Another rainy weekend limited my looks on Saturday, as my intention to hit Lowell was washed out with a solid bout of the olde waterworks. Unfortunately, this forced on a Saturday of couch-sitting and MiLB.TV viewing. While nothing ever quite captures a player’s ability like a first person look, this at least allows me to be at several games at once from the comforts of my home. Ugh, I’m starting to sound like copy for a commercial. Maybe it’s just regret eating me alive, and I’m apologizing in a round about way for not having anything first hand this Sunday. Doesn’t matter, the minors are in full swing and we got lots of players to cover. Because I’m just going to cover Vladimir Guerrero Jr. exclusively going forward we lead with him. Vlad kept his homer streak going Saturday, rising the number to four consecutive games. In fact it all started with the homer used in the lede on Thursday. He then hit another that night, followed by a homer Friday night, before sneaking (it was off the fielder’s glove) this one over the fence in right for a little Oppo-taco action.
— HERD Chronicles (@HERDchronicles) August 11, 2018
- Who said I ranked Alex Kirilloff too high? Boy, I don’t think I ranked him high enough! It’s pretty obvious at this point he’s ready for the move to Chattanooga. I’m going to say on the record right now, if he’s not in the majors a year from today there must have been an injury. Through 44 games he’s now hitting .369/.391/.536 with 3 homers. Sure, it’s only three homers, but he’s knocked 17 doubles and it’s the Florida State League. It took Kirilloff about two weeks, if that, to adjust to the High A. Over the last month Kirilloff has been a hit machine, being held hitless just twice in 26 games since July 9th. He’s hitting .429/.447/.648 over that period and is in the midst of a 9 game hit streak on the heels of a 13 game run. If you’re in any sort of dynasty format, and Kirilloff for some insane reason isn’t owned, add him.
Alex Kirilloff 2 oppo hits were a thing of beauty. The hands stay back, the front shoulder stays closed, and he barrels up. This is the type of approach that not only says .300 hitter in the big leagues, but potential batting champ. #MNTwins pic.twitter.com/soapEMXESy
— Jason Woodell (@JasonAtTheGame) August 7, 2018
- There’s a lot of really good talent under 20 at the moment, so much so that some of it has gone under appreciated. One such player starting to get his due, is the Nationals Luis Garcia, not to be confused with the three that the Phillies have. At the moment the Nats Garcia is hitting .320/.348/.453 with High A Potomac. This is a player that played the first two months of the season at 17! He’s actually 6 days younger than Nolan Gorman to put this in perspective. He’s been playing entirely at shortstop for Potomac, but has spent time at second and third with Hagerstown earlier this season. The arrow is pointing way up on his stock.
- It’s been a wild ride early on for the number one overall pick Casey Mize. After a tough outing vs Fort Myers on Tuesday, where he allowed a pair of homers, including one to 2017 1.1 Royce Lewis. He had another rough go on Saturday, allowing 2 runs through 3.1 innings. Hardly anything to be alarmed about, but I’d gently pump the breaks if you were on the Mize bandwagon.
— James Chipman (@_jchipman) July 31, 2018
- It’s been a uninspiring month or so on the power side for Austin Riley. Since returning from injury early in July, the third baseman has just 1 homer in his last 31 games. That changed a little yesterday as Riley went 3-for-4 with a double and a homer. The International league can be a tough go for most power hitters not named Guerrero or Jimenez, but Riley needs to flash more power than he has in 2018. On the plus side he’s cut down on his strikeouts since his return and he’s walking at an 11% clip over that time. His defense is good enough to stick at the hot corner, showing good footwork, soft hands and a cannon for an arm. A September cup of coffee isn’t out of the question but something tells me he isn’t quite ready.
- I caught Braves lefty Kyle Muller’s start with AA Mississippi yesterday evening. Muller was cruising early, racking up 8 Ks through 3.1 innings. The last of which was followed by a walk, a hit batsman, his 9th strikeout and a homer to center. He got a groundout to end the inning, but the damage was done in the fourth. The next inning produced a few hard hit balls on consecutive singles, and a line-out, but the lefty exited the 5th unscathed. Muller returned for the bottom half of the 6th, getting two outs on six pitches before his day was done. The lefty is an absolute monster on the mound, standing an opposing 6’6 with a strong frame. He mixes a low-mid 90s fastball with a ton of downhill plane and serious sink. His curveball was sharper than his slider yesterday, both were effective, but his command is inconsistent. There’s a lot to like with Muller, but he needs to find a way to get righthanded batters out with consistency.
- Late night I tuned into a little of the Orem game, and the Angels first rounder Jordyn Adams put on a show. He went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles. Adams looked athletic and fluid out of the box, showing speed on the bases each time he put the ball in play. The swing and plate coverage were far more advanced than I expected. A lot of other players from this class have gotten more headlines, but through 7 games at Orem Adams is hitting .323/.382/.484. For a player who wasn’t entirely committed to baseball prior to the draft he’s awfully impressive. The makings of a man crush are developing.
- Anyone remember how into Heath Quinn, Michael Halpern and I were following the 2016 draft? A tough 2017 took some shine off the rose but he’s back, and raking. He’s hitting .299/.378/.484 with 11 homers for San Jose. I’m not sure what we have here, and it really depends on Quinn’s hit tool. There’s some obvious power and strikezone discipline, but there needs to be consistency with his contact.
- Last week I caught a little of Tigers prospect Daz Cameron. In my looks at Cameron during last week’s Erie @ New Hampshire doubleheader, Mike’s son showed good plate approach taking a walk and driving an RBI single. He has a quick bat and strong hands that should allow him to stay back and drive balls to the gaps. There’s definitely more over the fence power coming too. He’s extremely athletic and fluid in his motions and he’s a surefire centerfielder at the MLB Level. His bat has been doing the talking of late however hitting .333/.415/.500 over his last ten.
— James Chipman (@_jchipman) May 24, 2018
- Why is no one talking about the White Sox Luis Gonzalez? I caught some of the Winston-Salem game yesterday and was reminded of how good this kid is. He’s a little on the old side for A ball, but he’s hit .302/.358/.502 across 96 games at two levels. He shows the ability to stay back on the ball, shorten up, and barrel. He’s been on a power surge of late posting a slugging% of .694 over his last ten.
— Josh Nelson (@soxmachine_josh) August 8, 2018
- Texas’ Tyreque Reed has been on fire lately, winning Sally Player of the Week last week, and keeping up the good work this week. Over his last ten Reed is slashing .355/.429/.710 with a pair of homers and 5 doubles. The epitome of raw power and strength, Reed should find more home run power soon. Over that ten game stretch he’s shown improvement to his strikeout and walk rates, only whiffing 10.5% over that period.
@tyreque__reed hits his second bomb since his promo. This is either his 3rd or 4th game. He’s a big strong kid and had no problem turning around this 92 mph fb. @HickoryCrawdads pic.twitter.com/jDPBSzf3rD
— Dan Victor (@slydanno70) May 12, 2018
- One of the other pieces, not named Willie Calhoun, in the Yu Darvish return has been making noise in AJ Alexy. The 20 year old righthander has a 28.5% K% in A ball, but his control has been hit or miss. He attacks batters with a nasty fastball-curveball mix, adding in a fringe changeup. If he can improve his command and add feel for his changeup there’s mid-rotation upside.
#Rangers RHP AJ Alexy pitching on 4/27 vs. Delmarva (c/o @JasonPennini). Live 92-95 w/ flashes of spin; FB/CB ahead of third pitch in the CH; question is how much it comes together and if he can iron out delivery in order to throw more strikes. @lonestarball @scottrlucas pic.twitter.com/W8K2lKbe6J
— Adam McInturff (@2080adam) May 9, 2018
- I’ve been waiting to hit on Shervyen Newton of the Kingsport Mets. I mentioned him in the lineup with other notables like Mark Vientos, Jarred Kelenic, and Luis Santana in Thursday’s post, while discussing Vientos. Thus far the numbers speak for themselves, but the reports have been equally impressive. There’s certainly swing and miss to the 19 year old’s game, with a 32% K%, but he’s walked at a 15.1% clip in 2018. He had another strong showing last night going 3-for-4, with two walks, two runs, an RBI, and a double. Now his slashline is up to .297/.410/.480 in 45 contests. Notesfromthesally.com’s John Calvagno got three looks at Newton, however none of them righthanded and this is what he had to say “At the dish left handed, he hits from a closed stance with a moderate crouch and a slight bending of the knees. He has a small leg kick that leads to solid load (forward momentum). The swing is long and linear with above average bat speed. A strong young man, the ball really jumps off of his barrel. It’s 60 raw power already with a chance for 70 + at peak. He can already hit the ball out of any part of the park which is quite rare for a teenager. Game power will be dictated by launch angles but it’s potentially a legit 30+ HR bat.” This makes Newton a certain buy in my book.
- The Phillies Alec Bohm is back and rehabbing in the GCL. Not sure if he’ll rejoin State College after the upcoming NYPL all-star game or not. Good to see him back on the field, but the results from here on out will not influence my evaluation too much.
— Jason Woodell (@JasonAtTheGame) August 11, 2018
- While his brother Blaze has captured more attention, from me anyway, the Braves CJ Alexander continues to rake, even after seeing promotion to High-A Florida. The 22 year old has seen three levels of the minors so far, destroying the GCL and Danville before getting the bump to high-A. For the season he’s hitting .387/.466/.556 over 33 games. He dominated Juco in Florida before going to the Braves in the 20th round. He has plus raw power, and good feel for the barrel. His athleticism slides under the radar but he moves well and is a solid third baseman.
- This has been a pretty fun draft class to follow, as the bats have made a lot of noise. The Marlins second round pick Tristan Pompey has been no exception. He’s hit in rookie ball, the Sally League, and has brought his bat to the Florida State League. The most impressive part of Pompey’s profile has been the on base ability, in 134 plate appearances he has 22 walks. This has helped the Kentucky standout’s transition to professional ball be a seamless one, as he’s slashed .342/.451/.450 with a pair of homers and 7 steals. A switch-hitter with good size and athleticism, gives Pompey a strong foundation of tools to build off of. The Marlins May have struck gold with this pick.
— JT Baseball Scouting (@JTScouting) August 7, 2018
- I suppose this is the 2018 MLB Draft section of this post. Seth Beer has taken some time to adjust to High A, but that was not the case on Friday, as he went 2-for-4 with a homer and a double. The homer was actually his first in nine games with Buies Creek, but he’s been more mediocre than bad in his first week plus. Still like the contact/power profile and the organization’s track record, albeit not with first base types like this. Fingers crossed.
- The Cal League usually suits everyone, but it looks especially good on Jazz Chisholm. The reports from those that watched him in the Midwest League earlier this year aren’t great, but his raw power is apparent, and a desired trait from a middle-infielder. He’s sacrificed some contact for power this year, but it’s paid off of late, hitting 7 homers over the last month including a two homer game in his swan song in Kane County.
- Since the trade to the Angels Patrick Sandoval has yet to allow a run. He went 4.2 scoreless on Friday, striking out 7, while walking no one. They’ve tended to keep his pitch counts between 70-80 pitches so far, and I have to wonder if it’s related to his funky mechanics. Due to this, many have doubted his ability to continue to throw strikes. So far, so good on that front. He mixes a low-90s fastball with a curveball that flashes plus, and an average changeup. I’ve added Sandoval a few places where I’m looking for cheap pitching fliers.
- I have not given enough love to the Rockies Colton Welker this season. I guess it’s hard for me to get too excited about any hitter at Lancaster, but I shouldn’t hold that against him. Then again, perhaps I should. Why you ask? His home/road power splits. He’s slugging .558 in Lancaster’s moon simulator, but just .397 on the road. While that’s not out of the norm for many, and he is just 20 years old until October, it’s something to monitor. He mashes lefthanded pitching and has hit .323/.381/.477 on the year. I’m excited to catch Welker in Hartford come 2019.
- I have to say the Orioles Zac Lowther is making a really strong case for our attention. He was good again on Thursday going 6.2 allowing 2 runs on 6 hits, striking out 7, and walking a batter. He mixes a plus fastball with high-80s-low-90s velocity, that he commands, and hides well causing deception. He matches that with an above-average curveball that flashes plus, and an avaerage changeup. His extension is tremendous, likely adding perceived velocity to his offerings. There’s a long history of results dating back to college for Lowther.
- The Pirates Shane Baz was strong again on Saturday going 5 scoreless, allowing four baserunners on 3 hits,and a walk, mowing down 6 Reds in the process. The righty has an interesting four pitch mix consisting of a fastball, curveball, changeup, and cutter, but his command is still miles off from where it needs to be.