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Here Come The Prospects!

Gordon Beckham, 3B, White Sox (Triple-A Charlotte)
Wednesday’s stats: 3-for-5, 2 2B
Beckham has a quality swan song on Wednesday, possibly finishing his International League career with a .464 batting average (13-for-28) while the White Sox were distributing a press release about his ascension to the big leagues while Wilson Betemit was designated for assignment. But that was really just part of what was a borderline historic day potentially, as three elite-level prospects got the call on the same day, as Nate McClouth’s departure meant an opportunity in Pittsburgh for Andrew McCutchen, and the release of Tom Glavine means Tommy Hanson makes his big league debut for the Braves on Saturday. Big day for fantasy players, maybe even bigger for the fans of the respective teams.
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New level, same results

Kyle Drabek, RHP, Phillies (Double-A Reading)
Wednesday’s stats: 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 K

It was moving day in the minors as well, as the top pitching prospect in the Phillies system needing no time adjusting to Double-A in his first start for the R-Phils, as his fastball sat at 92-94 mph all night and touched 96. If anything, Doug’s kid is getting better and better as the season rolls on, and could be ready for a big league job some time next year.

Continuing with our moving theme . . .

Jesus Montero, C, Yankees (Double-A Trenton)
Wednesday’s stats: 1-for-4, 2 R, RBI, BB, K

The youngest position player in the Eastern League is now Montero, who was clearly wasting his time in Tampa, mashing at the rate of .356/.406/.583 despite the fact that he’s just 19 years old. More importantly, this move ends the year-plus sharing system with Austin Romine, and lets them both play the position full time. For Romine, it’s to see just how good he can become back there, and for Montero, it’s just to see if he has any chance to even stay behind the plate.
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Deserving of more attention

Ryan Strieby, 1B/LF, Tigers (Double-A Eric)
Wednesday’s stats: 2-for-4, HR (14), 2 R, 2 RBI, BB, K
I don’t understand why this guy doesn’t get run up the pole more as a fine prospect. Guy is only 23 years old, leads the Eastern League in home runs, RBIs and slugging, draws a ton of walks, and has a track record to back it up, coming off a year when he lead the Florida State League in home runs and needing just 112 games to do so. The Tigers are experimenting with him in left field, and as a not-very-athletic six-foot-five and 235 pounds it’s a longshot, but the fact that they’re trying anything knowing that he’s blocked by Miguel Cabrera tells you how much they respect the bat.

This guy is basically the pitching version of Strieby

Esmil Rogers, RHP, Rockies (Double-A Tulsa)
Wednesday’s stats: 8 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K
One of these days, we’re gonna put together a Rodney Dangerfield prospect team. So far Strieby is batting cleanup while Rogers takes the mound. Wednesday was really just another day at the office for Rogers, who in 10 Texas League starts has pitched six or more innings without allowing an earned run in half of them. A converted shortstop with surprising polish in his overall game, Rogers could be part of his own moving day not to far down the road.

Sleeper Alert!

Brian Friday, SS, Pirates (Double-A Altoona)

Wednesday’s stats: 3-for-6, 2 2B, RBI, K

A third-round pick out of Rice in 2007, Friday is one of those college grinder types who doesn’t blow you away on a tools level, but gives you maximum effort time out and does everything right fundamentally, both offensively and defensively. This year, however, he’s really starting to hit, as last night’s effort raised his averages to .330/.411/.560. He’s not a future stud, but he’s the kind of guy that makes you feel better about trading Jack Wilson, which is likely coming in the next two months.

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mikeduin
6/04
Kevin -- For those fantasy players among us, your first entry begs the question...if you were a fantasy player, can you rank Beckham/McCutchen/Hanson in order of preference? Thanks!
kgoldstein
6/04
Mike, The problem is, I'm not a fantasy player, so I don't know how to value for fantasy. I think Hanson will have the most real world impact, and I think the two hitters will be kind of even. I guess in fantasy, McCutchen's speed might make a difference.
mikeduin
6/04
Ah ha. Thanks for the response! Keep up the good work Kevin -- the daily minor league update has been a tremendous addition to the site.
dianagramr
6/04
KG, Opinions on the McLouth trade, from both sides?
kgoldstein
6/04
I'm honestly going back and forth, which makes me feel it's good for both teams probably.
caprio84
6/04
Kev- If Montero isn't a catcher (which everyone says), does he profile as a 1B, or just a DH type? ETA 2011? Sooner? Thx, Mike
kgoldstein
6/04
I would think he could play first base. It's really his size that's holding him back, he actually has pretty soft hands.
billm21
6/04
If it's really on his size and nothing to do with his catching/throwing skills, then why does the subject of Montero not being able to remain behind the plate keep coming up? Is he any bigger than Mauer or Wieters?
kgoldstein
6/04
Mauer and Wieters are both exceptional athletes for their size -- I think that's a huge difference.
billm21
6/04
Typo in previous comment --- I meant to say "only his size" and not "on his size".
thesonofhob
6/04
Considering that first base is blocked for a bit at the major league level for Montero, is he athletic enough to play left and/or have the arm for right? I'm starting to think Montero's bat may actually hinder his ability to stay behind the plate. If anything, he needs to keep working behind the plate, but his bat is going to move him through the system too fast and not let him get that work in. Well, at least there's still Austin Romine. Great defense at catcher and a bat that could maybe develop into league average for the position.
eastern84
6/04
Kevin - Isn't this "borderline historic" day occurring now, along with Wieters's recent callup, mainly to push these players' arbitration back a year? Wieters and Hanson, and maybe McCutchen deserved to be up sooner, and it seems silly that this is starting to be the time of year people get called up because of service time.
ClubberLang
6/04
I think the Sox were hoping they wouldn't need Beckham this early, and he probably needed some time in the minors. I'm not so sure this really was the plan, the plan was that Fields wouldn't be completely terrible and that Getz would be serviceable and get on base and that way they could leave Beckham down for much of the year. But Fields has been terrible, and Getz keeps getting hurt.
DSchmitz3
6/04
Kevin, will players like Strieby and Rogers be in your mid-season top 100? Have they shown enough to make that list?Thanks.
marjinwalker
6/04
Hey Kevin.... What do you think about another possible sleeper.... also a 3rd round pick from college in 2007 who plays middle infield, but almost a full year younger than Friday: Daniel Descalso? He's been among the leaders on the stats/translations page all year (always loved that feature BP offers, btw).