Hitter of the Day:
Franchy Cordero, CF, San Diego Padres (Triple-A El Paso): 5-5, R, 2B, 4 RBI, 2 SB
Franchy’s hit tool remains a question mark-filled slice of scouting real estate, and prior to yesterday the season had largely been a big ol’ struggle for him at Triple A. But even throughout the early scuffles he’s still done him some interesting slugging, and the quick-twitch athleticism has never been in question. The secondary skills are good enough for him to carve out a 25-man role as is. How much farther he goes from there, we’ll have to wait and see.
Pitcher of the Day:
Kolby Allard, LHP, Atlanta Braves (Double-A Mississippi): 6 IP, 3 H, 11 K
Why, hello there. The Braves went aggressive with the assignments of some of their top arms this spring, with 19-year-old Allard heading to Double-A chief among ‘em. Well, after posting his best start of the season to outduel Michael Kopech, he’s now given up five earned runs through six starts. The combination of a long-through-the-middle frame and history of surgical-level back issues is pretty much all that stands in the way of him catapulting into the top tier of starting pitching prospects at this point.
Others of Note:
Anthony Banda, LHP, Arizona Diamondbacks (Triple-A Reno): 7 IP, 4 H, BB, 9 K
Arizona’s top prospect has struggled with his control in the early going, and yesterday’s one-walk performance marked the first of his now six starts in which he didn’t yield multiple free passes. Righties have continued to know him around a bit in the high minors, and he has struggled a bit to finish lefties in his hundred-plus innings at Triple A now.
Carson Kelly, C, St. Louis Cardinals (Triple-A Memphis): 3-5, 2 R, 2 2B, HR, 3 RBI, K
Kelly has shown an intriguing power spike in the first month, culminating with yesterday’s three-extra-base-hit outburst. Pop has never been a part of his game, though it’s worth noting in the land of slower-developing catchers that he did start to show signs of more consistent hard contact last season. Already an everyday-type asset on account of his defensive chops behind the dish, a new normal that included legitimate flourishes of pop would be enough to vault Kelly into the upper tier of prospectdom.
Tyler O’Neill, RF, Seattle Mariners (Triple-A Tacoma): 1-5, 4 K
After doin’ Double A dirty last year, O’Neill’s been wearing it against PCL pitching so far this season. Yesterday’s sombrero included, he’s whiffing in a third of his plate appearances and hitting south of .190. Not the kind of start you’re after when you’re ostensibly knocking on the door of a big-league debut.
Chesny Young, IF, Chicago Cubs (Triple-A Iowa): 5-7, 3 R, 2B
Overlooked in an organization chalk full of other places to look, Young just hits. He doesn’t hit for much of any power, nor does he run or throw in a notably impressive way. But he can hold down whatever infield position you need him to, and he can hit. There’s a reasonably high probability he carves out a nice career for himself as a utility guy because of it.
Sean Reid-Foley, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays (Double-A New Hampshire): 0.2 IP, 4 ER, 3 H, 3 BB, K
Reid-Foley’s April struggles carried right on in to his first start in May, as he failed to make it out of the first inning on account of more illusory control: just 15 of his 37 pitches were strikes, and he has now managed to tally just 15 innings across six starts this season.
Edwin Rios, CI, Los Angeles Dodgers (Double-A Tulsa): 2-5, BB, 2R, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 K
Very little about Rios makes sense if you approach him with preconceived notions of a profile. His swing is very long, he’s very much a strength-over-bat-speed guy, and he’s extremely aggressive. I’m not trying to say he is going to be more than the Quad-A masher that package suggests, though I certainly entertained the possibility last year. But with an OPS north of .900 through his first 153 professional games he’s doing his best to break the mold.
Brandon Waddell, LHP, Pittsburgh Pirates (Double-A Altoona): 3 IP, BB, 6 K
Waddell returned from a forearm strain that had sidelined him since his first start on April 8 to spin three dominant innings against a very good Akron lineup. Control issues have plagued the 2015 fourth-rounder’s career to date, but there’s an average three-pitch mix here that he commands well, and if he learns how to attack the zone more consistently a path to the back of a big-league rotation can be his to walk.
Austin Riley, 3B, Atlanta Braves (High-A Florida): 2-4, R, 2B, HR, 3 RBI
There wasn’t a ton of internal enthusiasm for Riley in our off-season discussions of Atlanta’s system, and the season’s first month has painted a pretty good portrait of the profile. He’s bashed five homers now in the tough early-season environs of the FSL, but he’s also whiffed 31 times while drawing just four walks in his first 112 plate appearances. The glove’s decent, but probably not enough to sustain the profile unless he takes some pretty significant steps forward with the approach.
Brendan Rodgers, SS, Colorado Rockies (High-A Lancaster): 2-4, BB, 2 R, 2 2B, 2 RBI, K
Rodgers’ campaign started three weeks late on account of a sprained wrist, and he’s still in rust-shaking mode. At some point his power stroke is going to mind meld with the Antelope Valley winds and invent new flight patterns, but for now the multiple extra base-hit game is an encouraging sign.
Sam Hilliard, OF, Colorado Rockies (High-A Lancaster): 4-5, R, HR, 5 RBI, K, CS
I just wrote about Hilliard earlier this week, and I’m looking forward to seeing more on Lancaster’s next homestand. The former 15th-rounder is something of a Colorado archetype, with power and speed built into a big frame and a defensive home in one right-side corner or the other. He’s hitting .362 right now, and lest you accuse him of milking his home environs, that mark includes a .388/.415/.653 effort across 13 games on the road.
Jordan Romero, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays (High-A Dunedin): 6 IP, R (0 ER), 4 H, 9 K
Toronto grabbed Romero in the 2014 draft, then lost him to TJ in 2015. A former college closer, his mid-90’s fastball and hard slider could once again play well at the back end of a bullpen, but the Jays are more than content to run him out for innings now in a starting role.
Trey Supak, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers (Low-A Wisconsin): 5 IP, ER, 2 H, BB, 9 K
It’s still early, of course, but the December 2015 trade that sent Supak and Keon Broxton to Milwaukee for Jason Rogers is quickly turning into quite the heist for the Brewers. Supak impressed James Fisher last summer, and so far Midwest League hitters are having a doozy of a time handling the 20-year-old’s stuff, as he’s racked up 31 punchouts while allowing only 11 hits though 24-plus innings on the young season.
Lewin Diaz, 1B, Minnesota Twins (Low-A Cedar Rapids): 3-5, 2 2B, RBI
Diaz is hot right now, with five extra base-hits in his last three games. A good chunk of his plus-plus power can play, and right now it’s doing so with much less swing-and-miss than you might expect.
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