Announcing his presence with authority
Brian Matusz, LHP, Orioles (Double-A Bowie)
Wednesday’s stats: 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R (0 R), 1 BB, 10 K
After finishing his Carolina League run with 20 scoreless innings over his last three starts, Matusz kept things going in his Double-A debut. Baltimore’s top pick in last year’s draft, the 22-year-old lefty sat at 90-92 mph while filling the strike zone with three quality secondary offerings. He’s a highly advanced arm who should be in a position to compete for a big league rotation job next spring.
Meanwhile, in established lefty news . . .
Scott Kazmir, LHP, Rays (High-A Charlotte)
Wednesday’s stats: 4.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K
Kazmir looked sharp in his first game since May 20, after which he hit the disabled list with a strained quadriceps, but also took some time to work with former pitching coach Rick Peterson to tweak his mechanics. He reported no problems after the start, will get his pitch count upped to 85 in a game for Triple-A Durham in five days, after which he’s expected to return to Tampa’s rotation.
. . . and the best power lefty Tampa’s minor league system
Matt Moore, LHP, Rays (Low-A Bowling Green)
Wednesday’s stats: 6.2 IP, 1 H 1 R, 2 BB, 10 K
Two starts ago, Moore struck out 12 in a seven-inning no-hitter, but he missed our daily prospect party because it happened on a Saturday. His 92-94 mph fastball is as notable for its movement as much as the velocity, while his power curve is a true nose-to-toes breaker that can make opposing hitters look downright silly. If he has on big issue, it’s with controlling his stuff, as he’s walked 40 in 58 innings, but he’s also struck out 86 while allowing just 35 hits. His ceiling is through the roof.
Really? He hit a triple?
Tyler Flowers, C, White Sox (Double-A Birmingham)
Wednesday’s stats: 2-for-5, 3B, HR (9), 5 RBIs, K
One of the prospects received from Atlanta in the Javier Vasquez deal, Flowers is a 250-pound behemoth, so what’s more shocking than him hitting a triple last night is the fact that it’s actually his second three-bagger on the year. He’s still a below-average receiver, but he’s also an offensive force with power and plenty of patience that has led to a .282/.425/.516 line in 56 games.
Repeating and adjusting
Johermyn Chavez, OF, Blue Jays (Low-A Lansing)
Wednesday’s stats: 2-for-4, HR (12), 2 R, 6 RBI, 2 K
Overmatched in the Midwest League last year as a 19-year-old, Chavez is a big right fielder with plenty of raw power and good athleticism for his size. After hitting just .211 last year with seven home runs in 115 games, Chavez has already well surpassed that this year. With three home runs in his last six contests, his averages sit at .279/.341/.528, and he’s still just 20 years old.
T.J. House, LHP, Indains (Low-A Lake County)
Wednesday’s stats: 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K
A 16th-round pick last year, the Indians gave House a well over-slot bonus of $750,000 to persuade him away from attending Tulane, and so far that’s looking like a sound investment. A six-foot-two, beefy southpaw with low 90s heat and a plus breaking ball, the 19-year-old has allowed just four earned runs over 29 innings in his last five outings to lower his season ERA to 2.74.