Prospect Roundup: Games of April 22

By Jake Seiner / MiLB.com

MiLB.com game stories:

D-backs OF David Peralta hits two homers for Mobile

Rockies RHP Daniel Winkler uses new pitch to flirt with no-hitter

Pirates OF Gregory Polanco homers and drives in four

Orioles 1B Christian Walker slugs first career grand slam

Cardinals LHP Marco Gonzales at home on road with Palm Beach

Astros SS Thomas Lindauer homers twice for hometown nine

Mets OF Matt den Dekker flirts with Cycle in 51s outburst

Reds RHP Ben Lively shines in Cingrani-esque fashion

Other top prospect performances:

Rockies LHP Tyler Matzek, Triple-A Colorado Springs: 5 2/3 IP, 2 H, 5 BB, 5 K — The walks returned to plague Matzek on Tuesday, but he worked around them for a scoreless effort. Matzek now boasts a 2.18 ERA through four starts with a 24/12 K/BB in 20 2/3 innings. The stuff is still excellent and the control has been better for the 2009 first-rounder, but his command is still too inconsistent to thrive in an MLB starting role. (more…)

Prospect Roundup: Games of April 21

MiLB.com game stories:

Reds OF Donald Lutz hits for cycle, RHP Robert Stephenson effective

Braves 1B Jake Schrader belts two homers after foul to the face

Red Sox 1B Travis Shaw homers, helps in triple play

Cubs RHP Kyle Hendricks spins six shutout frames

Indians 2B/SS Jose Ramirez delivers first multi-homer game

Brewers RHP Jimmy Nelson strikes out nine over seven scoreless

Rangers RHP Luke Jackson nearly spotless for RoughRiders

Dodgers OF Scott Schebler belts 18th-inning homer

Other top prospect performances:

Cubs 2B Arismendy Alcantara, Triple-A Iowa: 2-for-4, HR, 2 R, RBI, SB — First Triple-A long ball for Alcantara, who is hitting .262 with just two walks and a .737 OPS in his PCL debut. (more…)

Prospect Stock Watch: Winkler, Garvin tossing up zeros

By Jake Seiner / MiLB.com

Once a week this season, we’re going to break down the prospects who have done the most to move the needle on their prospect stock, mostly highlighting players on the rise, but also pointing out a few who are struggling against expectations. Note: All stats are through games played on Sunday.

Trending Up:

Rockies RHP Daniel Winkler, Double-A Tulsa: Winkler, a 6-foot-1 right-hander out of Central Florida, was a 20th-round selection by Colorado in the 2011 Draft. His first year and a half in the Rockies’ system was mostly unremarkable — he posted decent strikeout numbers with Asheville in 2012, but mostly managed mediocre results with fringe velocity and stuff.Image

In 2013, he ventured to the California League with mostly the same stuff, but his outstanding command of a low-90s fastball helped him dominate the hitter-friendly league. So good was his ability to spot his stuff that touted Rockies prospect Eddie Butler actually credited Winkler as a source of inspiration for helping him improve his own fastball command. 

But succeeding mostly on fastball command is easier to do in the lower levels of the Minor Leagues. Many pitchers with Winkler’s profile have thrived up until reaching Double-A, then been undone by hitters capable of punishing fringy stuff. Winkler, though, slimmed his ERA to 1.06 in three Texas League starts last week, with 17 strikeouts and seven walks over 17 innings. (more…)

MiLB Game Scores from Week 2

By Ashley Marshall/ MiLB.com

Easter Sunday represented the end of the second full week of the Minor League baseball season. For those keeping track, there are 20 more Sundays still left in the season, providing plenty of opportunities for pitchers to grab the headlines with low hit totals and high strikeout numbers.

Stat guru Bill James devised a metric called “game score,” a number arrived at by adding or subtracting points based on in-game performance. It does not take into account prospect status or level, making it simple to compare outings across different leagues, affiliations and classes.

Here’s how to calculate a pitcher’s game score:

  • Start with 50 points
  • Add one point for each out recorded
  • Add two points for each inning completed after the fourth
  • Add one point for each strikeout
  • Subtract two points for each hit allowed
  • Subtract four points for each earned run allowed
  • Subtract two points for each unearned run allowed
  • Subtract one point for each walk.

Here’s a look at the top five pitching performances from April 14-20.

(more…)

Prospect Roundup: Games of April 20

By Jake Seiner / MiLB.com

MiLB.com game stories:

Angels OF Zach Borenstein hits for cycle

Rockies LHP Christian Friedrich faces minimum over seven

Giants LHP Edwin Escobar makes adjustments, dominates

Padres C Austin Hedges hits first Double-A homer, pulls suicide squeeze

Seattle RHP Jordan Pries allows one hit in PCL debut

Twins RHP Trevor May fires six one-hit innings

Dodgers 1B O’Koyea Dickson belts two homers

Other top prospect performances:

Orioles RHP Kevin Gausman, Triple-A Norfolk: 5 IP, 4 H, 2 BB, 4 K — Gausman was working around 96 mph early in the start, his best since tossing 4 2/3 scoreless in his first start. The 23-year-old hurler has a 3.24 ERA, 15/10 K/BB through 16 2/3 innings. (more…)

Prospect Roundup: Games of April 19

MiLB.com game stories

Tigers OF J.D. Martinez records homer hat trick

Astros 1B Jon Singleton homers, LHP Rudy Owens dazzles

Red Sox 2B Mookie Betts collects four more hits, homers

White Sox 2B Micah Johnson runs wild on perfect night

Astros OF Brandon Meredith powers Vincent Velasquez to fourth win

Padres OF Hunter Renfroe extends productive stretch

Marlins RHP Bryan Evans proves pitching is contagious

Other prospect performances of note:

Blue Jays LHP Sean Nolin, Triple-A Buffalo: 6 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 7 K – Locked in a pitching duel with Ranaudo (below), Nolin certainly held up his end of the bargain. The 24-year-old left-hander has impressed in his first three starts, with a 2.70 ERA, .175 average-against and 21 strikeouts in 16 2/3 innings.  (more…)

Prospect Roundup: Games of April 18

By Jake Seiner / MiLB.com

MiLB.com game stories

Blue Jays RHP Kendall Graveman loses no-hitter in ninth

Red Sox LHP Brian Johnson throws six perfect innings

Phillies LHP Jesse Biddle strikes out 11 in first win

Rays RHP Nathan Karns whiffs nine over seven scoreless

Red Sox C Blake Swihart slugs first Double-A homer

Mariners 3B Patrick Kivlehan has second straight multi-homer game

Dodgers RHP Chris Anderson tosses six shutout frames

Marlins LHP Brian Flynn hurls seven one-hit innings

Tigers RHP Buck Farmer strikes out 11 for Whitecaps (more…)

Rounding the Bases: A ‘perfect’ MLB start for Springer, fans

Pat Sullivan/AP

Pat Sullivan/AP

They called it Springer Day. That should tell you enough.

Astros fans were understandably excited about the promotion of their heralded prospect. It didn’t stop there. Fans across the country, baseball writers and pretty much anyone who cares about baseball and has a Twitter account were declaring April 16 to be Springer Day.

Like any other big-time promotion, the masses expect big things right from the get-go. It’s just the nature of the business. Everyone starts talking about the player and their expectations. Then, others try to one-up those expectations. Finally, someone uses the words “Hall of Fame” or “Cooperstown,” and it feels we’ve reached the Everest of expectations.

We saw a little bit of that with Billy Hamilton this spring when his speed grabbed plenty of headlines. (Note: questions of his ability to reach base grabbed a few paragraphs as well.) We’re seeing it again with Springer.

And that’s why the first two games of his Major League career were, well, kinda perfect, at least in my eyes.

Here’s what we knew about Springer entering his MLB debut.

He’s got the rare package of power and speed, as evidenced by his 37-homer, 45-steal season in 2013. (He also had three homers and four steals in 13 games with Triple-A Oklahoma City before the call-up.) That speed allows him to play plus defense in the outfield. As such, he’s played plenty in center, but the Astros moved him to right with Dexter Fowler manning center in the Majors. His above-average arm plays just fine in right regardless.  (more…)

Minoring in Twitter: Decker’s El Paso prank a viral sensation

By Danny Wild / MiLB.com

So, if you’re a frequent reader of this column, you know one of the main subjects is bus travel — how to sleep, how to take photos of teammates sleeping, how to wear the right head-engulfing balloon pillow hat, etc. Cardinals No. 7 prospect James Ramsay has taken bus snoozing to the next level — thinking outside the box and inside the sticky, narrow coach bus aisle. He’s borrowed one of summer’s most iconic pool party necessities and turned it into a rolling motel bed. Behold:

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We’d be bad bloggers to not highlight Cody Decker’s moment in the sun this week, with everyone from Peter Gammons to Deadspin to Maxim to Yahoo celebrating one of baseball’s most elaborate and funniest clubhouse pranks this season.

Decker, one of this very blog’s favorite and most-quoted players on Twitter, began his reveal on Twitter by apologizing to Major League veteran Jeff Francoeur, the victim of a Decker-documented prank by Triple-A El Paso, On Jeff Ears:

He then posted the video for the world to see:

“On Jeff Ears” took off and went viral. In short, the film shows how the Padres affiliate fooled the veteran outfielder into believing that one of the club’s pitchers, Jorge Reyes, was deaf. Decker has received his share of criticism for the film from folks who found it insensitive, but simply put — it’s a prank, and it was well executed.

My first reaction was, how the heck did this entire team, including the manager and coaches and players, all get on board with this? You’d assume there’d be some killjoy roving Padres instructor that wouldn’t get on board, but Francoeur’s reaction (and belief) was pretty genuine. So, congrats Cody.

Also, after dressing like Willy Wonka last week, Mr. Decker appears to have more fashion tips for the baseball world:

And then there’s this gem:

OK, thank you Cody for the endless Minoring in Twitter content. Moving on…

Imagine this was your office every morning?

Gosuke Katoh, the Yankees’ second-round pick last year, is showing off his new… ankle guards? Forearm? I’m not sure. They cover important places:

What do you think Roy Hibbert would say about Micah Johnson, though?

Astros prospect Delino DeSheilds with a warning for all:

Henry Owens is having a great start to the season with Double-A Portland, but when you start posting videos of Justin Bieber playing streetball? Look at the tough-guy glare Biebs gives the camera at the end:

Want to mingle with Red Sox prospect Anthony Ranaudo?

Mariners prospect Jabari Blash is pulling a page out of the Daniel Nava playbook — he left his comp tickets for Rihanna at Double-A Jackson’s will-call window:

New Britain’s Sean Gilmartin is prepared in case an outlaw calls him out into the street and draws on him:

Dante Bichette Jr. works out at Planet Fitness. Why not? $10 a month:

Where do the players go when it rains? Sounds like Logan Bawcom moonlights as a Food Network host:

Is that legal?

Yeah, you should visit Manhattan:

So 2013 Minor League home run champ Joey Gallo living the whole “chicks dig the longball” lifestyle:

Also, if you click on that Instagram photo, look at the comments.

Guy No. 1: Are you in triple A?
Guy No, 2: yeah hes at trip a myrtle beach!

Really? REALLY? Even when Kenny Powers signs with Texas and the Rangers assign him to Myrtle Beach, the “Mermen” are a Double-A team (I looked. The scene with McConaughey on YouTube).

Finally, Lakewood’s Zach Green gives us a tip on a healthy athlete breakfast option:

Chipotle Tweets of the Week

Breaking news, Chipotle is getting more expensive. Can Minor Leaguers still afford it?

Prospect Roundup: Games of April 17

By Jake Seiner / MiLB.com

MiLB.com game stories:

Indians OF Clint Frazier makes full-season debut

D-backs RHP Braden Shipley gets first pro win

Marlins LHP Justin Nicolino takes shutout into seventh

Rockies LHP Tyler Matzek tosses six scoreless frames

Giants RHP Clayton Blackburn gets first Double-A win

Mets RHP Matt Bowman strikes out 11

Cubs C Will Remillard drives in five for Cougars

Mets LHP Steven Matz turns in seven scoreless

Other prospect performances of note:

Red Sox 3B Garin Cecchini, Triple-A Pawtucket: 3-for-5, R — Sox prospect has cooled some since his red-hot start. Now slashing .320/.370/.360. (more…)

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