Friday, April 9, 2010

Minor League Notes

Overall, all the starters pitched well: Holland, Beavan, Boscan,Wieland


AAA
Matt Treanor gets called up after Salty's latest medical issue. K-Rich might move up from AA but Frostad might be called upon to fill in instead. TX is said to like the idea of K-Rich working with the young AA staff but C-Grade is also well-respected in that role. My gut tells me that they painted the K-Rich to AA move to him as a promotion (as they did publicly) but in reality it was a move to keep Treanor at AAA.

Beltre was impressive in his 2 inning outing, keeping his pitches low in the zone and throwing quality strikes. His Slider was a wipeout pitch in this outing. I like him to make an appearance in the TX bullpen before Scheppers, Ogando, and Strop. Moreland had a tough night, pulling everything with 4 groundouts. He might have the highest GIDP rate in the entire system which suggest a couple of issues to me: bat speed that is a tic slow and a penchant for not getting the barrel on balls despite the fact he hits the ball "hard". Something to watch out for. You heard it here first: Moreland's OPS vs RHP in AA was .829 and I predict that this well go down in AAA.

Tracy, Smoak and Boggs had nice games as well.

Gentry was hit in the head by a pitch but appeared to be ok.


AA
The backup infielders appear to be better defensively than the starters: Osuna and Lawson vs Lemon and Guilder. Why Guilder is starting over Osuna is a mystery as Osuna is still a utility infielder prospect in my book. But then, I'm the only one who seems to like the kid. He had a terrific stint in the VZ winter league which is a tic above AAA in terms of level of difficulty. He should start at SS. Lemon had a rough night, 0-4 with 4 SO.

For those who think Lemon will rake based on his AFL stats, they can only do so by exaggerating the inherent SSS of the league in general and by ignoring the SSS that troubles their confidence: first 6 games there where he batted about .150 with about 12 so including an 0-5/5so day which got him sent to the bench for 5 days to work on his swing (after that he batted about .400 in the next 12 games - which SSS matters most?).

Whittleman has moved to first base which makes sense given how his new bulky profile with further limit his range at 3b. Greene replaced him at third but is not really a prospect there. Snyder and Phillips were very effective in their outings. I'm not a big Phillips guy (or Snyder) as his ceiling is a middle reliever. I don't think he stays on the 40 all season...


HighA
Stoneburner is the starting SS again this year and the pitchers will rue the day - as they did last year - that he is ranging (not too far though) through the middle infield: suspect range and hands. The org seems to have some attachment to Stoneburner that I don't quite get, having kept him in ML camp longer than necessary and getting him more JIC AB than seemed merited. Not a prospect (NAP). Kaase and James aren't great either but they are better and the pitchers in Bakersfield deserve a decent MIF in that hitters paradise.

Mendonca and Bolden raked for Bak both notching 2 doubles. If Bolden can figure out his hitting mechanics enough to address his complete and utter power outage since his debut, he will be (more) interesting to watch as his 1b/of defense is really good... It looks like Tim Murphy has been converted to the bullpen after an ugly, ugly 2009 season in the Bak rotation. Another failed 3rd rounder for TX following right after Evan Reed. There is the outside chance that Main and T-Murphy split start given that Main only pitched 65 innings last year and will probably be limited to about 100-110 innings but this is probably unlikely. Welcome to the pen T-Murph, may you regain your former velo, BB, and command.

Biannucci is on the DL with a groin issue.


LowA
Macumba is on the DL with some minor problem with Zaneski up from extended to take his place. Miguel Velazquez did not start in the opener for some reason. Ed Koncel started in his place. How is he still in the org? No clue. Bonnadonna is listed a 2b but he will actually be a super utility guy, playing 2b, SS and CF. He is blazing fast but can't hit.

In addition to his makeup issues and plate discipline problems, Christian Santana has also eaten himself out of his prospect status. When he signed he was said to be an impressive CF prospect, later converted to catcher and then to LF due to arm problems. Playing LF must be a bit of an adventure for him these days as he has gone from a 5-11 175 CF to a 6-0 225 pudgy LF. Ugly.

Here is my guess for the Hickory split start arrangements given that Matt Thompson followed Wieland after he was done:

Wieland/Thompson
Ross/Hurley
Font/Erlin
Tullis (himself)
NeRa/Bell

I love that staff, love it. Best in A ball for sure. In my revised system rankings, 7 of those guys are in my top 30: Ross (8), Bell(9), Doyle (10), Font (11), Erlin (24), Tullis (28), Wieland (29), Hurley (31), Thompson (36), NeRa (43). WOW!

How Andrew Doyle fits in remains to be seen. My take: retained in Hickory to work on his 4s which flashes plus (+94-96) over against his 2S which is still pretty good, works 89-91 with good movment. After the little project is over, with him being a late inning arm I would guess, he gets stretched out and sent to Bakersfield. If the org converts Doyle to the pen for good, someone should be fired, especially after much inferior pitchers started off in the roto only later to be demoted to the pen when they imploded -see Murphy, Reed. I really like Andrew Doyle: Ave to AA 2S, 4s flashes plus, AA slider plus potential, and a change that seems to be AA. Good command, pitchability, throws strikes, misses bats _and_ keeps the ball on the ground. Should move fast. If they move him to the pen for good, I'll simply have to resign my post.



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