Hitter of the Day:
Cody Thomas, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers (Low-A Great Lakes): 3-5, 3 R, 3 HR, 7 RBI, K
Thomas played very little actual baseball as an amateur, with the lion’s share of his athletic attention spent on backup quarterbacking the Oklahoma Sooners. He turned heads in his Pioneer League debut last year, though, with raw tools and athleticism aplenty. The realities of professional baseball have beset upon him a bit this year in full-season, but yesterday’s outburst wasn’t particularly out of line for a plus-powered masher. It’s a long term project, but you know what they say…never bet against an elite athlete.
Pitcher of the Day:
A.J. Puk, LHP, Oakland Athletics (Double-A Midland): 6.2 IP, 3 ER, 3 H, BB, 13 K
In Monday’s chat I named Puk as most likely to scuffle through his 20s and dominate in his 30s. And yesterday he showed the eventual ceiling before running out of gas in the seventh. The fastball and slider both play above their already-wildly-intimidating radar readings thanks to long levers and downhill extension, and nights like this when he has it working are going to something to watch for a long time to come.
Other Prospects of Note:
Brent Honeywell, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays (Triple-A Durham): 5 IP, ER, 6 H, 8 K, HRA
Honeywell was in cruise control in this one, wrapping up five in 76 tasty pitches. He’s steadfastly plowing along, biding his time at this point.
Michael Chavis, 3B, Boston Red Sox (Double-A Portland): 2-4, BB, 3 R, 2B, HR, 3 RBI, K
Chavis has been on an absolute tear lately, with yesterday’s long ball his fourth in eight games to tie for the minor-league lead. He’s now slugging .618 on the year split between High- and Double-A assignments, and is very probably the best prospect standing in the Sox’ system after Devers wandered north and Dombrowski stayed dry at the deadline.
Ryan Borucki, LHP, Toronto Blue Jays (Double-A New Hampshire): 7 IP, 6 H, 7 K
After pitching okay-not-great in his Double-A debut, Borucki has thrown up three straight seven-inning efforts in which he’s allowed one run combined. The checkered past of his left arm is the thing standing between the former 15th-rounder and more notoriety. But he has a nice three-pitch mix from the left side, and he’s producing excellent results this year after finally getting healthy. Consider the issue in the process of being forced.
Felix Jorge, RHP, Minnesota Twins (Double-A Chattanooga): 7.2 IP, 4 H, 2 BB, 5 K
Man, is Jorge ever a traditional Minnesota pitching prospect? He commands the ball very well to help an average four-pitch mix play towards solid-average potential. He’s produced a pretty good facsimile this season for a Jorge-average stat line a couple years into the future.
Victor Robles, CF, Washington Nationals (Double-A Harrisburg): 1-2, R, HR, RBI
A rainout didn’t stop Robles from launching his second Double-A homer. .324/.405/.568 now though his first ten games at the level. He was 19 on Opening Day.
Cristian Pache, CF, Atlanta Braves (Low-A Rome): 4-6, SB
Pache’s a gazelle, so swift, so swift, you can’t catch him. A seven-figure J2 in 2015, Pache’s held his own as a young 18 in full-season. There’s no power here yet, but there could be at least a little bit of it eventually, and he has the physicality to get there without compromising too much of his 70-grade speed.
Micker Adolfo, RF, Chicago White Sox (Low-A Kannapolis): 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI, K
Adolfo continues to pile up whiffs at a dizzying rate, which isn’t surprising for all the reasons Jarrett gets into here. But he’s started to show a bit more patience of late, and he’s started to come around after a swan dive around the All-Star break. This is a slow jam, right here.
James Nelson, 3B, Miami Marlins (Low-A Greensboro): 4-5, R, 3 2B, 2 RBI, K
The Marlins signed Nelson out of junior college for $75,000 in the 15th round last year, and he’s played his way into the organization’s top ten discussion since signing. It’s an across-the-board collection of tools, highlighted by solid hot-corner defense and enough offensive projection to envision an everyday player down the line.
Will Benson, RF, Cleveland Indians (Short-Season Mahoning Valley): 4-5, BB, 2 R, 2B, HR, 4 RBI, SB
Have a day, kid. Here’s the thing about Will Benson: the journey’s not going to be the short, linear kind. He possesses wild tools, but he’s also a 19-year-old kid growing into a massive, 6-foot-5, 230-pound frame. Patience is a virtue with this one.
Luis Garcia, SS, Washington Nationals (Rookie GCL Nationals): 4-5, 3 R, 2B, RBI
I will take this opportunity to parrot my Annual comment about Garcia to note that he was born in the year 2000, and he is currently playing professional baseball after receiving a seven-figure bonus. Make of that what you will. Beyond that, all of the standard platitudes about a projectable, athletic teenager apply here – he shows the fundamentals of a true shortstop and enough projection peeking through the raw bat to see a future big-leaguer deep into the dark future.
Luis Robert, OF, Chicago White Sox (DSL White Sox): 3-4, BB, 2 R, 2B, SB
Robert has shown an advanced approach since signing a much-ballyhooed contract with the Southsiders. He’s also hit everything he has swung at, and stolen a bunch of bases afterwards. Ho hum. Get used to this kind of stat line from him in the low minors and, very possibly, the majors some day.
Freudis Nova, SS, Houston Astros (Rookie DSL Astros Orange): 4-7, 3 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI
Nova was the crown jewel of Houston’s extravagant international haul last summer, and he’s gotten is professional career off to a great start. As Mark noted the other night, there’s some PED-shaded red ink on his permanent record, but there are also five tools wafting gracefully along the warm summer breeze. He is 17, of course, and thus many moons away from any of them actualizing. But the early returns are such that the Marlins are probably not thrilled they didn’t stand by their man.
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