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He’s Baaaaaaaaaaaaaack

Justin Smoak, 1B, Rangers (Double-A Frisco)
Tuesday’s stats: 2-for-3, K
After missing nearly a month with an oblique problem, Smoak beat up the Arizona Summer League for a couple days, but didn’t get a mention here. When you are an elite-level 22-year-old beating up on teenagers in a complex league, it just doesn’t count. This does, however, as last year’s first-round selection picked up where he left off, raising his season averages to a fantastic .331/.450/.506. Meanwhile, in big league news, Rangers first baseman Chris Davis is 4-for-30 with 14 whiffs in his last nine games. We’re just sayin’.

New level, same results

Pedro Alvarez, 3B, Pirates (Double-A Altoona)
Tuesday’s stats: 0-for-4, 3 K

Alvarez’ performance at High-A, which including a hitting line of .247/.342/.486 with more than a strikeout per game and 13 errors, wasn’t exactly screaming for a promotion. To be fair, he was getting constantly pitched around, and scouts who saw him noted his frustration. He certainly wasn’t pitched around in his Eastern League debut, but that didn’t help him much. It’s hardly time to write him off, but his stock is at least down somewhat.

New level, same results, only in a more positive light

Ike Davis, 1B, Mets (Double-A Bighamton)
Tuesday’s stats: 2-for-2, RBI, 2 BB

Davis’ remarkable turnaround from a downright concerning pro debut last year continued on Tuesday, as he reached base all four times in his Double-A debut. After hitting .288/.376/.486 at High-A St. Lucie in 59 games, including a .638 slugging percentage in June, Davis is finally looking like the player that earned a first-round selection last June, and the Mets first baseman of the future.

Shining in the spotlight

Tim Beckham, SS, Rays (Low-A Bowling Green)
Tuesday’s stats: 3-for-5, 3B, 2 K
Last night was All-Star day in the minors, as four leagues had their mid-season celebratory contest. While Beckham’s South squad lost 8-7 on a walk-off single by Pirates first baseman Calvin Anderson (who also won the home run contest), Beckham had the best overall offensive night with the game’s only three-hit effort. The first overall pick in last year’s draft, Beckham hit .288/.346/.415 in the first half of the season, and is also showing a better approach at the plate of late, while also driving the ball more. Basically, all systems remain go.

Bringing the heat

Henry Rodriguez, RHP, Athletics (Triple-A Sacramento)
Tuesday’s stats: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K
Rodriguez is known for two things. The first is velocity, as in short stints out of the bullpen, he sits at 96-99 mph while frequently touching triple-digits. The second, unfortunately, is constant control issues. He seems to be solving the second of late, as in his last four appearances, he’s struck out 10 over six innings while giving up only one hit and, more importantly, walking just two. Expect him back in the big leagues soon.

Sleeper Alert!

Sawyer Carroll, OF, Padres (Low-A Fort Wayne)

Tuesday’s stats: 4-for-4, R, 2 SB

A third-round pick last June, Carroll’s coming out party continued at the Midwest League All-Star game, as he earned “Star of Stars” honors with his perfect night at the plate. A big athlete with gap power, decent speed and an excellent approach, Carroll is batting .316/.410/.464 on the season, but has been ever better than that of late, going 22-for-53 (.415) in his last 15 games.

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faithdies
6/24
Hey Kevin, If Michael Taylor continues this torrid pace he is on; does he become a top 20 prospect in the League?
billm21
6/24
With the concern about Alvarez's performance in the spotlight today, let's turn back the clock for a little revisionist history. Assume for a moment that the Pirates and Alvarez did NOT come to an agreement last August 15th, giving the Buccos the #2 pick in the 2009 draft. Assuming that they banked the money saved from not signing Alvarez, they wouldn't need to go cheap with pick #2 and would have taken Dustin Ackley. Based on what we know right now, who would you sooner have if you were the Pirates --- Pedro Alvarez or Dustin Ackley?
ostrowj1
6/24
My understanding was that the Pirates would have drafted third in this case (the Mariners get the 2nd pick, the Pirates get the 2nd 2nd pick). Look at the Nationals draft. Their compensation pick was actually the 10th pick of the draft (while the picked 9th last year).
billm21
6/24
You are correct. I was thinking that they picked Alvarez with the 1st overall, but forgot that the Rays and Beckham were in there first. My oversight. So now you're looking at having the 3rd overall pick, which would be anyone's guess on where they would have gone with it.
kringent
6/24
Down this road lies madness, billm21.
tfierst
6/24
Keith Law has mentioned a few times that there was concerns with platoon splits with Alverez. He said he had him ranked way lower than he went and a lot of scouts agreed. Any thoughts on that take Kevin?
smallflowers
6/24
Any concern about Henry Rodriguez's splits? Yowza. ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO GO/AO AVG vs Left 16.87 2.2 5 5 5 2 3 5 3.00 .385 vs Right 0.00 11.1 3 0 0 0 4 19 0.67 .086
billm21
6/24
That's too small of a sample to make any judgments.
dbthewise1313
6/24
the same should be said about reading "seems to be solving control issues" from 2 BBs in last 6 IP.
smallflowers
6/24
Not sure this is too small a sample for an RP prospect. This is probably 10+ outings we're talking about here. The whole point is how players develop under a microscope.
ramjam36
6/24
I think everyone is freaking out way to early on Alvarez. I would still take him over Ackley in a heartbeat.
jrfukudome
6/24
Kevin, do you think Smoak is ready for a call-up?
rittdogg
6/24
Kevin, what's your take on Beckham's defense? I saw him play last week and he looked kinda rough out there. I know I shouldn't be alarmed yet by the errors, but the B.J. Upton experience is still fresh in my mind.
TheBunk
6/24
Kevin, does Brian Dopirak have anything left to prove in the minors?
kgoldstein
6/24
Yes -- quite a bit really. He has years of bad performances to get behind him, he's a lefty-masher, and as a 1B prospect, just being good isn't enough.
TheBunk
6/24
Do you have a link to historical splits for minor leaguers? I just saw that stats are very good this year against righties and lefties, that combined with the successful jump to double a has to be very encouraging. What would you do with Dopirak, is there much of a point sending him to the friendly hitting confines of the PCL? Or do you just let him finish up the year in New Hampshire and fight for a roster spot next year?
kowcore
6/24
You can find Dopirak's splits dating back to 2005 here.
mattymatty2000
6/24
Would this be a good time for some team to come in and try to trade for Alvarez?
philosofool
6/27
Not going to happen. You don't give up on an $6M prospect after three months.
kowcore
6/24
How about Cameron Garfield? The Brewers took two high school hitters with their back-to-back picks in the second round; Max Walla was supposed to be the bat-first slugger and Garfield the good defensive catcher with questions about his bat, and yet Garfield started a level above Walla and only went 5-5 in his pro debut yesterday.
kgoldstein
6/24
Great start for sure, but talk about small sample sizes.
kowcore
6/24
Haha, absolutely. It's just interesting given the scouting reports and surprising placement.
blcartwright
6/25
minorleaguesplits has vs LHP 104 PA 9 BB 32 SO vs RHP 163 PA 23 BB 38 SO was better his last year at Vanderbilt vs LHP 74 PA 10 BB 11 SO cs RHP 118 PA 16 BB 17 SO
blcartwright
6/25
those splits were for Pedro Alvarez, I did reply to the comment on his splits, but it got put at the bottom