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A mystery wrapped around an enigma

Howie Kendrick>, 2B, Angels (Triple-A Salt Lake)
Wednesday’s stats: 4-for-5, R, RBI
I don’t think you can find anyone who projected for Kendrick to be at Triple-A at midseason. He entered the year with a .306 career batting average in the big leagues, and after last night’s four-hit effort, his career minor league average now stands at .360. The .231/.281/.355 average he put up in 51 games for the Angels this year just stands out like a sore thumb and, frankly, looks more than a bit fluky. If the Angels are now committed to Maicer Izturis at second base, teams receiving calls from Anaheim this month will surely be inquiring about Kendrick, hoping to snare him when his value is at its lowest.

Making sure he gets in this time

Jesus Montero, C, Yankees (Double-A Trenton)
Wednesday’s stats: 2-for-3, 2B, HR (4), R, RBI, BB

Montero arguably deserved a mention in yesterday’s update with a two-homer effort, so he upped the ante on Wednesday. After going homerless in his first 17 Double-A contests, he has now smacked four in his last three games, and is now batting .319/.395/.542. Have we mentioned that he’s only 19? He still needs to make some massive improvements in his defense to have a chance to stay at catcher, so it’s hard to figure out where he fits into the Yankees future, other than the middle of the lineup.

Out of sight, out of mind?

Yamaico Navarro, SS, Red Sox (High-A Salem)
Wednesday’s stats: 3-for-4, HR (2), 2 R, 2 RBI

Navarro had a break out campaign in 2008, batting .304/.359/.447 across two levels, but he seems to have been quickly forgotten about when a wrist injury kept him out for most of the first half of the season. Healthy and hitting again, the 21-year-old Dominican has gone deep in back-to-back games and is now 14-for-38 with 25 total bases in eight Carolina League games.

Giving credit where credit is due

James McOwen, OF, Mariners (High-A High Desert)
Wednesday’s stats: 2-for-3, 2B, 3 RBI
A sixth-round pick two years ago out of Florida International, McOwen is what is commonly referred to in scouting parlance a “tweener” in the outfield, indicating that he lacks the speed to play center or the power to profile in a corner. Nonetheless, last night’s effort extended his California League record hitting streak to a whopping 38 games, a streak during which he’s been especially hot of late, going 20-for-45 in his last 10 contests.

All he does is hit

Angelo Songco, OF, Dodgers (Rookie-level Ogden)
Wednesday’s stats: 3-for-5, 2B, HR (3), R, 2 RBI, 2 K
One of college baseball’s best hitters, Songco had a fantastic career at Loyola Marymount, but a lack of overall tools and athleticism allowed him to fall to the fourth round. Signed for $225,000, Songco’s pro career is off to a flying start. In his first nine games, he’s batting a healthy .367/.457/.733.

Sleeper Alert!

Tyler Ladendorf, SS, Twins (Rookie-level Elizabethton)

Wednesday’s stats: 3-for-5, 2B, HR (3), 2 R, 4 RBI

Seen as the best junior college player in the country last year, Ladendorf was a second-round pick last year, but had a miserable pro debut that included a paltry line of .204/.308/.293 in the Gulf Coast League. Beginning the season in extended spring training this year, Ladendorf started the year with a 4-for-4 game and has never looked back, now batting .438 (14-for-32) with 10 runs and 11 RBI in just nine games.

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surlycooper
7/02
I was wondering how long it would take for you to mention Ladendorf! Quick question: how is he defensively at SS? Is he a future 3B, or can he stick at SS or 2B?
astein
7/02
Do the Yankees put Montero at greater risk of serious injury by continuing to play him at catcher, a position he seems destined never to play in NY? Aside from that, what's the harm in having an all-bat, no-glove player in the AL? Seems like the Yankees should plan for him to become their full-time DH in 2011, no? In the meantime, get it over with and switch him to 1B.
beeker99
7/02
Mike Piazza caught for an awfully long time, and it didn't seem to hurt his teams too much. Why not leave Montero at C until he shows he can't do it? Even if he could do it just part-time, that would have value. As for moving him to 1B, pardon the snark, but perhaps you heard about a first baseman, Mark Teix-something, the Yanks signed this past offseason to an 8-year contract, for $180M or so?
metty5
7/02
Some of that could change as we move further away form the steroid era. Station to station baseball will probably decrease to a degree. One can assume people will be more aggressive on the base paths.
ostrowj1
7/03
I don't think the original poster suggested Montero play 1B for the Yankees. I think the thought process was "If he is destined to be a DH, why is he still catching". Playing 1B in the minors may keep him healthier (and maybe allpow him more time to focus on the bat) so that he can be a more productive hitter. This is all assuming he cannot play any position at the mlb level.
thesonofhob
7/02
If I was going to move him off of catcher, I'd move him to left. His arm can't be worst than Damon's and his fielding can't be worst than Manny's/Dunn's. All he has to show is that his bat can play there, and so far so good. First is obviously taken up for a while, but the Yankee outfield is in flux. Certainly they have Gardner/Melky/A-Jax, but those three are either center fielders or forth out fielders. None of them have the bat for a corner. Nick Swisher is under contract for a while, but he has right, and he's not exactly the type of player you make plans around, instead you make your plans and see where he fits afterward. If he can handle left, at lest that opens up more options than a strict DH, especially with older players like Posada/A-Rod/Jeter needing occasional rest. So the question becomes, can Montero handle left field? I know he's terrible at catcher, but that doesn't mean he lacks the "athleticism" to play left...
jobathebeast
7/02
How soon do you think Montero's bat will be ready for the big leagues? Regardless of age
jmoultz
7/02
What's the scouting report on Navarro's glove...can he stay at SS?