Tag: baseball prospects

Mike Trout: Los Angeles Angels OF Joins Elite Company, Named No. 1 Prospect

Dice-K, Jay Bruce, Matt Wieters, Jayson Heyward, and now you can add Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout to the elite list of top prospects in all of Major League Baseball as MLB.com made the announcement Monday in their annual listing of the Top 50 Prospects in Baseball.

Trout, the 25th overall pick in the 2009 MLB draft, has drawn rave reviews as a five-tool player (average, power, base running, speed and fielding), and MLB.com even considered him a six-tool ball player with character being the sixth tool. Trout has even drawn comparisons to Charlie Hustle himself, Pete Rose.

Joining Trout in the top five were Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Jeremy Hellickson, Washington Nationals high school phenom Bryce Harper, Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Domonic Brown and the 2009 No. 2 overall pick, Seattle Mariners second baseman Dustin Ackley.

This past season, Trout played Single-A ball for Cedar Rapids, where he hit .362 with 6 home runs, 45 RBI and 45 steals in just 81 games. Trout was also named MVP for the Midwest Legue while with Cedar Rapids. At the MLB All-Star break, Trout played in the Futures Game played in Anaheim and was then promoted to Advanced Single-A ball in the California League, where in 50 games played he hit .306 with 4 HR and 19 RBI.

With being tabbed as the No. 1 overall baseball prospect in the land, Trout could make an appearance in The Show sooner rather than later, despite the Angels landing Veron Wells from the Blue Jays earlier in the week. Last year’s No. 1 rated prospect, Jayson Heyward, played just three games at the Triple-A level before the Atlanta Braves signed him up before the start of the 2010 season.

Trout, who is just 19 years old, is expected to start the 2011 baseball season in Arkansas playing Double-A baseball.  

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Arizona Fall League: Analysis of New York Yankees Prospect Brandon Laird

I have been here for three days in Arizona to see the MLB Fall League, and I have yet to see a cloud. It is simply tremendous weather here, usually about 85 degrees during the day with bright sunshine. At night the temperatures dip to the mid-to-high 60s, and the air is slightly crisp.

It is perfect baseball weather.

And while the weather is great, the best part of the Grand Canyon State this time of year is the baseball games played by many of the games top prospects.

I am here to follow up on my original pieces of various New York Yankee farmhands and to see some top players from other organizations, namely some guy named Bryce Harper.

Today is my first day to see Harper play and he just hit four balls out in BP, and the wind is blowing in. Even the players stood around to watch him hit.

However, my first game this week was Monday at Surprise Stadium, spring training home to the Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals. Due to a serious car rental delay, I arrived right before “Play!” was called by the home plate umpire. Pulling into the complex, I saw a group of Rangers prospects on a side field going through team defensive drills.

Third hitter in the lineup for the visiting Phoenix Desert Dogs was left fielder Brandon Laird. Yankee catching prospect Austin Romine was hitting sixth.

Laird also hit third on Tuesday in Phoenix, 20-year-old Jose Pirela was playing second and LHP Manuel Banuelos was on the mound. Right handed pitcher Craig Heyer also pitched. Romine had Tuesday off.

This report is on Brandon Laird, new Yankee multi-positional prospect. A separate report will come on Romine, and a group report will be made on the pitchers.

Having seen about 30 or so games at Double A Trenton, I have become a fan of Laird’s.

He can turn on the inside fastball, stays inside the ball well with his hands and hit with some authority to the opposite field. Laird also produced his share of timely hits, including a walk-off grand slam in Trenton.  

His defense was not Graig Nettles-like at third base (or even Scott Brosius good), but he was adequate, making his share of good plays and his share of errors, too. But Laird is a hitter who has always hit well in his baseball career.

Many people have said this is Laird’s breakout season, but he actually hit more home runs (23 to 17) and slugged higher (.498 to .491) than Jesus Montero did in Low A Charleston in 2008. And Laird did that in 63 less (569 to 503) plate appearances than Montero.

Laird is a third baseman by trade with some playing time at first base. One need the Yankees have for the future is a right handed bat off the bench with power, who can play multiple positions.

Marcus Thames is not that guy, so enter Laird stage left.

The Yankees are trying to make Laird that versatile corner man, using him in left field in the AFL.

He looked good out there during instructs, not Carl Yastrzemski or Brett Gardner good, but he held his own. Not a “toolsy” guy or “five-tool” prospect, Laird is just a blue-blooded baseball player.

Laird continued his good 2010 season here in the AFL, knocking six doubles, three home runs and driving in 11 runners.

However, Laird appears to now have an issue with the outside fastball. In Monday’s game, Laird took four hittable pitches on the outer third (twice on first pitches). He almost swung several times and actually cocked the gun, but simply could not pull the trigger.

When he did swing at the outside fastball, it was only with two-strike counts, with most swings weak flails at the offerings. No authority to the right side, and no real attempts to go the other way.

Laird appears to have become a pull hitter, trying to hit for even more power than he showed this season. Have the 25 home runs he hit in 2010 changed Laird’s hitting approach?

Not completely.

He still showed the ability to hit line drives up the middle, getting his pitch on the inner third, keeping his hands in and hitting two rockets (one each day) through the pitchers box.  The one on Monday almost maimed the pitcher, but the ball deflected off his glove (possibly saving his life) to the second baseman who threw Laird out at first.

As I said in the piece earlier this season, Laird looks for a certain pitch and location and is not afraid of hitting from behind in the count. He still shows ability to lay of the low breaking pitch and can hit the curve when it is thrown for strikes. But he does need to start going more the other way.

As for defense, Laird performed admirably in left field, but often took initial steps back before adjusting to the ball. These were balls hit off the end of the barrel, sounding good off the bat but were simply routine fly balls.

Continuously going back on the ball is common for a new outfielder. Newbies are extremely conscious of fly ball going over their heads, and to compensate for the lack of confidence (and a fear factor) by taking first steps back on almost all fly balls. A ball landing on the warning track looks much worse than a ball landing in front of you, and costs your team more bases and runs.

Laird did make a nice place on a fly ball towards the left field line, taking a direct route to the ball and even turning on the jets the last couple strides to make a catch off the bat of Davis Stoneburner*, turning a possible two-run double into a routine sacrifice fly.

*Davis is the older brother of Yankee pitching prospect Graham Stoneburner.

Laird also made a decent throw behind a runner at second base who aborted an initial attempt to go from first to third on a single to left center. Laird was quick to the ball, thwarting the advancement, and then made an accurate (but not overly strong) throw to second base, just missing the scrambling runner getting back to the bag.

Laird is still a prospect under Yankee standards, and unless he is out here as trade bait, his ability to hit with power and play adequate defense at a few positions will bode well for him and the parent club. His defense will continue to improve with more drills and reps.

But in order for Laird to stick long term in the majors as a utility corner guy, he needs to be able to hit to all fields, especially in Yankee Stadium. If Laird continues his current trend of becoming pull happy and not going after the outside fastball, major league pitchers will eat him up on the outside corner.

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Move over Crash Davis, Here Comes Charlie Lisk

The undisputed home run king Crash Davis! has some company.

For real, Crash may be a character in Bull Durham, one of the all-time great baseball movies, but Charlie Lisk of the Frontier League has set a record himself.

On Thursday night, Lisk rewrote the Frontier League record books by hitting his 87th Frontier League home run.

That homer pushed him past Morgan Burkhart for number one on the list, and let me say that is something to be very proud of.

Burkhart, who previously sat atop the home run leader board with 86, spent three years in “the show” (Crash Davis’ favorite saying), compiling five home runs in 42 games.

That may not seem like much to the average reader, but those three seasons were due to a lifetime of hard work sacrifice and dedication.  In my eyes, very commendable.

In my experience, I spent over 20 years honing my craft, attempting to go where my heroes were, and if you have been following my readings, I did not get where I wanted to be, but I gave it my best shot.

On the other hand, Lisk has been playing this game for a long time; 96 home runs, in nine professional seasons, 346 RBI, and almost 600 games played.

Lisk, over the past two seasons has mashed 53 long flies and appears to be hitting his “power” peak at 27 years of age.  2010 has been more of the same with 19 homers and 78 RBI and is on pace for a career high in average.

I commend Fisk on his perseverance and drive.  Those traits might get him his shot, and in my opinion, why not?  Everyone deserves his opportunity in the show, even if it was as brief as “the” Crash Davis.

This article can also be found on The GM’s Perspective

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Ten Reasons Why The Future Looks Bright for the Marlins

The Marlins, a young franchise, with two World Series titles on their resume, have to be excited for the future.  Over the years they have been the subject of ridicule for their attendance numbers and low payroll.  The fan base has witnessed not one, but two World Series teams get dismantled for financial reasons.

However, now more than ever, the enthusiasm behind this team is growing and here are the ten reasons why:

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Meet the Mets: Interview with New York Mets Top Propsect Wilmer Flores

Wilmer Flores is one of the Mets’ top prospects and one of the top prospects in all of baseball. At just 18 years old, Wilmer has already been playing professional baseball for three years.

After a strong performance in Single-A this year, Wilmer was called up to High-A ball to play for the St. Lucie Mets. At 18 years old, Wilmer is the second youngest hitter in the Florida State League.

Wilmer’s success continued as a member of the St. Lucie Mets. He has a .349 batting average with two home runs and 19 RBI in 29 games.

Wilmer was recently kind enough to take some time out of his schedule for an interview with me.

At 16, most kids are still in high school and you were already playing in the minor leagues. What was that experience like at such a young age?

“You know, its not that easy playing with guys older than you. But you know, its just baseball. You just gotta worry about hitting the ball, catching the ball, and and run, but that’s basically what I do”.

At what age did you realizes that you were talented enough to become a professional baseball player?

“13, I just played to have fun though.”

Do you feel that it has been an advantage or disadvantage that you have always been one youngest players at each level you have played at?

“Like I say, I just go out and play. I mean I don’t see these guys as… (to read the rest of the interview click on the link below)

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Mets Prospect Spotlight: Wilmer Flores

He may still only be 19-years old and developing in the low minors for the New York Mets, but infielder Wilmer Flores needs to be recognized more frequently from now on. He’s putting up big minor league numbers that could give him an express ticket to pro baseball. 

The Mets signed Flores as an undrafted free agent in 2007 as a very young 16-year old with a lot of upside.

First off, he is flexible on defense. He spends the bulk of his time at shortstop. But he is a tremendous athlete that is fully capable of adjusting to second or third base. This will come in handy when it comes time for him to compete for a spot in the Mets infield.

He is an excellent contact hitter. In 66 games with the Savannah Sand Gnats this year, he hit .278. It was good enough to facilitate his promotion to A-Adv. St. Lucie, where he has only improved upon his hitting. In 30 games, he is raking with a .354 average and 46 hits.

He has a little bit of pop that has plenty of time to develop. He hit seven home runs with Savannah, and three with the St. Lucie Mets. For the most part, he’s strictly a top-of-the-order kind of hitter that knows how to put the ball in play but there is room for the power to grow.

He doesn’t quite have the speed of a leadoff batter, which could work against him. He also isn’t any Rey Ordonez in the field, but he gets the job done.

A career .288 hitter in the minors over the course of 3 years, Flores is pretty well-disciplined. He does a good job of avoiding strikeouts and turning pitchers counts into hits. The biggest concern about his bat is his patience. He needs to learn to draw more walks, but that comes with age.

Some of his class A-Adv. splits are impressive. In these last 30 games with St. Lucie, he’s batting .406 with runners in scoring position. He’s also 17-34 against left-handed pitching.

Wilmer Flores is emerging as a very good looking all-around positional prospect. His defensive flexibility will allow him to adhere to the needs of the Mets organization, so if he doesn’t get traded, he’ll likely have a future with the club.

At this rate, Flores may very well see his first Major League action by the age of 20.

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San Francisco Giants Minor League Notes

The guy who looks like the Giants’ top prospect is at Class A Augusta, 20-year-old right-handed starter Jorge Bucardo, who has slumped the last two weeks.  His ERA has risen to 2.38, although he allowed only one run in seven innings pitched on Wednesday.

The Giants should seriously consider reducing his work load going forward.  Bucardo is listed at 6’1″ and just 155 pounds, and has already pitched 106 innings this year, which is considerably more than the 51.1 to 81.2 IP he’s pitched the last three seasons in the low minors.  Bucardo had four consecutive mediocre outings right around the end of last season.

There’s no reason for the Giants to kill the golden goose when he’s only 20 and pitching in a low, full-season league.  If the Giants shut him down completely right now, he’d still be ready for a promotion to Class A+ San Jose in 2011.

On the other hand, the next best-looking young arm at Class A Augusta, Jose Casilla, looks like he’s ready for a promotion to San Jose right now.  After 30 appearances and 37.1 IP, he has an 0.96 ERA and fine ratios.

Today would be a great day to promote left-handed starter Eric Surkamp to AA Richmond.  It’s his 23rd birthday today (Happy Birthday, Eric!), and he’s ready to pitch at the AA level.

After 16 starts and 99 IP at Class A+ San Jose, Surkamp has a 3.18 ERA and 106 strikeouts while allowing 78 hits, six HRs, and 21 walks. I don’t think he has much left to prove at this level.

San Jose Giant Charlie Culberson is finally starting to look like the prospect the Giants were hoping for when they made him the 51st player selected in the 2007 Draft.  Aside from hitting .321, he’s hit three HRs in his last four games and now has 13 dingers on the season, to go with 26 doubles and four triples.

Culberson also has 16 stolen bases in 21 attempts.  He still isn’t patient enough (19 walks in 340 at-bats), but at age 21 this year, he’s really starting to look like a Grade-A prospect.

On a final note, coming off the All-Star break, 22-year-old first baseman Brandon Belt continues his torrid hitting at AA Richmond.  He went 3-for-4 yesterday with a triple and a HR.  After 10 games for the Flying Squirrels, he’s hitting .410 with five HRs (half his total at A+ San Jose) and a whopping 1.337 OPS.

It’s still too early to promote Belt to AAA Fresno, but if he’s still hitting this way after another ten games at Richmond, the Giants should seriously consider it.

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MLB Trade News: Cliff Lee Always Worth More than What He is Traded For

For the third time in less than a year, Cliff Lee has a new home. This time, he has joined the Texas Rangers.

Lee, 31, was brought in to help strengthen a relatively inexperienced rotation as the Rangers look to make a deep run in the playoffs.

Much like the past deals Lee has been involved in, the team parting ways with the star pitcher has looked for a huge haul of prospects in return.

The Indians’, Phillies’, and Mariners’ prospects arrived with the glimmer of a brighter future, as each team will expect to find their value in the years to come.

This value is based upon scouting reports and potential. The potential here is the potential to become a dominant ace, a slugging monster, a slick fielder, or a great signal caller is the hook used by the teams who desire Lee’s services.

Thus, this renews the argument of potential vs. proven commodity.

The Indians purged their roster last season and moved their ace, along with outfielder Ben Francisco, to the Phillies in exchange for pitcher Jason Knapp, pitcher Carlos Carrasco, infielder Jason Donald, and catcher Lou Marson.

Three of the four prospects have seen action on the major league level since the trade, but they have all struggled, and aren’t doing well at the minor league level this year.

Marson plays the same position as rookie Carlos Santana, who seized control of the catching position.

Donald, 25, appears to be destined for a nomadic career that alternates between the majors and minors.

Carrasco, 23, is still struggling, but has shown flashes that suggest he could help fill out a rotation someday.

The biggest piece of the trade was Jason Knapp, 19, who has already experienced physical setbacks that have hampered his development.

Cleveland’s deals have restocked their farm system, but the question, is what are they stocked with? Can they build on this?

What about the Phillies?

The Phillies took some prospects from the Mariners to replenish the loss of some highly regarded youngsters. The Phillies sent Lee to Seattle for pitcher J.C. Ramirez, pitcher Phillippe Aumont, and outfielder Tyson Gillies.

Again, another deal that is far too early to judge, but the numbers being posted at their current levels aren’t instilling a ton of confidence.

Ramirez, 21, has exhibited control issues while posting a high WHIP (1.47) and an ERA of 4.63, which means he is giving up slightly more than a run every two innings. That won’t work in a hitter’s park like Citizens Bank Park.

To say that Aumont, 21, has been knocked around would be an understatement, and this is at the Double-A level, where elite prospects tend to shine.

Center fielder Tyson Gillies, 21, has not looked horrible, but a sluggish start while he is playing at the Double-A level for the first time also must be worrisome for the Phillies’ front office that expected these players to contribute in the upcoming seasons.

The franchise has solid depth on the major and minor league level that should make these disappointments palatable.

What did Cliff Lee net for the struggling Mariners?

How about Justin Smoak? The highly touted first baseman was sent to last place Seattle along with pitcher Blake Beavan, pitcher Josh Lueke, and second baseman Matthew Lawson.

The hard-hitting prospect has struggled at the major league level but does have the potential to become a middle-of-the-order talent that could help a pathetic offense in Seattle.

Beavan, 21, was also coveted by the Mariners and has posted numbers that suggest he can dominate at his current level and could be moved up to the Triple-A club by season’s end.

Lueke, 25, has all the makings of a career minor leaguer who could possibly be a serviceable fill-in reliever on the big team if someone were to be injured.

Lawson, 24, also falls into the category of career minor leaguer.

Sure these prospects could develop into future All-Stars or good complimentary pieces on a future contending team. But this past year has been a movement of players who won’t make up for the loss of what was given up.

And absolutely, I mean absolutely, these trades will never yield the lopsided results of this deal of a staff ace for prospects.

Remember the June 27, 2002 trade of then-ace Bartolo Colon and Tim Drew from the Indians to the Expos for Brandon Phillips, Grady Sizemore, Lee Stevens, and Cliff Lee?

Now that was a steal!

Front offices around baseball dream every time they deal away one of their stars, but it almost never happens.

So we get situations like Lee’s journey to find a long-term home. A journey that has seen many promising players moved to acquire him.

A journey that might not be over.


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Fantasy Baseball Prospect Report: Mike Trout

Drafted in the first round of the 2009 draft, outfielder Mike Trout instantly entrenched himself among the team’s best prospects. Opening the season at Single-A, he has done little to disappoint:


257 At Bats
.370 Batting Average (95 Hits)
6 Home Runs
35 RBI
59 Runs
34 Stolen Bases
.449 On Base Percentage
.553 Slugging Percentage
.420 Batting Average on Balls in Play

There is no question about his speed, which certainly has helped him reach the unrealistic BABIP.  We all know he’s not going to be able to maintain that type of luck at the upper levels, but he certainly has the ability to hit over .300 in a season.

He has a very good eye at the plate, walking (33) almost as many times as he’s struck out (39).  Obviously, the strikeout rate is likely to increase as he moves up to higher levels, but his makeup tells us that the increase may not be all that drastic.  Baseball America, who ranked him as the team’s third best prospect prior to the season, said:

“Trout has a line-drive stroke, the ability to make adjustments and a refined batting eye. His strength and bat speed give him the potential for average power. ”

He’s showing more power then he did after debuting in 2009 (one HR in 179 AB), but he’s never going to be a big source of power.  Still, he’s showing the ability to get both doubles (15) and triples (7).  That’s the type of bat that would do wonders atop the Angels order, don’t you think?

At 19, it’s unlikely that the speedster even sniffs the major leagues this season, especially with Peter Boujos, who has a similar skill set, playing in Triple-A.  Come 2011, however, things will be a whole lot more possible.

Just look at the potential outfielder the Angels currently have:

  • Bobby Abreu – 36-years old
  • Torii Hunter – 34-years old (turns 35 in July)
  • Juan Rivera – 31-years old (turns 32 in July)

You can also throw in Hideki Matsui, the normal DH, who is 36-years old.  It’s an old outfield, to say the least.

They also lack the spark at the top of the order, with the departure of Chone Figgins to Seattle.

In other words, Trout fills a need, and could be making waves as soon as 2011.  In long-term keeper leagues, he’s certainly worth owning.

What are your thoughts on Trout?  How soon do you think he makes a major league impact?  How good do you think he could be?

Make sure to check out some of our Prospect Reports:


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The Pacific Coast League’s Top Prospects

Here are some of the best-looking prospects still playing in the AAA Pacific Coast League after the recent wave of major league promotions.

OF Alex Gordon and 1B Kila Ka’aihue (both 26, Royals)

Neither Gordon nor Ka’aihue are exactly “prospects,” since they are now both 26 years old.  However, both are really too good to be playing in the PCL as I write this.

The Royals, the rocket scientists of MLB, have soured on Gordon, and are now trying to convert him into an outfielder at the AAA level. 

New Royals manager Ned Yost was quoted yesterday as saying the Royals don’t plan to call up Gordon and his 1.148 AAA OPS to the majors until the Royals can find a place for him to play every day.

This begs the question; who exactly do the Royals (a team that’s nine games below .500, in fourth place in their division, 9.5 games back of first place, and has no real chance of making the post season unless both Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander are seriously injured, and the entire Twins’ roster dies in a plane crash) have that’s too good for Alex Gordon to take his place? 

No one that I can see.

Ka’aihue (I’ll call him KK) isn’t as good a player as Gordon, and he’s stuck behind Billy Butler, who is two years younger.  Still, he can hit with power and get on base.

The Royals need to move David DeJesus and Jose Guillen, who are playing well enough that they might actually get something of value in return, and call up Gordon and KK to take their places on the major league roster.

Catchers J. P. Arencibia (Blue Jays) and Josh Donaldson (A’s)

These two 24 year old catchers are getting close.  Arencibia has an .878 OPS, and Donaldson an .844.

Donaldson got a cup of coffee from the A’s earlier this year and didn’t hit (he went 4-for-26).  He’s slumping right now (hitting .194 in his last ten AAA games), but still looks very promising.

Arencibia is red hot right now (.385 batting average and 1.261 OPS in his last ten games), and I would expect him to be the first player on this list promoted to the majors. He’s got a lot of power and hits for a decent average. 

My only concern is that he is not a patient hitter. Arencibia has only 15 walks to go with 45 strikeouts so far this year, and has had even worse ratios in prior minor league seasons.  Still, a catcher with power is a valuable thing.

2B Brock Bond (Giants) and 1B Mark Trumbo (Angels)

I’ve lumped these two together because they’re both 24 years old, and neither seems to get much respect from the teams that control them.

Bond has no power to speak of, but he’s young and his .420 on-base percentage is the fifth highest in the PCL.  Middle infielders who get on base have value, yet I can’t remember the last time anyone in the Giants organization said anything to the effect that Bond is a great prospect.

I suspect Bond’s defense isn’t very good, because this is the second year his offensive abilities have been pronounced.  He led the Eastern League in batting average (.333) and OBP (.429) in 2009.

Mark Trumbo has 15 HRs and an .860 OPS, but the Angels didn’t feel the need to promote him, even since they learned that Kendry Morales will be out for the year. 

His faults are more obvious to me, however.  He has only 13 walks and 54 strikeouts in 235 AAA at-bats this year. 

He isn’t likely to have an adequate OBP for a first baseman at the major league level at this point.  It’s definitely something he’s got to work on, because the power is there.

1B Chris Davis (24, Rangers)

After having played his way out of the majors, Davis is hitting well at AAA Oklahoma City, where he has a .900 OPS after 45 games.  He needs more time in AAA to find his stroke again, but he’s still young enough that he could be back in the major leagues for good by 2011 and still have a successful major league career.

A few other position players who deserve mention here are C Hank Conger (22); 3B Brett Wallace, C Jason Castro, and 1B Chris Carter (23); 3B Matt Mangini, 2B Eric Sogard, and CF Luis Durango (24); and LF Chris Lubanksi (25). 

However, they all look to need more time at AAA before they’ll be ready.

Here are the PCL’s most promising starters who haven’t yet received the call.

RHP Jay Jackson (22, Cubs)

He’s only 3-5, but has a 2.90 ERA and a 3:1 K/BB ratio.

LHP Madison Bumgarner (20, Giants)   

Bumgarner is now 7-1 with a 3.12 ERA and 2.4:1 K/BB ratio.  Madison was simply awful his first two starts of the PCL season, but has had an ERA right around 2.00 in his eleven starts since then.  Everyone in San Francisco expects that Bumgarner will be pitching in majors before the September call-ups and perhaps as early as the All-Star Break.

LHP Michael Kirkman (23, Rangers)  

He’s 6-1 with a 3.11 ERA and leads the PCL with 70 Ks.  However, he’s also second in the PCL with 41 walks allowed, which means he still needs to work on his command before he’s major league-ready.

RHP Brandon Dickson (25, Cardinals)

At age 25, Dickson is starting to push it as a prospect.  However, he’s having a fine year for Memphis, going 7-3 with a 2.93 ERA and a better than 2:1 K/BBs ratio.

Dickson was undrafted out of college, and this is by far the best season of his career to date.  Still, he isn’t old yet, and he’s performing well at the highest level of the minors, so he’s got a shot.

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