Hitter of the Day:
Yoan Moncada, 2B, Chicago White Sox (Triple-A Charlotte): 2-3, BB, 3 R, HR, RBI, 2 SB, K
On a night when Chris Sale punched out 13 for Boston, Moncada reminded everybody in Chicago that he can fill up a stat sheet just fine his own damn self, thank you very much. He continues to strike out at a semi-alarming rate, but the power/speed combination is as elite as they get in the minor leagues. Pour one out for this poor Henry Owens fastball, y’all.
Pitcher of the Day:
Yency Almonte, RHP, Colorado Rockies (Double-A Hartford): 7 IP, 4 H, 10 K
Almonte continues to roll along, perhaps less heralded than he should be among an increasingly impressive collection of farm arms in the Colorado system. There’s some sling to his quick arm, and he doesn’t always control his delivery so well, but there’s 97 with movement on the end of it and a slider that’ll flash plus, if inconsistently so. Fine command and changeup development will be front and center on the agenda for the 22-year-old former 17th rounder this season in Hartford.
Others of Note:
Nick Pivetta, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies (Triple-A Lehigh Valley): 6 IP, ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 11 K
Philly’s return for Jonathan Papelbon in 2015, Pivetta is off to an excellent start in his second taste of the Lehigh Valley. The former fourth rounder has shown improved command of a lively fastball up to 96, with 24 strikeouts to just two walks through his first 19 innings of the year. Changeup development remains a question mark, though he has consistently managed to keep lefties honest without a great one to this stage of his career.
Franklin Barreto, SS, Oakland Athletics (Triple-A Nashville): 4-4, R, 3B, RBI
Barreto has seen his whiff rate spike a bit in the early going, but it's hard to argue with a four-hit night or the ensuing .340/.403/.547 line it leaves him with after 14 games.
Bradley Zimmer, CF, Cleveland Indians (Triple-A Columbus): 1-4, R, HR, RBI, 2 K
Zimmer’s stock has slipped over the past year as he graduated to the upper minors and it became increasingly clear that his long swing could be exploited by more advanced pitching. The dinger’s all well and good, but he’s continued to struggle overall in the early going, striking out every third at-bat and not offsetting the whiffs with nearly as many free passes as he’s shown the ability to draw in the past.
Dinelson Lamet, RHP, San Diego Padres (Triple-A El Paso): 5.1 IP, ER, 3 H, 3 BB, 13 K, HR
That’s a lot of strikeouts, and a lot of pitches. Lamet signed very late by Dominican standards as a 21-year-old, and the Padres have aggressively promoted him over the past two seasons as his performance has warranted it. Both the fastball and slider will show plus on a night like last night, and he could very well make an impact in the San Diego bullpen at some point this summer.
Lucas Sims, RHP, Atlanta Braves (Triple-A Gwinnett): 7 IP, 3 H, 5 K
After a disastrous attempt at taming International League hitters last year, the club’s 2012 first rounder has looked better in a second go-around this April. Sims’ fastball sits comfortably in the mid-90s as a starter, with a downer curve that can play to plus. Consistency with both pitches has never been his friend, and his change hasn’t quite grown to utility either. Nevertheless, the Braves persisted, or at least they have so far in keeping him entrenched in the Triple-A rotation. So far, so good this year.
Clay Holmes, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates (Triple-A Indianapolis): 6 IP, 5 H, BB, 7 K
Holmes has a big frame and big stuff from the right side, touching 96 and pairing his heater with a hard, biting hard curveball and average-flashing changeup. He certainly looks the part of a big leaguer, thought inconsistent arm action and body control suggest that his future will lie in power relief, where his command issues can hopefully play down as his velocity ticks up.
Austin Meadows, CF, Pittsburgh Pirates (Triple-A Indianapolis): 2-4, 2B, RBI
With Starling Marte off to extended Chemistry 101 class for the next two-and-a-half months, the window is officially open for Meadows to come up and command his first big-league looks. Well, it’ll presumably be open for real after Super-Two time, anyway.
Jared Miller, LHP, Arizona Diamondbacks (Double-A Jackson): 0.1 IP, 7 ER, 3 H, 3 BB
In fairness to Miller he only gave up four of these runs himself, before departing with the bases loaded and watching Braxton Lee promptly unload them. Still though, not a box score you go running home to show mom. The 6-foot-7 left-handed monster has pitched well otherwise, and may just crack Arizona’s bullpen walls at some point this summer.
Luis Urias, SS, San Diego Padres (Double-A San Antonio): 4-5, 2 R, 2 2B, RBI, K
The reigning California League batting champion and MVP has picked right up where he left off in the Texas League, showing elite bat-to-ball ability and some intriguing pop in the early going. He has some of the better intrinsic feel for hitting in the minor leagues, and if he keeps this up as the second-youngest regular in Double-A I guarantee this won’t be the last time you read about him this year.
Tyler Herb, RHP, Seattle Mariners (Double-A Arkansas Travellers): DNP
He was theoretically lined up for a start in this one, but alas, he will instead toe the runner today, leaving us to reflect upon another year passing in which Arkansas deprived its people of Herb on 4/20.
Franklin Perez, RHP, Houston Astros (High-A Buies Creek): 5 IP, 2 H, 7 K
Perez has been one of the stories of the season so far in the Carolina League, where he’s shown feel well advanced beyond his 19 years of a four-pitch arsenal highlighted by mid-90s gas. That’s all the more impressive for a kid who only took to pitching a couple years ago after signing as a third baseman, and he boasts both the frame and athleticism to develop a solid command profile. He’s one to watch this year.
Sergio Alcantara, SS, Arizona Diamondbacks (High-A Visalia): 3-4, R, RBI, CS
I wrote up Alcantara last week, and he’s interesting mostly for the quality leather he wields at the six spot. A switch-hitter, he shows some contact ability but no power whatsoever. While a potentially true plus projection on the defensive side affords his bat generous leeway, it’s unclear how many more three-hit games he’ll ultimately tack on to the ol’ resume, so enjoy this one.
A.J. Puckett, RHP, Kansas City Royals (High-A Wilmington): 7 IP, 3 H, BB, 8 K
The Royals’ second rounder boasts a well-rounded arsenal that he commands well to all four quadrants and beyond. Plane, pitchability, and feel for an above-average change highlight the package, which is to say that he’s a quality pitching prospect without a dominant fastball.
Josh Naylor, 1B, San Diego Padres (High-A Lake Elsinore): 3-5, R, 3 RBI, 2 K, 2 SB
Naylor has now successfully stolen 13 bases in 17 attempts as a professional and I have absolutely no idea how.
Monte Harrison, CF, Milwaukee Brewers (Low-A Wisconsin): 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI, K
I wrote about Harrison’s mighty bat speed and athleticism last week, and now he’s hit in six straight. I’m not sayin’ nothing, I’m just sayin’.