Prospect of the Weekend:
Blake Snell, LHP, Tampa Bay Rays (Triple-A Durham): 5.2 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 13 K
Was this Snell’s final start as a Durham Bull? It might be if he pitches well in his start on Thursday for the Rays. That statline is misleading, as I received several reports that his defense didn’t help at all, and as you can see from the strikeouts, he was missing plenty of bats in his 5 2/3 innings. He’s one of the best left-handed pitching prospects in baseball, and he’s ready to contribute at the big-league level.
Others of Note
Willson Contreras, C, Chicago Cubs (Triple-A Iowa): 3-for-4, R, 2B, K. I keep hearing people mention Contreras as a possible trade target. Unless it’s for a first-division catcher, I have no idea why the Cubs would move this guy.
Jake Thompson, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies (Triple-A Lehigh Valley): 7 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K. Thompson faced Snell on Friday, and while he wasn’t as dominant (he never will be), he was certainly effective and efficient. That describes Jake Thompson pretty well.
Lucas Giolito, RHP, Washington Nationals (Double-A Harrisburg): 7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 12 K. There were seriously people asking what was wrong with Giolito last month. Like, seriously. That’s a real thing that actually happened.
Andrew Benintendi, OF, Boston Red Sox (Double-A Portland): 3-for-5, 2 R, 2B, HR, K. Double-A has given Benintendi trouble, but that just proves he’s human. The guy was being drafted at this point last year.
Josh Taylor, LHP, Arizona Diamondbacks (High-A Visalia): 7 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 13 K. An undrafted free agent signed in the summer of 2014, Taylor has prototypical size, a plus fastball, and two usable offspeed pitches.
Johan Mieses, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers (High-A Rancho Cucamonga): 3-for-5, 2 R, 2 2B, HR, K. Mieses is best known for his defensive abilities, but he’s showing some power, and a couple of scouts believe he could be a real nice fourth or fifth outfielder when he’s done developing.
Jose Azocar, OF, Detroit Tigers (Low-A West Michigan): 4-for-5, 2 R, 2B, K, SB. Azocar might be the most improved prospect in the Tigers system. He shows three plus tools in his run, glove, and arm, and while the approach needs a ton of work, he’s shown some offensive upside, too.
Max Fried, LHP, Atlanta Braves (Low-A Rome): 6 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 9 K. Yeah he’s too old for the league and he’s supposed to dominate these kinds of hitters. It’s just nice to see Fried healthy and missing bats.
Jose Berrios, RHP, MInnesota Twins (Triple-A Rochester): 6.2 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 5 K. What the heck, man? I just vouched for you.
Ben Lively, RHP, Phillies (Triple-A Lehigh Valley): 7 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 5 K. Acquired in the Marlon Byrd trade, Lively has put up gaudy numbers at both Reading and Lehigh Valley, and he does it with above-average command of four competent pitches.
Aaron Judge, OF, Yankees (Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre): 2-for-4, 3 R, HR, BB, K. The sample size is small, but .317/.440/.463 in the month of June is encouraging after Judge struggled in May.
Dylan Cozens, OF, Phillies (Double-A Reading): 3-for-4, 3 R, 2 HR, BB, K. Very quietly, Cozens has hit 19 homers and is slugging .604. There are serious limitations here that likely prevent him from being an everyday player, but raw power is not one of them.
Adrian Houser, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers (Double-A Biloxi): 7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K. The “other” arm in the Carlos Gomez trade has struggled in 2016, but he has shown two plus pitches in the past, and the Brewers like his arm a lot.
Jack Flaherty, RHP. St. Louis Cardinals (High-A Palm Beach): .7 IP, 5, H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 10 K. In Flaherty’s last 20 innings, he’s given up no runs, walked four, and struck out 26. That’ll help the ol’ ERA and WHIP.
Javier Guerra, SS, Padres (High-A Lake Elsinore): 1-for-4, HR, K. He’s really struggled at High-A, but let’s remember that he’s still only 20, and that the glove is what makes him one of the best shortstop prospects in the National League.
Anderson Espinoza, RHP, Red Sox (Low-A Greenville): 5 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K. I can’t help but wonder where this kid would have gone on Thursday in the draft. Top 10? Higher? Lower? What say you, internet?
Ryan Mountcastle, SS, Baltimore Orioles (Low-A Delmarva): 3-for-4, 2R, HR, CS. A source asked me the other day if this was the best prospect in the Orioles system. I still say that’s Hunter Harvey, but Mountcastle has been impressive with the bat and held his own with the glove.
Austin Riley, 3B, Braves (Low-A Rome): 3-for-4, 2 R, K. Yes, I expected more power, too. No, I’m not giving up on him hitting for pop—the raw pop is certainly there, and saying there’s plenty of time for him to tap into it is the understatement of this article.
Josh Hader, LHP, Brewers (Triple- A Colorado Springs): 6 IP, 1 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 9 K. We’ll say the walks were from nerves, as he was making his Triple-A debut. Everything else was super duper.
Erik Gonzalez, SS, Cleveland (Triple-A Columbus): 2-for-4, 2 HR, BB, K. Gonzalez only has 40 power, so more games like this aren’t likely, but he’s making more hard contact, and he is one of the best defensive shortstops at the Triple-A level.
German Marquez, RHP, Colorado Rockies (Double-A Hartford): 7 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 K. Again, Tampa Bay is loaded with arms. Again, Colorado did very well to get an arm like Marquez for Corey Dickerson.
Bradley ZImmer, OF, Cleveland (Double-A Akron) 3-for-5, 2 R, HR. More games like this, please, Bradley, and less of this strikeout nonsense.
Jomar Reyes, 3B, Baltimore Orioles (High-A Frederick): 3-for-4, 2B, SB. He was atrocious in May (.474 OPS), but he’s too talented of a hitter to be down for too long. I have concerns about the glove, but the bat should be fine.
Sam Coonrod, RHP, San Francisco Giants (High-A San Jose): 8 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 K. if there was one complaint about Coonrod’s season, it’s that he hasn’t missed a ton of bats. A strikeout an inning works for me. I’m not picky.
Yency Almonte, RHP, Rockies (High-A Modesto): 8 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 8 K. It’s been far from a quick process, but Almonte has filled out his frame, and he now shows a plus fastball with two average secondary offerings and good-enough control to start.
Chris Paddack, RHP, Miami Marlins (Low-A Greensboro): 5 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 11 K. Paddack has a plus-plus change and a solid-average fastball, and there’s still plenty of projection left in his frame.
Alex Jackson, OF, Seattle Mariners (Low-A Clinton): 2-for-3, R, 2 2B. As bad as everything has gone, the upside here is still pretty darn high. It’s just gonna take a lot longer than we thought.
Michael Chavis, 3B, Boston Red Sox (Low-A Greenville): 2-for-4, HR. If you’re not a Red Sox fan, you may have forgotten about him, but over his first 20 games in Greenville he’s hit .355/.412/.592, and he’s not far removed from being one of the best infield prospects in the 2014 draft.