Good Timing . . .
Brian Matusz, LHP, Orioles (Double-A Bowie)
Tuesday’s stats: 8 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 11 K
On the same day he was featured in a piece about the future of the Orioles rotation, Matusz delivered his best start of the year, allowing just a fourth-inning single that was quickly erased by a double-play ball. Since moving up to the Eastern League in mid-June, Matusz has been the hottest arm in the minors, allowing just one run in 26.1 innings while striking out 32 and limiting the league to a .122 batting average. He’s ready, but you probably won’t see him until November.
This is getting ridiculous
Derek Norris, C, Nationals (Low-A Hagerstown)
Tuesday’s stats: 2-for-3, 2 HR (20), 2 R, 4 RBI, 2 BB, K
We had the Josh Vitters run of 11 home runs in 15 games, and we had Jesus Montero‘s recent explosion, but we never had a short-term run like this, as Norris finished up his four-game streak against Hickory by going 8-for-14 with a double, six home runs and 11 RBIs. His numbers were great before the streak began, but now they’re bordering on ridiculous at .320/.416/.605.
Meanwhile, in rehab news . . .
Alex Gordon, 3B, Royals (Triple-A Memphis)
Tuesday’s stats: 2-for-5, 2B, HR (1), R, 3 RBI, K
After undergoing a hip procedure similar to the one performed on Alex Rodriguez, Gordon is scheduled to return to the punch-less Royals after the All-Star break, but he’s starting to find his timing in the minors, hitting his first home run in eight games. The better news is that everything else was already there. The former first-round pick is now 7-for-21 with 10 walks.
Not letting it get him down
Chris Davis, 3B/1B, Rangers (Triple-A Oklahoma City)
Tuesday’s stats: 3-for-4, 2B, 3B, BB
After a monster half-season with the Rangers that included 17 home runs and a .549 slugging percentage, Davis was given the Opening Day first base job, but played his way back to the minors with an equally miserable half year that including a .202 batting average and 114 strikeouts in just 258 at-bats. Justin Smoak is seen as the Rangers first baseman of the future at this point, but don’t write off Davis, who is still just 23, still has top-of-the-line power, and is getting some games in at third base at Oklahoma City.
Why is this guy not a household name yet?
Ryan Strieby, 1B, Tigers (Double-A Erie)
Tuesday’s stats: 2-for-5, HR (16), 3 R, 2 RBI, BB
He has four straight multi-hit games, and with 16 home runs and 46 walks in just 244 at-bats, he’s batting .303/.423/.561, which leads the Eastern League in on-base percentage while placing fourth in slugging. Yet nobody talks about him as one of the better pure offensive prospects around. Yes, he’s big and slow and strikes out a lot, and yes, he’ll be hard pressed to get a shot in Detroit with Miguel Cabrera holding down the job well into the next decade, but that doesn’t mean Strieby isn’t a stud.
Moises Sierra, OF, Blue Jays (High-A Dunedin)
Tuesday’s stats: 2-for-5, 2B, R, 2 RBI, K
A 20-year-old Dominican, Sierra struggled in the Midwest League last year mostly due to a poor approach, but he has made significant adjustments in that area this year, as a more patient, contact-oriented approach has paid huge dividends. Now 19-for-36 in his last nine games, Sierra’s line has been bumped up to .336/.408/.466, leading the Florida State League in batting. Scouts think there still might be some power hidden in his 225-pound frame.