Bear with me for a moment while I venture outside stateside baseball for a look at a marvelous moment in Korean pro ball. The always great Ben Badler of Baseball America brought this clip to my attention this past Wednesday, and you really gotta give this one a look. Outfielder Jun-Woo Jeon is the batter. His team is down two runs with a runner on first and one out in the bottom of the ninth. He recognizes the fat breaker, turns on it, and lifts it to left field. He thinks it’s gone and the game tied, so he flips his bat triumphantly and does one of those cool jogging finger points toward his dugout. It’s not gone. No, the ball dies at the track, and not long after, the opposition dies of laughter. This is why you never bat flip. #Scouting.
Jake Odorizzi | RHP, Rays — It looks like Odorizzi will fill the gap in Tampa’s rotation and start for the Rays on Monday. The 23-year-old is coming off of his worst outing of the year, which is a tad concerning, but he has simply shown more polish this season than either Chris Archer or Alex Colome. Odorizzi brings some upside to the fantasy game, and he’s not a bad scoop if you have room.
Michael Wacha | RHP, Cardinals — Jaime Garcia is hurt and it looks bad. If a long-term option is needed, it’s either Joe Kelly or Michael Wacha, and right this moment, I’m thinking Wacha is the more likely candidate. There should be more clarity on this tomorrow. In the meantime, here’s my Michael Wacha fantasy from earlier this month.
George Springer | OF, Astros — Springer leads Minor League Baseball with 13 homers. The 23-year-old is batting .308/.396/.650 through 38 games at Double-A Corpus Christi, and he looks a lot like this year’s version of Wil Myers. There’ll be a lot of buzz surrounding Springer as he pushes through to Triple-A, but don’t expect to see him in Houston ’til next Summer.
Archie Bradley | RHP, D’Backs — I mentioned last week that Bradley was pulled from a start after tweaking his knee on the base paths. Well, the 20-year-old returned to action earlier in the week, whiffing 9 while allowing only 2 hits through 6 IP. Bradley is striking out Double-A batters at a rate of 12.9 per-nine, and his ERA reads 0.64. If this sort of dominance continues, 2013 arrival is a very real possibility.
Byron Buxton | OF, Twins — Here’s a video of Buxton hitting a walk off grand slam on Thursday. The 19-year-old is batting .331/.436/.574 with 6 HR and 16 SB through 39 games at Low-A Cedar Rapids. He’s really damn good.
Jorge Bonifacio | OF, Royals — One of the best pure hitters in the minors, Bonifacio was batting .325/.404/.452 at High-A Wilmington before breaking his hand this past week. The 19-year-old will miss a couple months.
Taijuan Walker | RHP, Mariners — Walker features perhaps the most impressive tools profile of any pitcher in Minor League Baseball. Seattle challenged him with an aggressive Double-A assignment in 2012, and at only age 19, Walker had his ups and downs. He’s back at Double-A in 2013, but there haven’t been too many downs this year — Walker has found consistency and M’s fans must be thrilled. With a 2.09 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, and a K/9 at 9.9, he’s not far from a promotion to Triple-A Tacoma.
David Dahl | OF, Rockies — After an awesome debut season in 2012, Dahl’s development has stalled in 2013. First, he was held off the field for disciplinary reasons. Now, a hamstring injury will put him on the shelf for 2-3 months.
Rafael De Paula | RHP, Yankees — De Paula’s filthy fastball-changeup combo now has him at a 2.75 ERA and a 15.8 K/9 (!!!) through 8 starts at Low-A Charleston. I think it’s safe to promote him to High-A, Yankees.
Yordano Ventura | RHP, Royals — With a 1.79 ERA, a 0.94 WHIP, and a 12.5 K/9 through 8 starts at Double-A Northwest Arkansas, Ventura has been one of the more impressive starting pitchers in the upper minors this season. Durability has always been the concern with him though, so perhaps it’s too soon to make a big fuss over the awesome start. The 21-year-old features one of the best fastballs in MiLB — that’s no secret. But at 5-11, 180, will his frame allow his stuff to hold up over a full workload? We shall see…