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Back on the bump

Tim Hudson, RHP, Braves (High-A Myrtle Beach)
Sunday’s stats: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K
Like so many teams in the National League, if you squint your eyes and tilt your head funny, the Braves are kind of in it, so who couldn’t use Tim Hudson? Making his way back from last year’s Tommy John surgery, Hudson’s 2009 debut was a rousing success, as he threw strikes and sat at average velocity while touching 93 mph and, most importantly, reported no discomfort afterwards.

Reclamation Project

Nick Hagadone, LHP, Red Sox (Low-A Greenville)
Sunday’s stats: 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 K

A far lesser known player also coming back from Tommy John surgery, Hagadone was a supplemental first-round pick in 2007 who wowed scouts with upper-90s heat from the left side before his elbow went pop in his third start of the 2008 season. Returning to the mound in early June, Hagadone’s command and control have waivered, like so many Tommy John survivors, but he has been untouchable of late, striking out 13 and giving up just two hits over eight shutout innings in his last three games, while bumping his fastball up to 96 mph.

This is not progress . . .

Brandon Morrow, RHP, Mariners (Triple-A Tacoma)
Sunday’s stats: 4.2 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 3 BB, 4 K

The most frustrating thing for the Mariners is probably the fact that on a pure stuff level, Morrow really ranks only a notch below ace Felix Hernandez, but his inability to throw strikes or hone an approach against lefties has the fifth overall pick in the 2006 draft back at Triple-A. His first start since getting sent down showed no progress.

. . . But this is

James Darnell, 3B, Padres (High-A Lake Elsinore)
Sunday’s stats: 3-for-5, 2 HR (6), 2 R, 3 RBI
Darnell created considerable buzz during the first half of the season when he hit .329/.468/.518 at Low-A Fort Wayne, but the California League hasn’t been as kind to him. The three hits on Sunday brought his batting average up to .250, but all the secondary skills remain, including 11 walks in 72 at-bats and 11 of his 18 hits going for extra-bases.

The wheels have officially come off

Shooter Hunt RHP, Twins(Rookie-Level GCL Twins)
Sunday’s stats: 0 IP, 0 H, 4 R, 6 BB, 0 K
Early last spring, Hunt looked like he might go in the first half of last year’s first round, but some late spring struggles with command dropped him to 31st overall. Those struggles with command have now turned into a complete nightmare, walking 33 in 17.2 Low-A innings. Yesterday’s outing all the way down in the Gulf Coast League lasted for a grand total of six batters, all of whom walked, before being mercifully pulled. He’s in the tall weeds, but plenty have recovered from it.

Sleeper alert!

Mitch Moreland, OF, Rangers (Double-A Frisco)

Sunday’s stats: 2-for-4, 2B, HR (5), 5 RBI, BB

A 17th-round pick out of Mississippi State, Moreland was seen as more of an organizational player coming into the year, as his .324/.400/.536 batting line at Low-A last year was written off as a 22-year-old college product beating up on less experience talent. The age/level problem no longer exists now, as after continuing to produce at High-A, he’s now hitting .327/.385/.482 at Double-A. He’s a big guy without a lot of tools, so the bat will have to carry him. So far, so good.

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astein
7/20
Who has the better career: Hagadone or Brackman?
gregorybfoley
7/20
Brackman is 23 and walking 6.37 batters per game in "A" ball, so that doesn't look too promising.
astein
7/20
Yeah, I guess my sarcasm didn't translate. I just found it interesting that both pitchers were taken with their respective team's first pick in 2007 and both have since had TJ surgery. And I happen to be an obnoxious Red Sox fan. Then again, Dan Bard's first swing through A-ball was even more crap-tastic than Brackman's, and he's managed to figure it out.
kgoldstein
7/20
Yeah, I'd have to take Hagadone here, but I do think he's a bullpen guy in the end.
armcrow
7/20
Is Mitch Moreland the fruit of Keith Moreland"s loins?
kgoldstein
7/20
He is not.
mattymatty2000
7/20
Thanks for the update, KG. Maybe this is a question better addressed to Will Carroll, but I'll ask here anyway: what is the normal timeframe for re-finding command and control when returning from TJ surgery?
wonkothesane1
7/20
I assume the results vary quite a bit from player to player. I was just discussing something regarding Cesar Carrillo. If he's just struggling with command and control as a result of Tommy John surgery (which he had quite a while ago now) and could eventually figure it out or if he's just not as good of a pitcher in the post-surgery part of his career.
chabels
7/20
Hunt is a Twin, not a Brewer, right?
presvedder
7/20
What is your take on Matt Latos' start yesterday if you got to watch the game? Thought we might see an update in this column.
wonkothesane1
7/20
The column is called "Minor League Update" so Latos doesn't really fit the scope now. I saw him pitch live yesterday. Lots of fastballs, all with very good velocity (the lowest I saw was 92 with the highest at 98, but Geoff Young posted an unfiltered with all the velocities for the game). He's confident and goes after guys almost to a fault because when he faced Helton he got a full count and kept trying to get a fastball by him, but the former batting champ just kept fouling him off until he got a walk (Geoff mentioned this as well). That took up a lot of his pitch count limit, which was very low (I was thinking it might be 80, but he was taken out before getting even close to that). He did something similar later in the game, battling through a full count before giving up an RBI double. Basically, he needs a little more confidence in his offspeed stuff so that batters can't just hack at the fastball when they are defending the strike zone.
birkem3
7/20
Why do you have to squint to see "the Braves are kind of in it?" The original and PECOTA playoff odds reports have them over 20%, which isn't a bad shot.
tradewind
7/21
Actually, Shooter Hunt faced a total of seven batters yesterday, waking six and hitting one. Yikes.