Weekly Minor League Recap:
This week for a change, I am just going to update the top prospects who look like they could get promoted very shortly, either to the next minor league level, or to The Show. So, even though Hosmer is playing like a man possessed, Moustakas is the heir apparent for KC’s hot corner, and Trout will soon be Anaheim’s best outfielder, we won’t be discussing them. We will come back to them in future weeks for updates, don’t worry.
–Jesus Montero, NYY, C, Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees (#3): Montero came back from a shot to the nether regions and didn’t have his best week. He only played in 4 games and went 4 for 19, though he did walk (twice!) for the first time this season on Sunday. Even though Franco Cervelli is back with the Yankees, I don’t see Jesus toiling away too much longer in SWB; Cervelli is merely a warm body to provide Martin with rest. Look for him to get back to destroying minor league pitching again sooner rather than later.
–Adrian Cardenas, OAK, 2B, Sacremento River Cats (unranked): Cardenas is still looking good in the PCL, hitting .353, getting on base 42% of the time, and walking as much as he is striking out (9 walks, only 10 Ks). With Mark Ellis manning second in Oakland and performing at a robust .184/.223/.276, Cardenas should get his chance in the big leagues very soon.
–Brett Lawrie, Tor, 2b, Vegas 51s (#40): Lawrie’s average actually dropped last week, despite hitting .348, which shows you just how much he has been abusing PCL pitching. With Hill on the DL, Toronto will not be able to ignore Lawrie’s bat much longer (admittedly, he isn’t a great fielder). However, Toronto, DO NOT keep ignoring Lawrie’s bat!
–Lonnie Chisenhall, Cle, 3b, Columbus Clippers (#25): Chisenhall hasn’t lit it up in Triple A, but improved last week, going 9 for 28 with a HR and 4 RBIs. The Indians are playing Jack Hanahan at third, who is not exactly Alex Rodriguez. So Lonnie, despite his underwhelming numbers, should see Jacob’s Field before spring is out, unless he completely sucks from here on in.
-Desmond Jennings, TB, OF, Durham Bulls (#22): Jennings is still in a holding pattern at Durham, hitting .269. But Sam Fuld has fallen back to earth, and who knows how much more Damon has left in the tank, so look for Tampa to give Jennings the go ahead very soon. But of course not too soon, as the Rays are obviously thinking about team control/money in whether to promote their top offensive prospect.
-Kyle Gibson, MIN, SP, Rochester Red Wings (#34): Gibson had a gem and a quality start last week: 6 innings, 1 ER, 8 Ks , 2 BBs on 4/26, 6 innings, 3 ER, 6 Ks, zero BBs on 5/1. With the Twins #5 starter Nick Blackburn looking awful, Gibson’s call up probability just took another leap forward.
–Jordan Lyles, HOU, SP, Oklahoma City Redhawks (#42): Lyles threw 6 shutout innings last week, ringing up 8 and walking just one. Houston’s 4 and 5 starters are Nelson Figueroa and J.A. Happ. Exactly. Only catch: Lyles is just 20 and Houston has no reason to rush him.
-Anthony Rizzo, SD, 1b, Tucson Padres (#75): Rizzo is just being Rizzo in Triple A, waiting for the signal. He had a HR and 8 RBIs last week, ho hum. I guess San Diego is happy with Brad Hawpe and Jorge Cantu at first for the time being.
-Danny Duffy, KC, SP, Omaha Stormchasers (unranked): Lost in all the Mike Montgomery hoopla is Duffy’s great 2011 so far, which is why he makes a debut on the list this week. While Montgomery has the most upside (and hype), Duffy has quietly gone about his business, showing superior control, allowing only 4 BBs compared to Mike’s 15, while striking out 24 in 20 innings. KC might be wise to see what he can do at the back end of the rotation. Lord knows Bruce Chen, Kyle Davies, and Sean O’Sullivan aren’t the answer.
Injured (Super) Prospect Update:
-Domonic Brown, PHI, OF, Clearwater Threshers (#4): Mr. Brown, on a rehab assignment in single A after surgery on his wrist, looks to have healed well, as he launched 2 HRs in consecutive games last week. Look for him to rejoin the parent club shortly. He will start at Triple A Lehigh Valley; as you are no doubt aware, his promotion depends on his performance plus the performance of the current OF’ers on the Philly roster. But I think if Brown plays really well, it will be tough for the Philly brass to just roll with Ibanez, Mayberry, and Francisco.
Looks like I spoke too soon about Hosmer. There is buzz he could get a call up in the coming weeks, possibly around June 1. I thought the Royals were going to give Kila Ka’aihue a longer leash, but his moment in the sun looks to be just about over. Butler obviously still mans first, but Hosmer could DH or play a corner outfield position.
–Austin Romine, NYY, C, Trenton Thunder (#98): Romine had another sterling week, going 7 for 21 and only striking out twice. When Montero moves up to the Bronx, look for Romine to replace him at SWB.
-Brett Jackson, CHC, OF, Tennessee Smokies (#38): Jackson is 5 for his last 30, so he is officially in a slump. But given his performance overall at AA, he is due for a crack at the next level.
-Trey McNutt, CHC, SP, Tennessee (#48): McNutt was great his last two times out last week: 11 combined innings, 3 ER, 8 Ks, 2 BBs. He already has a full double A season under his belt, so he has proven he should be moved on up.
–Jacob Turner, DET, SP, Erie SeaWolves (#21): Turner is another guy I overlooked in the early going (hey, it’s tough keeping track of all these kids), but he is making a bid to move up to AAA with a great first four starts of the season. He is 0-1, but sports a 2.70 ERA, 24Ks/4BBs, 22 hits allowed, in 26.2 innings. He has the look of a future ace for the Tigers, and could be a level below the bigs very shortly.
-Jake Odorizzi, KC, SP, Wilmington Blue Rocks (unranked): Had another brilliant turn last week, hurling 7 shutout innings, K’ing 10 and walking none. He is having an easy time of it in A ball, so should be moved up accordingly.
–Shelby Miller, STL, SP, Palm Beach Cardinals (#13): Miller had his first bump in the road in 2011, giving up 4 ER in 4.1 innings while walking 7 and striking out 4 last week. He still looks to be on track to move quickly through St. Louis’ system.
-Bryce Harper, WAS, OF, Hagerstown Suns (#1): Harper is really heating up now: he added 3 more HRs, 6 RBIs, while going 9 for 24 last week. The Nats don’t want to rush him, but with him treating single A this way, it makes little sense to keep him at a level he clearly is better than. Come on down to Harrisburg, Bryce!
-Tyler Skaggs, ARI, SP, Visalia Rawhide (#82): Skaggs is now up to 40 Ks in 26 innings after ringing up 11 last week. He has 16 walks, so control is a problem, but with a full A ball season under his belt from last year, he looks to be ready to make the jump to Double A.
–Jean Segura, LAA, 2b, Inland Empire 66 (#57): Segura was 11 for 32 last week, with 2 HRs, 5 RBIs, and 7 steals. He’s hitting .344 and getting on base 40% of the time: next stop, double A.