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



Updated: 2017-06-22T20:49:39-04:00

 



MLB Rookie Profile: Mark Zagunis, OF, Chicago Cubs

2017-06-22T20:49:39-04:00

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Cubs promote rookie outfielder to replace struggling Kyle Schwarber.

On Thursday afternoon the Chicago Cubs optioned struggling outfielder Kyle Schwarber to Triple-A Iowa. Replacing him on the roster is outfielder Mark Zagunis; here’s a quick take on the newest Cub.

Mark Zagunis was a three-year starter for Virginia Tech, hitting .338/.430/.495 from 2012 through 2014. He was a catcher/outfielder in college but his hitting was ahead of his defense and scouts weren’t sure where he’d fit defensively in pro ball.

Drafted in the third round in 2014, he began as a catcher in the ‘14 Northwest League but shifted to the outfield full-time in 2015. He’s been a steady performer with a high on-base percentage moving up, hitting .271/.406/.412 in A-ball in 2015 and .288/.384/.469 in Double-A and Triple-A last year.

Zagunis was rated as seventh on the Chicago Cubs Top 20 prospects for 2017 list, with a Grade B- and the following commentary:

7) Mark Zagunis, OF, Grade B-: Age 23, third round pick from Virginia Tech in 2014; hit .288/.384/.469 with 10 homers, 52 walks, 78 strikeouts in 358 at-bats between Double-A and Triple-A; excellent strike zone judgment and power improved in ’16; average defensive tools; the bat is the key attraction here; may wind up as trade bait. ETA: 2017.

He hit .249/.399/.474 for Triple-A Iowa before his promotion today, already setting a career-high with 11 homers. He posted 48 walks against 60 strikeouts in 213 at-bats.

Zagunis is listed at 6-0, 205, a right-handed hitter and thrower born February 5, 1993. His best physical tool is probably his throwing arm, as befitting a former catcher, but his outfield speed and range are only adequate and he’s limited to a corner spot.

That’s OK if he hits enough and Zagunis has always stood out for exceptional plate discipline and high on-base percentages. He is generally an all-field hitter although he’s shown a greater tendency to pull for additional power over the last year. His strikeout rate has risen a tad, but so has his isolated power and his overall production has remained solid (wRC+123 last year, 132 this year).

Zagunis has a window to impress while Schwarber regains his footing in Iowa. Here’s some of the power the Cubs hope he can tap.

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2017 Minor League Ball MLB prospect index

2017-06-22T12:38:00-04:00

A centralized index for 2017 MLB prospect reports and content from Minor League Ball. This will be updated as the season progresses. Top 205 MLB Prospects for 2017Index of Top 20 reports per teamPre-Season Farm System Rankings Individual Reports for HITTERS Lane Adams, OF, Atlanta Braves (4/26/2017)Jesus Aguilar, 1B, Milwaukee Brewers (4/10/2017)Anthony Alford, OF, Toronto Blue Jays (5/19/2017)Albert Almora, OF, Chicago Cubs (4/6/2017)Christian Arroyo, INF, San Francisco Giants (4/25/2017)Carlos Asuaje, INF, San Diego Padres (5/24/2017) Austin Barnes, C-INF, Los Angeles Dodgers (4/5/2017)Franklin Barreto, INF, Oakland Athletics (5/27/2017)Rafael Bautista, OF, Washington Nationals (5/1/2017)Matt Beaty, 1B, Los Angeles Dodgers (6/16/2017 INTERVIEW)Cody Bellinger, 1B-OF, Los Angeles Dodgers (4/25/2017)Andrew Benintendi, OF, Boston Red Sox (4/5/2017)Greg Bird, 1B, New York Yankees (3/3/2017)Jorge Bonifacio, OF, Kansas City Royals (4/21/2017)Chris Bostick, INF, Pittsburgh Pirates (5/10/2017)Lewis Brinson, OF, Milwaukee Brewers (6/12/2017)Jeimer Candelario, 3B, Chicago Cubs (5/10/2017)Johan Camargo, INF, Atlanta Braves (6/21/2017)Matt Chapman, 3B, Oakland Athletics (6/20/2017)Franchy Cordero, OF, San Diego Padres (6/1/2017)Allen Cordoba, INF-OF, San Diego Padres (4/3/2017)Dylan Cozens, OF, Philadelphia Phillies (3/2/2017)Brett Cumberland, C, Atlanta Braves (6/15/2017) Matt Davidson, 3B, Chicago White Sox (4/13/2017)Paul DeJong, INF, St. Louis Cardinals (5/30/2017)Elias Diaz, C, Pittsburgh Pirates (5/2/2017)Yandy Diaz, INF, Cleveland Indians (2/22/2017)  (Update 3/27/2018)Chris DeVito, 1B, Kansas City Royals (5/1/2017) Adam Engel, OF, Chicago White Sox (5/27/2017)Sandro Fabian, OF, San Francisco Giants (5/12/2017)Derek Fisher, OF, Houston Astros (6/20/2017)Nolan Fontana, INF, Los Angeles Angels (5/23/2017)Ti'Quan Forbes, 3B, Texas Rangers (6/5/2017) Willy Garcia, OF, Chicago White Sox (5/3/2017)Erik Gonzalez, INF-OF, Cleveland Indians (5/14/2017)Brian Goodwin, OF, Washington Nationals (5/9/2017) Ian Happ, OF, Chicago Cubs (5/13/2017) (More scouting details 5/13/2017)Mitch Haniger, OF, Seattle Mariners (3/28/2017)Alen Hanson, INF-OF, Pittsburgh Pirates (4/11/2017)Kyle Higashioka, C, New York Yankees (4/9/2017)Marco Hernandez, INF, Boston Red Sox (4/12/2017)Teoscar Hernandez, OF, Houston Astros (4/26/2017)John Hicks, C, Detroit Tigers (4/24/2017)Rhys Hoskins, 1B, Philadelphia Phillies (4/17/2017)Jared Hoying, OF, Texas Rangers (5/17/2017) JaCoby Jones, INF-OF, Detroit Tigers (4/10/2017)Aaron Judge, OF, New York Yankees (3/30/2017) (5/12/2017) Scott Kingery, 2B, Philadelphia Phillies (6/3/2017)Patrick Kivlehan, OF, Cincinnati Reds (4/13/2017)Andrew Knapp, C, Philadelphia Phillies (4/6/2017) Ramon Laureano, OF, Houston Astros (2/18/2017)Khalil Lee, OF, Kansas City Royals (4/27/2017) Manuel Margot, OF, San Diego Padres (4/7/2017)Bruce Maxwell, C, Oakland Athletics (5/5/2017)Jacob May, OF, Chicago White Sox (3/29/2017)Trey Mancini, 1B-OF, Baltimore Orioles (4/4/2017)Billy McKinney, OF, New York Yankees (interview 5/6/2017)Ian Miller, OF, Seattle Mariners (interview 5/6/2017)Max Moroff, INF, Pittsburgh Pirates (5/10/2017) Gift Ngoepe, INF, Pittsburgh Pirates (4/27/2017) Peter O'Brien, 1B, Kansas City Royals (3/2/2017)Mike Ohlman, C, Toronto Blue Jays (5/10/2017)Matt Olson, 1B-OF, Oakland Athletics (4/22/2017)Jose Osuna, 1B-OF, Pittsburgh Pirates (4/19/2017)Brett Phillips, OF, Milwaukee Brewers (6/6/2017)Boog Powell, OF, Seattle Mariners (5/2/2017) A.J. Reed, 1B, Houston Astros (3/13/2017)Hunter Renfroe, OF, San Diego Padres (4/10/2017)J.T. Riddle, INF, Miami Marlins (5/9/2017)Edwin Rios, 3B-1B, Los Angeles Dodgers (4/30/2017)T.J. Rivera, INF, New York Mets (4/8/2017)Daniel Robertson, SS, Tampa Bay Rays (4/6/2017)Drew Robinson, INF-OF, Texas Rangers (4/13/2017)Rio Ruiz, 3B, Atlanta Braves (5/7/2017) (5/18/2017) Chris Shaw, 1B, San Francisco Giants (6/2/2017)Magneuris Sierra, OF, St. Louis Cardinals (5/7/2017)Chance Sisco, C, Baltimore Orioles (2/25/2017)Austin Slater, OF, San Francisco Gian[...]



Minor League Ball Gameday, Thursday, June 22nd, 2017

2017-06-22T12:22:49-04:00

Jose Berrios continues his roll, and more on the FaBIO pitcher statistics system Good afternoon everyone and welcome to the Minor League Ball Gameday discussion thread for Thursday, June 22nd, 2017. Let’s get started. ****Today’s Minor League Scoreboard ****Today’s MLB scoreboard ****Yesterday’s Highlights can be found in the Wednesday discussion thread. COOL THINGS THAT HAPPENED ON WEDNESDAY ****Minnesota Twins right-hander Jose Berrios had another strong outing, eight innings against the Chicago White Sox with four hits and one walk leading to two runs, fanning eight. He now has a 2.67 ERA, 7-1 record in eight starts with a 53/15 K/BB and just 34 hits allowed. ****Another cool thing that happened yesterday: Minor League Ball community member reillocity posted more of his amazing FaBIO batted-ball data in the comments thread, along with an explanation of what to look for in his numbers. I’m reproducing the explanation here, and will come up with some sort of permanent direct reference post soon. You can find his NCAA Division I pitching report here. Here’s his explanation: The out-generation skills, which amounts to how K ability and batted ball profile combine/coalesce, are the most important thing to watch. That’s 75% to 80% of pitching based on reverse engineering the system. K ability is most likely to spike from nowhere in the case of the professionally inexperienced (more so than just young, per se) international free agent from Latin America as they learn and master a new offspeed pitch. Whether there is potential to improve at the K stands to do more with the amount of organized experience a pitcher has logged than their age, and while there are occasional spurts where a prospect’s offspeed usage is restricted to put emphasis on fastball command that generally doesn’t go on for than a couple months at a time. In the realm of batted ball profile look for the moderate OFFBer (as opposed to the extreme OFFBer, who invariably profiles more as a power reliever than starter and still more so if a RHP) who also gets a healthy dose of IFFB as that’s a sign that they can ride a 4-seamer up well for easy outs; ideally their OFFB contact is also late (they avoid pulled OFFB better than OFFB in general) as that’s the indicator of higher effective fastball velocity and not being overly reliant on tricking batters with a change-of-pace offering; over multiple seasons to larger samples they should at least be average at LD avoidance else there stands to be some negative quality about the overall (esp. horizontal) movement profile on their 4-seamer. Some of the same applies with GBers, where the IFFB rate should naturally be low but not so low to suggest that there is almost zero horizontal movement on their two-seamer/sinker and the LD avoidance should roughly be in the same percentile as the GB generation else that would be another sign as to a lack of horizontal movement and they’d be more susceptible to LD singles than your more typical GBer; they too should be at least average and hopefully better at avoiding pulls on their rarer OFFB allowed. For the pitcher who seems neither a GBer/OFFBer, apply similar logic to the assessment and look for absence of flaws in the batted ball profile just as much as for the presence of strengths. Altogether, look at the K and batted ball profile ratings in concert and assess whether that combo looks solid enough to generate outs against more advanced batters. The poorer the control, the lower the tolerance should be for deficiencies in one or more of those realms. The better the control, the higher the tolerance should be for deficiencies in one or more of those realms. Likewise in terms of how much organized experience the pitcher has amassed to date, cutting the inexperienced more slack. In the case of the larger sample of pitchers who don’t appear to have a clear-cut overwhelming strength at present, lean in the direction of the ones who also don’t app[...]



MLB Rookie Profile: John Brebbia, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals

2017-06-22T12:01:05-04:00

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A former 30th round pick and independent ball alum, John Brebbia has performed well with the Cardinals.

Catching up with our series of prospect and rookie profiles, we turn our attention to John Brebbia, rookie relief pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals. Brebbia came up on May 27th and has held down a bullpen role ever since. Let’s take a look.

Brebbia was originally drafted by the New York Yankees in the 30th round in 2011 from Elon University. He was a solid enough reliever at the lower levels, posting a 2.96 ERA in 52 A-ball innings in 2012, but was less effective in Low-A and High-A in 2013 (4.06 in 69 innings). He wasn’t bad, but got caught in the numbers game and was released at the end of the season.

He hooked up with Sioux Falls in the independent American Association for 2014 and performed well (3.31 in 65 innings). His 2015 season for independent Laredo was even better (0.98 in 64 innings, 19 saves), which led to a free agent contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks that September.

He never threw a pitch in the Arizona system, being claimed by the Cardinals in the minor league portion of the 2015 Rule 5 draft. He was mediocre in Double-A and Triple-A last year (combined 5.03 ERA in 68 innings, with an unattractive 82 hits allowed) but kept his job.

His performance in 2017 with Triple-A Memphis was excellent: 1.69 ERA in 27 innings, 29/5 K/BB, leading to his promotion to the majors. So far he’s been solid out of the Cards pen, with a 3.00 ERA in 12 innings and a 7/2 K/BB.

Listed at 6-1, 185, born May 30th, 1990, Brebbia relies on a four-seam fastball in the 89-96 range, averaging 94, along with a two-seam sinker in the 88-93 range. He will mix in a low-to-mid-80s slider, the occasional softer curve, and a rare change-up.

This is a typical middle relief profile and Brebbia can fill that role as long as his command holds up. It’s always a treat to see “never give up” guys like this perform well.

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MLB Rookie Profile: Austin Maddox, RHP, Boston Red Sox

2017-06-22T09:35:01-04:00

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A quick look at Boston Red Sox relief prospect Austin Maddox

Moving forward with our series of MLB rookie and prospect profiles, we turn our attention to Austin Maddox of the Boston Red Sox system. If you blinked you may have missed him: he was promoted to the major leagues on June 15th, pitched out of the bullpen on the 17th and 19th, with two shutout innings, and was sent back to the minors on the 20th. He’s likely to be back at some point so here’s a quick take.

The Red Sox drafted Maddox in the third round in 2012 from the University of Florida. He was a two-way guy in college, hitting .303/.345/.461 over three seasons with 23 homers in 573 at-bats, but the Sox preferred him on the mound, where he’d posted a 1.87 ERA in 82 college innings.

He struggled at first as a pitcher, with a combined 5.75 ERA in 2013 and 2014. He threw only 27 innings in 2015 but was more effective, with a 3.71 ERA and a 22/5 K/BB, then followed up with a 3.59 ERA in 68 innings in 2016, finishing the season in Triple-A. He was even better this year, with a 1.33 ERA in 27 innings between Double-A and Triple-A.

Maddox is listed at 6-2, 220, a right-handed hitter and thrower born May 13th, 1991. In college he threw 92-96 MPH, but for most of his pro career Maddox has been reported with a fastball about 90-93, a mediocre slider, and a decent change-up.

In his first two MLB games he exceeded those pro velocity reports, featuring a fastball in the 93-96 range along with the change-up in the mid-80s, which is a lot more like his college self. His breaking ball and overall command remain erratic but extra oomph on the fastball improves his margin for error.

If he keeps his command in gear, Maddox can be a solid middle reliever.

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Philadelphia Phillies: The curious case of Mark Appel

2017-06-22T08:05:01-04:00

It’s been a tough season for Mark Appel in Triple-A, but the former number one pick might be starting to figure it out. This year, the Philadelphia Phillies have been hit hard with injuries to their pitching staff at the big league level. So far this season, they have had eight different pitchers get a start, including Ben Lively and Nick Pivetta, who made their big league debuts this year. Of course, there’s one big name at Triple-A Lehigh Valley that hasn’t made his major league debut yet. That is right-handed pitcher Mark Appel. Appel, who was the number one pick by the Houston Astros in 2013, has had a rough season for the IronPigs. In 14 starts, the 25-year-old is 5-3 with an ERA of 5.05 ERA. It’s been a tough road for Appel ever since he was drafted. Last season, he only made eight starts due to a shoulder strain and he eventually needed surgery to remove a bone spur from his right elbow. When Philadelphia acquired him from the Houston Astros in December 2015 in the Ken Giles trade, it looked like he would be the star prospect from that deal. Instead, Vince Velasquez has made 34 starts in 2 seasons in the big leagues and Tom Eshelman has a 1.68 ERA in eight starts with the Ironpigs. Before the 2016 season, John had Appel ranked as the number seven prospect in the Phillies organization. Fast forward to this season and he was ranked outside of the top 20. It was a rough start to the season for the right-hander. In April, teams were hitting .300 against Appel and he went no further than five innings in a game. One month later, he had more walks than strikeouts (18 to 17) and gave up 13 runs in a span of two starts (May 18-May 24). Appel appears to have turned the corner in the month of June. In his last four starts, he has a 2.08 ERA and he was excellent on Monday against Pawtucket. He went 8.1 innings, gave up five hits, struck out eight, and walked three on 119 pitches (79 strikes). In fact, he has thrown over 107 pitches in each of his last three starts. Here is what he told Michael Avallone of MILB.com about what he’s learned this year: "I've been able to learn how to bounce back and not take things so hard if I have a bad outing. I'm working on things between starts and getting good input and help from those around me." When you watch Appel pitch, he has a fastball that gets up to 95 miles-per-hour, a slider, a changeup, and a soft curveball The key for him has to be to get ahead with his fastball so he can utilize his breaking pitches. The eight strikeouts he had on Monday were the most he has had in a game since he was at Triple-A Fresno in August 2015. Here’s one of the strikeouts he had in the shutout against the Red Sox Triple-A affiliate in a pouring rain: src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Cm41hVK8XYY?rel=0&controls=2" style="border: 0; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;" allowfullscreen="" scrolling="no"> Since Appel doesn’t strike out many hitters, he relies a lot on soft contact. In Monday’s game, Pawtucket hit the ball hard, but Lehigh Valley had good defensive positioning with their middle infielders, which led to 13 groundball outs. Despite his struggles, Appel is still one of 11 pitchers to throw 70+ innings in the International League this year. His big problem is the walks. His 41 walks are second in the IL behind Pawtucket’s Henry Owens (52). If he is going to rely on hitters making contact, that walk rate has to be lower (5.2 walks per nine is ninth in the IL according to Baseball Reference) If Appel can keep up the success he’s had this month the rest of the way, he may get a chance to make that debut in September for the Phillies since he’s on the 40-man roster. Overall, Appel hasn’t lived up to expectations of being a number one pick, but perhaps he is starting to figure it out now that he’s healthy. [...]



Minor League Ball Gameday, Wednesday, June 20th, 2017

2017-06-21T15:34:37-04:00

Rockies prospect Brendan Rodgers moves up, Marlins prospect Braxton Garrett goes down, while Dodgers rookie Cody Bellinger hits another out. Good afternoon everyone and welcome to the Minor League Ball Gameday discussion thread for Wednesday, June 21st, 2017. Let’s get started. ****Today’s Minor League Scoreboard ****Today’s MLB scoreboard ****Yesterday’s Highlights can be found in the Tuesday discussion thread. COOL THINGS THAT HAPPENED TUESDAY ****Cody Bellinger hit another home run for the Dodgers. That’s 10 homers in his last 10 games and 22 in his first 50 major league contests. Does anyone remember a couple of years ago when it wasn’t exactly clear how much long-term home run power he would have? Geez. ****Colorado Rockies prospect Brendan Rodgers has reportedly been promoted to Double-A. He was hitting .400/.419/.700 for Lancaster in the High-A California League, which is ridiculously good, especially when paired with a poor 6/31 BB/K ratio. Obviously his aggressive approach was completely irrelevant in the Cal League. Will that be true in the Eastern League? Stay tuned. ****St. Louis Cardinals prospect Randy Arozarena went 2-for-4 for Palm Beach in the Florida State League, raising his line to .271/.30/.475. That’s really good for the pro-pitching FSL, good for a 129 wRC+. ****In case you are wondering, Brendan Rodgers has a 203 wRc+. ****Miami Marlins 2016 first round pick Braxton Garrett is out with Tommy John surgery. ****The short-season New York-Penn League has started play and one pitcher to watch is Detroit Tigers 2016 first-round pick Matt Manning, who fanned nine in 4.1 innings in his first start yesterday. He gave up three hits and one walk. ****Texas Rangers prospect Yohander Mendez threw seven shutout innings for Double-A Frisco in Texas League action, shutting down Midland on three hits and no walks while fanning seven. He now has a 3.48 ERA on the season in 14 starts with a 71/30 K/BB in 88 innings, allowing only 64 hits. [...]



MLB Rookie Profile: Andrew Moore, RHP, Seattle Mariners

2017-06-21T15:30:17-04:00

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Strike-throwing Andrew Moore arrives in the majors with the Seattle Mariners

This afternoon the Seattle Mariners promoted pitching prospect Andrew Moore to the major league roster. Here’s a quick take.

Andrew Moore was an extremely successful starting pitcher for Oregon State University, posting a 27-9 record over 48 starts and three relief outings in 2013, 2014, and 2015, with an excellent 251/75 K/BB in 348 innings. Despite his success some scouts were lukewarm due to a marginal fastball and rated him as something like a sixth round pick. The Mariners disagreed and drafted him in the second compensation round in ‘15.

He’s continued mowing down pro hitters, with a 2.65 ERA in 163 innings last year between High-A and Double-A. Moore ranked eighth on the pre-season Seattle Mariners Top 20 Prospects for 2017 list with the following comment:

8) Andrew Moore, RHP, Grade B-: Age 22, compensation round pick in 2015 from Oregon State; posted 2.65 ERA with 133/31 K/BB in 163 innings between High-A and Double-A, 148 hits; fastball peaks at 93 and is usually right at 91; however it plays up due to his command; mixes in curve, slider, change-up; none of his pitches individually grade more than average but his pitching instincts are exceptional; on paper a future number four starter, but don’t under-estimate him. ETA 2018.

The ETA has been moved up obviously, thanks to continued excellent pitching: a 2.72 ERA in 83 innings this year between Double-A and Triple-A with a combined 77/17 K/BB and just 66 hits allowed. He has a 44/8 K/BB in 48 innings since moving up to Tacoma.

Moore is listed at 6-0, 185, born January 2nd, 1994. The scouting report hasn’t changed much since college: he tops out at 93 and works at 90-91. The fastball plays up however due to his large arsenal of secondary pitches (Brooks Baseball credits him with a slider, curve, change-up, and splitter), pinpoint command, and “I’m not scared of you” mound presence.

Kate Preusser and John Trupin at Looking Landing have a detailed breakdown of Moore’s arsenal, complete with video, focusing in particular on his change-up.

Hot fastball or not, Moore gets people out. He’ll need to be especially sharp against major league hitters, but so far he hasn’t found a level that he can’t master. It is easy to write guys like this off as “just” fourth starters, but Moore could very well exceed those expectations.

Don’t underestimate him.

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