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That second double is just gravy

Michael Taylor, OF, Phillies (Triple-A Lehigh Valley)
Wednesday’s stats: 5-for-5, 2 2B, 3B, HR (4), 2 R, 4 RBI, CS
Taylor was a Minor League Update regular during the first half of the season, but not so much since he moved up to Triple-A in mid-July. After going more than a week without an extra-base hit, he more than made up for it on Wednesday by hitting for the cycle and doing it in style — with his home run coming in the ninth inning. This one game alone raised his slugging percentage more than 100 points, with a total batting line of .286/.368/.490 that’s suddenly much more in line with expectations.

It’s official, I’m blowing this guy up

Robert Stock, C, Cardinals (Short-season Johnson City)
Wednesday’s stats: 3-for-5, 2 2B, HR (5), 2 R, 4 RBI

When Stock signed on to play at Southern California as a 16-year-old in 2006, everyone expected him to be an elite first-round pick three years later. Disappointing performances dropped him to the second round this June, and it’s almost like people forgot how young he was. So now we have a 19-year-old catcher with outstanding tools and three years of major college play under his belt. After last night’s outburst, he’s now batting .356/.424/.606 in 28 games and the breakout is official.

Deserving of a chance . . . or a move

Sean Rodriguez, 2B, Angels (Triple-A Salt Lake)
Wednesday’s stats: 4-for-4, 2 HR (26), 3 R, 7 RBI

As a guy who plays mostly second base and a little shortstop, Rodriguez seems to be eternally blocked in the Angels system, yet he’s also playing for an organization that absolutely hates trading away prospects. Once again he’s completely stuck in Triple-A, and with 26 home runs in just 89 games, he’s slugging over .600 there for the second straight year.

Energized by the change of scenery

Josh Bell, 3B, Orioles (Double-A Bowie)
Wednesday’s stats: 3-for-4, 2B, HR (2), R, 3 RBI, K

I spoke to Bell just days after the trade, and he talked about a mix of emotions following the deal, but mostly he was excited at the opportunity being presented to him. Now 10-for-23 with 18 total bases in his first seven games wearing the black and orange, he’s on his way to changing from a guy lined up for a late-2010 look, to a guy who gets an honest chance next spring.

Finding his source of power

Brett Jackson, OF, Cubs (Low-A Peoria)
Wednesday’s stats: 3-for-4, 2 HR (4), 3 R, 4 RBI, BB
The Cubs first-round pick in June, Jackson is a big, toolsy athlete who has a lot of swing-and-miss in him. While he’s now hitting .338 across three levels, the power hasn’t showed up until recently. After hitting just one home run in his first 116 pro at-bats, he has now slugged four in his last nine games. An outstanding defensive centerfielder who also features plus speed, he has the tools to make a lot of teams look silly for passing on him.

Sleeper Alert!

Wily Peralta, RHP, Brewers (Low-A Wisconsin)

Wednesday’s stats: 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K

Kept on a strict pitch count throughout the year, Peralta hasn’t been able to pile up any big time numbers, but at the same time, the 20-year-old Dominican has also consistently shown some of the best raw stuff in the Midwest League. Two years removed from Tommy John surgery, Peralta is a tall, thickly built righty with a fastball that sits in the low 90s, frequently gets up to 94-95 mph, and also flashes a plus slider. With 102 strikeouts in 89 innings while limiting the league to a .229 batting average, he’s frequently dominating in short stints, and scouts are excited at seeing what he can do once the Brewers take the reins off.

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billm21
8/13
Kevin, concerning the writeup here on Brett Jackson --- the Cubs were originally projected to be hot on the trail of AJ Pollock before the Diamondbacks drafted him 14 picks earlier. Can you compare those two center fielders on long-term potential?
kgoldstein
8/13
I think Pollock has better fundamentals, but on a tools level, it's Jackson, and frankly, it's not even close. I'd rank Jackson better right now -- as I've written a million times this year, always bet on the tools. I gotta get t-shirts made or something.
JoeSky60
8/13
"An outstanding defensive centerfielder who also features plus speed, he has the tools to make a lot of teams look silly for passing on him." The question actually should be how did the Cubs fall into this. The guy looks nothing like Corey Patterson, or Felix Pie, or Sam Fuld, for that matter.
jeffr92
8/13
How about this one: Who has the better tools, Jared Mitchell or Brett Jackson?
BaseballNUT2009
8/13
Kevin, How does a Homer Bailey for Sean Rodriguez trade sound? The Reds could use Rodriguez at 2B and move Phillips back to SS and the Angels need Arms.
cardsfan89
8/13
Where would you rank Stock in the Cardinals system?