I have no Bryce Harper or Mike Trout to even ode to. Enjoy picture(s?) of Taijuan Walker.
Your Top 10 Minor Leaguers
1. Dylan Bundy – RHP, Low-A Delmarva (BAL) – 5 GS, 17 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 25/2 K/BB – He pitched on Monday and finally allowed his first hit AND allowed a walk, but has still not gone past four innings yet in any of his starts. This happens a lot at the Low-A level as top prospects tend to get babied, but even now, it seems like Baltimore is being a bit too protective of its prized right-hander. That being said, Baltimore is 19-9 right now. 19-9! CHRIS DAVIS HAS A WIN! Robert Andino is hitting over .300! Who the hell IS this team? And why did they sign Miguel Tejada?
2. Jurickson Profar – SS, Double-A Frisco (TEX) – .259/.315/.464, 3 HR, 9 BB, 22 K, 4-for-4 SB – He has a 10-game hit streak going and his batting .310 over that span with five extra base hits, and is still south of 20 years old. He is still a very sexy prospect and now that he has started hitting the ball on a consistent basisl, it’s only a matter of time before that hitting approach matures even more.
3. Manny Machado – SS, Double-A Bowie (BAL) – .257/.361/.406, 2 HR, 16 BB, 24 K, 3-for-5 SB – Big things are still around the corner for Machado, who hit in six of seven games this week. It has been a while since his last home run, however, and unlike Profar’s Texas League bandboxes, he has to find his power in one of the toughest pitcher’s leagues around.
4. Trevor Bauer – RHP, Double-A Mobile (ARI) – 7 GS, 6-1, 1.96 ERA, 41 1/3 IP, 27 H, 11 R (9 ER), 51/25 K/BB – Bauer started out horribly this week with a bad line (5 2/3 IP, 8 H, 6 R (5 ER), 3 BB, 9 K) but still missed bats. He then came back with seven innings of one hit baseball, but walked five batters while striking out five, talking bluntly about how he wasn’t happy with the start and needed to improve. If he can figure out how to cut down on the walks (5.48 walks per 9 IP), he should make Diamondbacks fans very happy very soon.
5. Miguel Sano – 3B, Low-A Beloit (MIN) – .299/.424/.636, 8 HR, 20 BB, 36 K, 2-for-3 SB – It’s officially ridiculous at this point for the 18-year-old. He had a six-game hit streak going (with four of those being multi-hit affairs) before Sunday’s 0-for-3, but he is officially becoming someone you can throw the Giancarlo Stanton comp on. And this is with a not-so-sexy strikeout rate of 28.3%. But the 20 walks MORE than outweigh that inefficiency. If you live in the midwest, go see him. Right now.
6. Taijuan Walker – RHP, Double-A Jackson (SEA) – 5 GS, 3-1, 1.30 ERA, 27 2/3 IP, 21 H, 5 R (4 ER), 28/8 K/BB – He’s still both A) Not 20-years-old yet and B) Not even close to his full potential yet. Felix is King, Pineda was Prince…Walker deserves to be held in high regard among such royalty.
7. Julio Teheran – RHP, Triple-A Gwinnett (ATL) – 5 GS, 2-1, 3.66 ERA, 19 2/3 IP, 17 H, 8 ER, 17/10 K/BB – His start on Tuesday was cut short due to rain, but he looked good in the three innings he did pitch (If people can praise Bundy in short outings, I will do it with Teheran). He still needs that string of good starts to make the stats look good, as he has not gotten out of the sixth inning in any of his starts so far this season.
8. Gerrit Cole – RHP, High-A Bradenton (PIT) – 6 GS, 1-1, 3.54 ERA, 28 IP, 20 H, 15 R (11 ER), 34/10 K/BB – Forget the runs and the hits given up. This guy is still missing bats and is pounding the strike zone. He had his best start last Monday, a six inning affair where he only gave up one hit and one walk while striking out six. His stuff is still other worldly, and while his former teammate Bauer is putting up gaudy strikeout numbers, Cole has been a bit more efficient while getting hit due to a high number of strikes. That plays a lot better with his stuff, because once he figures out how to pitch better to pro hitters, he will see his numbers improve just as well.
9. Shelby Miller – RHP, Triple-A Memphis (STL) – 6 GS, 3-2, 4.45 ERA, 28 1/3 IP, 35 H, 14 ER, 37/15 K/BB – Had a two start week that saw him struggle on Monday (5 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 4 R, HR, 4 BB, 4 K) but then look good on Sunday (5 1/3 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 R, 3 BB, 8 K). Still has a fantastic K/9 IP, still has ace-level stuff, still should be in St. Louis at some point after the end of the May.
10. Francisco Lindor – SS, Low-A Lake County (CLE) – .306/.361/.455, 3 HR, 18/10 K/BB, 11-for-15 SB – 17-for-42 (.405) in his last 10 games with two homers and 5-for-7 on steals. He is still only 18 years old, too. Much like Sano, he’s making the Midwest League look like no problem at all. Go see Lake County vs. Beloit come July or go see the two of them in the Midwest League All-Star Game on June 19. Sano might hit 30 homers in the derby.
Prospect Spotlight – Oscar Taveras, OF, Double-A Springfield (STL)
St. Louis is an organization that doesn’t really move prospects along too quickly unless its apparent that they are too good for the league they play in (see: Pujols, Albert). But many were surprised this season when they bumped up 19-year-old Dominican outfielder Oscar Taveras to Double-A, skipping him out of an experience at High-A. The main reason? He hit a completely gonzo .386/.444/.584 at Low-A Quad Cities in 2011. So thinking that he needed a challenge, the Cardinals decided to push him up two levels.
Challenge accepted. And passed with flying colors, so far.
Taveras is hitting a robust .325/.374/.658 in 122 plate appearances so far this season, a number that still plays up high considering he has a 14/8 K/BB ratio. He has 20 extra base hits out of a total of 37. He’s even 2-for-2 on stolen bases. And the left-handed hitter is making righties look absolutely powerless against him (.392/.438/.757). That being said, he still has a huge opportunity when it comes to hitting left-handed pitching (.200/.256/.475) and is left to play an outfield corner at this point, leaving his offensive value being his true calling card.
He’ll turn 20 in mid-June, but at the same time, he’ll be in a position where St. Louis could look for some help in right field should Carlos Beltran make his normal extended stay on Ye Olde Disabled List. If that happens, the Cardinals could do a lot worse than giving Taveras a shot, especially considering he’d help bolster the lineup that’s already being led by great years from Matt Holliday, David Freese and Yadier Molina. The Cardinals have quietly put together a great farm system, even with low-end first-round draft picks to choose from, and guys like Taveras paint a pretty picture in the post-Pujols world in St. Louis. The team should still be a contender for years to come as long as their top prospects continue to produce like Taveras has.