Results tagged ‘ Durham Bulls ’

Notable Quotables — Thoughts on the Top 100: 31-40

By Jake Seiner / MiLB.com

The Minor League season has come and gone, and sadly, that means Notable Quotables will be heading into hibernation until the games start up against next spring. We’ll still have plenty of regular content, both here on the blog and over at MiLB.com, but to celebrate the end of the 2013 season and the temporary end of this column, we’re going to bring you a “Best Of” from this summer featuring each of MLB.com’s Top 100 prospects.

Below, you’ll find prospects 31-40 (also see: 41-50, 51-60, 61-70, 71-80, 81-90, 91-100). And over the coming weeks, we’ll bring you more thoughts and reflections from and about the best prospects in the game.

A quick note: Though we managed to feature just about every Top 100 prospect this season, there are a few who evaded our eyes/tape recorders for one reason or another. In that case, rather than leave you hanging, we’re going to drop in one fun fact or statistical quirk of note that hopefully reveals a little something about the player.

31. Max Fried, LHP, San Diego Padres –
Fried talking in April about his goals for 2013:

“My goal this season is to really learn my body and master my movement. … I haven’t been as consistent in my delivery as I want and it’s caused my command to vary from where I want. I’m working on keeping a good tempo and focusing on keeping everything in order so I can execute the way I want.

“We’ve been doing a lot of dry work with no ball, standing on the mound and repeating my delivery over and over. … The last two or three days, I’ve been doing that for 15, 20 minutes straight out of the windup and out of the stretch.”

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32. Alex Meyer, RHP, Minnesota Twins –
Meyer on adjustments that led to a strong start in June:

“I had a couple of mechanical adjustments to work on this week and trying to fix a couple of things. … Something throughout my whole career I’ve had to work on is holding on to my front side. It’s something that was addressed this week. They really want me to work on it, so I got back into doing that.

“I felt like I was more in control out there [tonight], I felt like my delivery was more clean and crisp. I felt like I was able to repeat my delivery.”

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33. Jonathan Gray, RHP, Colorado Rockies –
Gray reflecting on his pro debut:

“I don’t think it was a very good outing, but I learned from that. …  I won’t get better until I fail. … I’m glad that happened tonight. … I can learn a lot. The best way to succeed is to fail, and now I know what I need to work on. When you fail, you see where you need to get better. I will be better next time.”

34. Austin Hedges, C, San Diego Padres –
Hedges on learning how to be a better pitch caller and building a rapport with pitchers:

“They can teach it along the way, but I think it comes with success and failures. … I have to go out there every day, and maybe I call a pitch wrong or I call a pitch well and then I can take that into account the next time that situation presents itself. I think it’s definitely about experience.

“Just trying to create a good relationship on and off the field so guys can trust me behind the plate. … Whether it’s getting dinner after the game or talking before the game, just getting a good relationship even off the field so that chemistry can build for when the game happens.”

35. Yordano Ventura, RHP, Kansas City Royals –
Northwest Arkansas pitching coach Jim Brower on Ventura after a start in May:

“He had three Major League-ready pitches tonight. … He did a great job keeping the fastball down. I think it was averaging around 97-98, so he was blowing it by guys too. But more than that, he was hitting his spots. He controlled his curveball well too and was throwing it in a number of counts, including 3-2 for strikeouts. And he had a good changeup too. So overall, it was a really strong night for him.”

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36. Kris Bryant, 3B, Chicago Cubs –
Bryant on the difference in pressure he discovered as a pro:

“I think I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel any pressure, but I think we all feel pressure as professional baseball players to go out there and compete at a very high level. … Going to college and growing up helped me not focus on that as much, and I come from a good background that has helped me handle that type of pressure.”

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37. Mason Williams, OF, New York Yankees –

Williams had a disappointing year primarily in the Florida State League that began with a DUI arrest and ended with an underwhelming .261 average and .676 OPS. There were some positive signs though: His 8.5-percent walk rate with Tampa was the highest of his career, and his 106 hits trailed only Robert Refsnyder for the Tampa team lead.

38. Trevor Bauer, RHP, Cleveland Indians –
Bauer on dealing with occasional struggles in professional baseball:

“It’s just another day in the process of improving. … You try to learn something and pick something up from it. I’m always trying to just get .0238 percent better every day. Yeah, it was on a bigger stage, and there are more people paying attention and more people telling me I [stink] on Twitter. But for me, I know it’s just another day and go from there.”

39. Jake Odorizzi, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays –
Odorizzi on being traded for a second time as a prospect:

“I don’t think about it that way, I just focus on what I do and not replacing anyone. … You’re not gonna replace the Greinkes and Shields of the world, so I just try to stay within myself and stay with what got me into this position to be trade-worthy. Go out and do the things that got me here.”

Image40. Alen Hanson, SS, Pittsburgh Pirates –
Pittsburgh first-base coach and former West Virginia manager Rick Sofield on Hanson’s abilities:

“The challenge is shortstop. … He’s got the tools to play there in the big leagues. But like with all young players, can he handle the mental grind? It’s a tough position. … He’s got a chance to be an offensive juggernaut. … Right now, he’s a poor version of Rickey Henderson.”

Hits and misses from our preseason ‘Prospects to Watch’

By Sam Dykstra / MiLB.com

It’s time to hold us accountable. Perhaps that’s a term we should be hearing in Washington right now. Instead, I’m talking about us here at MiLB.com. Before the season, we gave you our lists of 10 Prospects to Watch in each full-season league based on our projections for what was the then-to-come campaign.

Then, 2013 happened.

Admittedly, some of these we were right on, although we can only take some of the credit for that. Many of the game’s top prospects went above and beyond our expectations with fantastic performances at the plate or on the mound. And then, as tends to happen, some others went the other way and underperformed against our expectations. Them’s the breaks, as they say.

Here I’ll break down players that fit each description from our preseason Prospects to Watch lists.

International League

Biggest Hit: Wil Myers, Durham/Tampa Bay – I’ll admit I wasn’t putting myself on any ledges by putting Myers as the top player to watch in the IL, although I will add Billy Hamilton could have gone there instead after his record-setting 2012 on the basepaths. Myers had his ups-and-downs in his first season in the Rays farm system, but a stellar June pushed him to finish with a .286/.356/.520 slash line with 14 homers and 57 RBIs over 64 games before he got his first call-up in the middle of the month. He never looked back, posting a slash of .293/.354/.478 with 13 homers and 53 RBIs in 88 games for the AL Wild Card-winning Rays. The 22-year-old right fielder should compete with Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias for the AL Rookie of the Year award.

Wil Myers

Biggest Miss: Trevor Bauer, Columbus/Cleveland – Like Myers, Bauer found himself in a new organization and a new Triple-A circuit at the start of the year. After being traded from the D-backs to the Indians last offseason, the 22-year-old right-hander had a chance to crack the Tribe’s rotation out of Spring Training before he was optioned to Columbus. (It should be noted, however, his first start of the year was with Cleveland as he filled in for Scott Kazmir.) He struggled with command in both the IL (5.41 BB/9 in 22 starts) and the Majors (8.47 BB/9 in four starts). His ERA and FIP (4.15/5.08 in Triple-A, 5.29/7.05 in the Majors) predictably suffered as a result. Given his age and potential, there’s still reason to believe he’ll be a serviceable starter in the Majors. It might just take a little longer than previously imagined.

Pacific Coast League

Hit: Taijuan Walker, Jackson/Tacoma/Seattle – After spending his age-19 season with Double-A Jackson in 2012, it was obvious that Walker would be moving up to Tacoma at some point this season, and he did just that in late June. The 6-foot-4 right-hander posted a 2.46 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 10.29 K/9 for Jackson before being promoted to the PCL, where he was almost equally impressive given his age with 3.61/1.41/10.05 numbers. The Mariners liked what they saw enough to give him a Major League shot starting in late August, and Walker rewarded that faith with a trio of solid performances. He could very well be in line to rejoin the M’s rotation come next spring.

Miss: Mike Olt, Frisco/Round Rock/Iowa – There were reasons to be high on Olt entering this season. His 28 homers in 2012, his .398 OBP. A move to the hitter-friendly PCL. Instead, the third baseman struggled mightily out of the gate with a .139 average and just one homer in 72 at-bats spanning 20 April contests. He missed time due to eye issues and, although his numbers did improve, they still didn’t jump off the page. Olt was traded to the Cubs in the deal that sent Matt Garza to Texas. He finished his year with Triple-A Iowa, where he batted .168 with three homers and eight RBIs in 131 at-bats and 39 games. All in all, it was a lost season for the third baseman.

Eastern League

Hit: Anthony Rendon, Harrisburg/Syracuse/Washington – Xander Bogaerts and Jameson Taillon, both top prospects in their respective organizations, would be quality choices here, but if you were watching  Rendon, like my colleague Danny Wild told you to, then you’d know the rocket-like season he had. The 23-year-old put up a slash of .319/.461/.603 in 33 games for Harrisburg before moving up to Syracuse in June. He stayed there all of three games before getting the big call to Washington. He spent time at second, third and even some shortstop for the Nats and slashed .265/.329/.396 with 23 doubles, seven homers and 35 RBIs in 98 contests.

Miss: Dylan Bundy, N/A – This isn’t a knock against Bundy, nor is it one against our list. When our Prospects to Watch article was put together, Bundy was experiencing “mild elbow stiffness” and was believed to be returning early in the season. Then, he underwent Tommy John surgery in late June and there went his season. Again, this isn’t a black mark. He just wasn’t a Prospect to Watch because you literally couldn’t watch him pitch in 2013.

Southern League

Hit: Yasiel Puig, Chattanooga/Los Angeles (NL) – As if I was going to put anyone else here. “The Wild Horse,” as named by Dodgers broadcasting legend Vin Scully, torched the Southern League with a .313 average, .982 OPS, eight homers and 37 RBIs for Chattanooga before getting called up to the Dodgers and becoming a rookie sensation. He finished with a .319 average, .925 OPS, 19 homers and 42 RBIs and earned a reputation for his cannon arm in right field over 104 games for the NL West champions.

Puig

Miss: Taylor Jungmann, Huntsville – The Brewers’ first-round pick from the 2011 Draft moved up to Double-A for the first time and failed to particularly impress. His 4.72 BB/9 and 12.3 walk percentage were both third-worst in the league, and his 4.84 FIP was worst among qualified pitchers. The 6-foot-6 right-hander hopes to work out the kinks in his command when he takes the mound in this year’s Arizona Fall League with Surprise.

Texas League

Hit: George Springer, Corpus Christi/Oklahoma City – You probably know the deal here. Not only did Springer use his strength to smash the ball this season (.303/.411/.600, 37 homers, 108 RBIs), he also used his speed to swipe 45 bases. He fell three homers shy of becoming the first member of the Minors’ 40-40 club since Len Tucket hit both marks in 1956.

Miss: Cody Buckel, Frisco/AZL Rangers – They call it Steve Blass Disease, after the Pirates hurler who inexplicably lost his command on the mound in 1972. After issuing 48 free passes over 144 2/3 innings in 2012, Buckel walked 28 and allowed 27 runs (21 earned) in just 9 1/3 frames to start the year with Frisco before the Rangers decided to put him on the shelf. He didn’t return to game action until August, when he walked seven and allowed four runs in 1 1/3 innings during a pair of appearances in the AZL.

California League

Hit: Archie Bradley, Visalia/Mobile – In the end, Bradley’s stay in the Cal League wasn’t very long, but he certainly left a mark. The D-backs’ top prospect posted a 1.26 ERA and struck out 43 in 28 2/3 innings for the Rawhide. Upon making the biggest jump in the Minors to Double-A ball, he continued to put up nice numbers, including a 1.97 ERA and 119 strikeouts over 123 1/3 innings. His 1.84 ERA and 162 punchouts on the season were third and fifth among full-season Minor Leaguers respectively.

Archie Bradley

Miss: Trevor Story, Modesto – The Cal League is where hitter’s stats usually become inflated. That wasn’t the case for Story, who saw his numbers drop across the board in 2013. (It should be noted he did play in a hitter-friendly atmosphere in Asheville last season.) Still, he batted just .233 in 130 games with the Nuts and struck out 183 times, third-most in all the Minors.

Carolina League

Hit: Garin Cecchini, Salem/Portland – The No. 7 Red Sox prospect enjoyed nice seasons in his first two years in the pros before really breaking out in 2013. He was especially dominant in Salem, where he put up a .350/.469/.547 slash line in 63 games. The third baseman continued to reach base in bunches in Portland and finished with a Minors-best .443 OBP and career-best .915 OPS.

Miss: Courtney Hawkins, Winston-Salem – The 19-year-old outfielder was pushed back to Class A Advanced ball for his first full season after reaching the level at the end of 2012. Though he exhibited some nice raw power with 19 homers, he struggled to make contact, striking out 37.6 percent of the time for Winston-Salem. He only put up a .178/.249/.384 slash line as well and is likely to head back to the Dash next season.

Florida State League

Hit: Javier Baez, Daytona/Tennessee – I was really tempted to put Miguel Sano in this spot because of the fantastic season he had, and yet I think Baez took such a leap forward this season that I went with him instead. Baez posted a .294 average, .888 OPS and 16 homers in 2012 but struggled in the FSL. Here’s what my colleague Jake Seiner wrote about him in the preseason: “The maturing of his approach from last year to this year is one of the league’s most interesting storylines.” What followed was a .282 average, .920 OPS and incredibly 37 homers (including four on one night) from the 20-year-old shortstop. Whether he sticks at that position will be another thing to watch in 2014. In the meantime, Cubs fans have plenty to be excited about in their top prospect.

Miss: Mason Williams, Tampa/Trenton – It wasn’t a banner year for the Yankees’ No. 2 prospect. First, he was arrested for DUI in late April. Then, his overall numbers for the year weren’t exactly anything exciting. He slashed .261/.327/.350 in 100 games with Tampa and went 15-for-24 on the basepaths. He moved up to Trenton for a 17-game stint and put up a .153/.164/.264 line in that short span. Williams possesses plenty of athleticism, and that could lead to better results in the future as he continues to develop. They just didn’t come this year.

Midwest League

Hit: Byron Buxton, Cedar Rapids/Fort Myers –Plenty of ink has been spilled about Buxton’s big 2013 season, so let’s just look at what he told MiLB.com about his goals in an offseason Q&A last year. “Just work hard, keep swinging the bat well, take advice, listen and my performance hopefully will take me where I want.” Hopefully he wanted something along the lines of a .334/.424/.520 slash line, 49 extra-base hits, 77 RBIs, 55 steals and stellar defense because that’s what he got in an amazing first full season.

Miss: Roberto Osuna, Lansing – There were plenty of reasons to be high on Osuna coming into the season. The big one was that he was making his full-season domestic debut as an 18-year-old after two years in the Mexican, Appalachian and Northwest Leagues. Now, it might be time to pump the brakes. The 6-foot-2 right-hander had a solid April before tearing part of his UCL in his throwing elbow. He returned in June but struggled before finishing the year with a 5.53 ERA over 10 starts. Osuna didn’t pitch again after July, and it’ll be interesting to see if the elbow concerns linger into next season or if Tommy John surgery becomes a real option.

South Atlantic League

Hit: Joey Gallo (Hickory/Arizona League), Lucas Sims (Rome) If you’ll so allow me, I’m going to split this spot. Sims was downright stellar in his first full season, posting a 2.62 ERA, 2.81 FIP, 1.11 WHIP and 10.34 K/9 for Class A Rome. Meanwhile, Gallo led all Minor Leaguers with 40 homers and placed among the best in slugging (.623) and OPS (.961). Quite the year for a pair of 2012 first-rounders.

Gallo Sims

Miss: David Dahl, Asheville – You can put this under the same category as Bundy. I mean no slight to the Rockies’ No. 2 prospect by putting him here. I just meant to point out that there wasn’t much to watch from the outfielder in 2013. He missed most of April after being sent to extended spring training for disciplinary reasons, and he only played in nine games upon returning before tearing his hamstring and missing the rest of the season. Dahl, the 10th overall pick in the 2012 Draft, will hope to start anew in 2014.

One man’s Triple-A All-Star ballot: IL edition

By Sam Dykstra

This is always a fun one. The arguments that start around the water cooler usually are, even if they aren’t necessarily on the tip of the tongues of everyone in your office.

Who should start the All-Star Game?

It’s a question that seems objective in nature, but the answer is always subjective. If your ballot isn’t based around your favorite team, it depends on what stats you favor. Time and time again, Player X has a higher batting average, but Player Y has more homers and RBIs. Eventually, you go on down the line on each’s stats page until you believe there’s a clear winner. (Or if you’re a certain writer’s sibling, you just punched whatever name you recognized or sounded the funniest on the physical ballots at the ballpark. Not pointing any fingers, of course.)

Anyways, what I’m saying is everyone’s ballot will look different, everyone has his or her reasons for why the looks a certain way, and that’s where the debate comes in.

So for your consideration, I’ve taken a look at the Triple-A ballot and decided whom I think should be starting at each position in Reno on July 17. Let’s start with the International League.

Catcher, Josh Phegley, Charlotte – Not too difficult of a pick here. The No. 15 White Sox prospect is enjoying a breakout season — his third straight campaign with the Knights — and leads IL catchers in average (.314), homers (12), RBIs (35) and OPS (.980). (Fan vote leader: Phegley) (more…)

Catching up with Under-the-Radar prospects

By Robert Emrich

At the start of the season, the staff at MiLB put together their preseason picks for prospects in each Minor League full-season league who were considered under-the-radar. Any player not in a MLB organization’s top 10 prospects according to MLB.com was eligible. One month into the season, it’s time to see where those picks stand.

Alex Colome, Durham Bulls: Colome has been as good as advertised (or unadvertised depending on your view) for the Bulls. Though the 24-year-old right-hander was just 1-3 in April,  he leads the club with a 2.28 ERA through the season’s first month and limited International League hitters to a .200 average. On April 11 he picked up his first Triple-A win with six scoreless innings and took the Triple-A lead with his double-digit strikeout performance Monday vs. Lehigh Valley.

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Alex Colome won his first Triple-A game on April 12 for Durham. (Al Drago/Durham Herald-Sun)

Chase Anderson, Reno Aces: Anderson has struggled in his first trip through the Pacific Coast League. He allowed 24 runs — 19 earned — in five April starts, and though he fanned 23 batters, he’s also yielded 35 hits, including four homers, in 27 1/3 innings.

Nik Turley, Trenton Thunder: Turley’s first two Eastern League starts did not go well (he allowed nine earned runs combined), but the California native showed signs of turning it around.  Over his last three starts in April, he allowed six earned runs while notching a pair of wins for the Thunder.

Stefen Romero, Tacoma Rainiers: Romero skipped right over Double-A after a five-game stint in Class A Advanced High Desert. He hit in eight of the nine games he’s played in the season’s first month with the Tacoma Rainiers and batted .324 with five extra-base hits through that time frame.

Domingo Santana, Corpus Christi Hooks: Though his average sat at .241 in April, Santana showed the power that put him on this list, going deep three times and smacking five doubles in 16 Texas League games. He also posted a healthy .343 on-base percentage and stole three bases.

Clayton Blackburn, San Jose Giants: Blackburn is another player that has been as good as advertised early on, going 2-0 with a 2.57 ERA in five California League starts through the end of April. He racked up 33 strikeouts in 28 innings while allowing just 25 baserunners.

Keury De La Cruz, Salem Red Sox: The 21-year-old outfielder had an uneven first month, batting .256 while posting a .706 OPS for the Red Sox. He did drive in 19 runs in 22 games and stole five bases.

Steven Moya, Lakeland Flying Tigers: Moya played five games before succumbing to an arm injury. He has not played a game since April 9 and was batting .238 at the time of the injury.

Dan Vogelbach, Kane County Cougars: Vogelbach began to heat up as the season’s first month came to a conclusion, going yard in each of the final three games of April. He finished the month batting .315 with five homers and 14 RBIs in 22 games for the Cougars.

C.J.  Edwards, Hickory Crawdads: Edwards has been just about lights out early on, holding South Atlantic League hitters to a .176 average in April and not allowing a homer this season. He was also 1-1 while compiling a 1.93 ERA for the Crawdads.

Prospect Uniformed: Rays Shortstop Hak-Ju Lee in Every Minor League Jersey He’s Worn

People seem to forget that MLB.com’s No. 32 overall prospect Hak-Ju Lee was traded. Lee was shipped along with right-handed starter Chris Archer from the Cubs to the Rays almost two years ago to the day, on Jan. 8, 2011 in the Matt Garza deal. The 22-year-old South Korean shortstop has strengthened his prospect stock since switching organizations. He is expected to play ball at Triple-A Durham next season, representing his third team in Tampa Bay’s system and fifth overall. Here are the previous four, in a gallery.

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Prospect Flashback: Picturing B.J. Upton, A Triple-A @DurhamBulls Shortstop, Before He Became A #Braves Outfielder

Welcome to a new series on the blog. We’re calling this one, “Prospect Flashback.” It’s very simple: At least once a week you will be treated to an archived photo of a Minor League prospect-turned-Major League stud. Click here for past editions.

Player: B.J. Upton (MiLB career stats)

Date: April 24, 2006

Caption: Upton, the second overall pick in the 2002 Draft, moved from the shortstop position not long after committing 53 errors there in 2005 and 28 more miscues in 2006 with the Durham Bulls.

Photographer: Tony Farlow/MiLB.com

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Repertoires Revealed: Traded Pitching Prospects Syndergaard, Odorizzi, Meyer and Bauer

CiNoah SyndergaardPitcher: Noah Syndergaard (from Blue Jays to Mets)

Headline: Mets added d’Arnaud, Syndergaard (12/17)

Team in 2013: Class A Advanced St. Lucie (FSL)

Repertoire: Four pitches

  1. Four-seam fastball — 94-98 mph — A plus pitch, but is it too straight?
  2. Two-seam fastball — 94-95 mph — Work-in-progress
  3. Curveball — 74-79 mph — Improved, but still average
  4. Circle-changeup — 84-88 mph — Work-in-progress

Pitcher: Jake Odorizzi (from Royals to Rays)

Headline: Royals send top prospects to Rays (12/10)

Team in 2013: Triple-A Durham (IL) / Tampa Bay

Repertoire: Four pitches

  1. Four-seam fastball — 90-96 mph — Not always plus, control is key
  2. Changeup — 80-83 mph — Work-in-progress
  3. Curveball — 75 mph — Average at this point
  4. Slider — 82-85 mph — Average at this point

Pitcher: Alex Meyer (from Nationals to Twins)

Headline: Top prospect Meyer shipped to Twins (11/29)

Team in 2013: Double-A New Britain

Repertoire: Three pitches

  1. No-seam fastball — 93-98 mph — Plus moving fastball, he plans to add straighter variety
  2. Knuckle-curveball — 83-86 mph — Not always plus, control is key
  3. Circle-changeup –87-90 mph — Work-in-progress, this offering’s development could decide his future role

7225099088_5b34dc26a0_oPitcher: Trevor Bauer (from D-backs to Indians)

Headline: Bauer sent to Tribe in three-team deal (12/11/12)

Team in 2013: Triple-A Columbus (IL) / Cleveland

Repertoire: Eight pitches

  1. Four-seam fastball — 92-plus mph — Can be a plus pitch, location is key (he likes to pitch up in the zone)
  2. Changeups 1 — 80-84 mph — Can be a plus pitch, it cuts
  3. Changeup 2 — 76-81 mph — Can be a plus pitch, it runs
  4. Curveball — 76-81 mph — Can be a plus pitch when break is right, tight
  5. Dot slider — 84-86 mph — Can be a plus pitch, big breaker
  6. Circle slider — 84 mph — A solid pitch, more of a cutter
  7. Reverse slider — 88-91 mph — His invention, average offering
  8. Splitter — 86-88 mph — Work-in-progress
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