Storylines in Minor League Baseball are sometimes too good to ignore. Take this past Wednesday, for example, when Sacramento (OAK) battled Tacoma (SEA) in an 18-inning Pacific Coast League affair. The game got away from the managers as it reached deep into extras. Having exhausted their respective bullpens, both skippers resorted to calling on position players to take the mound. Tacoma opened the top half of the 18th with Scott Stavastano, a utility player, on the bump. The 26-year-old pitched a clean frame; 1-2-3. Sacramento countered with outfielder Shane Peterson on the mound for the bottom half. Peterson had struck out the first batter when Stavastano, the utility man/pitcher of record came to the plate in a 1-1 tie. You probably can guess where I’m headed with this — Stavastano worked a full count, then bombed. A walk off to give himself the W on the box. Neat stuff.
Danny Hultzen | LHP, Mariners – It’s also worth noting that Hultzen started that 18-inning marathon for Tacoma. He was on-point, too: 6 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 K. Another couple outings like that and he could find himself pitching at Safeco.
Dan Straily | RHP, Athletics – Sticking with that same game, Straily started for Sacramento, opposite Hultzen. He was even better than his counterpart: 8 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 K. This has been quite the breakout for Straily, who has posted a 1.10 ERA and a 0.73 WHIP through six Triple-A outings in the hitter-friendly PCL.
Javier Baez | SS, Cubs – Batting .331/.389/.589 with 20 XBH (4 HR) through his first 180 PA at Low-A Peoria, Baez is giving Cubs fans plenty of reason for excitement. From a player development perspective, this has been an outstanding first year for Epstein and Hoyer. Who do you think they should have start game one of the 2015 NLDS?
Matt Adams | 1B, Cardinals – Adams really wants to get back to St. Louis. His Triple-A line on the year: .358/.388/.679. He should have plenty to offer for fantasy owners starting in April of next year.
Nick Castellanos | 3B, Tigers – After hitting .405 at High-A, he’s come back to earth a bit in Double-A, but he’s still holding his own at the plate (.295/.312/.479 with 6 HR), and the Tigers aren’t ruling out the possibility of a September arrival for their star prospect.
Mike Zunino | C, Mariners – I highlighted Zunino last month as a 2012 draftee who might move quickly toward the bigs. Early results have been great, as the third overall pick has slugged six XBH (3 HR) through his first seven games (29 PA) at Short-Season A-ball.
Brian Goodwin | OF, Nationals — The Nationals have fast-tracked Goodwin, skipping him over High-A, straight to Double-A, after he hit .324/.438/.542 in the Low-A South Atlantic League. An aggressive move from Washington — it’s rare to see a position player skip a level in-season.
Jeurys Familia | RHP, Mets – Familia has allowed only two runs over his last three outings at Triple-A Buffalo. He seems to have sorted out some control issues, and could find himself pitching in the bigs before this year is through.
Michael Choice | OF, Athletics – He’s hit safely in every game since I mentioned him last week, putting his hitting streak at 15. His 1.379 OPS through his last 43 PA speaks loudly as to how well he’s seeing the ball right now. Choice figures to be making an impact in the fantasy game at some point in 2013.