Now you’re just showing off
Desmond Jennings, OF, Rays (Triple-A Durham)
How does one raise his batting average 49 points in one night? Quite simple, really, just go 7-for-7. That’s what Jennings did on Thursday in a standard nine-inning game, a feat only two big leaguers (Wilbert Robinson and Rennie Stennett) have accomplished. What can one say at this point with only one weekend left in the season? The guy is awesome, and you all know that by now.
Flying under the radar
Allen Craig, OF, Cardinals (Triple-A Memphis)
Thursday’s stats: 3-for-4, R, 2 RBI
An eighth-round pick in 2006, Criag has never gotten much hype, and he has always been a bit old for his level (he turned 25 in July), but at the same time, all he’s done is hit at every level. He has been the hottest hitter in all of the minors during the second half of the season, batting a lofty .409/.453/.772 since the All-Star break, and while the bat is the only tool, it’s a good one. Where he fits with the Cardinals is anybody’s guess at this point, but he should get a very real look next spring.
Speaking of good second halves
Ryan Kalish, OF, Red Sox (Double-A Portland)
Thursday’s stats: 1-for-3, HR (11), 2 R, RBI, BB
The best thing about Kalish’s game might be that it lacks any real weaknesses. He can hit for average, flash some power, steal a few bases, work the count well and play a competent centerfield. It’s not the flashiest package in the world, but everything is working of late, as the 21-year-old is batting .310/.378/.557 during the season’s second half.
Rolling, rolling, rolling
Mike Minor, LHP, Braves (Low-A Rome)
Thursday’s stats: 5 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 9 K
So far, so good for the seventh overall pick this June, as Minor has now allowed just one run in his first 14 professional innings while striking out 17 and not issuing a single walk. The fact that he can dominate in the Sally League isn’t a big surprise to anyone, so the question as to how well his combination of average-at-best stuff but phenomenal command can play at the upper levels.
Finishing on a high note
Abraham Almonte, OF, Yankees (Low-A Charleston)
Thursday’s stats: 3-for-5, 2 HR (5), 3 R, 3 RBI, SB
Almonte struggled for much of the year, but the 20-year-old Dominican is ending the year strong, as last night’s two home run game extended his hitting streak to 25 games, a stretch during which he’s hit .398. One of the stranger aspects of the streak is that it’s come with a more aggressive approach, as he’s drawn just one walk during the stretch. From his performance to his short, roundish build yet surprising tools, he’s just a weird one.
Darren Ford, OF, Giants (High-A San Jose)
Thursday’s stats: 2-for-3, 3B, BB, 2 SB
Ford was always seen as one of the better athletes in the minors when he was coming up through the Brewers system, but he just never hit much at High-A, and was traded to the Giants at last year’s deadline for second baseman Ray Durham. Beginning his fourth year at the level, Ford decided to abandon switch-hitting, and after a slow start, he’s had a monster second half, including a 21-for-39 mark in his last ten games. The tools were always there, and he might end up being one of those late bloomers.