On a cold early April night in Connecticut, I got my first looks at both Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette in the flesh. In a matchup not short on prospects, I met fellow Razzball writers Paul (the) Martin, and Lance Brozdowski, as well as friend Scott Greene, founder of Prospects 1500. The four of us frequently paused baseball and fantasy discussion to get as many clips of Vlad, Bo, Brendan Rodgers, Sam Hilliard, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., and Garrett Hampson on our phones as we could. In the early going, I was impressed by the Yard Goats starter Jesus Tinoco, who was popping 95 with a wicked breaking ball. Second time through the order was not so kind however. We didn’t get a ton of offense from the trio of top prospects, but we did get a two run double from Bichette down the leftfield line, and a chopper just inside the third base bag that went for extra bases from Guerrero. Hartford’s Brendan Rodgers went 0-for-4, and Gurriel went 0-for-3 with two walks. One off the radar standout from last night was Yonathan Daza, who hit .341 last season at Lancaster, to go along with 31 steals on 39 attempts. He hit two hard ground balls up the middle, driving in Hartford’s lone run. All in all a good night, here’s some video from the game, as well as some other noisemakers in the early going of the MiLB season.
Here’s Bo Bichette’s Double…
— Lance Brozdowski (@LanceBrozdow) April 7, 2018
— Lance Brozdowski (@LanceBrozdow) April 7, 2018
And here’s Brendan Rodgers going out to get one, but just missing…
— Ralph Lifshitz (@ProspectJesus) April 8, 2018
- Guess who’s back? The King In The North, Tyler O’Neill! He went yard twice on Friday night, racking up 5 RBI, and 3 runs. He followed that up last night, with another homer in a 2-for-6 performance with 2 Ks. That’s O’Neill though, he’s going to hit for power, and makes loads of hard contact, but he will swing and miss at a 26%+ clip.
- Teammate Max Schrock is off to a hot start, swiping his first base of the season last night, after going 5/11 with a homer, 3 runs, and 4 RBI in his first two games.
- Sticking with Memphis, Jose Adolis Garcia has started hot, going 7/14, with 5 runs, 5 RBI, 2 doubles, a triple, and a homer in his first three games.
- Last note on the Cardinals, I swear. Got tipped off to an off the radar name by fellow prospector Matt Thompson of Friends With Fantasy Benefits. Ramon Urias, brother of Padres prospect Luis Urias, was recently signed by the Cardinals from Diablos Rojos of the Mexican League, he went .340/.433/.577 with 19 homers, and 12 steals in 2017. Take a gander at this post over on Viva El Birdos. He’s starting at AAA, so that says something to me about what the Cardinals are seeing. The article touches on some of Urias’ mechanical changes that led to his breakout. Lots of intrigue, particularly when you factor in the Cardinals lack of middle infield depth.
- The Astros were aggressive with top prospect Kyle Tucker, assigning him to AAA Fresno. So far, so good, as Tucker has gone 5/14 through the first three games with a homer, and 3 RBI. If there’s an injury in the Astros outfield, it wouldn’t be absurd to see Tucker come up and have an impact.
- Mike Soroka was strong in his season debut, going 5 scoreless innings for Gwinnett, striking out 5 while allowing 4 to reach (3 hits and a BB).
- Rebound candidate Austin Meadows hit the ground running in his first two games, going 4-for-9, with a run, a double, and an RBI. Here’s to a bounceback from Meadows.
- The Reds assigned Nick Senzel to AAA Louisville, and he’s gone 4-for-9 with a double, and a steal while starting both games at second base.
- Future Grey-pun target Corbin Burnes went 6 strong in his AAA debut, striking out 6, allowing 5 hits, and a run on a solo homer off the bat of Nick Dini… who?
- Rough start for Fresno’s Francis Martes last night. He lasted only 3.2 innings, allowing 3 runs, on 6 hits, and five walks. On the brightside he struckout 6.
- The Rockies Raimel Tapia asked “Why you hate me so much?”, and went 3-for-5 last night from the leadoff spot, hitting two homers, driving in 5, and crossing the plate three times. The night before Tapia went 2-for-4 with 3 runs, a double, and a walk.
- Rockies Prospect, and member of the aforementioned Yardgoats Sam Hilliard stole 4 bags on Max Pentacost on Friday, while also connecting for a homer. This of course completed the illusive slam and four legs. Here’s some tape of Hillard drawing a walk last night.
— Ralph Lifshitz (@ProspectJesus) April 7, 2018
- The Hagerstown Suns are one of the most interesting teams in the minors from a talent standpoint, boasting outfielder Juan Soto, as well as the infield tandem of Luis Garcia, and Yasel Antuna. So far only Soto has made any noise, as he connected for a homer in his first at bat of the season.
- Another really interesting club to follow is the Cedar Rapids Kernels, and their talented trio a top the lineup, in number one pick Royce Lewis (2/6, run, 2B, 3 BB, SB), Akil Baddoo (1/8, 2 BB, 2 SB), and Alex Kirilloff (1/8).
- My favorite team of all, might be the Fort Wayne Tin Caps, with Mackenzie Gore, Jeisson Rosario, Esteury Ruiz, Tirso Ornelas, Luis Campusano, and last, but not least, Gabriel Arias. The latter of which, went 2-for-3 last night with a double, an RBI, and a walk.
- Jason Woodell, who joined Lance and I for our Braves show, took some great footage of Alex Faedo’s professional debut at High-A Lakeland. The line was solid, as the former Florida ace went 5 innings, allowing 2 runs, on 2 homers, one off the bat of Estevan Florial. But Jason was not impressed. The fastball sat 91-92, with a flat slider, and some deception. See below.
— Jason Woodell (@JasonAtTheGame) April 6, 2018
- Victor Robles went a perfect 4-for-4 with 2 runs scored, and a steal last night in his second game of he season. The Nationals top prospect is ready, he just needs everyday MLB at bats.
- The White Sox Micker Adolfo had a game on Friday, going 3-for-4, with a run, 2 RBI, and a walk.
- It’s homers in consecutive games for the Nationals Carter Kieboom, as he went 2-for-3, with two walks in Saturday’s game. He’s now 5/13 in his first three games with two homers, and a double.
- In the least shocking news ever the Rockies Colton Welker is raking in Lancaster. Hitting .556, with 4 walks, a homer, 5 runs scored, and a double in the early going. Wouldn’t shock me if Welker leads the Cal League in hitting during his time in Lancaster.
- Finally Gleyber Torres cracked his first homer of the season last night, which just so happened to also be his first hit of the season.