Results tagged ‘ Gregory Polanco ’
By Jake Seiner / MiLB.com
MiLB.com game stories
By Sam Dykstra / MiLB.com
Before the season began, we all had our questions about what was about to happen. With two weeks of Minor League Baseball almost under our belts, we have some answers, but there are also plenty more questions. Here is a binary attempt to wade through some of these.
Which batter’s hot start is the most impressive?
Nothing like starting off with a bang. Both Polanco and Betts ran away with the International and Eastern League Offensive Player of the Week awards, and it wasn’t even close. As of Tuesday, Polanco is slashing .465/.511/.744 with two homers, two triples, two doubles and 11 RBIs through his first 11 games with Triple-A Indianapolis. Betts owns a .450/.500/.725 line with six doubles, a triple, a homer, five RBIs and four steals with Double-A Portland.
To split hairs here and call one “more impressive” almost seems unfair, but we don’t call this “This AND That” after all. There needs to be a tie-breaker, and as it turns out, batting against same-side pitching appears to be the perfect one.
Polanco, a left-handed batter, is 10-for-19 (.526) against southpaws compared to 10-for-24 (.417) in the early going against right-handers. (This isn’t a new phenomenon; the Pirates prospect batted .281 against left-handers in half a season at Double-A Altoona compared to .253 against right-handers.) The splits for Betts, a right-hander, are more predictable. He’s owned lefties, going 7-for-12 (.583) with four walks, while handling right-handers quite well with a 11-for-28 (.393) showing thus far.
Betts’s numbers are obviously nice and desirable, but Polanco has stripped away the same-side advantage pitchers usually own over their hitting counterparts. That earns him the check mark here. Decision: Polanco
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.
Pirates OF Gregory Polanco: Polanco performed well in Major League Spring Training this year, so it isn’t much of a shock that the athletic outfielder would hit well returning to Triple-A Indianapolis. But what he’s doing is fairly absurd, regardless of his talents/skills. Polanco is hitting .465 with a 1.255 OPS. The left-handed hitter has struck out just four times in 47 plate appearances (8.5 percent) and, as Tyler Maun noted, he’s put together a nice hitting streak to begin the year, too.
“There are certain situations that I’m looking for, some key situations that he needs to be in,” Indianapolis hitting coach Mike Pagliarulo told Maun. “He needs to face guys that throw 97, which he did last night, and turned the ball around and pulled it for a double down the line. It’s things like that when you’re looking for potential matchups that are going to be in the Major Leagues and how he handles them.
“Whether he succeeds or not, it’s how he adjusts to them that’s key. Those situations will happen. They’ll come about, and depending on who we’re facing, the better the competition is, the better it is for him.” (more…)
By Jake Seiner/MiLB.com
MiLB.com game stories:
Other prospect performances of note:
Pittsburgh OF Gregory Polanco, Triple-A Indianapolis: 4-for-4, HR, 3 RBI, R – More of the same for the Pittsburgh outfielder. Now hitting .500 with 1.300 OPS through 10 games.
Boston 2B Mookie Betts, Double-A Portland: 2-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 R – Betts is hitting .469 in his Double-A debut. Dating back to last year and including the playoffs in Salem, he’s reached base in 43 consecutive games, according to Seadogs radio man Mike Antonellis.
Baltimore RHP Zach Davies, Double-A Bowie: 1 1/3 IP, 2 H, ER, 2 BB, K – Davies was struck in his throwing elbow by a line drive in the bottom of the second. X-rays on the elbow were negative, but Davies was left with a bruise. The team will determine his status further in the coming days.
Milwaukee RHP Ariel Pena, Triple-A Nashville: 4 IP, 4 H, ER, BB, 8 K – Brewers prospect now has 16 strikeouts in nine innings with just three walks, 2.00 ERA.
Houston RF Domingo Santana, Triple-A Oklahoma City: 3-for-4, 3 2B, BB, RBI, R, K – Monster day for the 21-year-old outfielder, who now has consecutive multi-hit games after a 4-for-28 start.
Chicago 3B Kris Bryant, Double-A Tennessee: 2-for-4, HR, 2B, RBI, R, K – Bryant’s power and advanced approach are both shining through in his first look at upper-level pitching, as he’s slashing .269/.406/.654 through eight games.
Oakland RHP Raul Alcantara, Double-A Midland: 6 2/3 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 7 K – Impressive start to the season for the 21-year-old, who boasts a 0.61 ERA through two Double-A starts.
Milwaukee OF Mitch Haniger, Double-A Hunstivlle: 1-for-4 HR, RBI, R, K – Homers on consecutive days for the Brewers prospect.
Atlanta SS Jose Peraza, Class A Advanced Lynchburg: 3-for-5, R, SB – The speedy shortstop is hitting .324 with .780 OPS and four steals through nine games. The 19-year-old has also started playing more second base, with eight games at the keystone versus just two at short — surprising, considering his strong defensive reputation.
Chicago (NL) LHP Rob Zastryzny, Class A Advanced Daytona: 5 2/3 IP, 7 H, ER, BB, 5 K, HR – A solo homer to Reymond Nunez in the sixth was Zastryzny’s only punished mistake.
Minnesota OF Adam Brett Walker II, Class A Advanced Fort Myers: 2-for-5, HR, 3 RBI, R, K – The Florida State League is supposed to be a tough place for Minor League hitters to hit home runs, although Walker is not your average Minor Leaguer. Big raw in the 6-foot-4, 225-pounder’s swing, reflected in four homers through nine games. Slashing .250/.289/.583 thus far.
Colorado SS Trevor Story, Class A Advanced Modesto: 2-for-2, 2 BB, 2 R, 4 SB – The breakout everybody was looking for from Story last year might be coming a year late. Rockies middle infielder is slashing .415/.478/.683 with nine steals through 10 games. Only red flag is 15 strikeouts thus far, but power/speed combo is impressing right now.
Tampa Bay OF Johnny Field, Class A Bowling Green: 3-for-3, 2 HR, 2 BB, 4 RBI, 3 R – Monster day for the Rays’ 2013 fifth-round pick, hitting .345 with .472 OBP, 1.196 OPS in full-season debut. Channeled fellow Bishop Gorman grad Joey Gallo with the multi-homer game yesterday.
Miami 2B Avery Romero, Class A Greensboro: 3-for-5, 2 2B, R, K – The 20-year-old has three-straight multi-hit games, has struck out just twice in nine contests and boasts a 1.092 OPS. Undersized at 5-foot-8, 190-pounds, Romero needs to work on his defense at second, but the 2012 third-rounder can flat-out hit.
By Jake Seiner/MiLB.com
MiLB.com game stories:
Other prospect performances of note:
Houston 1B Jon Singleton, Triple-A Oklahoma City: 2-for-4, HR, BB, 3 R, RBI, K – Three homers already for Singleton in eight games, including homers Thursday and Friday. Also has 13 strikeouts in 31 at-bats, though.
Boston SS Deven Marrero, Double-A Portland: 3-for-5, 2B, RBI, R, K – The slick-fielding shortstop has hits in each of his first six games, and three of those have been multi-hit games. Arizona State product boasts a .370/.393/.519 triple slash thus far, including four doubles.
Cleveland SS Francisco Lindor, Double-A Akron: 1-for-6, HR, RBI, R, K – Lindor belted a walkoff homer in the 13th inning, his second long ball of the season. The Indians’ top prospect has hits in seven of his first eight games.
Milwaukee RHP Taylor Jungmann, Double-A Huntsville: 5 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, BB, 9 K, 2 HR – Mixed bag in the start vs. Pensacola for Jungmann, who boasts an impressive 13-to-1 K/BB ratio through 11 innings this season.
St. Louis OF James Ramsey, Double-A Springfield: 2-for-3, HR, BB, 3 R, 2 RBI, K – The 2012 first-rounder is slashing .484/.556/.935 through nine games, with three homers in his past four contests.
Milwaukee OF Tyrone Taylor, Class A Advanced Brevard County: 3-for-4, 2B, 2 R, RBI, SB – Taylor hitting .375 with eight doubles and two steals through eight games.
Atlanta RHP Wes Parsons, Class A Advanced Lynchburg: 6 IP, 5 H, BB, 6 K – Parsons is a fascinating story, having given up baseball in high school to pursue a golf career, then changing tracks to join Jackson State Community College’s team later. Braves have a history of unique finds on the mound, and Parsons could be the next standout example.
Texas OF Nick Williams, Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach: o-for-1, 4 BB, R – Four walks for Williams, who now has five free passes in eight games after walking just 15 times in 95 contests with Hickory in 2013. Go figure.
Cincinnati RHP Ben Lively, Class A Advanced Bakersfield: 5 IP, 4 H, 6 K – California League hasn’t proven much of a challenge for Lively yet. Central Florida product has 0.82 ERA over two starts, 13-to-0 K/BB over 11 IP.
Houston OF Teoscar Hernandez, Class A Advanced Lancaster: 2-for-4, 2 3B, 3 RBI, 2 R, K – Multi-hit games for Hernandez in each of his past three games and in five of his past six.
Oakland OF Billy McKinney, Class A Advanced Stockton: 2-for-5, HR, 2 R, RBI – McKinney has four homers in eight games with a .575 slugging percentage in his full-season debut.
Detroit RHP Jonathon Crawford, Class A West Michigan: 5 1/3 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 5 K – Solid rebound for Crawford after a disastrous Whitecaps debut on April 4.
Colorado 3B Ryan McMahon, Class A Asheville: 2-for-4, HR, 2B, BB, 2 RBI, 2 R, K – McMahon has a .300/.405/.667 triple slash through nine games.
Boston OF Manuel Margot, Class A Greenville: 2-for-4, HR, 3 R, 2 RBI – Third homer of the season for the 5-foot-11 center fielder, who also has a 1.011 OPS.
By Jake Seiner / MiLB.com
MiLB.com Game Stories:
Other prospect performances of note:
Pittsburgh OF Gregory Polanco, Triple-A Indianapolis: 3-for-3, 2B, BB, R — Polanco is hitting .433 with a 1.069 OPS through eight games.
Houston OF George Springer, Triple-A Oklahoma City: 2-for-3, HR, 2 BB, 2 R, RBI — Springer and teammate 1B Jon Singleton went back-to-back for the RedHawks.
Pittsburgh SS Alen Hanson, Double-A Altoona: 3-for-5, 2 R, RBI — Hits in four straight after going 0-for-7 to start the year for Hanson.
Atlanta RHP Jason Hursh, Double-A Mississippi: 6 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 3 K — First Double-A win for the 2013 first-round pick.
St. Louis SS Aledmys Diaz, Double-A Springfield: 4-for-7, HR, 2 2B, 3 RBI, 2 R, 2 SB — Monster day for the Cuban signed this offseason. Questions existed when he signed about his offensive upside. An encouraging .458 start to his stateside career is about as well as the 23-year-old could address those. His homer came in the 14th inning, snapping a 5-5 tie.
New York (NL) OF Brandon Nimmo, Class A Advanced St. Lucie: 2-for-4, HR, 2 BB, 3 R, 2 RBI — Nimmo has a .516 OBP through seven games thanks to eight free passes.
Minnesota RHP Ryan Eades, Class A Cedar Rapids: 7 IP, 6 H, R, 5 K — The Twins 2013 second-rounder is one of many promising arms stacked into the Kernels rotation this spring.
Texas SS Travis Demeritte, Class A Hickory: 2-for-4, 2 HR, BB, 4 RBI, 2 R — Monster game for the 2013 first-rounder snaps a 2-for-18 start to the season. Three of his four hits this season have been round-trippers.
Miami 2B Avery Romero, Class A Greensboro: 4-for-5 — Romero has a .414 average through his first seven games.
Chicago (AL) MIF Cleuluis Rondon, Class A Kannapolis: 4-for-5, 2B, 2 RBI, R, 2 SB — Acquired from Red Sox as part of Jake Peavy-Jose Iglesias-Avisail Garcia trade last July.
Boston RHP Jamie Callahan, Class A Greenville: 5 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 11 K — Boston’s 2012 second-rounder has 15 strikeouts through 8 2/3 innings this season.
Seattle OF Austin Wilson, Class A Clinton: 3-for-4, HR, BB, 2 RBI, 2 R, K — Last year’s second-round pick is hitting .296 with .869 OPS in Midwest League.
By Jake Seiner/MiLB.com
MiLB.com Game Stories:
Other prospect performances of note:
Chicago (AL) 3B Matt Davidson, Triple-A Charlotte: 2-for-4, 2 2B, 2 RBI – Four of Davidson’s five hits this season have been doubles. Good looks for the White Sox prospect, who some expected to begin the season in Chicago.
Pittsburgh OF Gregory Polanco, Triple-A Indianapolis: 3-for-5, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R – First Triple-A homer for Polanco, who is playing right field in anticipation of a midseason callup to Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh RHP Nick Kingham, Double-A Altoona: 6 IP, 3 H, 3 BB, 6 K – Better news for the third-ranked right-hander in the Pirates farm system. Curve manager Carlos Garcia reported seeing increased maturity and concentration from Kingham this spring.
Chicago (NL) SS Javier Baez, Triple-A Iowa: 1-for-2, HR, RBI, R – Baez was benched to start Sunday after being ejected from Saturday’s game, but came off the bench to hit a game-tying solo homer in the seventh inning.
Seattle RHP Victor Sanchez, Double-A Jackson: 5 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 6 K, 1 HR – Solid debut for the 19-year-old prospect.
Pittsburgh C Jin-De Jhang, Class A Advanced Bradenton: 2-for-5, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R – First FSL home run for Jhang, who was aggressively promoted to make room for Reese McGuire at Class A West Virginia.
Colorado OF David Dahl, Class A Asheville: 2-for-4, HR, RBI, R – First full-season home run for Dahl, who played in just 10 games with Asheville last season.
Arizona OF Stryker Trahan, Class A South Bend: 2-for-3, HR, BB 4 RBI, 2 R – First full-season homer for the converted catcher. Two of his four hits have gone for extra bases.
San Francisco OF Gary Brown, Triple-A Fresno: 3-for-5, 2B, 3B, SB, 3 R
Texas RHP Sam Wolff, Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach: 5 IP, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K – 2013 sixth-rounder was a senior sign out of New Mexico, worked a perfect first four innings in his first professional start.
Seattle OF Gabriel Guerrero, Class A Advanced High Desert: 2-for-3, HR, 2 RBI, 1 R – Mavericks outfielder is hitting .571 through four games with two extra-base hits. Stellar start in the California League for the 20-year-old.
Houston SS Carlos Correa, Class A Advanced Lancaster: 3-for-4, HR, 3 RBI, 3 R
Los Angeles RHP Jonathan Martinez, Class A Great Lakes: 6 IP, 2 H, 11 K – stellar 2014 debut for the 19-year-old Venezuelan.
By Jake Seiner / MiLB.com
Over at MiLB.com today, we’ve offered a snapshot look at all the teams in the NL Central and prospects of note from their farm system, including the Pirates. Those pieces can give you a nice idea of who’s who within those farm systems, but we know there are plenty of diehards out there looking for more. With that in mind, I’m going to empty out the notebook with some more thoughts and quotes on some of the top Pirates prospects below:
Gregory Polanco, Outfielder
Wrote plenty about Polanco in the Pirates Primer, but there’s always more to say about the blossoming 22-year old.
The Pirates are keeping Polanco in Triple-A to begin the 2014 season, citing his mere 252 at-bats at Double-A or above as reason to think he may not be ready. Polanco has handled advanced pitching well in Double-A, the Dominican Winter League and in Major League Spring Training, but Pittsburgh wants to see it in a larger sample.
The team hasn’t said as much, but it makes sense for the Pirates to be somewhat risk-averse when it comes to prospect promotions, especially for players with star potential like Polanco. The outfielder’s service clock begins as soon as he’s promoted, creating a six-year window in which to suck the most value out of the youngster’s abilities. Letting Polanco potentially struggle for three months in the Majors isn’t an attractive option when every penny saved carries so much weight.
As for what the Pirates need to see to promote Polanco?
“It’s more the number of at-bats,” director of Minor League operations Larry Broadway said. “He’s got a good foundation. He just needs to build on it and just see upper-level pitching and just be in those environments and continue to progress without skipping steps.”
Jameson Taillon, Right-Handed Pitcher
I wrote from Florida about some of the strides Taillon has made with his changeup and also transcribed some interesting thoughts from Broadway on the Pirates’ unorthodox instructions for their Minor League hurlers. Then in the Primer, I talked a little about what Pittsburgh wants to see Taillon accomplish in Triple-A before giving him a shot in the Majors.
I don’t have much more to add about the right-hander, but thought it was worth mentioning that he won’t be on any sort of innings limit this season, which surprised me given the Pirates reputation as a forward-thinking organization, especially when it comes to the development of pitching prospects.
Taillon threw 147 1/3 innings last year and 142 innings the year before. In 2014, the plan is to let him throw as many frames as he can, even if it means a potential jump of 50-plus innings with the extra five to seven starts he’d get finishing his season in the Majors.
“By this point, there’s not a whole lot of restriction on it,” Broadway said. “Systematically, you add however much each year and you’re at a point where the next add is, if you take the ball every start, that’s what that’s going to be. There’s not a whole lot we’re going to look at this year.”
Alen Hanson, Shortstop
Offensively, the 5-foot-11, 170-pounder had a strong 2013, batting .281 with a .783 OPS in Bradenton before struggling a bit in Double-A. The offensive profile at shortstop could make him a star, but if he can’t stick there, he may not hit enough to truly stand out elsewhere.
That puts a lot of pressure on the leather. The athleticism and range are there, and his actions have made progress over the past couple years. The issue is that his arm is fringy for the position, meaning his feel and mechanics need to be excellent to stick long term.
For a while, Double-A Altoona manager Carlos Garcia was skeptical Hanson could make it work. This spring, Hanson has changed the skipper’s mind.
“One of the things I saw was he was more passive going to the bag,” Garcia said about Hanson in ’13. “Right now, he’s moving his feet very well, making strong throws.”
Nick Kingham, Right-handed Pitcher
Like Taillon, Kingham is a hard-throwing Texan who has made big strides with his changeup over the past few seasons. After dominating in Bradenton, the 22-year-old posted a 2.70 ERA in 14 Double-A appearances last summer.
Most impressive to Garcia, the hurler appears to have gotten better this offseason, especially from a makeup standpoint.
“Definitely in this training camp, I saw a more mature guy,” Garcia said. “He wanted to take ownership of his career. He’s in great shape. He’s working hard and throwing the ball very well. The ball is coming out of his hand very well.”
Willy Garcia, Outfielder
He’s not quite Gregory Polanco 2.0, but depending on whom you ask, Garcia might be able to breakout in a similar — if muted — fashion. The 21-year-old’s power is no joke, anchoring a strong skill set that fits well in a right-field profile. Strikeouts have been his undoing so far — 154 of them in 118 Class A Advanced games last year — but the potential is there for a bust-out campaign.
Carlos Garcia thinks Willy has enough feel offensively to tap into his power in short order.
“He can drive the ball the other way and drive it out of the ballpark,” Garcia said. “If you can do that at a young age, definitely you’re having success. He’s in good shape. He’s a young kid who wants to play. Good tools, good arm, enjoying playing. I think he’s going to be good for us.”
Josh Bell, Outfielder
Bell figures to be the marquee attraction in Bradenton this summer. Now 21, the switch-hitter has grown into a physically imposing player with a prototypical right-field body.
After suffering a tough knee injury in 2012, the 2011 second-round pick shined in his first full season last summer. His 52 extra-base hits were impressive, though his output was overlooked in part because he belted just 13 homers.
What might have been overlooked were his 37 doubles. It’s not a strength issue with Bell — he can drive the ball out of any park. The Pirates wanted Bell focused on hard contact to the middle of the field, something he’s done consistently since returning from the knee injury.
“I think the more doubles, the better,” Broadway said. “The worst thing for a young player is hitting a bunch of home runs. Been around long enough to see it usually goes the wrong way when you go up to Double-A and Triple-A and into the big leagues. Start getting holes exposed and things like that.
“Our focus with everybody is hitter first and power second. He’s doing a job. You mention the doubles — that’s really what we’re looking for is hard contact in the middle of the field. Those things, as you move up the levels and pitchers are around the zones more and hitters get a better feel for their body, those things turn into home runs, but that’s not something we’re concerned with this early in his career.”
Austin Meadows, Outfielder
Meadows is another player covered in the Primer. One talking point among baseball people about the 18-year-old is his size. He’s already listed at 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, and he has room on his frame to add even more good weight. He runs well enough now to play center field, but realistically, he could outgrow the position before he reaches the Majors.
The Pirates aren’t very concerned about how his size might affect his defensive profile.
“Time will tell,” Broadway said. “Eighteen-year-old kids, especially a big kid like that, you never know. He could lean out and wind up being a deer out in center field, or he could bulk up and wind up being a big, strong right fielder hitting homers.”
Wyatt Mathisen, Third Base
I’ve already written a bit about Mathisen’s move from catcher to third but wanted to expand on that here. A high school shortstop, Mathisen had the talents to catch, but injuries have prevented him from getting the experience necessary to improve. With Jin-De Jhang slated to catch at Class A Advanced Bradenton and Reese McGuire handling duties in West Virginia, there would be no way to get Mathisen full-season at-bats if he was going to continue catching every day.
And thus, the end of the Mathisen catching experiment.
“Right now, it’s more full-time infielder, then we’ll readdress down the line,” Broadway said. “We just want him to get going and get playing every day. He hasn’t had the ability to do that yet with the injury issues. Now, with Reese coming along, we love them both, but Wyatt has played the infield, has played third. He’s comfortable there, so we’ll give him a chance to get out there and get comfortable again and play every day.”
Cody Dickson, Left-handed Pitcher
The 2013 fourth-rounder is a sleeper candidate in the Pirates system. Ranked 20th in the organization by MLB.com, Dickson generates tremendous movement on a fastball, which can reach the mid-90s. He gets similar fade on his changeup, pairing that with tremendous dive. His curveball is also a hard breaking pitch.
The Sam Houston State product may be held back from an innings standpoint, though. Broadway estimated Dickson threw around 200 innings last season between his various stops and said he’d be monitored more closely than the average college hurler in his first pro season.
“We have to keep an eye on him, but he’s ready to go, no restrictions,” Broadway said. “Going to let him go out there and compete, see what it’s like to be on the five-day professional routine. It’s different than college. He got a taste of it last year. Just acclimating your body to that, acclimating your mind to that type of routine.”
Harold Ramirez, Outfielder
Last year’s first-rounders, Meadows and McGuire, will be the marquee attractions in the early going at West Virginia, but don’t be surprised if the Power’s biggest crowd-pleaser is Ramirez. The speedy Colombian outfielder has big-time tools, and at 19, could be the next Pirates prospect to break out on the national scene.
“He’s got bat, he’s got arm, he’s got power in there, he’s got instincts on the bases,” Broadway said. “He’s come a long way. He had the tools to start. We’ve taken it slow with him. He came over at 16. He didn’t go through the academy first. He’s been young. He’s going to play every day at West Virginia this year, get out under the lights right away. We’re looking forward to seeing him roam around in the outfield a little bit.”
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 11-20 (also see: 21-30, 31-40, 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.
11. Nick Castellanos, OF, Detroit Tigers
Castellanos on the transition to playing outfield:
“It’s not like I used to play outfield when I was little — when I played my first game in the outfield for [Double-A] Erie, it was the first time I had ever played in the outfield in my life.
“I took an infield glove with me out there because I didn’t feel comfortable using the big glove. I had never used one before.”
12. Noah Syndergaard, RHP, New York Mets
St. Lucie pitching coach Phil Regan on Syndergaard’s development
“He’s really coming along well. I think he’s making a lot of strides. … He’s understanding a lot about pitching and he’s just a tremendous kid, soaks up knowledge and wants to learn. I think he’s done exceptionally well for his age and where he’s coming from. He’s not afraid, he goes right after [hitters, he's] aggressive on the mound. I think he’s got confidence in himself, and that’s all part of it.”
13. Gregory Polanco, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates
Altoona manager Carlos Garcia on welcoming Polanco to Double-A
“Right now, at this point, I just want to sit and watch him play. He has a lot to offer and I want to make sure he feels comfortable, so he’s able to learn in every game. … And I want to make him understand it’s going to be a lot of competition up here, at this level. But I don’t think he cares about that too much, he just enjoys playing.
“We just want to keep him healthy, keep him playing the game the right way, which I don’t think is going to be a problem for him because that’s what he does.”
14. Dylan Bundy, RHP, Baltimore Orioles
Bundy’s agent, Jay Franklin, on Bundy’s reaction to having to undergo Tommy John surgery:
“He’s down, you can imagine. … That’s tough on anyone, especially someone with his level of competitiveness. [Orioles team orthopedist Dr. John] Wilckens and Dr. [James] Andrews are very qualified to make that recommendation, and to me it is the right decision.
“The good thing is, because of how young he is, he should be able to heal quickly. … Not many people are in better shape.”
15. Michael Wacha, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals
Memphis manager Pop Warner on his impressions of Wacha:
“Obviously he’s good enough to do it. … He’s just composed, the guy’s just mature beyond his years. This is the first time I saw him. He just carries himself right.
“[He's] driven, competes really well and obviously he’s pretty polished with his stuff. Combine all that and you’ve got a pretty good player on your hands.”
16. Billy Hamilton, OF, Cincinnati Reds
Louisville manager Jim Riggleman on the aspects of Hamilton’s game beyond speed:
“He’s naturally a right-handed hitter, and from that side of the plate, he’s pretty accomplished. … The left-handed swing is more of a work in progress.”
17. Robert Stephenson, RHP, Cincinnati Reds
Dayton pitching coach Tony Fossas on Stephenson’s abilities and mentality:
“Robert has all the God-given talent to proceed. … He’s blessed. Now can he put everything to work and maintain his health? Can he maintain his endurance year after year? He’s willing to learn — he’s willing to try things. He does have a little stubbornness, but I like that. He has a great work ethic, and as a person, he’s off the charts.”
18. Addison Russell, SS, Oakland Athletics
Russell on adjustments he made in the second half:
“The way I’m playing now is the way I think I should have been playing in the beginning of the year. … It’s a long year, my first year, and it’s just a learning curve. The good thing is that I think I struggled in the beginning and I learned how to come back from it, stay positive. Instead of trying to force it more when it was going bad, sit back, relax and let your ability and talent take over.”
19. Jonathan Singleton, 1B, Houston Astros
Singleton on making his 2013 debut with Quad Cities after serving his suspension:
“I was pretty anxious. … I actually didn’t get too much sleep, but once I got to the ballpark today, I was calmed down a little bit. Once I got the uniform on, I was ready to go.”
20. Travis d’Arnaud, C, New York Mets
d’Arnaud on his relationship with Syndergaard:
“What can I say about an outing like that? He had an absolutely electric fastball, his curveball was pretty devastating and his changeup — I didn’t even know he had a changeup like that. It just made his fastball look so much quicker and harder. The whole thing was effective.
“I think he threw it eight or 10 times today and used it pretty effectively each time. If he’s having any trouble with it, I couldn’t tell. It works really well with the fastball and the curveball.
“I think the pitcher-catcher relationship is actually one of the most important and most undervalued part of the game. If those two guys get along, you can work at a better pace and really get in that groove.”
By Sam Dykstra / MiLB.com
Earlier this month, I looked at the prospects I believe aren’t going anywhere come the July 31 Trade Deadline. Now that we’re just over one week away from one of the most exciting dates on the MLB calendar, here’s a look at some prospects that could be on the move between now and then. (Disclaimer: These are just thoughts and not at all guarantees that Prospect A will be moved.)
Tyler Skaggs, Arizona: We’ll start with by far the biggest name on this list. Skaggs, who was a fixture at the top prospect spot in the D-backs’ prospect list before “graduating” earlier this month, has already been traded once in his pro career — as the player to be named later in the 2010 deal that sent Dan Haren to the Angels — but I wouldn’t be surprised if the left-hander is moved again. The 22-year-old has been touch-and-go in both the Majors (2-1, 4.03 ERA in five starts) and Minors (6-6, 4.30 in 14 appearances between Triple-A Reno and Class A Advanced Visalia) this season, but because of age and potential, his stock remains quite high, meaning now might be the time to bite.
I’m not saying the D-backs should actively shop Skaggs this Deadline season. In fact, they’ve flat-out denied any interest in letting him go, although how often have we heard that story. If the right blockbuster deal is on the table though — think Jeff Samardzija of the Cubs — Skaggs could be on the move once more.
Mike Olt/C.J. Edwards/Neil Ramirez, Texas: These come straight from the headlines. Multiple outlets have reported that the Rangers and Cubs were discussing a deal for right-hander Matt Garza. Rumors began flying about who Chicago would get in return, although talks apparently broke down when the Cubs became concerned with the health of an unnamed prospect they’d receive. Still, these were the three most often discussed as the key prospect pieces heading Chicago’s way.
Olt, who is coming around at Triple-A Round Rock after early struggles caused by an eye issue, is listed by MLB.com as the Rangers’ top prospect but is obviously blocked at the hot corner by three-time All-Star Adrian Beltre. Although he’s been tried in the outfield and at first before, he hasn’t played another position outside third this year for the Express, so his role within the organization might be only as trade bait. The Cubs, who have used Luis Valbuena (.236/.345/.394) at third this season, would be a nice fit for his services.
On the other hand, Edwards would be another “strike while the iron is hot” candidate. Drafted in the 48th round in 2011, the 21-year-old right-hander has dominated the South Atlantic League this season, posting a 1.83 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 122 strikeouts in 93 1/3 innings for Class A Hickory without allowing a home run. He has yet to be tested by the upper levels, but the numbers as they stand are quite encouraging. Chicago could certainly use pitching depth in the Minors pool, and Edwards could provide that and then some, even if his ETA isn’t for a few more years.
Ramirez could be the one where there were some hangups on the Cubs’ end. Texas’ No. 14 prospect had issues — among a laundry list of other struggles — with his back last season, when he went 8-13 with a 6.28 ERA and 1.40 WHIP between Round Rock and Double-A Frisco. He’s been much better for the RoughRiders this season (3.68 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, increase from 7.9 K/9 to 11.0), but he’s also had problems with his shoulder. If the Cubs (or another team) decide they want to look past those problems, the 24-year-old right-hander is certainly a candidate to be moved, now that the on-the-field results appear to be back.
Kolten Wong, St. Louis: Like Olt above, Wong finds himself blocked at second base in the Cardinals organization. Fresh off finishing a solid rookie season, Matt Carpenter has taken his game to another level this season with a .325 average (fifth-highest in the NL) and a senior circuit-leading 31 doubles. Wong — St. Louis’ No. 3 prospect — has held his own for Triple-A Memphis with a .301/.359/.464 slash line and 13 steals so far en route to a Futures Game nod last week. The University of Hawaii product could have broken down the door to his Majors debut by this point but hasn’t because of Carpenter’s All-Star contributions. With that, he could be a key piece that that the Cards are willing to let go of come the end of the month.
Gregory Polanco, Pittsburgh: Imagine that. The Pirates might be the most well-equipped to make a big move this Trade Deadline season. Alright alright, they were one of the teams to make a fairly big trade last year when they acquired Wandy Rodriguez from the Astros. But it still feels a little weird to call the Bucs buyers at this point, right? With that in mind, the team was one of the most prominently named in the Giancarlo Stanton sweepstakes that have seemingly ended. With the need for a right fielder still remaining — Travis Snider just isn’t cutting it — Alex Rios could be a different target.
What it takes to get him remains to be seen, but a package based around Polanco wouldn’t be out of the question. The 21-year-old center fielder broke out at Class A West Virginia last year, and a .312/.364/.472 slash line with 24 steals in 57 games for Class A Advanced Bradenton impressed the Pirates enough that they moved him up to Double-A Altoona. He’s ranked right now as Pittsburgh’s No. 4 and MLB.com’s No.52 overall prospect. That could be enough to get Rios or some sort of equivalent, especially if the other side eats some of the contract. An outfielder of the future for a steady outfielder of the present — not a bad trade for the Pirates in their pursuit of that elusive playoff spot.
Joey Terdoslavich, Atlanta: Justin Upton. B.J. Upton. Jason Heyward. Despite the struggles of the latter two this season, this seems to be the Braves outfield of the long-term future, leaving Terdoslavich on the outside looking in for a starting spot. The 24-year-old switch-hitter, who ranks as the Braves’ No. 14 prospect, ranked among the International League leaders with a .318 average, .926 OPS, 18 homers and 58 RBIs for Triple-A Gwinnett before being called up to Atlanta when Jordan Schafer hit the DL earlier this month. The sixth-round pick from the 2010 Draft, who has played in left, right and first base with the Braves, may never look better to potential suitors than he does right now, and Atlanta might be wise to cash in.
Drake Britton, Boston: Britton, whose year didn’t get off to a great start when he was arrested for a DUI in Spring Training, put together a fine half-season at Double-A Portland, going 7-6 with a 3.51 ERA in 17 appearances (16 starts). The 24-year-old southpaw moved up to Triple-A Pawtucket, where he gave up five runs on 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings during his debut. Despite his struggles in that one game, the Red Sox moved him to the big club just before the All-Star break with the idea of him joining the relief corps. (He allowed just one hit and one walk over two scoreless innings against the Yankees the past two days, the first time he’s ever worked back-to-back days.)
Still, that smells very much like an audition for potential suitors. Between names like Barnes, Webster, De La Rosa, Owens, Ranaudo and Workman, the Red Sox have an abundance of potential Major League arms in the system, so they can deal from a position of strength when they go looking for additional bullpen arms, beyond the recently acquired Matt Thornton or even starting pitching, if it looks like Clay Buchholz will be out longer than expected. Britton, who hadn’t posted a season ERA below 4.00 since 2010 entering this season, could be the one they are most likely to let go.