(Um…Jurickson? You’re playing shortstop, not pitcher.)
An Ode To Michael Nelson Trout
Oh, Mike. What fun we had in…what, three weeks? You were my #1 guy. My shining star on this list. The anti-Vernon Wells. And now, here you stand. A man of 20, four months away from being able to drink legally in the United States of America, and you get brought up to take your rightful place at the Major League level. Now, don’t worry that the team is 7-15, hasn’t had a home run from Albert Pujols yet and have series losses against the Twins, Royals, A’s and Orioles. You’ll finally get your chance to shine, even with the Angels messing up and dumping Bobby Abreu instead of Wells. But hey, if you’re gonna pay someone $65 million, you might as well let him play for it, am I right? I’m not? Well…that’s like, your…opinion, man. By the way, Trout’s final Triple-A line: .403/.467/.623 with a homer, five triples and four doubles. With 6-for-7 in stolen base attempts. Goodbye, Fish Name Throne Ascendor. May you have a better career in red and white than even the great Tim Salmon.
An Ode To Bryce Aron Max Harper
Bryce, you and Mike will forever be linked in baseball lore, for you both came up on the same day, and both of you even made it on to five of my seven non-keeper leagues. But you…you made it on to all seven of my teams. All seven. And when you legged out that double for your first major league hit, even you couldn’t care less that some drunk LA jackass decided to moon you as you swung. You just raced around trying to keep your helmet on, with your fauxhawk glistening in the brisk air of Southern California as you came into second. You have a violent (and sexy) swing, the Charlie Hustle gene and just want to play baseball as hard as you possibly can. Go forth, Teenage Phenom and tear up the playing fields as best you can.
Brand Spanking New Minor League Top 10
1. Dylan Bundy – RHP, Low-A Delmarva (BAL) – 13 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 21 K – He hasn’t pitched since I made him my Low-Level Highlight this past week, but he is going to have two starts this week and we’re still waiting to see if someone is going to hit him. The question is whether or not it will be with Delmarva or at an advanced level.
2. Jurickson Profar – SS, Double-A Frisco (TEX) – .253/.323/.483, 3 HR, 3 3B, 5 2B, 9 BB, 16 K, 4-for-4 SB – The first thing you think is that he’s not exactly tearing up the Texas League until you realize he’s only 19 years old and younger than even Harper. Has eight hits in his last five games, has started to draw some walks and is cutting down on the strikeouts. If this continues, the numbers he could have by the All-Star Break could be monstrous.
3. Manny Machado – SS, Double-A Bowie (BAL) – .241/.344/.405, 2 HR, 1 3B, 5 2B, 13 BB, 18 K, 2-for-4 SB – Has more walks than strikeouts (7 to 4) over his last 10 games but is only hitting .167 over that time period. Still has a really advanced bat for both his age and the position, and he is still sticking in the 6-hole for the time being.
4. Trevor Bauer – RHP, Double-A Mobile (ARI) – 5-0, 1.26 ERA, 28 2/3 IP, 18 H, 5 R (4 ER), 17 BB, 37 K – Went at least six innings for the second straight start, but is still pitch inefficient at this point. More strikeouts than baserunners is indeed impressive, but he still hasn’t found his control. While it wasn’t him getting the call this week to the big leagues (Hey! Service time…again) his call is coming soon enough, and hopefully not too late for Arizona to stay in the National League West race.
5. Julio Teheran – RHP, Triple-A Gwinnett (ATL) – 2-1, 3.78 ERA, 16 2/3 IP, 15 H, 7 R (7 ER), 10 BB, 13 K – Got roughed up in his last start after back to back starts where he allowed no runs whatsoever. He doesn’t seem to have his consistency at this point, but is only 21 years old and has plenty of time to develop the last bit of his basically MLB-ready arsenal. He’s still waiting in the wings amongst a large amount of Atlanta pitching and will get his shot at some point.
6. Miguel Sano – 3B, Low-A Beloit (MIN) – .262/.404/.583, 6 HR, 5 2B, 2 3B, 17 BB, 31 K, 2-for 3 SB – Is only 6 for his last 33, but his line is looking a lot like a Mike Stanton line. At some point, he’s going to go on another tear, and I will not be surprised if he sees Fort Myers at some point this season. Supposed to be really fun to watch and his ball is exploding off the bat when he does make contact. Did I also mention he’s onl 18?
7. Taijuan Walker – RHP, Double-A Jackson (SEA) – 3-0, 1.64 ERA, 22 IP, 16 H, 4 ER, 6 BB, 26 K – That is a 19-year-old doing that in only his second full-season league season. Skipping him past High-A is not only paying off for Walker, but is giving him the confidence that could put him in Seattle for at least a look at some point in September. As special as Bundy has looked and as dominant as Bauer has been, Walker right now might be the best of both worlds, mixing ace-caliber stuff with pitch efficiency.
8. Shelby Miller – RHP, Triple-A Memphis (STL) – 2-2, 4.50 ERA, 18 IP, 23 H, 9 ER, 8 BB, 25 K – Has bounced back with two five-inning starts that led to victories, including five shutout innings last Tuesday. Lance Lynn’s emergence has allowed Miller to bide his time in Memphis for the time being, but come June, he might be the first guy called on if the Cardinals need a pitching boost.
9. Gerrit Cole – RHP, High-A Bradenton (PIT) – 0-1, 4.76 ERA, 17 IP, 16 H, 13 R (9 ER), 6 BB, 23 K – Has been pitch inefficient much like his former UCLA teammate Bauer, but has also been hit hard. Still has a high-end ceiling, but needs to refine a lot in order to make a step forward in his development.
10. Nolan Arenado – 3B, Double-A Tulsa (COL) – .313/.402/.458, 1 HR, 9 2B, 13 RBI, 9 BB, 12 K – Arenado gets on to the list after making the spotlight last week. Special bat and a fantastic eye at the plate, striking out three times in his last 31 plate appearances with three walks. Hasn’t found his home run stroke yet, but should get it soon in the high-powered Texas League.