July 27, 2015
Minor League Update
Games of July 24-26, 2015
Hunter Renfroe, OF, Padres (San Antonio, AA): 3-5, 2 R, 2 HR, K. Renfroe has gotten better with each month of the season, and the power production he’ll need in the big leagues has blossomed over the summer. The biggest culprit behind his early struggles is his aggressive approach, which causes him to expand the zone against better breaking pitches, but he’s capitalizing on mistakes more frequently in the meantime. The strikeouts will ultimately hurt the hit tool, but as long as he leaves the yard often enough, the Padres will be happy to look past his flaws.
Lewis Brinson, OF, Rangers (High Desert, A+): 3-5, 2 R, 3B, K, SB. Brinson has always been an incredible talent, but he’s been plagued of many of the same issues that often handicap extremely raw prospects. The swings and misses were a major issue, but he’s reined them in big time this year without hindering his power production. The California League helps, of course, but the better approach has more to do with actual development than just the hitting environment.
Travis Jankowski, OF, Padres (El Paso, AAA): 3-4, 2 R, 2B, 2 SB. Jankowski has rebounded in a big way this season, reestablishing himself as a potential offensive weapon. Without any power to speak of, he’ll have to reach the pinnacle of his hit tool in order to be an everyday player. His up-the-middle profile and speed/contact skills give him a chance to make an impact despite the limited upside.
Luke Weaver, RHP, Cardinals (Palm Beach, A+): 6 IP, 6 H, R, 0 BB, 8 K. Weaver has manhandled the Florida State League thanks to plus command and a strong fastball/changeup combination. The ceiling isn’t incredibly high, but his arsenal is adequate to remain a starter assuming his slight frame holds up—which it should, thanks to the minimal effort in his delivery.
Robert Gsellman, RHP, Mets (Binghamton, AA): 7 1/3 IP, 4 H, R, BB, 2 K. Gsellman moved on from the Florida State League on the back of his plus curveball and plus fastball command, though the transition to Double-A hasn’t been quite as smooth. That’s understandable for a 21-year-old pitching prospect, and he’s allowed just two earned runs over his past three starts. He’s not missing bats at the same rate, and he’s not likely to be a huge strikeout pitcher in the big leagues, but as he adjusts to the new level, the K clip should return to his career norms. He has the stuff to miss more bats than he has since his promotion, but in the meantime, he’s pitching well in spite of it.
Dalton Pompey, OF, Blue Jays (Buffalo, AAA): 5-6, R, 2B, 3B. In today’s episode of Raw Projection, Chris Mellen and I discussed what prospects are working on when they return to the minors after some big-league struggles. In some cases, it’s because they were called up before they were ready. In others, it’s about regaining confidence. In Pompey’s case, it’s likely both. A trip to Double-A helped him regain his footing, and continued success in Triple-A has him once again knocking on the door to the big leagues. Regardless of when he’s promoted, his talent level hasn’t changed.
Rymer Liriano, OF, Padres (El Paso, AAA): 2-5, 2 R, 2B, HR, 3 K. Few hitters get 3,000 plate appearances in the minors, and even fewer get there before their 25th birthdays. Despite all of that experience, Liriano’s still largely the player he’s always been: filled with tools and ability but unrefined and overly aggressive at the plate. His power plays, but not enough to fill a corner-outfield profile on an everyday basis. In a less-crowded outfield, however, he’d be getting more chances and could see them toward the end of the season.
Alex Reyes, RHP, Cardinals (Springfield, AA): 4 IP, 2 H, R, BB, 5 K. In his first start in Double-A, Reyes continued to miss bats while also throwing strikes, which had been his biggest issue. Fastball command is the obstacle he most needs to overcome, but his stuff is good enough to continue having success while he works on it. He was ready for a new challenge, and a month in Double-A to end this season will set him up nicely for the next.
Bradley Zimmer, OF, Indians (Akron, AA): 2-3, 2 R, 2 2B. Another recent promotee, Zimmer has picked up right where he left off, continuing his breakout season. The all-around skill set is what stands out most about Zimmer, with strengths across the board. A player once considered a possible tweener has now cemented himself as an up-the-middle asset with enough offensive potential to hit atop a big-league lineup.
Matt Olson, 1B, Athletics (Midland, AA): 2-3, R, 2B, HR, K. It got to the point last season where mentioning an Olson home run wasn’t even worth the space on the page, but after only a single tater in both May and June, it’s now noteworthy when he connects. Sunday’s blast marks the second in four games for the A’s slugger, and he’ll need to put a more permanent end to the power outage if he wants to continue to climb the prospect ranks.
David Dahl, OF, Rockies (New Britain, AA): 2-4, R, 2 2B, K. The lost developmental time for Dahl has held him back, which is especially evident in the exposure of his ultra-aggressive approach at the plate. That said, there’s no denying the skill set, and his ability to make it work in Double-A as a 21-year-old despite his injury history is a testament to his talent level. He’ll need his at-bats, and the extended time off will impact him more than it would a typical prospect’s development.
Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Pirates (Altoona, AA): 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 12 K. Glasnow is throwing strikes this year, and the rest of the National League should take notice. Extra baserunners have always been Glasnow’s kryptonite, and yet they’ve never really slowed him down at any level. Now high enough up the chain that they could, he’s managed to rein things in to the point where he can truly dominate.
Manuel Margot, OF, Red Sox (Portland, AA): 3-5, 2 R, 3B, SB. The Red Sox appear to have finally promoted Margot to a level at which he’s in slightly over his head, though even that is by comparison only. Despite being 20 and in Double-A, he’s still showing glimpses of his all-around skill set like he did on Sunday. With elite contact rates and an up-the-middle profile, Margot has all of the ability to be an impact player on both sides of the ball, and he should be among the first targets for any team looking to deal with the Red Sox in the next week.