Manny Machado has been a repeat member of the Minor League Top 10 basically all season long thanks to him being a 19-year-old shortstop at Double-A Bowie. He's also good at baseball, and as a 19-year-old, has a chance to play at the Major League level before he can legally drink. Of note, Jim Thome, whom Machado's parent team, the Baltimore Orioles, traded for this past weekend, has been a Major Leaguer since September 4, 1991. Machado was born on July 6, 1992. Machado will turn 20 this Friday, but in three months, Thome's Major League career could legally drink. Perhaps he'll buy Machado a drink next year when the top prospect turns 21. That is, if Thome wants another go. Hope you enjoyed the ephemera. Here's the Top 10 for the week.
Minor League Top 10
1. Dylan Bundy, RHP – High-A Frederick (BAL) – 6 GS, 4-2, 3.14 ERA, 28.2 IP, 24 H, 10 ER, 30/8 K/BB ratio – Bundy only had one start this week but he made it count, going five inning with only four hits, one earned run, five strikeouts and no walks. He's still fantastically ahead of schedule for his age, he's getting better and better, and if he keeps this up, Double-A should come calling next year, and if nothing stops him, he and Machado could BOTH be in Baltimore next year. Baltimore is having one heck of a run this year, but being able to add both Bundy and Machado next year coul make 2013 even better in Camdenland.
2. Jurickson Profar, SS – Double-A Frisco (TEX) – .291/.369/.482, 33 XBH (9 HR), 48/38 K/BB ratio, 9-for-12 SB – Profar continues to chug along nicely, homering in his last two contests, but one might wonder if Texas might give him a challenge at Triple-A soon. As mentioned last week, he's getting awfully close to being ready for primetime, but the Rangers having both Profar and Elvis Andrus is a wonderful problem to have. Texas is in first place, even with pitching woes, and might be able to tinker with things down the stretch if need be. The residuals might place Profar in Triple-A, but don't be surprised if he gets a Septemeber call-up at the very least.
3. Taijuan Walker, RHP – Double-A Jackson (SEA) – 14 GS, 4-4, 4.43 ERA, 65 IP, 63 H, 34 R (32 ER), 67/30 K/BB ratio – Walker has, unfortunately, fallen on some hard times as of late. Of his 32 earned runs this season, 21 of them have come in the last five starts (which have lasted only 20.2 IP for a 9.14 ERA). He still has some kinks to work out completely, but right now, Walker has to try and make some adjustments to become the ace that Mariners fans truly want him to be.
4. Oscar Taveras, OF – Double-A Springfield (STL) – .324/.377/.607, 44 XBH (17 HR), 42/24 K/BB ratio, 6-for-6 SB – This guy just doesn't know how to stop. Unbelievably, he's up to 17 home runs having just turned 20 (including five in his last nine games) and his contact rate has been off the charts. He's still blocked in St. Louis, but at some point, the Cardinals have to get him into the mix if he continues to play at this rate. Much like Profar's continued fantastic play, St. Louis has one heck of an awesome problem with Taveras.
5. Wil Myers, OF/3B – Triple-A Omaha (KC) – .317/.403/.653, 25 XBH (14 HR), 38/23 K/BB ratio, 1-for-1 SB – Myers has the best argument out of anyone on this list to not be on this list anymore. He has 27 home runs this season between AA and AAA, and now that July has come, the Royals need to think long and hard about putting Jeff Francoeur on the trade market. You can't keep someone like Myers in Triple-A for much longer. Talk has been made about him being able to pull of center field, which might make things a bit easier, but if he was ready to do that at the Major League level, he probably would have been called up by now. Once again, the lineup that could make all Royals fans very happy once everyone is healthy and up at the Major League Level: Escobar/Gordon/Hosmer/Myers/Moose/Frenchy/Perez/Cain/Anyone Except Yuniesky Betancourt. Sexy.
6. Billy Hamilton, SS – High-A Bakersfield (CIN) – .327/.416/.448, 27 XBH (9 3B), 61/47 K/BB ratio, 98-for-119 SB – Yep, at some point this week, Hamilton will hit that magical 100 steal mark within 80 games. 82 percent steal rate! Also, the mascot for Bakersfield is the Blaze. Fantastic, right? Hamilton should be at Double-A, but maybe they want him to get 100 steals in the California League first. The "official" stolen base record in the league is 144 (at least that's what Baseball America says), and Hamilton might get it in 100 games. This guy is unreal. Cincinnati should call him up for the stretch run just to see what happens. The National League should vote him in to the All-Star Game so he could be a pinch-runner.
7. Miguel Sano, 3B/OF – Low-A Beloit (MIN) – .242/.360/.505, 36 XBH (18 HR), 96/47 K/BB ratio, 6-for-7 SB – Sano is still your future Mike Stanton impersonator and awesome power hitter, but the 29.3% strikeout rate still looms large. He's still just a kid and Minnesota has a while before the team is relevant again, so Sano's time will soon come at the Major League level.
8. Gerrit Cole, RHP – Double-A Altoona (PIT) – 1-1, 7.50 ERA, 2 GS, 6 IP, 10 H, 5 ER, 8/0 K/BB ratio – After Cole's great Double-A debut, he got shelled last Tuesday, giving up all five of those earned runs in only one inning. His stuff is still top of the line, scouts still love him, and, being a 1/1, he's going to be able to do all that is necessary to be on the right path to getting to PIttsburgh. The Pirates are still in the NL Central race (for now), but if they can't make a run this year, wholesale offensive improvements and the ascension of Cole and maybe Jameson Tallion could make the Pirates a team to be reckoned with next season.
9. Manny Machado, SS – Double-A Bowie (BAL) – .260/.343/.404, 28 XBH (6 HR), 54/34 K/BB ratio, 9-for-13 SB – Besides being this week's cover boy (er…above the fold boy…er, top of the article boy) Machado loves playing against Binghamton. How much? How about four straight 2-for-4's with two homers and a double? Now, if only New Britain was as good to him (0-for-7 in two games this week). Expect a big run from him in the second half. And if so, all that stuff I talked about with him and Bundy and Jim Thome getting him drunk might come true.
10. Francisco Lindor, SS – Low-A Lake County (CLE) – .267/.352/.379, 21 XBH (4 HR), 47/30 K/BB ratio, 17-for-23 SB – Lindor is mired in a pretty bad slump, as he is 5-for-39 in his last 10 games, but it has mostly to do with bad luck on balls in play (only five strikeouts with four walks). If those balls start finding holes, he'll be the .300 hitter he was the first two months of the year and right back on track to giving Asdrubal Cabrera pause as to whether he'll be Cleveland's shortstop of the future.