Results tagged ‘ Josh Bell ’

The Untouchables: Prospects who shouldn’t be traded by July 31

By Sam Dykstra /

For some, this is the second-most exciting month in Major League Baseball. (We can all agree playoff baseball in October trumps all.) About halfway through July, we get the All-Star Game and get to celebrate not only the best of the best from the first half but also the game itself, as we’ve seen in each of the past two Midsummer Classics with the going-away parties for Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter.

Then there’s July 31, one of the most important dates on the baseball calendar. It’s the non-waiver trade deadline, the final day teams can wheel and deal freely in attempts to strengthen their rosters for the stretch run or shore up their farm systems during what is otherwise a down year. The biggest deal from last July was the one that sent Matt Garza to the Rangers for C.J. Edwards, Mike Olt, Justin Grimm and a player to be named later (Neil Ramirez). The Jake Peavy to Boston/Jose Iglesias to Detroit and Bud Norris to Baltimore trades produced some headlines closer to the deadline day itself.

The trade machine got churning in a big way this year when the Cubs traded Jeff Samardzija to the A’s for top prospect Addison Russell, Billy McKinney and Dan Straily.

As we get closer to July 31 — only 15 days away as of this writing — it’s time to consider which prospects you won’t see moved in a deadline deal this year. Each prospect you see here plays in an organization where the Major League club is within seven games of a playoff spot and could be conceivably seen as buyers come the deadline.

Ken Inness/

Ken Inness/

Corey Seager, shortstop, Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers have been in go-for-it mode ever since changing ownership groups back in 2012, and with the best record in the NL and a one-game lead over the Giants for the top spot in the NL West, that certainly hasn’t changed this season. The club has been linked to left-handed starters Cole Hamels and David Price this July. The price for either is expected to be steep and would perhaps surpass the package the A’s sent to the Cubs for Samardzija. That likely means not just one but two top prospects as well as other pieces.  (more…)

Prospect Roundup: Games of June 12

By Jake Seiner / short-season league previews:

New York-Penn League

Northwest League game stories:

Padres OF Jake Goebbert gobbles up seven RBIs

Pirates RHP A.J. Morris goes distance for first time

Dodgers LHP Tom Windle tosses seven shutout frames

Indians OF Clint Frazier steers ship with big night

Dunedin Blue Jays clinch first-half FSL title

Nationals LHP Gio Gonzalez sharp in rehab outing

Rockies OF Raimel Tapia smacks grand slam, drives in five

Tigers IF Hernan Perez collects four hits, scores four times

Mets 3B Aderlin Rodriguez fuels doubleheader sweep

Other top prospect performances:

Red Sox C Christian Vazquez, Triple-A Pawtucket: 2-for-3, HR, 2 R, RBI, B — Vazquez’s catch-and-throw skills are a thing to behold behind the plate. Now he’s found his power stroke at the plate, belting his first two homers of the season over the past week. If Vazquez can be even an average Major League hitter, he could be a hugely valuable piece for the Sox going forward, although he’ll have to hold off Blake Swihart if he’s going to get a catching gig in Boston.


Prospect Roundup: Games of June 5

By Jake Seiner / news:

Astros take LHP Brady Aiken with top pick in Draft features:

2013 Draft Retrospective: One year gone game stories:

Astros OF Dan Gulbransen cycles and drives in six

Marlins RHP Jose Urena fans seven over eight scoreless

Rancho Cucamonga turns triple play in rout

Giants LHP Mike Kickham thrives, Mets RHP Noah Syndergaard injured

Pirates OF Josh Bell sets career high with five hits

Rangers 3B Joey Gallo, Pelicans wrap up division title

Reds RHP Dan Corcino tosses six strong frames for Wahoos

White Sox LHP Charlie Leesman goes eight shutout innings

Orioles LHP Mitch Horacek tosses six shutout frames

Rays RHP Alex Colome tosses eight scoreless in pitchers’ duel

Other top prospect performances:

Royals SS Orlando Calixte, Double-A Northwest Arkansas: 2-for-4, HR, 2 RBI, R — Calixte has improved his numbers across the board in his return to the Texas League, slashing .292/.340/.551 through 23 games.


Prospect Roundup: Games of June 2

By Jake Seiner / news:

Astros 1B Jon Singleton signs deal, promoted to Majors

Tigers 1B Mike Hessman has pre-cancerous growth removed

Draft Retrospective:

Nationals’ Harper still on top for 2010 class game stories:

Huntsville clinches title despite rainout

Rangers C/1B/LF Joe Jackson — great-great-great nephew of Shoeless Joe — continues breakout

Pirates RHP Tyler Glasnow posts more zeros for Marauders

Reds OF Jesse Winker homers twice in Blaze win

Astros RHP Nick Tropeano tosses eight scoreless for RedHawks

Mariners OF Austin Wilson stays red-hot for LumberKings

Brewers RHP Taylor Jungmann solid again for Sounds

Other top prospect performances:

White Sox 2B Carlos Sanchez, Triple-A Charlotte: 3-for-5, 2B, R — The slick-fielding 21-year-old is begging for a call-up to Chicago, slashing .287/.372/.401 this season with each of his two home runs coming in his past nine games. (more…)

Prospect Roundup: Games of May 19

By Jake Seiner / game stories:

Pawtucket, Burlington both turn triple plays

Yankees LHP Dan Camarena chucks five perfect frames

Twins RHP Trevor May tosses eight scoreless innings

Brewers RHP Damien Magnifico tosses shutout

Orioles OF Dariel Alvarez plates career-best six

Astros LHP Luis Cruz fans seven straight for Hooks

Twins 3B Chad Christensen belts first two homers

Mets RHP Kevin McGowan posts shutout for Gnats

Cubs 3B Kris Bryant, RHP Pierce Johnson boost Smokies

Rockies RHP Christian Bergman sets Sky Sox scoreless mark

Padres RHP Casey Kelly strikes out six in fourth rehab outing

Other top prospect performances:

Dodgers OF Joc Pederson, Triple-A Albuquerque: 3-for-6, HR, 4 R, 2 RBI, K, SB — Pederson has 14 homers and 13 steals while hitting .361 in Triple-A. He’ll be ready whenever a spot opens in Los Angeles and should be a solid contributor both to the Dodgers and to fantasy lineups once he finds MLB playing time. (more…)

Prospect Roundup: Games of May 15

By Jake Seiner / features:

Reds LHP Amir Garrett splitting time between diamond and hardwood game stories:

Twins RHP Alex Meyer unhittable, unhappy in second win

Dodgers OF Joc Pederson goes yard twice for ‘Topes

Red Sox 2B Mookie Betts goes 3-for-5, homers in blowout

Cardinals OFers Randal Grichuk, Oscar Taveras go off

Cubs RHP Kyle Hendricks fans 11 in eight scoreless frames

Angels 2B Alex Yarbrough slugs first two homers

Pirates RHP Buddy Borden fans seven in six scoreless

Marlins RHP Jose Urena allows two hits in six innings

Astros SS Thomas Lindauer belts first grand slam

Cardinals LHP Jonathan Cornelius impresses for Springfield

Yankees 3B Eric Jagielo homers twice, including slam

Other top prospect performances:

Red Sox OF Bryce Brentz, Triple-A Pawtucket: 3-for-4, HR, 2 2B, 3 R, 2 RBI — The 24-year-old has struggled in his return to Triple-A, hitting just .230 with six homers through 39 games. One upside — he’s more than doubled his walk rate from a year ago.


Prospect Roundup: Games of May 12

By Jake Seiner / news:

Mets RHP Rafael Montero to make MLB debut Wednesday game stories:

Orioles RHP Hunter Harvey fans career-high 10 for Delmarva

Yankees RHP Jaron Long, son of hitting coach Kevin Long, leads RiverDogs in duel

Dodgers INF Josmar Cordero collects four hits, impressing early for Loons

Brewers RHP Jimmy Nelson ties season high with nine strikeouts

Royals OF Jimmy Paredes plates eight in first cycle

Blue Jays 3B Mitch Nay stays red hot for Lansing

Other top prospect performances:

Pirates OF Gregory Polanco, Triple-A Indianapolis: 2-for-4, HR, 2B, 3 RBI, 2 R, BB, K, PO — Polanco is a perfect 4-for-4 stealing bases in May, indicating he’s made improvements base running — an area Pittsburgh has highlighted as needing improvement. Getting picked off Monday was a small step backward. No question about Polanco’s bat, though, even though he’s cooled some of late.


Prospect Roundup: Games of May 8

By Jake Seiner / game stories:

Las Vegas swats four straight homers at Salt Lake

Red Sox LHP Henry Owens flirts with another no-hitter

Cubs OF Jorge Soler shines in return to Smokies

Dodgers OF Joc Pederson hits homer, makes big catch

Indians SS Francisco Lindor caps rally with grand slam

Rockies RHP Christian Bergman tosses eight scoreless again

D-backs RHP Aaron Blair strikes out nine in Cal League debut

Indians RHP Adam Plutko fans career-high 13 batters

Brewers LHP Jed Bradley grateful for Milwaukee’s patience

Indians RHP Trevor Bauer fans nine, moves to 4-0

Other top prospect performances:

Astros 1B Jon Singleton, Triple-A Oklahoma City: 3-for-5, HR, 3 RBI, 2 R — Singleton has as many home runs (2) as strikeouts through seven games this month. Offensively, he’s ready for a shot in the Majors. (more…)

Prospect Roundup: Games of April 27

By Jake Seiner / game stories:

Nationals OF Michael Taylor belts three homers

Marlins LHP Justin Nicolino dominates in longest pro outing

Orioles 3B Manny Machado doing damage in California League

Rockies 3B Ryan McMahon belts grand slam, drives in six

D-backs RHP Aaron Blair delivers best start yet for Hawks

Pirates OF Josh Bell plates a career-high five runs

Reds RHP Jon Moscot tosses eight scoreless frames

Tigers LHP Kevin Ziomek strikes out six in eight-inning gem

Other top prospect performances:

Indians RHP Trevor Bauer, Triple-A Columbus: 7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, BB, 7 K, HR — Bauer has been exception with the Clippers, posting a 1.40 ERA in four starts and striking out 28 batters in 25 2/3 innings. The homer was his first allowed. The 23-year-old spent the offseason retooling his unique mechanics, and all evidence points toward him having figured some things out. (more…)

Rounding the Bases: Henry Owens, an appreciation

Rudy C. Jones

Rudy C. Jones

With some games under our belt, we can start to pick up on a few trends going on throughout Minor League Baseball. One is how much better some notable starting pitchers have been in their second starts compared to their first. Lucas Giolito —’s No. 43 prospect — rebounded from his opening start, during which he allowed three earned runs in three innings, to toss five scoreless innings of one-hit ball Thursday. Andrew Heaney —’s top left-handed prospect — had a similar story. Same goes for 2013 top pick Mark Appel, Mariners right-hander Edwin Diaz and Padres right-hander Joe Ross.

Beyond prospects who rank in the top 20 in their respective organizations, Chad Green (Tigers), Darin Gorski (Mets) and James Dykstra (White Sox) also went through similar rebounds. There are any number of reasons why pitchers would stumble in their first outing and bounce back in their second. Nerves could play a part, even if the pitchers themselves don’t mention it. There is that early April weather, which Giolito said he wasn’t adequately prepared for in his first go-round. There are necessary course-corrections that need to be made. (Better off-speed stuff seemed to be a popular topic among the above pitchers.)

What I’m getting at is that consistency can be incredibly hard to come by early in the season, when everyone is just getting his feet under him. And that’s what makes Henry Owens’s start to 2014 jump out even more. Armed with a low-90s fastball and a dangerous changeup, the Red Sox left-hander began by, oh, just throwing a six-inning, rain-shortened no-hitter for Double-A Portland on Opening Night in Reading. He struck out nine and walked two in the first complete-game no-hitter by a Sea Dogs hurler in franchise history. On Wednesday, he allowed six hits — ouch, I guess — but again fanned nine in another 6 2/3 scoreless frames against Trenton.

At this early stage, he’s second in the Minors with 18 strikeouts — only Visalia’s Andrew Barbosa has more with 23 — and of the 68 Minor League pitchers with a 0.00 ERA as of Friday afternoon, he’s pitched the most innings (12 2/3). It’d be one thing to simply claim that these are two great starts — nothing more — and hold off on the amazement, but this is just a continuation of where Owens left off in 2013. He moved to the Double-A level in August and hit the ground running, posting a 1.78 ERA with 46 strikeouts in six starts (30 1/3 innings). For the season as a whole, he finished second in Minor League strikeouts with 169 in 135 innings.

“The thing that stood out for me was his feel for pitching,” Red Sox director of player development Ben Crockett told me after the 2013 season. “He was able to thrive at such an advanced level. Obviously, he has very good stuff, and that starts with the good feel he has for his changeup and keeping hitters off-balance. It complements the fastball well and makes for two tough pitches to hit.”

At this point, every Owens start is becoming must-follow for not only Red Sox fans but also all prospect hounds. (It’s perhaps not quite at Pedro Martinez-in-1999 level, although a few more starts like these first two would push it closer.) It’s not out of the question to foresee a promotion to Triple-A Pawtucket in a few months and a September call-up to Boston. As I’ve said, it’s early yet, but it’s still OK to have your interest piqued in a performance like Owens’. As we’ve seen, it’s not all that common.

The Bell Tolls Early: Is it too early to say I told you so? Don’t kid yourself. Of course it is. Still, I have to be a little encouraged by the early returns on Pirates No. 6 prospect Josh Bell down at Class A Advanced Bradenton. The 21-year-old right fielder is 10-for-24 (.417) with a homer, a triple, three doubles and three RBIs through his first six games with the Marauders. He has at least one hit in each of those half-dozen contests and multiple hits in four of them. Furthermore, the one homer on the resume wasn’t exactly a cheapo either. It came on a 1-2 pitch from Rays No. 16 prospect and Charlotte right-hander Jeff Ames that the switch-hitting Bell “smashed” for a solo shot to right field last Saturday.

I called Bell the “player most likely to rise in the prospect rankings in 2014” when released its list in January because I believed — and still believe — that another healthy season from the Bucs outfielder should mean a more powerful one as well. Though it’s too early to claim any nails have been hit on the head, the start is encouraging. As for where Bell’s hot start places on the Shelton Sustainability Index, give him Two Sheltons. He’s neither going to bat .417 for too long nor will he slug .750. But is he capable of competing with Albert Almora for the title of the Florida State League’s best hitter? I’d say so.

Mascot Items of the Week: Akron revealed its newest mascot to go along with the name change.

And Tulsa. . .well, I’ve got nothing, except to say I don’t think I’ll be able to look my fridge in the face for a while.

Quick Hits

– Taijuan Walker struck out 10 over five scoreless innings with Double-A Jackson and told colleague Ashley Marshall, “Whenever they call me up, I’m ready for it. I don’t want to be a hero, I don’t want to be that guy that tries to push through just to get that next start. I know my own body best, and if I had felt something that didn’t feel right, I would tell the team and get re-evaluated.”

FanGraphs’ Carston Cistulli explains which pitching tools translated best to the Majors for the game’s best prospects from 2005. Cistulli found that hurlers with the best curveball (Justin Verlander, Felix Hernandez) were more likely to stick to starting while those with the best sliders (Jonathan Papelbon) were more apt to move to the bullpen. That’s good news for the likes of Archie Bradley, Noah Syndergaard and Robert Stephenson, each of which received 60-plus grades on their curveballs from

– He’s no longer in the Minors, but it’s still fun to watch Billy Hamilton at his fastest. Jeff Sullivan, also at FanGraphs, shows how Hamilton, singled, stole second (against Yadier Molina!), moved to third on a fly-ball out and then scored on one of the shortest sac fly you’ve ever seen.

In Baseball Prospectus’  latest “What Scouts Are Saying” post, Braves infielder Tommy La Stella picks up some big praise while Royals outfielder Bubba Starling, well, doesn’t.


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