Key player notes from AA’s Eastern, Southern, and Texas Leagues. The latest on phenoms like Domonic Brown, Simon Castro, and many more. Who’s moving on up and who’s failing to distinguish themselves?


Domonic Brown, OF, Philadelphia AA .313, 10 HR 37 RBI  

The 6′ 5″ phenom has all the tools. In his first full season of Eastern League ball, Brown is making mince meat of opposing pitching. His power stroke continues to develop, with 27 XBH and a .562 SLG percentage. He’s shown his patience and plate discipline drawing 25 BB in 201 plate appearances. He stole 23 bases between A & AA in 2009, and has swiped 10 bags in 15 attempts in 2010. Left handed pitching has not altered his approach, as he’s hitting them to the tune of .314 in 51 AB. On almost any other team, especially one with question marks in the outfield, he’d already be in The Show, but don’t count on the Phills replacing Raul Ibanez any time soon.

Dee Gordon, SS, L.A. Dodgers AA .283, 2 HR, 18 RBI  

Speed, speed, and more speed. After stealing 73 bases in the Midwest League (A) last season, Gordon hasn’t lost stride in ’10. He’s already notched 25 SB in 58 games, but has been caught 10 times. On the downside, he’s not drawing enough walks for a lead-off man, just 12 (.329 OBP). With his wheels, any BB can turn into a triple. Weighing in at only 150 pounds, there’s not much pop there yet, but he has knocked in seven runs in his last 10 games. Gordon, a lefty hitter, is batting just .185 in 81 at bats against LHP. Overall, he’s slowed down considerably since a .345 April.

Brett Lawrie, 2B, Milwaukee AA .285, 5 HR, 32 RBI  

The 16th pick in 2008 has been a gap hitting machine. In addition to his five jacks, Lawrie has 15 doubles and nine triples. He had 18 doubles and six triples in all of 2009 (424 AB). He’s raising his level as the summer heats up, hitting .362 in June with 17 knocks in his last ten games. In 66 at bats with RISP, he’s hitting .333. If his triples total is any indication, he likes to run12 stolen bases as well. Lawrie’s 16:49 BB to K ratio against RHP, however,  is worrisome.

Josh Vitters, 3B, Chicago Cubs AA .229, 1 HR, 10 RBI  

The promotion to AA has not been particularly kind to 2007’s third overall selection. Vitters hit .291 in 110 AB in the Florida State League, but has hit a meager .229 in 96 AB in the Southern League. He’s drawn three walks and is slugging .302. Patience has been a major obstacle for Vitters, failing to crack the 13 walk plateau in his first three minor league seasons. Looking at it from that perspective, his combined BB total of 11 walks this year is actually encouraging. Seven of his 22 hits at AA have come with RISP (.304).

Dustin Ackley, OF, Seattle AA .251, 1 HR, 19 RBI  

Ackley’s stat line may not blow your socks off, but after hitting .147 during April in his first month of pro ball, his numbers are on the incline. He hit .303 in May and .344 in the first half of June. His eye at the plate has been remarkable, drawing 43 walks —nearly matching his 49 hits. So despite his struggles, he has not lost the plot or pressed the issue. Ackley will make an ideal number two hitter, but don’t expect big HR totals. 13 of his hits are doubles, using both gaps to his advantage.

Mike Moustakas, 3B, Kansas City AA .339, 14 HR, 54 RBI  

Moustakas has been a dynamic run producer in the Texas League. He’s averaging 1.2 RBI per game, thanks in large part to a .429 BA with RISP (24 hits in 56 AB). Eleven of his 14 jacks have come with runners on base. His freakish numbers don’t end there. He has a .416 OBP and .678 SLG. Yes, that’s a 1.094 OPS. After a .393 May, he’s at a pedestrian .250 in June. Still, in 12 June games he’s brought in 13 runs. Despite his relative domination, Moustakas will not see major league action in 2010.

Logan Forsythe, 3B, San Diego AA .274, 1 HR, 12 RBI  

Another BB machine. In 28 games and 95 plate appearances, Forsythe has walked 24 times. Much like Ackley, his BB total almost matches his hit total of 26. This is not foreign territory for Forsythe, who drew 102 walks between A & AA in ’09. He missed almost the entire month of May with a broken hand, and is still working to get his stroke back. Forsythe is a definite call up option for the Padres, who could sorely use his polished bat.

Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B, Cleveland AA Line .292, 5 HR, 23 RBI  

After hitting 22 HR with 92 RBI in combined action last season, Chisenhall has found his power stroke in ’10. He hit just a single homer with 9 RBI in his first 126 AB, but has quickly jacked four homers and knocked in 14 in 42 June at bats. His double total of three is weak.



Tim Alderson, SP, Pittsburgh AA 5-2, 4.29 ERA, 40 K  

The 6′ 6″ right hander’s performance was underwhelming in 2009, and the same can be said thus far in 2010. He closed ’09 with a 10-3 mark, but allowed 146 hits in 137 1/3 innings, and struck out only 84. In 65 innings in ’10, he’s given up 73 hits and has struck out 40. His GO/AO ratio is an improved 1.43, but opposing batters are seeing him too well, hitting .292. His last four starts have been extremely sharp: 25 innings, 20 hits and four ER. The buccos just called up Brad Lincoln, so maybe they’ll opt for a full bore youth movement. Alderson is just 21, however, and likely needs more seasoning.

Kyle Gibson, SP, Minnesota AA 3-2, 3.65 ERA, 31 K  

The former Missouri Tiger was absolutely rolling and appeared on the fast track to the bigs. Gibson was 3-0 in May with a 1.37 ERA, and getting a sick 3.23 GO/AO. Queue the reality check. In his last two outings Gibson has gone 10 2/3 innings, allowing 15 hits and 11 ER. In his latest start on June 11, he recorded just three ground-outs on balls put in play (0.38 ratio). A tight slider is his ground ball pitch.

Jake McGee, SP, Tampa Bay AA 2-4, 3.65 ERA, 51 K  

The Rays have brought McGee along slowly following Tommy John surgery. His May 28 start was a turning point: seven innings, the deepest he’s gone into a game this season, giving up five hits and zero ER, walking one, and striking out 11. He’s allowed only one ER in his last four starts, spanning 23 2/3 innings. McGee has coughed up only two HR in 49 1/3 this season. He’s a year away from contributing at the major league level, but even then his path is firmly blockaded.

Simon Castro, SP, Padres AA 4-2, 2.48 ERA, 52 K

Squaring up Castro’s pitches has been an immensely arduous task. The Texas League is hitting a mere .197 against him. Righties are having an even tougher time at .164. After a 0.81 GO/AO ratio in ’09, he’s lived on the ground in ’10 with a 1.69 ratio. Only three balls have left the park in 65 1/3 innings. Castro possesses a ‘swinging gate’ motion, which can definitely disrupt a hitter’s timing. If the Padres suffer an injury in the rotation, he’d get the first call.

Martin Perez, SP, Texas AA 2-3, 5.32 ERA, 47 K  

The 19 year old Perez has turned heads in the Rangers system, but is currently suffering through the growing pains. His WHIP is far too high at 1.69. He walked just 38 in 114 2/3 innings in AA last season, but has already given out 27 free passes in 45 2/3 innings this year. His strikeout and ground ball (1.47) rates show the promise of what lies ahead. The latest rumor has the Rangers, of all teams, interested in Roy Oswalt. If so, it could very well take an arm like Perez to acquire him.

Zach Britton, SP, Baltimore AA 6-3, 2.84 ERA, 55 K  

The O’s are a pitiful bunch right now, but they sure have a plethora of young pitching. Britton went 3-1 with a 2.60 ERA during the month of May, with a (don’t adjust your monitor) 4.27 GO/AO ratio. He allowed 27 hits in 34 2/3 innings, K’ing 24. He’s come out on top in both of his June starts as well, allowing one run in 13 1/3. Britton’s ground ball success is not an aberration: In 147 1/3 innings of A ball in 2008 he finished with 2.81 GO/AO, and in 140 innings of Advanced A his ratio was 3.38. Don’t panic Oriole fans, he’s not related to former Oriole Chris Britton.



Wilkin Ramirez, OF, Detroit Ramirez was promoted to AAA on June 8. His immense power, 15 HR in 54 games, got him the call. Not his .243 BA or 82 K’s in 210 AB.

Kyle Russell, OF, L.A. Dodgers Russell got the promotion to AA after tearing through the California League, hitting .354 with 16 HR and 53 RBI in 53 games. His OPS was a 1.140. It’s safe to say the soon to be 24 year old warranted an upgrade in competition.

Phillippe Aumont, SP, Philadelphia After getting lit up in 11 starts at AA, Aumont was demoted to the Florida State League. He was 1-6 with a 7.43 ERA, and allowed 38 BB in 49 2/3 innings. In his first A ball appearance he went 2/3 of an inning, giving up three hits and five runs, while walking four in the process. There is much work to be done.

Jemile Weeks, 2B, Oakland Weeks has been out since May 6 with a hip injury. He was hitting .304 with two HR, three triples, seven doubles and 13 RBI prior to being disabled.

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