August 24, 2016
Minor League Update
Games of Tuesday, August 23rd
Prospect of the Day:
Allen Cordoba, SS, St. Louis Cardinals (Rookie Johnson City): 6-8, BB, 5 R, 2B, 3B, RBI, SB, CS.
Others of Note:
Tom Murphy, C, Colorado Rockies (Triple-A Albuquerque): 3-5, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI, K. The 25-year-old Murphy has an OPS north of 1.200 in 28 games since the PCL All-Star Game. Meanwhile, 32-year-old impending free agent Nick Hundley went 1-for-5 in a losing effort for Colorado.
Lucas Giolito, RHP, Washington Nationals (Triple-A Syracuse): IP, 2 K. With Stephen Strasburg hitting the shelf, the Nats limited this start to a one-inning tune-up, as the empty rotation slot in Washington would be on-turn for Giolito this Saturday. Suffice to say, those of us who are excited for his big-league career are eager to see him back on the D.C. bump after his poor and unrepresentative three-start cameo earlier this season.
Mitch Garver, C, Minnesota Twins (Triple-A Rochester): 4-4, R, 2B. A senior-sign in 2013, Garver has been a steady riser in Minnesota’s system, and he’s taken a shining to Triple-A pitching in the dozen games since his promotion. Quality on-base skills, some pop, and a solid-average defensive package have begun to coalesce nicely, putting the 25-year-old in position to threaten for big-league playing time next season.
Nate Smith, LHP, Anaheim Angels (Triple-A Salt Lake City): 7 IP, H, 4 K. Smith has been up and down at Salt Lake, struggling notably with his command at times. Not yesterday, though, as he needed just 86 pitches to carve through his seven innings. The changeup really impressed in a relief role at the Future’s Game last month, and that may ultimately be where he’s best suited to ply his craft.
Yoan Moncada, 2B/3B, Boston Red Sox (Double-A Portland): 1-1, 4 BB, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI. Moncada has now walked nine times in his last four games, and oh-by-the-way has spent the last three games at third base. The Red Sox have received worse offensive production from the hot corner than all but two other teams in the second half. So while I’m not saying…I’m saying, you know?
Jamie Westbrook, 2B, Arizona Diamondbacks (Double-A Mobile): 3-5, R, HR, RBI, SB, K. Westbrook has had a tough time replicating last season’s Cal League-induced power at Double-A, but he’s held his own as one of the youngest regulars in the Southern League all season. It’s a tool set without any glaring weaknesses, and he’s shown capable of making some adjustments against better breaking stuff this year, which bodes well.
Zack Collins, C, Chicago White Sox (High-A Winston-Salem): 2-3, 2 BB, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI. The White Sox, as is their wont, were aggressive in shipping Collins straight to High-A by way of a three-game Arizona flyover. And at least in the early going that aggressiveness has been rewarded, as Collins has shown plenty of the power and patience package that got him drafted 10th overall.
Trevor Clifton, RHP, Chicago Cubs (High-A Myrtle Beach): 6.2 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 10 K. I wrote up Clifton in this space two starts ago, and yesterday marked his seventh consecutive quality start. He’s more of a movement-and-command type than someone who’ll blow down your front door with his fastball, and that’s just fine. A very successful season in Carolina has him poised to lead the Tennessee rotation next season.
Bobby Bradley, 1B, Cleveland Indians (High-A Lynchburg): 2-5, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 K. Between Bradley and Nellie Rodriguez up in Akron, Cleveland sure does have a lot of #beef on the farm. It’s one of the more unorthodox power strokes I’ve seen this year, but it works, kind of. The strikeouts number in the “Daaaaamn!” range, but what he lacks in consistent contact he continues to make up for with dingers and free passes.
Ricardo Sanchez, LHP, Atlanta Braves (Low-A Rome): 7 IP, 4 H, 3 BB, 9 K. In case you were wondering just how long Anaheim’s farm has laid fallow, Sanchez made our Angels’ top-ten list back in 2013 as a moderately exciting J2 signee without any professional experience. He’s still just 19, and after some strength and conditioning issues kept him on a slower roll, he has made some impressive strides lately in starting to put together his three-pitch mix.
Jose Azocar, CF, Detroit Tigers (Low-A West Michigan): 4-4, BB, R, RBI. After blistering Midwest League pitching to start the season, Azocar suffered through some summer doldrums as the circuit adjusted to his aggressive approach. He doesn’t show a lick of in-game power, but some scouts see the potential for some to develop. In the meantime his high-end speed gives him plenty of cover to develop his routes in center, and with plus arm strength he’s got the makings of a potential extra-outfield profile even if the bat never gets there.
Buddy Reed, CF, San Diego Padres (Short-Season Tri-City): 3-3, BB, 4 R, 3B, 2 RBI, 2 SB. The 48th-overall pick in June has had a tough start to his professional career on the heels of an inconsistent spring, but yesterday gives a nice glimpse at his offensive skill set firing on all cylinders. His elite athleticism and double-plus speed team with a plus arm to give him very solid projection on the grass. The bat’s a longer-term project, but there’s enough to dream on it eventually filling out an above-average profile in centerfield.
Walker Buehler, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers (AZL Dodgers): 2 IP, 3 K. Buehler’s pro debut after a grinding recovery from post-draft Tommy John did not disappoint, as he reportedly showed all of the velocity he used to in sitting 95-97 in his two innings. The arsenal is frontline, though the frame is not, and it’s going to take some time to build him up. That said, outings like yesterday are nothing if not extremely encouraging, and this is a polished college arm that can rocket up prospect lists quickly if he pitches well next season.