Catching prospect and last name winner Travis d'Arnaud, pictured to the left, is killing it for the Las Vegas 51s, the Triple-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays. I got back from Las Vegas last Wednesday night with much less money than d'Arnaud has. Then again, I also arrived with much less money than d'Arnaud has. Although he is not a part of our Minor League Top 10 this week, he gets a picture on here because, well, Vegas, baby. Vegas.
An Ode To Trevor Bauer
Oh, Trevor. You have grown so much in such a short amount of time. At the beginning of this year, I was marveling at your strikeout prowess while bemoaning your control issues. At this point, it's all moot, considering you went to Triple-A Reno, a high scoring environment, and became a better pitcher in the process. Your three pitch combo is fantastic. You are a #2-type who could become an ace with a fourth pitch. But for now? You are exactly what Arizona needs right now considering their offensive woes. May you do your best against the Dodgers and your worst against the Giants.
Minor League Top 10
1. Dylan Bundy, RHP – High-A Frederick (BAL) – 5 GS, 3-2, 3.42 ERA, 23 2/3 IP, 20 H, 9 ER, 25/8 K/BB ratio – Bundy isn't the god he was at Low-A ball, but he's certainly showing off his dominance with Frederick, being downright nasty in his last start, going five innings while allowing two hits and two walks and striking out two. He's still a ways away from being an Oriole, but chances are he'll finish out the year in Frederick and get a chance to really show off his stuff in Double-A next year, where a good showing could make him the Harper or Trout version of a pitching prospect.
2. Jurickson Profar, SS – Double-A Frisco (TEX) – .293/.373/.470, 30 XBH (7 HR), 46/37 K/BB ratio, 9-for-12 SB – Yep. That's an .843 OPS by a 19-year-old shortstop. The Rangers are now zeroing in on a couple of problems. Mike Olt is having a year that could make him a Ranger in due time thanks to Mitch Moreland's injury, and Profar is having the type of year that is making Elvis Andrus expendable (the same Andrus who is hitting .302/.379/.410 and is somehow hitting his ESPN triple slash projection RIGHT ON THE BUTTON). Profar's arrival could also open up money for Josh Hamilton's return, which can't be understated at all. Even with no room for him at the big league level, if the Rangers can somehow swing a deal for Andrus, they might not lose a step at all up the middle. That's insane.
3. Taijuan Walker, RHP – Double-A Jackson (SEA) – 12 GS, 4-3, 3.79 ERA, 57 IP, 53 H, 26 R (24 ER), 59/23 K/BB ratio – Walker has given up 13 earned runs over his last three starts after giving up only seven over the six starts leading up to that stretch. His last start was especially ugly (3 2/3 IP, 6 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 4 K) but Mariners fans must not worry. This looks like it's just a swoon for right now after a great start, and if that's the case, the Generals will be hoping for Walker to bounce back much sooner than later and return to his status as the best non-Bundy pitching prospect out there.
4. Oscar Taveras, OF – Double-A Springfield (STL) – .323/.377/.591, 41 XBH (15 HR), 39/23 K/BB ratio, 6-for-6 SB – Taveras just keeps rolling along, but the Cardinals are all full up in the outfield right now. Holliday and Beltran really can't be moved, but perhaps Jon Jay and his injury history might make him a perfect fourth outfield type to let Taveras take over in center, where his athleticism might let him fake it there until Beltran leaves after next year. The Cardinals are sitting on a gold mine here with Taveras, but they might pull the trigger if necessary considering how both the Reds and the…er, Pirates (?!) are making a run in the NL Central.
5. Wil Myers, OF/3B – Triple-A Omaha (KC) – .319/.409/.659, 22 XBH (11 HR), 31/20 K/BB ratio, 1-for-1 SB – Myers has cooled down from "supernova" status to "red giant" status, but he's still someone that the Royals need to think about bringing up much sooner than later considering they're still somewhat in the AL Central race. Do I really have to go over that starting lineup again considering Eric Hosmer's hitting again and Billy Butler is a hitting machine? FIERCE. Make it happen, Dayton.
6. Billy Hamilton, SS – High-A Bakersfield (CIN) – .332/.428/.449, 23 XBH (1 HR), 53/46 K/BB ratio, 90-for-107 SB – No, that last part is not a typo. Billy Hamilton has NINETY stolen bases in only 70 games. He is turning into the most exciting player in all of baseball, period. He will get his 100th stolen base this week or next, and there is absolutely no reason why he should be in High-A anymore. 84% stolen base rate! Wanna bet on someone making a run at Rickey's 130 stolen base single season record? He might actually do it.
7. Miguel Sano, OF/3B – Low-A Beloit (MIN) – .239/.356/.483, 31 XBH (15 HR), 88/42 K/BB ratio, 5-for-6 SB – Sano continues to be that Three True Outcomes beast, although he hasn't been doing much on the home run front lately (Last homer was on June 11). He seems to have regressed a bit from an approach standpoint, but Low-A isn't so much about developing a plan at the plate so much as it is about honing your reactions, and Sano has that in spades. Look for him to improve post-All-Star break, but with him being so young, it might take a while for the improvements to come.
8. Gerrit Cole, RHP – Double-A Altoona (PIT) – 1 GS, 5 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 6/0 K/BB ratio – Hey, what a suprise! Cole was so dominant at High-A that they decided to give him a challenge at Double-A and his one start has shown he's up to it. Cole, being a 1/1, is basically crafting his own path at this point, and if he continues to do what he's doing, it won't be long until Pittsburgh's already potent pitching staff gets a BIG jolt.
9. Manny Machado, SS – Double-A Bowie (BAL) – .255/.334/.386, 25 XBH (4 HR), 52/29 K/BB ratio, 9-for-13 SB – Machado's bat is starting to pick up, as he's hit in nine of his last 10 games, including a 3-for-4 on June 21 with his first homer in almost two months. The power needs to come around a bit, though, as Machado still has his shortstop detractors to an extent. A big second half could be exactly what he needs to give the Orioles faith that he can stick at shorstop, but we shall see if that happens. His latest run is a nice development, though.
10. Francisco Lindor, SS – Low-A Kane County (CLE) – .280/.365/.398, 20 XBH (4 HR), 44/28 K/BB ratio, 16-for-22 SB – Lindor, like Machado, is starting to pick it up a bit (12 for his last 36), but that's not his biggest accomplishment. Even with a 2-for-4 in the Midwest League All-Star game, Lindor had the following line on June 14: 1-for-2 with a double, a run, an RBI and SIX WALKS. SIX…WALKS. That's the most in one game in franchise history. That's also been done by only four Major Leaguers in HISTORY. Incredible.