies right now. Okay, I say that with a little hyperbole.
Stephen Gonsalves, LHP, Minnesota Twins (High-A Fort Myers): 7 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K. There are two plus pitches here in his fastball and change, with a 50 curve and usable slider for good measure.
Thomas Eshelman, RHP, Phillies (High-A Clearwater): 7 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 9 K. Eshelman’s stuff lags behind that of pretty much every top 150 prospect, but you won’t find many with better command.
Travis Lakins, RHP, Red Sox (High-A Salem): 5 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 K: A sixth-round pick out of Ohio State, Lakins will show two 60 pitches in his fastball and curve. It’s just a matter of throwing them for strikes on a consistent basis.
Luis Alexander Basabe, OF, Red Sox (Low-A Greenville): 4-for-6, 2 R, HR, 2 SB. If you want to accuse of us of Red Sox bias, tonight would be the night. This could be the next “guy” in the system.
Alex Young, LHP, Diamondbacks (Low-A South Bend): 5 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K. Young is way too advanced for this low of level, but it’s still nice to see your second-round pick pitching well to start the year.
Cornelius Randolph, OF, Phillies (Low-A Lakewood): 4-for-5, HR. Randolph came into the game hitting just .190, so a big night like this could be the jumpstart he needed.
Jaime Barria, RHP, Los Angeles Angels (Low-A Burlington): 5 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K. There isn’t much in the way of big upside here, but Barria pounds the strike zone with three pitches, and both his fastball and change could be 55-grade offerings when he’s done developing.
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