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A SBNation Community about Minor League Baseball, Rookies, and Prospects



Updated: 2017-07-22T16:01:01-04:00

 



Minor League Ball Gameday: Saturday, July 22nd, 2017

2017-07-22T16:01:01-04:00

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Indians prospect Triston McKenzie, Braves prospect Touki Toussaint, Dodgers farmhand Wilmer Font, and Rays prospect Ryan Yarbrough led Friday’s pitching performers. What will happen today?

Good afternoon everyone and welcome to the Minor League Ball Gameday discussion thread for Saturday, July 22nd, 2017. Let’s get to it.

****Today’s Minor League Scoreboard

****Today’s MLB scoreboard

****Yesterday’s Highlights can be found in the Friday discussion thread.

COOL STUFF THAT HAPPENED ON FRIDAY

****Cleveland Indians pitching prospect Triston McKenzie threw seven strong innings for High-A Lynchburg in the Carolina League, giving up two runs on six hits and a walk while fanning 10. He has a 30/3 K/BB ratio in his last 21 innings and is certainly ready for a promotion to Double-A.

****Atlanta Braves pitching prospect Touki Toussaint also had a strong game, allowing one run and three hits in eight innings for the High-A Florida Fire Frogs, walking nobody while fanning 11. A fine demonstration of his ability when his command is on.

****Remember Wilmer Font? The Los Angeles Dodgers farmhand and former Texas Rangers prospect is now 27 years old but is having a strong rebound season in Triple-A. He threw seven innings yesterday for Oklahoma City, allowing seven hits, one walk, and two runs, while fanning 11. He now has a 138/27 K/BB in just 101 innings to go with a 3.82 ERA.

****Tampa Bay Rays pitching prospect Ryan Yarbrough threw six shutout innings for Triple-A Durham, giving up four hits and two runs, walking nobody while fanning 13.




MLB Rookie Profile: Anthony Banda, LHP, Arizona Diamondbacks

2017-07-22T14:16:02-04:00

Tonight, the top prospect in the Arizona Diamondbacks system will make his major league debut While the Arizona Diamondbacks are currently the first wild card team in the National League, they will get a chance to see a potential part of their future tonight when they take on the Washington Nationals. Since Taijuan Walker is on paternity leave, Arizona is going to call up left-handed pitcher Anthony Banda from Triple-A Reno to start tonight: Torey Lovullo says Anthony Banda is set to start for the #Dbacks tomorrow. It will be his @MLB debut.— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) July 21, 2017 Back in December 2016, John had Banda ranked as the number one prospect in the Diamondbacks organization. While Arizona’s farm system has taken a hit in recent years with the Dansby Swanson trade, that’s still a good honor to have. Here is what John wrote: Anthony Banda, LHP, Grade B: Age 23, acquired in Gerardo Parra trade in 2014, posted 2.88 ERA in 150 innings in Double-A and Triple-A with 152/55 K/BB and 144 hits; pitched very well in difficult Pacific Coast League; smooth 6-2, 190 pound lefty with fastball at 90-94, peaks at 96; very good curveball out-pitch; change-up is mediocre; general control is ahead of his command to specific spots within the strike zone but he’s made progress and will be ready for a trial soon. Upside: number three starter. ETA 2017. At Reno this season, Banda is 7-5 with a 5.08 ERA in 18 starts. The ERA’s in the Pacific Coast League tend to be high. However, his strikeouts per nine are down from 9.9 in Double-A last year to 8.3 this year (8.3 last year in Reno as well). Plus, he has walk over three batters per nine. Back at the 2014 trade deadline, the Diamondbacks got Banda from the Milwaukee Brewers along with Mitch Haniger (now with Seattle Mariners) when they traded away outfielder Gerardo Parra. While the ERA is high, Banda has been the innings eater this year in the Reno rotation. He is one of six pitchers in the PCL to throw over 100 innings (101) and he’s thrown over 100 pitches in eight of his 18 starts (three of those outings were 110+ pitches). As you will see in the video from his start against El Paso back on April 23, he has the pitch mix to generate strikeouts when needed. In this start, he struck out 11 over 5.2 innings: src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/uDwF0O2dc8U?rel=0&" style="border: 0; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;" allowfullscreen="" scrolling="no"> A promotion should be celebrated, but Banda isn’t coming into his major league debut on the greatest of results to say the least. In his last start against Las Vegas on July 17, he gave up seven runs on 15 hits and struck out only one batter in five innings. You rarely see any pitcher stay in long enough to give up that many hits. When pitching in a ballpark like Chase Field, the ball can tend to fly out of the ballpark. That might not help Banda when you consider his groundball percentage is at 41% this season while the flyball rate is at 36% (Fangraphs). With that being said, out of his 11 home runs allowed this year, three of them have been allowed in a visiting ballpark. Since Walker should be back soon, Banda probably won’t be up in the big leagues for much long. However, he gets a chance to face one of the best offenses in baseball for his debut. It should be a good first test for him. [...]



Angels rookie Alex Meyer: Starter or reliever?

2017-07-22T13:02:01-04:00

What’s the best way to deploy Alex Meyer? Drafted by the Washington Nationals 23rd overall in 2011 from the University of Kentucky, Los Angeles Angels rookie Alex Meyer has been considered an intriguing if erratic pitching prospect since then. At 6'9”, as we often see with exceptionally-tall pitchers, he has had some mechanical difficulties in the pro ranks that bring into question what his eventual role will be. He made his professional debut in 2012 with the Class-A Hagerstown Suns in the South Atlantic League. Traded to the Minnesota Twins for Denard Span in the winter of 2012, he had injuries and command issues for two seasons but did make his debut for the Twins in ‘15. He was traded to the Angels in the August 2016 Ricky Nolasco deal. He’s spent most of ‘17 in the Angels rotation. In 2017, Meyer started the season with his typical mid to upper 90's fastball, though he has shown a slow decline in his velocity each month of this season. On average, Meyer has lost 1 mph off of his fastball since April. Add to this concern the fact that Meyer throws his curveball virtually as often as his fastball, and one can see how pitch selection could potentially wear down an arm over the course of such a long season. Meyer now throws his low to mid 80's curveball as often as 40% of the time, while he goes to the heat in just over 39% of his pitches. His transition to more frequent breaking pitches has also been a gradual move, as each month we have seen his curve slowly become the featured pitch in his arsenal. Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports It would be easy to understand how his loss in velocity has caused him to lean on his secondary pitches more often, or it could simply be that he's pacing himself as a starter at the MLB level, trying to keep something in reserve to go as deep into the game as he can. In 67 1/3 innings over 13 starts in 2017, Meyer has allowed a miserly 48 hits while striking out 75 batters. However, he has also walked an astounding 42 batters, an average of 5.61 per nine innings. It's a troubling trend, especially if the Angels intend on leaving him in the rotation permanently. His plus fastball and curve would play up if he were to be moved to the bullpen, which could be where his future lies. But then there are flashes of brilliance, such as when Meyer held the Nationals to one hit over seven shutout innings on July 19, walking only one and striking out seven. He has allowed two runs or less in seven of his 13 starts, this season. Allowing hits isn't his problem, though; such frequent wildness makes him essentially a five-inning pitcher, and thus a drain on the relief corps. It also makes him a variable, results-wise; without consistent command, he could put up a strong start or get the hook in the 4th inning. Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Assuming that Meyer can work out his control issues, which have been ongoing since his professional debut, and that he can stretch himself out enough to be more than a 5-inning guy, his floor would be as a strong #3 starter. He will need to considerably refine his change-up, if he is to remain in the rotation. The potential is there for him to be the best starter on the Angels' staff for the foreseeable future, but there is work to be done before that becomes realistic. He could easily be an All-Star-caliber reliever, if it turns out the rotation isn't for him. [...]



Philadelphia Phillies prospects Dylan Cozens and Rhys Hoskins: the modern day Bash Brothers

2017-07-22T10:05:01-04:00

Coming off a season that they combined for 78 home runs, Dylan Cozens and Rhys Hoskins continue to rake in the Phillies farm system. GWINNETT, GA — There was a time in Major League Baseball when the Bash Brothers were the most exciting power-hitting tandem to watch. Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire took home run hitting to a whole new level, and they did it back-to-back in the lineup. The Philadelphia Phillies are brewing the modern day Bash Brothers in Lehigh Valley. If you follow the minor leagues with any regularity, you’ve certainly heard the names Rhys Hoskins and Dylan Cozens by now. The two broke out in a big way last year, with Cozens leading all of the minors in home runs and RBI. I have seen the numbers and moonshot highlights on these two guys for a year and a half now. Last Wednesday, they were in my backyard playing the Gwinnett Braves. I had to go see what all the buzz was about. DYLAN COZENS, RF Cozens is the monstrous lefty coming of a season for the ages. The Phillies selected the 6-foot-6, 235-pound masher out of Chaparral High School in the second round of the 2012 MLB Draft. It took him awhile to settle in and find his power, but he certainly has. The right-fielder didn’t show much power in his first few seasons. Coming out of high school, he was both a football and baseball player, so the switch to full-time baseball player apparently took a little adjusting. His 2014 season with Lakewood gave a hint as to the type of player Cozens was. He hit 16 home runs, but struck out 147 times in 509 at bats. There was not much excitement from Cozens in 2015, until his 11-game promotion to Reading in Double-A. There, he slashed .350/.386/.625 with three home runs in 40 at bats. And then there was 2016. Cozens played the full year in Double-A with Reading. Many people know that Firstenergy Stadium is a hitter’s paradise and Cozens made the most of it. He led the minors with 40 home runs and 125 RBI, 29 of which came in his home ball park. His road numbers told a different tale as he slashed .259/.325/.441 with 11 home runs and 100 strikeouts. There’s plenty to like about Cozens despite a few negatives. He has that freakish athletic ability like Aaron Judge both in the field and on the base paths. Cozens stole 21 of 22 stolen base attempts last season, his third straight year stealing 20 or more bases. He’s also very solid in right field. Cozens has already registered six assists this season and has played 10 games in centerfield. That’s right, a 6-foot-6, 235 pound centerfielder with arm strength and decent range. That’s scary. The strikeouts of course are the main thing. He struck out 186 times last season, a staggering 31.7 percent of the time. He’s on pace to crush that total this season, striking out 32.5 percent of the time. That said he has constantly raised his walk totals each year, and I noticed that he does have the ability to work counts. He simply has an aggressive swing, and often pays the price. Cozens also struggles against lefties, currently slashing .217/.303/.443 with just six of his home runs and 44 strikeouts in just 106 at bats. Those numbers could lead some to think he’s a platoon player, but his overall game seems like he’s destined for an everyday role. There will just be some rough days. Cozens ripped a single in his first at bat on Wednesday, against a lefty in Andrew Albers. He literally looked like he casually swatted at a fly in his second at bat and the ball went soaring to the warning track, sending Micah Johnson and Ronald Acuna on a deep run to right center. Despite making an out, it advanced Hoskins to third, allowing him to score the games first run in the next at bat. He walked in his third at bat before striking out in his final at bat. Not a bad day. There’s a lot of commotion in his hands pre-pitch. It’s a little unorthodox approach up top, but he doesn’t have much going on down low. He simply uses his quick bat and natural strength to send [...]



Minor League Ball Gameday: Friday, July 21st, 2017

2017-07-21T17:14:02-04:00

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Mariners (now Cardinals) prospect Tyler O’Neill, Astros prospect A.J. Reed, and White Sox prospects Michael Kopech and Jake Burger led Thursday’s minor league headlines. What will happen today?

Good afternoon everyone and welcome to the Minor League Ball Gameday discussion thread for Friday, July 21st, 2017. Let’s get to it.

****Today’s Minor League Scoreboard

****Today’s MLB scoreboard

****Yesterday’s Highlights can be found in the Thursday discussion thread.

COOL STUFF THAT HAPPENED YESTERDAY

****Seattle Mariners prospect Tyler O’Neill went 2-for-5 with a pair of home runs and five RBI for Triple-A Tacoma yesterday in Pacific Coast League action against Albuquerque. He’s hit .325 with five homers in his last 10 games and is up to .244/.328/.479, 19 homers, overall. As you know he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals this afternoon.

****Houston Astros first base prospect A.J. Reed went 2-or-5 with two homers and five RBI for Triple-A Fresno in their game against Las Vegas. He’s hitting .247/.336/.473, 19 homers, overall; virtually identical to O’Neill’s line.

****New York Mets prospect Dominic Smith went 1-for-3 with two walks and two runs scored for Las Vegas in the same game. He’s been extremely hot lately, hitting .390 over his last 10 contests.

****Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander Tyler Glasnow threw six innings for Triple-A Indianapolis against Gwinnett, giving up one run on four hits and five walks while fanning 11.

****Chicago White Sox pitching prospect Michael Kopech fired eight shutout innings for Double-A Birmingham, giving up for hits and zero walks, fanning eight. Meanwhile, fellow White Sox prospect and 2016 first-round pick Jake Burger went 5-for-5 with two runs scored for Low-A Kannapolis.




Mid-Season organization prospect list review index

2017-07-21T16:13:51-04:00

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Here’s a centralized index for our mid-season prospect list reviews

How did our pre-season organization prospect lists turn out? We check the lists every July to find out. Here’s what we have found for 2017; this index will be updated as each team review is complete.

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST
Atlanta Braves (reviewed 7/14/2017)
Miami Marlins
New York Mets
Philadelphia Phillies (reviewed 7/16/2017)
Washington Nationals

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST
Baltimore Orioles
Boston Red Sox
New York Yankees
Tampa Bay Rays
Toronto Blue Jays (reviewed 7/21/2017)

NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL
Chicago Cubs
Cincinnati Reds
Milwaukee Brewers
Pittsburgh Pirates (reviewed 7/20/2017)
St. Louis Cardinals

AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL
Chicago White Sox
Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals (reviewed 7/15/2017)
Minnesota Twins (reviewed 7/12/2017)

NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST
Arizona Diamondbacks (up next)
Colorado Rockies
Los Angeles Dodgers
San Diego Padres
San Francisco Giants

AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST
Houston Astros
Los Angeles Angels
Oakland Athletics (reviewed 7/18/2017)
Seattle Mariners
Texas Rangers




Toronto Blue Jays Top 20 prospects for 2017: Mid-season review

2017-07-21T16:09:44-04:00

Reviewing the pre-season Blue Jays prospect list We continue our mid-season organization reviews with a look at the Toronto Blue Jays Top 20 Prospects from the beginning of 2017. The index for other team reviews can be found here. This list was originally posted January 27th, 2017 1) Vladimir Guerrero Jr, 3B, Grade B+: Age 18, signed out of Dominican Republic in 2015 for $3,900,000, you may have heard of his father; hitting .312/.406/.460 between Low-A and High-A, 45 walks against just 40 strikeouts; has made good progress with his defense at third base; upside: his dad with better strike zone judgment and a hot corner glove. Certainly a Grade A prospect now. 2) Sean Reid-Foley, RHP, Grade B+: Age 21, second round pick in 2014 from high school in Florida; 4.74 ERA in 82 innings in Double-A, 73/37 K/BB, 81 hits; not a great transition to Double-A but he’s young and the ERA overstates things a bit; main problem has been gopher balls, change in ground ball/fly ball tendency. 3) Richard Urena, SS, Grade B+: Age 21, signed out of Dominican Republic in 2012; hitting .245/.290/.368 in Double-A, 24 walks, 70 strikeouts in 359 at-bats; steady with the glove and showing gap power with 26 doubles; given youth still has substantial potential. 4) Lourdes Gurriel, Jr, INF-OF, Grade B: Age 23, Cuban, signed for $22,000,000 in November; opened season on disabled list; back now but hitting just .231/.260/.330 in 91 at-bats between High-A and Double-A; sample size too small to be meaningful especially given circumstances; I still don’t really know what to think of him. Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images Anthony Alford 5) Anthony Alford, OF, Grade B: Age 23, third round pick in 2012, mashed Double-A (.325/.411/.455), promoted to majors and broke hamate after eight at-bats; now on rehab assignment in High-A; a really fun player to watch with tremendous athleticism and improving skills; will have to see if hamate injury saps his power temporarily. 6) Rowdy Tellez, 1B, Grade B: Age 22, 30th round pick in 2013; hit .297/.387/.530 with 23 homers, 63 walks, 92 strikeouts in 438 at-bats in Double-A in 2016; 2017 has been much weaker at .206/.279/.329 in 298 at-bats in Triple-A; detailed scouting reports will be illuminating; too soon to give up but it is fair to note that there have always been doubters. 7) Jon Harris, RHP, Grade B-/B: Age 23, first round pick in 2015 from Missouri State; having some problems with Double-A transition, 5.18 ERA in 99 innings with 73/33 K/BB, 118 hits; like SRF, Harris has given up a lot of homers this year; he’s pitched better recently and may be making necessary adjustments. 8) T.J. Zeuch, RHP, Grade B-: Age 22, first round pick in 2016 from University of Pittsburgh; 3.23 ERA in 53 innings in High-A, 42/14 K/BB, showing expected polish; went on disabled list with undisclosed injury June 5th. 9) Conner Greene, RHP, Grade B-/C+: Age 22, seventh round pick in 2013; another guy struggling with Double-A transition, 4.73 ERA in 93 innings with 66/56 K/BB, 91 hits; in his case gopher balls aren’t the problem but too many walks are. 10) Justin Maese, RHP, Grade B-/C+: Age 20, third round pick in 2015 from high school in Texas; 4.24 ERA in 64 innings in Low-A, 54/20 K/BB; went on disabled list in June with undisclosed injury but is now on rehab assignment; can hit 96 but still working on secondaries. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images Bo Bichette in the 2017 Futures Game 11) Bo Bichette, SS, Grade B-/C+: Age 19, second round pick in 2016, son of Dante Bichette; ridiculous season, hitting .385/.444/.606 between Low-A and High-A and was over .400 for much of the spring; 15 steals, 32 doubles, 11 homers; maybe he doesn’t stay at shortstop long-term but with the bat that doesn’t really matter; has blown every expectation out of the water. 12) Angel Perdomo, LHP, Grade C+/B-:[...]



St. Louis Cardinals snag Tyler O’Neill from Seattle Mariners for Marco Gonzales

2017-07-21T14:49:40-04:00

The Seattle Mariners continue to use prospects to barter, this time landing themselves a young starter for a Wild Card push. There has to be some sort of nickname for Jerry Dipoto by now. The Prospect Slinger? The Monty Hall of the prospect world continued his transformation of the Seattle Mariners by bringing in Marco Gonzales for Tyler O’Neill. Marco Gonzales, LHP Most people know the skinny on Gonzales by now. The now-25 year old left-hander was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the first round back in 2013 out of Gonzaga. By 2014 he was one of (if not the) top-ranked Cardinals prospect, and by the end of that season he was in the big leagues. Gonzales went 4-2 over 10 appearances (five starts) with a 4.15 ERA and a 1.53 WHIP, striking out 31 and walking 21 in 34.2 innings. The Cardinals hoped he would take the next step in 2015, but that’s when things kind of went off the tracks. His 2015 was shortened by shoulder soreness. John Sickels reported in his The Prospect Book 2016 that Gonzales’ already-low velocity on his fastball had dropped. His curveball also had lost its consistency and bite, and he struggled mightily, despite his change still being a weapon. He then lost his entire 2016 to Tommy John surgery. Gonzales looked back to form in the Pacific Coast League this season. He was 6-4 with a 2.78 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP. Gonzales struck out 64 in 74.1 innings with a much improved 2.24 walks-per-nine rate. Baseball America reports that his velocity is back up to the low-90s as well. He know heads to Seattle, somehow still with his rookie status in tact. The Mariners get a young, 25-year-old southpaw on the rebound under cost control through at least 2020. TYLER O’NEILL, OF O’Neill has always been one of the Mariners more exciting prospects, ever since he was their third-rounder in the 2013 MLB Draft. His quick right-handed swing broke out in the California League in 2015. That year, he slashed .260/.316/.558 with a career-best 32 home runs and 21 doubles, while swiping 16 of 21 stolen base attempts. Of course, O’Neill wouldn’t have been the first to breakout in the home run-happy Cal League. All eyes were on the now-22-year-old right-fielder as he headed to the more pitcher-friendly Southern League with the Jackson Generals. O’Neill didn’t disappoint. He was an All Star both in the Southern League and on Baseball America’s year-end list. O’Neill earned his first Future’s Game nod. Come the fall, he was named to the Arizona Fall League Rising Stars list. And in between, he was both the Southern League regular season and Championship Series MVP en route to the Generals 2016 CL Championship. O’Neill slashed .293/.374/.508 with 24 home runs, 26 doubles and 12 stolen bases. He remained very strikeout heavy (150 in 575 plate appearances) but finally countered that high-rate with a career-best walk rate of 10.8 percent. John Sickels named O’Neill the second best Mariners prospect heading into 2017. Here’s what he had to say: Age 21, third round pick in 2013 from high school in Canada; hit .293/.374/.508 with 24 homers, 62 walks, 12 steals, 150 whiffs in 492 at-bats in Double-A; 65 power, maybe even a 70, due to outstanding bat speed and strength; has improved reads on breaking balls but still strikes out a lot, threatening to impede batting average and OBP at higher levels; that said, if he can hit .250-.260 the power will be enough to play regularly and he’s shown ability to make adjustments; high school catcher has developed into an under-rated right fielder with a strong arm and more range than you’d expect; ETA late 2017. He got off to a slow start this year in the PCL and the naysayers quickly began their critiques. O’Neill quickly silenced them with an enormous July, slashing .317/.394/.730 blasting eight home runs. While he remains a free-swinger, his season walk rate has again[...]