Drew Stubbs, OF, Reds (Triple-A Louisville)
Monday’s stats: 3-for-4, 3 R, 2 RBI, BB, SB
So the Reds keep throwing Willy Taveras out in center field pretty much every day, despite the fact that he’s pulling off the rare double threat of both an on-base percentage and slugging percentage under .300. Meanwhile, Stubbs is now batting .281/.370/.375 at Triple-A, and his numbers are brought down by a June slump. He’s nearly as fast as Taveras, a better basestealer (42-for-49 in his attempts), and arguably the best defensive center fielder in the minor leagues. Basically, he’s just a flat-out better baseball player on every level and deserves a shot.
Starting off on the right foot
Jason Kipnis, OF, Indians (Short-Season Mahoning Valley)
Monday’s stats: 2-for-2, 3B, 2 R, RBI, SB
A second-round pick in June out of Arizona State, most thought Kipnis would go higher than 63rd overall, but he signed quickly for a $575,000 bonus and then saw his debut delayed by a minor elbow injury. Given just two at-bats last night in his first professional game, Kipnis singled in his first at-bat, stolen second, and came around to score later in the inning, then lashed a triple in his second at-bat (scoring later again), before getting the rest of the night off. He has a smooth swing, gap power, solid speed, and could end up making many teams wonder why they passed on him.
Not him, the other guy
Shane Peterson, OF, Athletics (Double-A Midland)
Monday’s stats: 2-for-4, K
When the A’s flipped Matt Holliday to the Cardinals, all anyone could talk about in the return package was third baseman Brett Wallace, last year’s first-round pick who was already at Triple-A. However, don’t forget about Peterson. Last year’s second-round pick by the Cardinals out of Long Beach State, Peterson combines a downright pretty line-drive swing from the left side with above-average speed, and he’s hitting .341/.400/.488 in 10 games since arriving on Midland’s roster.
Just needs to stay healthy
Drew Cumberland, SS, Padres (Low-A Fort Wayne)
Monday’s stats: 3-for-6, RBI
A supplemental first-round pick in 2007, a slew of ailments limited Cumberland to just 58 games in his pro debut. This year, the injury bug has struck once again, as he has played only 56 games so far in 2009. The frustrating thing is that when he plays, he’s really good. A flashy athlete with a good approach, an excellent feel for contact and great instincts for the game, Cumberland is batting .308/.394/.408 in his limited playing time, and he has not many adjustments away from taking off as much as he simply needs to stay away from the trainer’s table.
Call me crazy, I still believe in the guy
Jai Miller, OF, Marlins (Triple-A New Orleans)
Monday’s stats: 3-for-3, 2B, HR (10), R, RBI, 2 BB
Now in his seventh year as a pro, Miller’s prospect light faded some time ago, but he’s still a relatively young at 24 and batting .294/.360/.515. He makes up for a high strikeout rate with decent on-base skills and solid all-around athleticism. If you are looking for a cheap bench outfield option, you could do worse than Miller.
Keon Broxton, OF, Diamondbacks (Rookie-level Missoula)
Monday’s stats: 1-for-4, HR (6), R, 4 RBI, 2 K
A third-round pick this June out of a small Florida community college, Broxton is a pure tools bet, an excellent athlete who one scout compared physically to a defensive back in center field. His 45 strikeouts in 137 at-bats show that he’s still raw like sushi, but with six triples and six home runs in 138 at-bats, he has also been one of the Pioneer League’s most exciting players.