Prospect of the Day:
Yadier Alvarez, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers (Low-A Great Lakes): 5 IP, 3 BB, 8 K.
Alvarez responded to giving up three runs in a start for the first time as a professional by bouncing back with five no-hit innings in this turn. He’s allowed just 19 hits in 26 2/3 Midwest League innings, while punching out 42, and as a totally unbiased observer of the California League I can say with abject certainty that it’s probably time for him to jump up to the next level in spite of some notable inconsistencies repeating and getting downhill consistently.
Others of Note:
Brian Johnson, LHP, Boston Red Sox (Triple-A Pawtucket): 7 IP, ER, 4 H, 2 K, HRA. This was Johnson’s longest – and one of his most effective – starts since returning to the club after seeking treatment for anxiety issues earlier this season, and it comes at a great time after Eduardo Rodriguez left his start with another injury. The steady lefty’s return to form adds a needed extra layer of organizational depth from which to choose if Rodriguez ends up missing additional time.
Kyle Freeland, LHP, Colorado Rockies (Triple-A Albuquerque): 7 IP, 6 H, 2 BB, 3 K. Freeland has been pushed aggressively by the club after an injury-abbreviated campaign last year, and the production still hasn’t quite caught up with the promise. At his best he’ll show two plus pitches in his fastball and slider, though there’s some effort to his delivery and his arm slot and lack of a developed change leave him vulnerable to right-handed hitters.
Christin Stewart, LF, Detroit Tigers (Double-A Erie): 3-4, BB, 4 R. Stewart was limited to just three hits in his first half-dozen games at Double-A, so yesterday’s outburst was probably most welcome for his own peace of mind. The power still projects to be potentially quite valuable, though some adjustment to quality pitching is to be expected given the swing-and-miss.
J.D. Davis, 3B, Houston Astros (Double-A Corpus Christi): 2-4, BB, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI. The good news is that Davis’ extreme swing-and-miss issues haven’t worsened with the jump to Double-A this year, and he’s even managed to take a marginal step forward in the aggregate to cut his whiff rate a tick. That number’s been wandering north in recent weeks, however, so games like this serve as important reminders that there is raw power to spare on the flipside of that coin.
Thomas Eshelman, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies (Double-A Reading): 6 IP, 3 R (2 ER), 6 H, 7 K, 2 HRA. Eshelman’s strong command profile has been tested at Double-A, as hitters have taken advantage of his consistency around the zone to hang 59 hits on him in his 47 and a third innings. He has managed to offset some of the damage by maintaining a surprising whiff rate, and there’s necessary depth in his arsenal to continue plodding forward towards the back half of a big-league rotation.
Rafael Devers, 3B, Boston Red Sox (High-A Salem): 3-5, R, 2B, RBI, SB, K. Remember when Devers struggled out of the gate as a 19-year-old at High-A? I have a vague recollection, but he’s hitting .332/.377/.587 in 42 second-half games, so nuts to those struggles, I guess.
Justus Sheffield, LHP, New York Yankees (High-A Tampa): 6 IP, 3 H, BB, 3 K. Pinstripes evidently agree with the southpaw, as he’s allowed just two runs in his three starts since joining the Yankee organization. His three-pitch mix and ability to play over barrels with a mid-90s fastball keeps open a clear path to the middle of a rotation despite his smaller frame.
Brendan Rodgers, SS, Colorado Rockies (Low-A Asheville): 3-4, 2 R, 2B, HR, RBI, SB, K. Rodgers has had a slow and steady year of development as one of the younger players in the Sally, and with Swanson graduating to big-league duty today he now stands as the best prospect at the position left in the minors.
Patrick Weigel, RHP, Atlanta Braves (Low-A Rome): 7 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 9 K. Another in a long list of impressive pitching prospects in the Atlanta system, Weigel has made impressive strides in honing a raw delivery this year to dominate the Sally. He’ll touch 97 with a quality fastball that anchors his emerging three-pitch mix, and he looks to be a pretty sweet lil’ return on a seventh-round investment last summer.
Allen Cordoba, SS, St. Louis Cardinals (Rookie Johnson City): 4-6, 3 R, 3B, SB. An international signee out of Panama in 2013, Cordoba raked in his stateside debut last year, and has just kept on hitting in 2016. His .345 mark sits second in the Appy, with strong hands and an advanced approach driving his quality production.
Mickey Moniak, CF, Philadelphia Phillies (Rookie GCL Phillies): 2-3, BB, R, 2B, SB, CS. Moniak had cooled off lately after a strong start to his professional career, but that’s back-to-back multi-hit games. The base-stealing efficiency hasn’t quite been there yet (nine steals in 14 attempts), but it’s probably not a bad idea to give the top overall pick some time to figure that out, yeah?
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