Yeah . . . looks pretty much ready to me
Carlos Quentin, OF, White Sox (Triple-A Charlotte)
Sunday’s stats: 2-for-2, RBI, BB
The biggest move made in the second half as far as the American League Central race goes might not come via a trade, but rather by the return of Quentin to the White Sox roster. Out since May 25th with a foot injury, Quentin made just one out in six plate appearances over the weekend in the International League. In the league with nothing close to a dominant team, he could be the difference.
Trying to make the big guy look bad
Ian Snell, RHP, Pirates (Triple-A Indianapolis)
Sunday’s stats: 7 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K
Last week, Pittsburgh GM Neal Huntington labeled Snell’s contract extension as a mistake. At the time, it was certainly understandable based on Snell’s miserable year, but the right-hander has clearly figured something out in the Minors, as he has yet to allow an earned run in 14 innings while striking out 23 of the 50 batters he’s faced, limiting them to a .149 batting average.
The cure for what ails the Mets?
Jon Niese, LHP, Mets (Triple-A Buffalo)
Sunday’s stats: 9 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 10 K
Probably not, but that doesn’t mean he’s not hot. Niese looked very much like a solid back-of-the-rotation type entering the year, but he wasn’t even close to that during the first half of the year, as he entered the month of June with an ERA north of eight. Since then, however, he has really turned things around by showing the big time curveball that got him this far in the first place, allowing just three earned runs over 37 1/3 innings (0.72 ERA) in five starts.
And he makes the list anyway
Matt Dominguez, 3B, Marlins (High-A Jupiter)
Sunday’s stats: 4-for-4, 2 2B, HR (8), 4 R, RBI, BB
While Dominguez’s streak of games with home runs ended over the weekend, he started another one on Sunday afternoon with one of the loudest box score lines of the day. His .256/.316/.405 line is misleading, as in his last 30 games, the 2007 first-round pick is batting .314 with seven home runs and 27 driven in.
A good day for the new guys
Randall Grichuk and Mike Trout, OFs, Angels (Rookie-Level AZL Angels)
Sunday’s stats: Grichuk – 6-for-7, 3 2B, 3 R, 4 RBI, SB; Trout – 2-for-2, 3B, 2 R, RBI, 4 BB
Taken with Anaheim’s back-to-back first-round picks last month, Grichuk and Trout went off in an 18-3 thrashing of the Rangers down in the complex league. Grichuk, the more powerful of the pair, raised his batting average more than 100 points in his eighth professional game, while Trout, the speedier of the two, got six plate appearances in his pro debut without making an out. Excellent news for a system that is a quite weak when it comes to position player prospects at the lower levels.
Mike Bianucci, OF, Rangers (Low-A Hickory)
Sunday’s stats: 2-for-2, HR (15), 2 R, 3 RBI, BB
An eighth-round pick last June out of Auburn, Bianucci is a wide-bodied outfielder with plus power and surprising athleticism. He’s been the best hitter in the Sally League this year, batting .335/.404/.604 while leading the circuit in slugging and ranking third in on-base percentage. However, Bianucci is 23 years old and from a big-time college program, so it’s not especially surprising to see him put up big numbers at this level. High-A won’t be much of an indicator either, as he’ll move to the high-octane environs of the California League this week, so we may not really know what we have here until Bianucci gets to Double-A, which should be by 2010, if not earlier.