August 25, 2017
Minor League Update
Games of August 24
Hitter of the Day:
Jake Burger, 3B, Chicago White Sox (Low-A Kannapolis): 5-5, BB, R, 2B, 3B, HR, 3 RBI
That he only scored one run despite reaching base safely in six plate appearances defies a few laws of physics, but it’s neither here nor there. What is here, or at least has returned after a modest slump, is Burger’s notable game power, which should mature comfortably into above-average range at least in the bigs one day. My colleague Greg Goldstein described him in our Slack as having “a big body with a compact power stroke,” and I’m like…yep.
Pitcher of the Day:
A.J. Alexy, RHP, Texas Rangers (Low-A Hickory): 6 IP, 2 H, BB, 8 K
Alexy was an interesting get by the Rangers in the return package for Yu Darvish. The Dodgers spent nearly $600 grand in the 11th round to buy him out of his college commitment on account of a highly projectable frame and flashes of three quality pitches. The command’s going to take some time as he grows into his frame, but he’s already shown advanced abilities to both limit solid contact and avoid it entirely as a 19-year-old in full-season ball.
Other Prospects of Note:
Max Fried, LHP, Atlanta Braves (Triple-A Gwinnett): 4 IP, H, 2 BB, 6 K
Fried worked 92-94, topping at 96 in his Triple-A debut, while featuring a nasty breaker that portends a whole bunch of bullpen utility if the command never takes those last few steps forward.
Dylan Cozens, OF, Philadelphia Phillies (Triple-A Lehigh Valley): 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI
Yeah, he’ll do that, alright. He hasn’t done it nearly as often this year, and has looked for decent stretches like the Quad-A guy scouts pegged him as even amid his assault on Double-A pitching last year. But every now and then? Yeah, he’ll do that, alright.
Edwin Rios, CI, Los Angeles Dodgers (Triple-A Tulsa): 0-5, 4 K
It pains my heart to see Sweet Edwin suffer such box score savagery. Don’t worry though: Edwin’ll be alright.
Matt Thaiss, 1B, Anaheim Angels (Double-A Mobile): 2-3, 3 R, HR, 2 RBI, 3 BB, K
Alright, this James Loney-looking man is just trolling me now. I swear he’s busted out update-worthy power on each of the last four or five of my Update nights now. But I refuse to budge off he’s-not-going-to-drive-the-ball-enough-to-start-at-first-base-for-a-major-league-team hill.
Logan Shore, RHP, Oakland Athletics (High-A Stockton): 7 IP, ER, 6 H, 7 K
Shore’s command and ability to work complex sequencing has translated well in his first full professional season. He lacks the fastball to avoid occasional bouts of hard contact, but he’s by and large proven effective at staying one step ahead around the zone. The durability and consistency should be plenty to get him into a big-league rotation some day in the not-too-distant future.
Jon Duplantier, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks (High-A Visalia): 5 IP, H, 3 BB, 9 K
Duplantier’s been racking up the whiffs of late, striking out at least eight batters in five of his last six starts. The walks keep coming too, however, and they’re the difference between top- and middle-of-the-rotation upside for last year’s third-rounder.
Monte Harrison, OF, Milwaukee Brewers (High-A Carolina): 4-6, 3 R, 2B, HR, 3 RBI, SB
I want it noted that it took an awful lot of self-discipline to not toss Monte into the top spot today. Harrison crossed the 20-20 threshold for his season last week, but had struggled a bit in the aftermath until yesterday’s show. The approach has regressed a bit since his bump to High-A, but all told it’s hard to not get excited about his health and progress this year after several seasons of frustration on both counts.
Peter Lambert, RHP, Colorado Rockies (High-A Lancaster): 4.1, 8 R (7 ER), 10 H, 2 BB, K, 2 HR
Maybe not today…and maybe not tomorrow…but some day, pitching for Lancaster’ll get you. This start was actually on the road, but Cal League still gonna Cal League. To wit: this game featured more than 40 hits and went to extras tied 14-14.
Bobby Dalbec, 3B, Boston Red Sox (Low-A Greenville): 4-5, 2 R, 2B, HR, 4 RBI, K
He’s heating up! I’ve long been a skeptic of the hit tool, but there’s little debate about the power, and outbursts like this are not too far out of left field.
Willie Abreu, RF, Colorado Rockies (Low-A Asheville): 5-6, 4 R, 2B, HR, 3 RBI, SB, K
Abreu caught my eye on the Cape a couple years ago, mostly on account of his relative fluidity for a big dude with big power. I certainly didn’t see a guy capable of swiping 40 bases in his full-season debut, but here we are. It’s unlikely that acumen translates quite as effectively against better batteries, but there’s at least solid-average speed here at maturity, and the raw power might tickle 70-grade. He’s an aggressive hitter, however, and questions about just how much of that power will translate were loud enough to push him down to the sixth round in his draft year. He’ll be a fun one to watch in Lancaster next year regardless, and fits the mold of a quintessential Quad-A Rockies cornerman.
Brian Miller, OF, Miami Marlins (Low-A Greensboro): 3-5, 2 R, 2 2B, K
The Marlins turned a few heads, as they are want to do, when they popped Miller 36th overall in June. He shows strong bat-to-ball skills and straight line speed that pushes plus-plus, but there’s very little power at all, and his arm draws fringe-average grades. It’s more of a fourth outfielder profile, though an average regular role is possible if you buy the contact skills translating against higher-quality pitching.
Bryce Johnson, CF, San Francisco Giants (Short Season Salem-Keizer): 0-2, BB, 2 R, 4 SB, K
Overshadowed by Heliot Ramos among the just-drafted short-season outfielder contingent in the Giants’ system, Johnson’s shown solid barrel skills since signing, along with plus speed that suggests plenty of utility on the bases. He’s a good bet to stick in center, too.
Mason House, OF, San Diego Padres (Rookie AZL Padres 2): 5-9, 2 R, 3B, 3 RBI, 2 K
After popping up from way off the map last spring, House was something of an enigma heading into draft day, with tools for days and a projectable frame, but no track record against other top prep talent. San Diego tagged him at slot in the third round, and he’s put up some numbers in Arizona, albeit in spite of gnarly walk and whiff rates. There’s an intriguing power-and-speed baseline here, with at least some nascent feel for the barrel.
Wilson Karaman is an author of Baseball Prospectus.
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