Prospect of the Day:
Mitch Keller, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates (High-A Bradenton): 6 IP, 5 H, BB, 7 K
Making his High-A debut, Keller missed not a beat in running to five his streak of starts without allowing an earned run – a span of 29 innings (and counting). His heavy fastball runs up to 95, and he pairs it with a nasty hook that’ll flash plus when he’s able to land it consistently. With last year’s arm issue hopefully in his rearview at this point, he looks the part of Pittsburgh’s next best pitching prospect.
Others of Note:
Brandon Nimmo, OF, New York Mets (Triple-A Las Vegas): 3-5, 3 R, 2B, HR, RBI. Sure, Vegas is Vegas, but what’s happening there hasn’t been staying there in Nimmo’s case. He’s hitting .400 over his last ten, and has gone yard in each of the past two games at El Paso, part of a .322/.392/.533 line on the road this year.
Derek Fisher, OF, Houston Astros (Triple-A Fresno): 3-4, BB, 2B, SB, K. Fisher’s always going to be a guy who’s more impressive to fantasy players than the average baseball fan, but his weaknesses shouldn’t obscure his strengths. He continues to dabble at all three outfield positions, though I saw a true leftfielder last year and it still sounds like the best fit ultimately. His second consecutive 20-20 season lends credence to those optimistic that the offensive contributions will be enough to push him to above-average value there.
Chance Sisco, C, Baltimore Orioles (Double-A Bowie): 4-4, 2B. Sisco has been on some kind of a roll lately, as that makes five multi-hit games in his last six, and he’s now up to .342/.426/.467 since the All-Star break. He has struggled with same-handed pitching, and the in-game power hasn’t really manifested, but boy has this been an impressive season at the dish for a 21-year-old catcher in Double-A.
Ian Happ, 2B, Chicago Cubs (Double-A Tennessee): 2-3, BB, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI, K. Happ’s been in a bit of a funk since that torrid start to his Double-A career in June, with yesterday’s effort his first multi-hit game in a couple weeks.
Jorge Alfaro, C, Philadelphia Phillies (Double-A Reading): 3-5, R, HR, 2 RBI, K. After a brief cameo filling in as the Phillies’ bench scarecrow to keep Galvis away from the tub of sunflower seeds, Alfaro quickly returned to doing what he’d been doing in Reading. Yeah, he’s probably going to be pretty good.
Marcos Diplan, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers (High-A Brevard County): 7 IP, ER, 4 H, BB, 9 K. Diplan had shown some signs of wearing down in August as his innings ticked up into triple digits after he’d logged just 50 last year. But he rebounded yesterday with his longest and best outing at High-A, and looks poised to challenge for a Top-10 slot on our Brewers list this off-season.
Dom Nunez, C, Colorado Rockies (High-A Modesto): 3-6, 2 R, 2 RBI, K. For a second straight year Nunez has gone on a second-half power binge; he hit 13 second-half homers last year after not leaving the yard once before the All-Star break, and this year he’s hit nine over the past two months after leaving the yard just once in the previous three. Catchers are weird. Nunez has the chance to be a good one, though.
Jordan Johnson, RHP, San Francisco Giants (High-A San Jose): 6 IP, ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 8 K, HRA. After a fairly lengthy and disastrous stretch in the middle of the season where he looked lost on the bump, Johnson has gotten at least some of his groove back lately, firing his fifth quality start in his last six starts yesterday. The low-90’s fastball shows some plane and quality boing action, and when it’s right his hard change flashes as a true bat-misser with late action. There’s a long arm action and a lot of parts to corral, but he’s a solid arm who could just end up being one of those “when the light switch turns on…” kind of guys.
Jordan Stephens, RHP, Chicago White Sox (High-A Winston-Salem): 5 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 11 K. Well, hello there. That’s back-to-back five-inning, double-digit strikeout games now for Stephens to wrap up a month in which he whiffed 42 to just 10 walks in his 31 and a third innings. An ill-timed Tommy John interlude knocked his draft pedigree down a few pegs, but he’s really started to round into form this year in the Carolina League. The fastball and curve can devastate in tandem when the command’s there, and he’s got a full enough arsenal to project into somebody’s rotation for a very, very long time.
Austin Riley, 3B, Atlanta Braves (Low-A Rome): 3-4, R, 2B, HR, RBI, K. The production has come with a lot of strikeouts, but that makes 56 extra base-hits on the year for Riley, who has played this season as one of the youngest regulars in the Sally.
Dylan Cease, RHP, Chicago Cubs (Short-Season Eugene): 5 IP, R (0 ER), 2 H, 4 BB, 8 K. The owner of one of the best fastballs in the minors, he reportedly punched a few 99’s in this start, his arm didn’t fall off, and he’s now given up six hits in his last 16 innings (four starts) with 29 strikeouts.
Austin Hays, OF, Baltimore Orioles (Short-Season Aberdeen): 3-5, R, HR, RBI, K. The Birds’ third-rounder this June out of Jacksonville, Hays has produced a quality professional debut, showing solid, across-the-board skills and a nice fourth-outfielder profile, with some room for more in a corner.
Logan Shore, RHP, Oakland Athletics (Short-Season Vermont): 4 IP, R (0 ER), H, BB, 7 K. He’s no Tebow, but this former Gator’s got a much better chance at making it to the big leagues. He’s done, well, what he does in his first half-dozen pro starts, with yesterday’s being the longest and best of the bunch so far. As polished a collegiate arm as they come, he should be able to move through the low minors right quick next season.