Weekly Minor League Recap

Every Monday, starting this week, I will give a round-up of how top prospects are doing down on the farm, broken down by level.  A number next to the player’s name indicates his ranking on Baseball America’s 2011 prospect list.  As it is still very early and we are dealing with small sample sizes, don’t put too much stock in them.  If a prospect is still in rookie league/low A ball/injured, he doesn’t make the cut.  Let me know in the comments if I missed anyone of interest.  The stats are as of Sunday, April 10.

AAA:

Jesus Montero, NYY, C (#3), Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees: Jesus is doing as expected in Triple A, hitting .400 (6 for 15) with a hr, an rbi and 2 runs scored.  With the way Russell Martin has started, it could be a while before he sees the Bronx, though a lot can happen between now and September.

Mike Moustakas, 3b, and Eric Hosmer, 1b, KC, Omaha Storm Chasers (#9 and #8 respectively): These two are both on the same team, so I will deal with them together.  Moustakas has started slowly, going 2 for 14, but does have 3 runs scored.  Hosmer on the other hand is 7 for 14.  Both could see the big leagues this year, but Moustakas has a better chance, given KC has Butler at first.

Mike Montgomery, KC, SP, Omaha  (#19): Montgomery, also on the Storm Chasers (don’t you love the minor league nicknames?), had a rough 1st start, giving up 5 ER and 2 BBs in 5 innings.  He did K 3.  Likely needs a full year in triple A, so think 2012.

Brett Lawrie, TOR, 2b, Vegas 51s (#40): Lawrie has started 5 for 12.  Given Toronto has Hill manning 2b, he could be in the minors all year.

Dustin Ackley, SEA, 2b, Tacoma Rainiers (#12): Ackley is 3 for 12 to start the season.  Seattle will be very bad this year offensively, so don’t expect to see him stay with the Rainiers too long if he rakes there.

Jose Iglesias, BOS, SS, Pawtucket Red Sox (#52): Iglesias has gone 3 for 7.  Boston doesn’t have an all world shortstop, but they will probably wait until Jed Lowrie/Marco Scutaro run their course before bringing him along.

Ryan Kalish, BOS, OF, Pawtucket (unranked):  Kalish isn’t a top 100 prospect, but he’s still young and highly regarded.  He is just 2 for his first 16, so he can be ignored for the time being.  He also plays OF, where the Sox are fairly loaded.  He didn’t make much of a splash last year with the big team, going 26/4/24/10/.252 in 53 games, but he also didn’t embarrass himself.

Fernando Martinez, NYM, OF, Buffalo Bisons (unranked): this post-hype prospect, playing for the redundantly named Bisons, started out 4 for 13.  He hasn’t had success with the big club yet, during two stints in 09 and 10, but he is worth keeping in mind in deeper leagues if/when he gets the call up.

Lonnie Chisenhall, CLE, 3b, Columbus Clippers (#25): Chisenhall was great with the Indians during Spring Training, and hasn’t lit it up just yet with the Clippers, going 4 for 19.  However, he does have a hr 5 rbis and 3 2bs, so all of his hits have been for extra bases.  Look for a call up very soon.

Jason Kipnis, CLE, 2b, Clippers (#54): Kipnis is 3 for 11 to start off.  Another top young infielder, he could see some action in Cleveland before the season is out.

Julio Teheran, ATL, P, Gwinnett Braves (#5): the top Braves pitching prospect had a solid Triple A debut against the Durham Bulls, going 5 2/3 innings, giving up just 1 run, striking out 3 and walking 2.  Given wealth of pitching talent at the big league level for Atlanta, Teheran probably doesn’t get to the Bigs in 2011, but he has the talent to be a top of the rotation SP in 2012.

Desmond Jennings, TB, OF, Durham Bulls (#22): started 6 for 17, with a hr 2 rbis 3 steals and 3 BBs. (he went 2 for 5 against Teheran).  Could be up very soon with the Manny fiasco and the Rays struggling to get anything going offensively.

Chris Davis, TEX, 3b, Round Rock Express (unranked): another post hype prospect, raking so far in the minors at a 9 for 17 clip, with 4 hrs and 10 rbis.  His M.O. has been to tear up Triple A and stink it up at the MLB level thus far in his career, so exercise caution before getting too excited; ‘Crash’ Davis is turning out to be a quad A legend.

Jenrry Mejia, NYM, P, Buffalo (#44): great performance from Mejia, going 6 innings, 0 ER, 6 K, 2 BB.  Could be with the team shortly as an SP if the rotation is garbage as expected.

Dee Gordon, LAD, SS, Albuquerque Isotopes (#26): The Dodgers’ top young infielder, he’s 4 for 14 with 3 rbis and 3 steals.  If Furcal gets hurt – which, as we all know, is a BIG if – and LA wants to see what he can do, he could see Chavez Ravine in 2011.  But this is his first year in AAA, so probably not.  Fun fact: he’s Tom ‘Flash’ Gordon’s son.

Kyle Gibson, MIN, SP, Rochester Red Wings (#34): The Twins’ top pitching prospect gave up 3 ER in 3 innings of work in his 2011 debut.  He did K four.  Look for a late 2011 call up, especially if Baker/Blackburn/Duensing continues being mediocre.

Jordan Lyles, HOU, SP, Oklahoma City Redhawks (#42): Lyles is Houston’s top pitcher in the minors, but he certainly didn’t show it in his first 2011 start, going 4 innings and giving up 3 ER, striking out just one.  He has good control (only 46 BBs in 158 innings a year ago), so with the Astros most likely being awful in 2011 with an equally awful back end of the rotation, he could be up for 2011.

AA:

Mike Trout, LAA, OF, Arkansas Travelers (#2): The consensus top 2 prospect along with Bryce Harper is 2 for 10 with a hr 2 rbis and 1 steal.  A couple games does not a stud make or break.  Regardless of how he does this year, he should emerge as one of the top 2012 fantasy prospects.

Wil Myers, KC, OF, Northwest Arkansas Naturals (#10): Myers is another stud in the Royal’s farm system.  He has started hot, going 6 for 18.  Given KC’s outfield is so-so, he could get a look in late 2011.

Austin Romine, NYY, C, Trenton Thunder (#98): 3 for 16 thus far. Indisputably less offensively inclined than Montero, but better defense.  Maybe think about in 2012, likely for another team if Yanks deem Montero untouchable and opt to trade Romine at this year’s deadline instead.

Travis D’arnaud, TOR, C New Hampshire Fisher Cats (#36): 1 for 11 so far.  Blocked by J.P. Arencibia for the time being.  2012 looks more like it before we hear anything meaningful on D’arnaud.

Joe Benson, MIN, OF, New Britain Rock Cats (#100): Benson starts the season 8 for 17 with a hr and 5 rbis.  The Twins don’t have a pressing OF need, but if they fall out of contention, Benson could get a look this year.  This is his second tour with New Britain.

Derek Norris, WAS, C, Harrisburg Senators (#72): 1 for 5 to open the season.  Senators have no need to rush him.  Probably 2012 is when we see what he can do at the Major League level, along with you know who.

Tony Sanchez, PIT, C, Altoona Curve (#46): Another catcher prospect, he’s 3 for 10 with a hr.  Pittsburgh has a need for a good young catcher, but 2012 is probably earliest we first see him.

Brett Jackson, CHC, OF, Tennessee Smokies (#38): Jackson is 7 for 17 with a hr, 6 rbis, and 4 walks.  The Cubs have a sub-par outfield, so Mr. Jackson could move up quickly if he continues to rake.

Trey McNutt, CHC, SP, Tennessee (#48): The cubs top pitching prospect, he only went 2 2/3 innings in his debut, but didn’t give up a run, and struck out 2. ETA: 2012-13.

Wilin Rosario, COL, C, Tulsa Drillers (#49): 3 for 10 with a hr, 2 rbis.  Probably no chance with the Rockies until 2012.

Christian Colon, KC, SS, Arkansas Naturals (#51): 5 for 16, hr, 5 rbis, 3 steals.  KC has Alcides Escobar, another young flashy SS, so Colon looks destined to do the minor league thing all year.

Dellin Betances, NYY, SP, Trenton Thunder (#43): Good 2011 debut from Betances, as he went 4 2/3, giving up just 1 ER.  He did only K one and walked two.  Outside shot at getting called up, depending on the 4-5th starter situation in the Bronx – and Phil Hughes recent meltdown – but most likely we are looking at 2012 for him.

Matt Moore, TB, SP, Montgomery Biscuits (#15): great debut from yet another young Tampa pitcher: 5 innings, 1 ER, 7 Ks, 0 BBs.  The big league rotation is pretty well stocked, so 2012 target seems about right.

Chris Archer, TB, SP, Montgomery (#27): and, still more Tampa pitching!  Archer went 4 innings, giving up 3 ER, striking out 3 and walking 3.  Acquired in the Garza trade, he gives Tampa obscene starter depth.  Nothing doing in 2011 most likely.

Casey Kelly, SD, SP, San Antonio Missions (#31): Kelly, part of the Adrian Gonzalez trade, had a poor first outing, going 4 1/3, 3ER, 1 BB and 1K.  Still very raw as a pitcher, not worth a look until 2012.

Randall Delgado, ATL, SP, Mississippi Braves (#35): 5 innings, 0 ER, 6 Ks, 21 years old.  Very nice.  Too bad the Braves have a stable of young pitchers ahead of him.  2012 at the earliest.

John Lamb, KC, SP, Northwest Arkansas Naturals (#18): gave up 2 ER in 3 innings, with 2 BBs and 2 Ks.  Highly regarded ala` Mike Montgomery, he will probably be in the running for the big 2012 youth movement with the Royals.

Martin Perez, TEX, SP, Frisco Roughriders (#24): 3 innings, 2 ER, 3Ks, 2 BBs.  He’s only 20, so Texas will let him get seasoned in double-triple A for a season, especially after he walked 50 batters in 99 innings (!) in 2010.

A:

Bryce Harper, WAS, OF, Hagerstown Suns (#1): Consensus future hall of famer, er, very good ballplayer Bryce Harper is just 2 for 11 to start the season.  He does have a steal and 2 RBIs to his credit.  I wouldn’t be shocked if the Nationals bring him up by the end of the year, but I also wouldn’t hold my breath.  My money is on a 2012 debut, pending stellar performance in the minors, which most people consider a foregone conclusion. If he does hit the waiver wire at any time this year, records will be broken for the amount of claims put in for him.

Manny Machado, BAL, SS, Delmarva Shorebirds (#14): Machado is Baltimore’s prized infield prospect, and is 4 for 11 with a double, triple, a steal and 3 rbis. Looking like a 2013 fantasy rookie.

Jake Odorizzi, KC, SP, Wilmington Blue Rocks (unranked): 3 innings, 5 Ks in his debut.  Part of the Greinke haul, looks like an interesting prospect for 2012 and beyond.

Drake Britton, BOS, SP, Salem (VA) Red Sox (#97): had a very rough start to the season, going only 2 1/3 innings and giving up 6 ER and 2BBs.  Maybe someone to look at in 2012-13 if he shows improvement, but definitely not in 2011.

Arodys Viscaino, ATL, SP, Lynchburg Hillcats (#93): The key prospect in the Javier Vasquez trade a season ago with the Yankees, had a good start to the 2011 campaign, going 5 innings and giving up 2 ER, with an impressive 6 Ks and only 1 BB.  Another prize SP for Atlanta, who really had a nice future rotation in the works.  Look for Viscaino to make the jump in 2012 or 2013.

Brody Colvin, PHI, SP, Clearwater Threshers: Colvin, #56 BA List, also had a rough first outing, giving up 3 runs (2earned), and 1 BB, in 2 innings of work.  Philly obviously doesn’t have any pressing need for starting pitching help at this point, so 2012-13 looks more like the target for him.

Shelby Miller, STL, SP, Palm Beach Cardinals: #13 on the BA list, he was utterly dominant in 5 innings of work, with 9Ks, 1 R (unearned), and 1 BB.  The kid is a strikeout machine, as evidenced by last year’s 140 in 104.1 innings of work.  He could shoot up the ranks quickly given St. Lou’s noted starter issues behind Carpenter and Garcia, so keep watch for 2012, as most likely still won’t move quick enough to be relevant for 2011.

Gary Sanchez, C, NYY, Charleston River Dogs (#30): What’s this, another Yankee catching prospect?  You betcha.  Sanchez started the season 3 for 12 with a hr.  Not likely to make any impact this or even next year.  Best bet is 2013 at the earliest, as 1) he’s only 18 and 2) he’s got two catchers ahead of him in Montero and Romine.

Tyler Matzek, COL, SP, Modesto Nuts (#32): Matzek had a rude greeting to 2011, giving up 6 ER and walking 4 in 3 innings of work.  On the bright side, he did K 4. Needs a couple more years in the minors, so 2013 impact at the earliest.

Nolan Arenado, COL, 3b, Modesto (#80): 2 for 12 with an rbi. Come back in 2013.

Zack Wheeler, SF, SP, San Jose Giants (#55): A clean 5 innings with 3 Ks (but three walks) to start off.  Another good young Giant pitcher, who could join the rotation in 2013, when Lincecum and Co. are old men by comparison.

Tyler Skaggs, ARI, SP, Visalia Rawhide (#82): gave up 3 ER and walked 3 in 4 2/3.  But he did strike out 6.  With him and Jerrod Parker (in triple A yet to start this season), the D’Backs have some solid young options for 2012-13.

Matthew Davidson, ARI, 3b, Visalia (#99): Another cog in the Diamondbacks rebuilding plan for 2012-13, he’s 3 for 13 with an rbi.

Jean Segura, LAA, 2b, Inland Empire 66 (#57): 7 for 16, 2 rbis, a steal 3 2bs and 1 3b, hes off to a hot start.  A legit opportunity for him to be a big run/average/speed threat in 2012.

Nick Franklin, SEA, SS, High Desert Mavericks (#53): So far batting .000 (0 for 7), but he had a lot of success in high A ball last year, so he should come around.  Him and Ackley give Seattle something to get excited about middle infield-wise for the future.

Jonathan Villar, HOU, SS, Lancaster Jethawks (#94): Off to a scorching start (6 for 17, 6 rbis, 2 steals), Villar could provide the Astros with a sorely needed middle infielder in 2012.

Aaron Hicks, MIN, OF, Fort Myers Miracles (#45): Hicks, the Twins top pick several years ago out of high school, is 6 for 15 with a double, triple and an rbi.  Just 21, he should get a look in 2012-13.

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