Minor League Update, June 6th
Hitter of the Day:
Josh Lowe, OF, Tampa Bay Rays (Low-A, Bowling Green): 3-5, 2 R, 2B, 3B, K, SB
Curiously, Lowe has been playing CF exclusively for the 2017 season. While the move to the OF wasn’t a surprise—most scouts didn’t think he could stick in the dirt—the move to CF is the curious one. While a plus runner, he could lose a few steps as he matures physically, but he can work in either corner thanks to plus arm strength.
Pitcher of the Day:
Dane Dunning, RHP, Chicago White Sox (High-A, Winston-Salem): 5 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 11 K
The Dunning case (and Shaun Anderson to a lesser degree) shows that even if a player isn’t used in a specific role in college, that he can adapt once in the professional ranks. Dunning was in the bullpen because Logan Shore, A.J. Puk, and Alex Faedo were all occupying weekend rotation gigs. But scouts got lots of looks at Dunning and believed his size, arsenal, and composure would let him pitch in a rotation. So far so good.
Other Notable Performances:
Lucas Erceg, 3B, Milwaukee Brewers (High-A, Carolina): 3-6, 2 R, 2B, HR, 4 RBI
While the circumstances behind him leaving Cal-Berkeley shouldn’t be swept under the rug, Erceg has always had legitimate tools and talent. He profiles well at 3B with his 7 arm, quick feet, and plus raw power. He got a somewhat aggressive assignment heading to High-A in his first full season, but is starting to adapt.
Gilbert Lara, SS, Milwaukee Brewers (Low-A, Wisconsin): 3-4, 3 RBI
Lara has not enjoyed full-season ball thus far. A lot has been made about Lara considering he signed for a large bonus, skipped straight to AZL, is young, physical (6-foot-4, 200 pounds) and shows all sorts of tools. I will give him a pass because he is 19, but at some point, it needs to show up.
J.B. Woodman, OF, Toronto Blue Jays (Low-A, Lansing): 3-5, R, 2 2B, 2 SB
While still showing far too much swing and miss at the Low-A level (41 percent) Woodman does have an impressive set of tools. A plus runner with a plus arm, average raw power, and the ability to play all three OF spots. Just stop striking out so much, okay?
Zack Granite, OF, Minnesota Twins (Triple-A, Rochester): 3-5, 2 R, 2B, RBI, K
A super speedy OF, Granite has been plagued by nagging injuries and has struggled to put together a full season overall. He has the classic fourth outfielder skill set when healthy, highlighted by 70 run times and a slappy, contact-oriented swing.
Bernardo Flores, LHP, Chicago White Sox (Low-A, Kannapolis): 6 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K
A sparsely used pitcher at University of Southern California, Flores got a chance to pitch a lot and flourished in pro ball. His plus fastball plays well with his changeup, which is an above-average offering, and his best off-speed pitch. While his feel for spin can come and go, he is still gaining every fifth day reps to work on it.
Joe Gatto, RHP, Los Angeles Angels (Low-A, Burlington): 5 IP, 4 H, R, ER, 2 BB, 8 K
In a weak Angels system, we left Gatto off of our Top 10 due to a lack of development, and poor overall performance. He is still learning how to pitch at this point and might be a longshot to make it back onto next year’s list.
Sal Romano, RHP, Cincinnati Reds (Triple-A, Louisville): 5 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 8 K
Romano will always be compared to Jonathan Broxton because of his size (6-foot-6, 270 pounds) and a power fastball-breaker combination. But the Reds have given Romano every opportunity to start and will get more opportunities in the Queen City this season.
Michael Kelly, RHP, San Diego Padres (Double-A, San Antonio): 6 IP, 3 H, R, ER, 2 BB, 8 K
A first rounder back in 2011, Kelly struggled for a long time with his delivery and velocity. Working with P3 Performance in St. Louis has helped Kelly regain some lost velocity, pitching in the mid 90’s at times now. While the off-speed arsenal is still fringy, at least his profile isn’t on life support anymore.
Angel German, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers (Low-A, Great Lakes): 2 1/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, BB, K
I first saw German in the back fields of Arizona in 2015, easily touching 100, and throwing 96-98 at 18-19. His control and offspeed were…raw at best at the time. He is a definite reliever.
Tommy Eveld, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks (Low-A, Kane County): 1 1/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K
A tall, lanky, right-hander with a plus fastball, it is only a matter of time before Tommy takes his shiny 0.36 ERA out of Kane County and into the Visalia desert. But when Wilson Karaman goes to see him, I will have already talked about him. Muhahaha.
Steven Brault, LHP, Pittsburgh Pirates (Triple-A, Indianapolis): 6 IP, 4 H, R, ER, BB, 8 K
While more of a ho-hum profile then that of a higher rotation player, Brault will be pitching in a big-league rotation for a long time. Then you will think back and wonder, why weren’t we talking about Steven Brault before?
Fight Another Day:
Michael Kopech, RHP, Chicago White Sox (Double-A, Birmingham): 5 1/3 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 5 BB, 5 K
Something that is getting overlooked with Kopech and his flamethrowing right arm is this…can he throw enough strikes? He is relatively young for Double-A, but he hasn’t shown much improvement overall since 2014. While he keeps making headlines for how hard he throws, keep an eye on the walks.
The State of Florida
Can it stop raining, please?
Thank you for reading
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