Wednesday night is usually considered one of the slowest sports days of the year. With no other major sport in season and the MLB on All-Star break, most fans mourned in sadness and actually had to spend time with their families. However, there were two minor league All-Star games going on that night, the AAA All-Star game and the Eastern League AA All-Star game. Here are some notes on some of the players in the games.
Eastern League AA game
Brett Marshall of Trenton Thunder has a 81 MPH change with some good drop. His 90-91 MPH on a sinker with quite a bit of movement down. As one would expect with that kind of stuff, he doesn’t strikeout many hitters, just 14% in AA. He walks too many hitters for that strikeout rate, but his line drive is way below league average. His SIERA and FIP are below league average and he gives up too many homers and fly-balls for a sinker-baller. He is the youngest pitcher on the team and the righty probably has back of the rotation stuff if he can improve his K/BB ratio. Kelvim Perez is a very skinny righty with a good curveball and a 94 MPH fastball with movement.
I am not a huge fan of Jordan Lennerton’s swing. The Tigers’ left-handed hitter is a bit old for the league at 26 years old and isn’t overly impressive (but solid) with a .874 OPS. He really likes to swing, a pretty aggressive hitter. He matches this with some power and hit a homer in the game.
Robert Widlansky of the Orioles’ organization made a great diving play in left. He appears to be a patient hitter, with hard swing but has pretty good looking contact (he has walked more than he has struck out this year) skills. He may sacrifice some bat speed with his swing, and it has some uppercut. The former 11th round pick is another guy who is old for the level.
Chris Heston of the Giants’ organization is a RHP with a slow slider. He had problems controlling it and it would stay up at times. The 24 year old has a moving fastball that tails down and away from right handed batters. He doesn’t really throw hard at all but he has a 2.37 FIP with a decent ground-ball rate (one complaint would be that he gives up too many line drives). Tommy Joseph in the Giants organization has a great arm by the plate. His offensive numbers aren’t good in AA, but he isn’t striking out a ton (he is hitting too many ground-balls at this level).
Mike McDade is huge switch hitter that is repeating AA at age 23. It looks like pitchers want to throw it in on him, which makes sense with his stance. The question will be whether or not he has good enough bat speed (and enough power). The swing does look rather compact. The 1st baseman chased a breaking ball way off the plate, and then did it again, but fouled it off the 2nd time. His numbers have improved this year, but aren’t very impressive for a guy whose prospect status will depend on his bat.
Leandro Castro, a small outfielder in the Phillies’ organization out of the Dominican Republic, will chase the breaking ball and that is basically all he saw because of it. He is definitely a speed, slash, and scrap player. He does have 6 homers, but just 8 walks and 7 caught stealings (with 9 steals). He wants to pull the ball, and has a very unpolished approach at the plate. Darin Ruf is a 1st Baseman with good numbers, but was blown away by the fastball and just had general bat speed problems. He hit a breaking ball that hung really hard. Sebastian Valle is really lanky for a catcher. The undrafted free agent has a pretty decent looking swing and can hit balls hard that are out of the zone. However, his numbers this year are terrible.
Thomas Neal of the Cleveland Indians organization took some close pitches for a walk and stole a base. He has pretty good looking speed to go along with his size. The former 36th round pick isn’t old for the level and has good numbers. Steven Wright of the Indians’ organization has a harder knuckleball at about 80 MPH that moves to the right, has big drop and good break. He can also throw the fastball at about 90 MPH. He walks a lot of hitters, and doesn’t have a lot of strikeouts with a lot of line drives. He looked really dominant when I saw him though.
Aaron Loup is a lefty sidearmer that was promoted to the Majors after the game. He was hitting 93 MPH and made righties look bad as well (his walk rate is the same against both, but everything else is much worse against righties). His pitches have some good movement, and the breaking ball gives him good speed differential and can throw it for strikes. It looks like he will get plenty of grounders and has a pretty good strikeout to walk rate. It will be interesting to see what Loup does with the Blue Jays as mainly a LOOGY. Ryan Goins of the Blue Jays is a good looking defensive shortstop with good range and a very strong arm. Offensively, he has good looking bat speed on fastballs but has yet to turn that into good statistics in the minors. He makes contact and doesn’t strikeout a ton, so perhaps he can show off enough offense to eventually make the big leagues.
Aaron Kurcz was part of the Theo Epstien compensation. The lanky righty throws a 92-96 MPH fastball that isn’t flat with a decent curveball that doesn’t loop a ton. He can throw it for strikes and was one of the more dominant pitchers in the game. He has a 2.93 FIP and 2.66 SIERA on the season.
Chris Rahl for Harrisburg Senators won home run derby on the night before. During the game, he was not real patient, chasing breaking balls. He also had some contact issues. His numbers reflect this with a terrible K/BB ratio and non-excellent power numbers. He looks good defensively and has a strong arm but was inaccurate on his throw.
Brock Holt for the Altoona Curve (Pirates) is a good looking runner (but isn’t very polished with more caught stealings than steals). Defensively, he isn’t a great looking shortstop. Offensively, he has a good K/BB ratio with decent overall numbers. Victor Black of the Pirates is throwing 96 MPH on his fastball but was all over the place. He has a great strikeout ratio, but walks too many batters.
Armando Rodriguez of the AA Mets has 50 strikeouts and 11 walks this year, a nice ratio. He has a good looking fastball that gets him whiffs. Rodriguez also has a pretty good slider to go along with it.
Buck Britton, a little old for the level, is a left handed hitter and a brother of Orioles’ pitcher Zach. He is a big guy with not the greatest swing, and was getting jammed. He has a great line drive rate with a good K/BB ratio despite a mediocre OPS.
Eury Perez had a really poor day at the plate, with just not a good approach. He made a great play defensively though, showing off range and arm. The Nationals’ prospect is really young and has a respectable OBP despite a terrible SLG.
Jordan Whatcott is a righty for Phillies at 92 MPH. He hides it reasonably well but doesn’t have a lot of strikeouts. His FIP and SIERA aren’t very good either.
Pedro Viola was promoted to AAA after the game. The Orioles’ minor league has a plus lefty fastball that he throws up above the zone. He is somewhat of a minor league veteran, and is old for the level, but has been dominant this season.
The PCL versus IL AAA All-Star Game:
Adeiny Hechavarria is a prospect for the Blue Jays. He is a good defensive shortstop, but scouts have major questions about his bat. So I decided to catalog his at-bats:
1. Facing Matt Harvey: He fouled back a moving fastball inside. What looked like a moving fastball down was hit weakly to 2nd for a ground-out.
2. Facing Zach Duke, who looked terrible: He took a curveball at the bottom of the zone for strike 1. Then a fastball down the middle was fouled back. He chased a breaking ball and fouled it off. Duke’s sinker just missed outside, and Adeiny took it. After taking a breaking ball in the dirt, a sinker down shattered his bat for another weak ground-out.
3. Facing Miguel Socolovich: Adeiny quickly chased a breaking ball in the dirt. A fastball on the outside corner was taken for strike 2, and he then took a breaking ball just off the plate. A fastball in and low in the zone was hit for a really weak fly-out to the right.
4. Facing Juan Cedeno: Hechavarria took a breaking ball in the zone to fall behind 0-1. He took one in the dirt and then hit a low 89 MPH fastball weakly to 2nd.
Ernesto Mejia of the Braves AAA is a right handed 1st baseman with a bad looking swing. He is susceptible to the breaking ball but has put up some pretty good numbers in the minors.
Pedro Florimon is a lefty hitter in the Orioles organization. Patience is probably not his best virtue but he took a couple strikes in the zone for a strikeout. Florimon nas a good contact tool though and had a really long at-bat. The 25 year old was signed out of the Dominican Republic and played in 4 games for the Orioles last year.
Matt Laporta of the Cleveland Indians, a failed prospect, was fooled badly on a change down the middle, swinging through it. He worked a full count and fouled off a pitch on the outside corner (really came out of his swing, it still isn’t good in that department) and worked a walk in his 2nd at-bat. In his 3rd, he worked a long count but weakly flied out on a breaking ball.
Cord Phelps for Columbus looks good at 2nd base. I wasn’t a huge fan of his swing or his at-bats, but he makes good contact. He played in 35 games for the Indians last year and was terrible at the plate.
Rudy Owens is a lefty with a changeup in the Pirates organization. He doesn’t throw real hard, but keeps the ball low. Despite not giving up a lot of line drives, his ground-ball rate isn’t that good and he gives up too many homers.
Miguel Socolovich is a righty for the Norfolk Tides. He has good movement on his breaking ball and throws pretty hard. He has gotten a lot of strikeouts this year with hardly any walks. At this point, I don’t know why he is not in the big leagues.
Juan Cedeno for the Yankees is a veteran lefty with am 88 MPH fastball and 78-82 MPH change. The change has some good movement but inconsistent locations. It is hard to get excited about someone who throws that soft, especially a reliever, even though he is a lefty.