I know I promised all of you the second installment of my MLB draft preview…..I lied. Sometimes I get an idea between Wednesday and Saturday, and I just go with it. Forgive me, if you can find space in your heart to do that. Besides, we have plenty of time before the draft to get into another 25-40 players, and we will. Not mention some sweet, sweet international action before the J-2 signings. But not today! No, today we update you on the ongoing happenings of the minor leagues, and players making news. So, in that light it’s only appropriate we open with what has to be the buzziest name in all of minor league baseball at the moment. Tyler Glasnow. He who went 7 strong and punched out 11 hapless Louisville Bats hitters last night, the second time he reached that number in his past three starts. His ERA now sits at 1.64, with a ridiculous K/9 of 13! If it wasn’t for The Man and his oppressive super two rules, he’d be facing major league hitting right now. But we’re just not living in a perfect world run by Supreme Leader-Emperor Trump…. just yet. Don’t laugh I’ve been to the future…Regardless, Glasnow needs to be stashed NOW in any league where starting pitching matters. So pretty much everywhere. Unfortunately, you’re probably going to be sitting on him for a month or more. Just bite the bullet and do it, he’s got huge K potential, for a winning team in the National League. That’s a tasty package…..
It’s the good, the bad, the ugly; it’s the minor league update for the first week of May.
Cody Bellinger, 1B Tulsa Drillers (Dodgers): I’d like to tell you that Cody was drilling the ball (get it), but he’s not. So far, all that power and promise shown at Rancho Cucamonga is nowhere to be found. At the moment Bellinger is hitting .167 with no homers. In fact he has zero extra base hits in 24 at bats.
Julio Urias, Oklahoma City Dodgers (Dodgers): Is this the best player in the minors right now? Threw 6 perfect innings on Wednesday, yup 18 up 18 down. Damn innings limits! Recent success aside, there are rumors floating that Urias could be called up to fill a spot in the Dodgers bullpen. He’d probably fill a jack of all trades role, as his stuff is certainly electric enough for any situation. It might be stash time in re-drafts. If I told you to watch him like a cyclops with a monocle would that be insensitive?
David Dahl, OF Hartford Yard Goats (Rockies): For the first month plus of the AA season Dahl is destroying shizz. He presently sits at the top of the Eastern League leaderboards in homers and runs. But his well rounded production (.284/.381/.608 with 10 steals), should make him a target very much on everyone’s radar at the moment.
Brendan Rodgers, SS Asheville Tourists (Rockies): The number three overall pick, and first prep talent taken in the 2015 MLB draft is demolishing A ball. Through 25 games, and nearly 100 at bats, Rodgers is slashing .367/.436/.653 with 6 homers, 22 rbis, and 2 steals. Got to like what you’re seeing from Rodgers at 19 years old.
Ozzie Albies, Gwinnett Braves (Braves): Speaking of impressive 19 year old shortstops, Albies was recently promoted to AAA Gwinnett after stuntin’ on AA through the first 22 games of 2016. So far Albies has struggled, but keep in mind he’s unbelievably young for this level. The aforementioned Rodgers is praised for his play in A ball, and he’s 5 months older than Albies! He’s that young.
Dansby Swanson, Mississippi Braves (Braves): As Albies was going out, Swanson was coming up. The people of Mississippi have been spoiled with shortstop prospects thus far. Swanson was promoted after hitting .333 through 78 at bats in advanced class A. Since being promoted to AA Mississippi, last year’s first pick has slashed .391/.500/.652. Yeah what’s better than video game numbers? Whatever that is, Swanson has those.
Orlando Arcia, Colorado Springs Sky Sox (Brewers): One of the soon-to-be-big promotions of 2016 is bidding his time at AAA waiting for the Brewers to come calling. He’s currently hitting .292 with 2 homers, 12 runs, 17 rbis, and 4 steals in 5 attempts. The numbers aren’t overly impressive, but good enough that come June, Arcia should get his first taste of the bigs. Worth flagging in your RCL’s, but I don’t have to tell you that… Do I?
Victor Robles, Hagerstown Suns (Nationals): One of last year’s big risers has kept up the high level production so far in 2016. 27 games in and Robles is hitting a silly .357 with 29 runs, 11 steals, and a .458 OBP. It will be interesting to see what Robles does as he hits advanced A ball, and potentially AA later this season.
Domingo Acevedo, Charleston Riverdogs (Yankees): The giant flame throwing righty has been mowing down batters through 6 starts in the South Atlantic League. In fact he has a 2.43 ERA to go with a 2.29 FIP, a 9.9 K/9, and a .96 WHIP in 33 innings. He’s a high upside arm to keep an eye on. His stuff is electric, “how electric is it Ralph?”…..Ahhhh he throws 103…..103!!!!! Not all the time, but he supposedly hit it on multiple occasions in the last year. He also throws a solid change, and a raw slider. He’s had command issues previously, but a 1.35 Bb/9 tells me he’s harnessing his stuff thus far.
Phil Bickford, Augusta Green Jackets (Giants): The 18th overall pick in last year’s draft has been racking up the K’s in A ball. He’s been a bit unlucky with his ERA, which sits at 3.86, while his FIP is an ace like 2.18. Bickford should be tested across a couple levels this year, hopefully he fares better than Tyler Beede did last year.
Anderson Espinoza, Greenville Drive (Red Sox): The Red Sox wonder-kin Espinoza has been up and down so far. In his most recent start on Thursday vs the Giants affiliate Augusta, the 18 year old punched out 11 batters in 5 innings. There’s moments of greatness, he just needs to show more consistency to live up to lofty expectations.
Brent Honeywell, Charlotte Stone Crabs (Rays): Another highly touted arm showing his pedigree in the low minors. The righty has been strong to say the least with a microscopic .98 ERA. That ERA is so microscopic we needed to turn the microscope up to 11. That’s science speak. He’s also striking out his share of batters with a K/9 of 9.82. In case you didn’t know Honeywell has the twitter fingers of an anti-social rapper, taking shots at Bryce Harper, and generally not shying away from stating his opinion. Curt Schilling incarnate?
Andrew Benintendi, Salem Red Sox (Red Sox): I’m going to discuss Benintendi as much as I can until the day he’s promoted. So get used to it. His freaking nickname is “Benny Baseball” for Christ sakes. The screams for Benintendi to be promoted to AA are getting louder and louder, so it won’t be long. His 23 game hit streak came to an end on Saturday in the first leg of the double header, but he got back to work in the second game going 2 for 4 with a run and an RBI.
Mauricio Dubon, Salem Red Sox (Red Sox): One of the prospects gaining a great deal of momentum in the early going is Dubon. As he’s held his own hitting second in the Red Sox order, sandwiched between Yoan Moncada (.330, 3 homers, 19 steals), and Benny Baseball (.375, .433 OBP, 28 RBI’s). Dubon is slashing .352/.419/.389 and showing that he has the ability to hit for contact and get on base, though obviously with no power, as a .389 slugging % is god awful.
Jorge Mateo, Tampa Yankees (Yankees): Mateo has made his bones on contact and speed, and so far in 2016 that’s been his game. A .374 average is just straight bananas, and 8 steals ain’t too shabby either, but and it’s an Iggy Azalea sized but, he’s been caught 8 times too. That’s no bueno for someone who’s supposed to be one of the top base stealers in the minors. Hopefully this can be corrected because a 50% success rate for a top base stealer could obviously lead to less and less green lights. Though it’s highly unlikely that the Yankees would discourage Mateo from running. After all this guy stole 82 bases last year and was caught 17 times.
Ryan O’Hearn, Northwest Arkansas Naturals (Royals): After slugging his way through the first 22 games of 2016 with class A Advanced Wilmington, O’Hearn was promoted to AA Northwest Arkansas. Through his first 4 games there he’s hitting .278 with 1 homer. He’s shown everything he could in the low minors, it should be interesting to see how the power translates in AA.
Hunter Dozier, Omaha Storm Chasers (Royals): After a rough year and a half, Dozier a former first round pick, was considered a dead/dying prospect. 2016 has seen Dozier discover some of his spark as he terrorized AA pitching in the first month of the season. He was promoted to AAA Omaha yesterday and went 1 for 3 in his debut. As I said in the comments last week the true test will be what Dozier does at AAA.
Harrison Bader, Springfield Cardinals (Cardinals): This is your weekly reminder that Harrison Bader is real and he is killing the game. No joke, he’s leading all of AA with a .377 batting average. For a guy that was playing college ball a year ago, and wasn’t even a first round pick, that’s quite the feat. He’s also flashed power too with 5 homers and a .566 slugging %. He doesn’t walk a ton, but he’s too busy putting balls into play. Speaking of balls in play, he’s getting a little lucky to say the least, his BABIP is .479.
Casey Gillaspie, Montgomery Biscuits (Rays): After an up and down first year in pro ball, the Rays 2014 first round pick, and brother of Conor Gillaspie, has found his groove in 2016. Showing superior plate discipline (20.2% BB%) and power (4 homers, .253 ISO), which is exactly the sort of middle of the order skillset the Rays lack. He’s still probably a year away from the big club, but I wouldn’t be shocked if he sees a call up in August should he move up to AAA and continue his hot hitting.
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