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Prospect of the Day:

Thomas Szapucki, LHP, New York Mets (Short-Season Kingsport): 6 IP, 2 H, 13 K.
So there’s a right way to make your first professional start, and there’s probably a wrong way or 86, and there’s the next-level ballin’ than Szapucki did yesterday. A fifth-round prep arm last June, he dominated in ways Appy League lineups just aren’t accustomed to with a low-90s heater and 11-5 hook. Lauded for his projectability and arm strength heading into the draft, he’ll be a long burn on account of his age and customary mechanical rough edges, but that was one hell of an introduction.

Others of Note:

Josh Bell, 1B, Pittsburgh Pirates (Triple-A Indianapolis): 3-5, 3 R, 2B, 3B, 2 RBI, K, E. Bell has crushed his way through the International League this season, but his eighth error is… well, it’s a lot for a first baseman, and it jives with reports that the glove is still a weight on the liability side of the scale.

Joey Gallo, 1B, Texas Rangers (Triple-A Round Rock): 1-5, R, HR, RBI, 3 K. Breaking News: Joey Gallo hit an impressive dinger and whiffed three times.

Jose Berrios, RHP, Minnesota Twins (Triple-A Rochester): 8 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 9 K. Berrios had hit a couple speed bumps after his demotion to Triple-A, and the command hasn’t quite been as crisp, but he’s still really, really good.

Kaleb Cowart, 3B, Anaheim Angels (Triple-A Salt Lake): 4-5, R, 2B, SB. Yes, Kaleb Cowart is still a thing, and yes, he’s probably a borderline top-10 guy in the Angels’ system. The leather and the arm are the things with Cowart, but he’s shown a little bit more consistent contact this year. The hit and power tools are unlikely to scrape the floor of a big-league starter, but he’ll certainly win himself more opportunities to prove he’s not a career .173 true-talent hitter.

Aaron Judge, RF, New York Yankees (Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre): 2-3, BB, R, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, K. After struggling to counter adjustments by International League pitchers in May, Judge has shown the league what’s up with an impressive power display this month. That’s four homers in his last five games now, which has driven a four-digit OPS on the month.

Joe Musgrove, RHP, Houston Astros (Triple-A Corpus Christi)L 6 IP, ER, 3 H, BB, 7 K, HRA. A nice rebound start for Musgrove, who had struggled in his last three turns. He’s given up more contact since his promotion to the PCL, but has continued to thrive for the most part thanks to his top-of-the-scale command of an above-average arsenal. He’s a likely candidate to spend some time in Houston later this summer.

Tyler Beede, RHP, San Francisco Giants (Double-A Richmond): 6 IP, ER, 5 H, 3 BB, 7 K. That runs Beede’s streak of quality starts to seven consecutive, though the underlying performance has been more solid than spectacular. Adam Hayes highlighted the depth of Beede’s arsenal, which has started to gel after he introduced the two-seam and cutter last year.

Jacob Hannemann, CF, Chicago Cubs (Double-A Tennessee): 2-4, BB, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI, SB, K. A former third-rounder, Hannemann has never quite been able to get the bat going as a professional. He’s grown into a solid defender in center with enough arm to handle either corner, the baseline power-and-speed combo is there to carry him into solid fourth-outfielder range. He’s managed to string a few longballs together for the first time in his career this season, and could be an interesting late-bloomer candidate if he can find a couple more solidly-struck balls a week going forward.

Courtney Hawkins, OF, Chicago White Sox (Double-A Birmingham): 3-4, BB, R, HR, 3 RBI. Hawkins has continued to produce hot mess numbers at the dish this season, with loads of weak pop-up contact and increasingly rare instances of tapping into his absurd raw power. It’s getting tougher and tougher to envision him contributing in any meaningful way at the big-league level.

Miguel Andujar, 3B, New York Yankees (Double-A Trenton): 3-5, BB, 2 R, 2 2B, 3 RBI. Andujar has continued to produce in the week-plus since his promotion to Double-A. Steve Givarz recently pegged him to a second-division projection on account of an interesting power-and-speed combination and plenty of arm strength.

Brendan Rodgers, SS, Colorado Rockies (Low-A Asheville): 3-4, R, HR, RBI, K. Rodgers picked up right where he left off in the first half, logging his fourth multi-hit game in his last five. The bat has been as advertised in his full-season debut, and a late season cameo in the Cal seems increasingly likely (not that I’m openly rooting for it, or anything).

Nick Neidert, RHP, Seattle Mariners (Low-A Clinton): 6 IP, ER, 5 H, BB, 12 K. Seattle’s second-rounder a year ago was held back in extended spring training, and has picked up right where he left off in the Arizona League last summer with his first six starts this year. He’s a prep arm with some elbow shenanigans on his resume, so the risk profile is extreme, but so far so good.

Josh Naylor, 1B, Miami Marlins (Low-A Greensboro): 3-5, 2 R, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 2 K. Naylor hit a couple balls that sliced through the defen- sorry, sorry, let’s try that again. Naylor has held his own reasonably well in the Sally despite being a cold-weather player and among the younger players in the circuit. He’ll need the bat to carry him, as he doesn’t move well in the field and his glove can get stabby… sorry, sorry, I didn’t mean it, I swear.

Ryan Borucki, LHP, Toronto Blue Jays (Low-A Lansing): 8 IP, ER, 5 H, 8 K. The Blue Jays bought Borucki out of a college commitment when it was clear he’d likely be headed down the Tommy John route in 2012, and sure enough he missed all of 2013 rehabbing the elbow after surgery. He’s been start-and-stop with additional arm troubles since, but looked just fine yesterday in finishing eight innings for the first time in his career. He’s a lanky lefty with a good changeup, which means he’s okay in my book.

Gilberto Celestino, CF, Houston Astros (DSL Astros): 2-4, SB. Houston’s highest-profile J2 signing last summer. Celestino has shown an advanced approach in his first couple weeks of pro ball, walking 16 times in 71 plate appearances. He’s a go-and-get-it defender in center despite average speed, with solid tool projection across the board.

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