April 11, 2017
Minor League Update
Games of April 10th
Hitter of the Day:
Carlos Rincon, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers (Low-A, Great Lakes), 2-3, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 BB, 1 SB, 1 K
Signed for $350,000 in 2015, Rincon pairs an athletic body with loads of raw power, he also has a plus arm and is an average runner down the line. But, like many young kids, Rincon struck out often in his pro debut and will need to cut down on those to tap into his prodigious raw power.
Pitcher of the Day:
Mike Soroka, RHP, Atlanta Braves (Double-A, Mississippi), 5 IP, 2 H, 0 BB, 7 K
Jarrett Seidler talked last week about how the promotion of Soroka to Double-A was especially aggressive, given his age, as well as how much he threw last year, and his injury history. Well, Jarrett ... how about this.
Others of Note:
Joey Wentz, LHP, Atlanta Braves (Low-A, Rome), 4 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 5 K
Wentz cruised through his pro debut last year, and gave the organization confidence to move him up to full-season the following season. While his overall stamina is something that needs to be worked on, Wentz looks the part of a mid-rotation starter with his plus fastball, above-average secondaries, and advanced command for someone his age.
Amed Rosario, SS, New York Mets (Triple-A, Las Vegas) 2-4, RBI
Speaking of aggressive assignments, the Mets decided to send Rosario, our top prospect for their organization, to Triple-A after demolishing Double-A Binghamton in half a season last year. Rosario, if he retains eligibility for next year, could be our top prospect in baseball.
Kevin Newman, SS, Pittsburgh Pirates (Double-A, Altoona) 2-5, 2B, BB, 2 K
Last year, I gave Kevin Newman the highest hit tool grade on anyone since I have been grading prospects. He profiles as an elite hitter with enough glove to stay at shortstop and have the skills to be an All-Star.
Matt Cooper, RHP, Chicago White Sox (Double-A, Birmingham) 4 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 9 K, 51 pitches, 38 strikes
A 16th-round senior sign in 2014, Cooper has nonetheless outperformed whatever modest expectations they had for him. While the fastball velocity is just average, his OT slot adds deception and lots of sink. His best secondary offering is a curveball with good depth from the high slot.
Darryl Wilson, OF, Chicago Cubs (Low-A, South Bend) 1-2, HR, RBI, BB
Signed for $1.3 million to forgo his commitment to Vanderbilt, Darryl (who goes by D.J.) is a 70 runner with more pop than you would expect from his size. He struggled to make adjustments right away, but he is a guy I would bet to break out this season.
Justin O’Conner, Tampa Bay Rays (Double-A, Montgomery) 1-4, HR, 4 RBI
The former first-rounder broke his hitless streak to begin the season with a grand slam. The arm still gets elite grades, but injuries have hit him hard, leading to his DFA off the 40-man roster this past offseason. He needs to show those tools again to merit consideration over an organization now brimming with catching depth.
Fight Another Day:
Jason Groome, LHP, Boston Red Sox (Low-A, Greenville) 1.1IP, 7 H, 9 ER, 3 BB, 1K
It was certainly a rough pro debut for the organization’s most recent first-rounder, who reportedly left the game with a lat injury. He fell in the draft mostly due to serious concerns about his makeup, but features middle to top of the rotation stuff.
Chad Taylor, RHP, Retired
In no way was Taylor a prospect, but after initially being drafted in the 13th round by the Cubs out of high school, he went to USF and signed with the Yankees as an UDFA. I saw Taylor rehab from Tommy John in the GCL last season and he did not have anything noteworthy. But I applauded his efforts to rehab and get back to it. Ultimately it fell short, but a drink to you.
Steve Givarz is an author of Baseball Prospectus.
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