Prospect of the Weekend:
Jameson Taillon, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates (Triple-A Indianapolis): 6 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 11 K.
The report I received on Taillon was that he actually struggled to locate all of his secondary pitches over the first couple of innings, but boy did that change in a hurry. He’s missing bats with his entire arsenal, and he’s been so efficient that he’s been able to get deep into games. I imagine the Pirates will turn to Tyler Glasnow first—and they should—but Taillon is ready to go, and after what he went through last year, that’s awesome to say.
Others of Note
Joe Musgrove, RHP, Houston Astros (Triple-A Fresno): 5 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K. Musgrove was dominant over the first month in the Texas League, and his first start as a member of the Grizzlies was pretty darn good, too.
Clint Frazier, OF, Cleveland (Double-A Akron): 2-for-3, 2 R, 2 BB, K, SB. The approach gets better every year, which helps compensate for him having less power than anticipated.
Rafael Bautista, OF, Washington Nationals (Double-A Harrisburg): 3-for-4, 4 R, 2 SB, E. Bautista is a really fun player to keep an eye on. He’s a double-plus runner who works counts into his favor, and he’s a plus defender in the outfield.
Ryan Yarbrough, LHP, Seattle Mariners (Double-A Jackson): 6 IP, 7 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K. With Edwin Diaz now in the bullpen, Yarbrough is the Mariners’ best upper-levels pitching prospect. That’s not good, but that’s a criticism of the system, not Yarbrough.
Sam Howard, LHP, Colorado Rockies (High-A Modesto): 7 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 10 K. The Rockies’ third-round pick in 2014, Howard shows a plus fastball and an above-average change, and in spurts, the command looks good enough for him to pitch in the middle of a rotation.
Kevin Newman, SS, Pittsburgh Pirates (High-A Bradenton): 4-for-6, 2 R. I told you guys this guy can hit, but you still don’t wanna listen.
Blake Trahan, SS, Cincinnati Reds (High-A Daytona): 5-for-8, R, 2B, 2 K. I never told anyone this guy could hit, because I’m not sure if he can or not. If he can, he’s a regular, as he can really pick it at shortstop with a plus throwing arm for good measure.
Ryan Borucki, LHP, Toronto Blue Jays (Low-A Lansing): 5 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K. You never want to see a kid demoted this early (and Borucki “earned” it), but it’s nice to see his first start at his new home was a quality one.
Donnie Dewees, OF, Cubs (Low-A South Bend): 4-for-6, 2 R, 2B, 3B, K, SB. On top of that stat-filling line, Dewees also knocked in six runs. If we cared about RBI, we would note things like that more often. We don’t, though.
Amalani Fukofuka, OF, Kansas City Royals (Low-A Lexington): 3-for-6, 2 R, HR, 2 K, SB. In addition to having one of the best names in baseball, Fukofuka also is a terrific athlete who is slowly beginning to turn that athleticism into actual baseball skills.
Sal Romano, RHP, Cincinnati Reds (Double-A Pensacola): 7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K. Romano can throw the ball by anyone, but his improved command is why more and more evaluators believe he can start.
Andrew Thurman, RHP, Atlanta Braves (Double-A Mississippi): 6.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K When Thurman is at his best, he’ll show a plus fastball and solid-average change, and throw strikes with two other so-so pitches.
Luis Ortiz, RHP, Texas Rangers (High-A High Desert): 6 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K. Ortiz is pounding the strike zone with his three pitches, and both the fastball and curve have flashed double-plus. He’s a fun one.
Jakson Reetz, C, Washington Nationals (Low-A Hagerstown): 3-for-3, R, 3 2B, 2 BB. Reetz has been a slight disappointment since joining the Nationals organization, but his approach has been outstanding in 2016, and he’s made progress behind the plate as well.
Grayson Long, RHP, Angels (Low-A Burlington): 5 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 8 K. The Angels’ third-round pick has been dominant in Low-A, and it’s probably time to see how his stuff plays against hitters in the California League.
Jake Thompson, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies (Triple-A Lehigh Valley): 7 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K. Thompson isn’t going to miss a ton of bats, but you’re not gonna make very much hard contact off him, either.
Matt Olson, OF/1B, Athletics (Triple-A Nashville): 3-for-4, 2 R, 2 2B, K, SB. Three true outcome this. It makes sense if you have read the scouting reports, I promise.
Sam Travis, 1B, Red Sox (Triple-A Pawtucket): 2-for-3, 3 R, 2 HR, 2 BB. Okay, I take it back. Travis has a lot of power.
Reese McGuire, C, Pirates (Double-A Altoona): 3-for-4, BB. The glove is still way ahead of the bat, but games like this are a friendly reminder that there is some offensive potential here, too.
Dominic Smith, 1B, Mets (Double-A Binghamton): 2-for-5, R. Beaming, I tell you. I am beaming every time I can put him in one of these updates.
Dansby Swanson, SS, Braves (Double-A Mississippi): 2-for-4, R, 2B, K. Believe it or not, this was a bit of a “slump”-busting game for Swanson. We should all be so unfortunate.
Drew Ward, 3B, Washington Nationals (High-A Potomac): 3-for-3, 2 R, 2 2B, 3 BB. He’s still showing the same power he did as a prep in Oklahoma, but he’s turned into a much more complete hitter over the past year, which is good.
Yohander Mendez, LHP, Rangers (High-A High Desert): 5 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K. The change has always been filthy; it’s the improvement of the fastball and breaking ball that has turned Mendez into something much more interesting.
Franklyn Kilome, RHP, Phillies (Low-A Lakewood): 5.2 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K. The command has been atrocious to start the season. Here’s hoping this is a sign of good things to come.
Lucius Fox, SS, San Francisco Giants (Low-A Augusta): 3-for-5, 2B, 3B, BB, K. The overall numbers aren’t outstanding, but when you consider the lack of experience, it’s really impressive that’s he’s performing at all. Get excited, San Fran fans.