Glass half full, or half empty
Madison Bumgarner, LHP, Giants (Double-A Connecticut)
Wednesday’s stats: 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K
In his last five starts, Bumgarner’s ERA is a fantastic 1.93. At the same time, there is concern. His velocity has dropped a bit, as in those five starts, he’s struck out just 16 batters in 28 innings. If you want be optimistic about it, he’s clearly learning how to pitch without his best stuff. Still, you’d like to see the old version return.
Movin’ On Up
Chris Carter, 1B, Athletics (Triple-A Sacramento)
Wednesday’s stats: 3-for-5, 2B, 4 RBI
Carter has been a Minor League Update regular of late, which often is the pretense for a promotion. Moving up to Triple-A today, the Pacific Coast League still doesn’t seem like much of a challenge. After leading the minor leagues in total bases last year, he needs to stay hot to overtake Seattle third baseman Alex Liddi for his second straight title.
Hanging in there
Jason Giambi, DH, Rockies (Triple-A Colorado Springs)
Wednesday’s stats: 2-for-4, RBI
The last time Giambi showed up in a Pacific Coast League box score, Bill Clinton was still in his first term. Signed by the Rockies after getting released by Oakland, Giambi had two hits in his Sky Sox debut, and at the very least, he will be a September addition to the big league roster, giving Colorado a dangerous power option of the bench in the late innings where, if you are the Rockies, magic seems to happen.
The quest for 30/30
Grant Desme, OF, Athletics (High-A Stockton)
Wednesday’s stats: 2-for-4, HR (18), R, 2 RBI, SB
30/30 season are rare in the majors, but even more so down on the farm, where the season is 18-20 games shorter, and power is rarely fully developed. Last night’s display of power and speed gives Desme 29 home runs and 40 stolen bases in 45 attempts in just 128 games, but scouts are wondering how he can maintain a .287 batting average when he’s struck out 144 times in 477 at-bats.
Hitting the ground running
Nick Franklin, SS, Mariners (Rookie-Level AZL Mariners)
Wednesday’s stats: 4-for-5, 2B, HR (1), 2 R, 2 RBI
Franklin was a bit of a surprise to slide into the end of the first round in June, but it was an even bigger surprise to see him be a deadline holdout before finally signing for an over-slot bonus of $1.28 million. Shortstops are a rare thing, however, and Franklin is a plus defender with enough bat to project as a big league regular. After a slow start to his professional career, he’s now 9-for-18 in his last four games, including his first pro home run on Wednesday.
Abraham Almonte, OF, Yankees (Low-A Charleston)
Wednesday’s stats: 3-for-5, HR (3), R, HR (3), SB
Frankly, Almonte is a bit of a weird one. Only five-foot-nine and a roundish 200+ pounds, Almonte nevertheless has some impressive tools, including above-average speed (10 triples and 32 stolen bases) and a decent knack for contact. After a slow start to his season, the 20-year-old Dominican has moved into the crazy-hot section of his year, going 12-for-22 in his last four games with seven runs scored and eight driven in.