Tag: MiLB

The 5 Most Important Prospects for the Boston Red Sox to Hold on to This Winter

The Boston Red Sox figure to be among the most active teams in both the free-agent and trade markets this offseason.

They need to fill at least two spots in their starting rotation. They need to solidify third base. They need to bolster their bullpen, and they could decide they need a new backup catcher, too.

That means that in addition to spending money, the Red Sox are likely to make some trades. With logjams in the outfield, at first base and in the Triple-A rotation, the Sox are well poised to make a splash or two in the coming months.

And while players such as Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts, Christian Vazquez, Allen Webster, Brandon Workman and Jackie Bradley Jr. all lost their rookie eligibility last season, there’s still plenty of talent in the Sox’s system that can be used to acquire prominent major leaguers.

That being said, let’s take a look at the five prospects Boston should try the hardest to hang on to this offseason. Any of these players are movable in a megadeal—a package for Giancarlo Stanton or Chris Sale, for example—but the Red Sox should be judicious in their willingness to include them in lesser packages.

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Stock Up, Stock Down for San Francisco Giants’ Top 10 Prospects for Week 11

The San Francisco Giants have the best record in the majors (despite getting swept by the Colorado Rockies at home this past weekend), but it’s still important to monitor the organization’s farm system, which will largely dictate whether the team is able to replicate its recent success in the forthcoming seasons.

Though the Giants’ minor league system has been plagued with injuries among the top prospects and still lacks top position players in comparison to many other teams’ farm systems, the recent signing of Cuban outfielder Daniel Carbonell and the surplus of young pitching has the Giants in solid shape when it comes to the well-being of their developing talent.

Let’s take a look at how those players performed last week, and what we can expect from some of the injured players going forward.


10. Clayton Blackburn

2014 Stats

8 GS, 2-5, 3.40 ERA, 9 BB, 32 K, 42.1 IP


Blackburn still hasn’t pitched since May 19, but he’s nearing his return date. According to the right-hander’s Twitter account, he finished up rehab a few days ago, with the next stop being a rookie league start. He’ll be back with the Flying Squirrels before long, where he’ll look to get back on track after slumping a bit before his injury. Blackburn has allowed 10 runs on 23 hits in 15.1 innings during his last three starts, so the Giants will be hoping that the time off will allow him to right the ship upon his return.

Last Week’s Stats



9. Joe Panik

2014 Stats

70 G, .314/.375/.440, 12 2B, 5 HR, 43 RBI, 48 R


Panik was busy last week, with a healthy total of 34 at-bats thanks to an 11-inning affair followed by a doubleheader to close out the week. Though he went hitless in the two Saturday games, Panik smashed the ball all week in the six preceding games. He registered a hit in all six contests while hitting a pair of homers (nearly equaling his total of three up to that point in the season) and driving in nine runs.

The show of power likely wasn’t a sign of things to come given Panik’s history of poor home run rates, but his pair of three-hit games and his nine-game hitting streak dating back to the previous week was simply more of the same from what has been a breakout season for the Giants second base prospect. Though manager Bruce Bochy is still confident in current big league second baseman Brandon Hicks’ ability to rebound from his current slump, the club won’t be able to ignore Panik’s success much longer if Hicks’ poor hitting turns into more than just a funk.

Last Week’s Stats
10-for-34, 2 HR, 9 RBI



8. Ty Blach

2014 Stats

12 GS, 4-3, 2.87 ERA, 13 BB, 38 K, 62.2 IP


Blach rebounded from a pair of rough starts by going five strong innings to pick up his first win since mid-May. Though he wasn’t exactly dominant, allowing seven baserunners while needing 96 pitches to get through the five innings, it was promising nevertheless to see Blach return to form a bit.

The left-hander’s Achilles’ heel this season has been the long ball, so it’s no coincidence that his second start allowing fewer than three runs since April 28 was also the first time he didn’t allow a home run since that date, a span of six starts.

In total, Blach has allowed eight home runs this season, but only 20 earned runs. Clearly, he’ll be a dominant pitcher if he can limit the homers, and considering the fact that Blach allowed eight home runs in more than twice as many innings last season, this is a trend that isn’t likely to continue.

Last Week’s Stats
1 GS, 5 IP, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K



7. Heath Hembree

2014 Stats

27 G, 0-1, 12 SV, 3.51 ERA, 9 BB, 28 K, 25.2 IP


Hembree has rebounded nicely from his four-run appearance on May 27, allowing a single earned run in eight innings since. That includes the 2.2 frame he tossed last week, during which he surrendered an unearned run but also allowed just one total baserunner.

The right-hander’s hot streak has pushed his ERA down to 3.51 on the season, and he also picked up save No. 12 on Thursday. Expect Hembree to make an impact out of the big league bullpen in September, as he did in a brief stint last season.

Last Week’s Stats
3 G, 2.2 IP, 1 R/0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K



6. Christian Arroyo

2014 Stats

31 G, .203/.226/.271, 3 2B, 1 HR, 14 RBI, 10 R


Arroyo finally returned to competitive action after sitting out for over a month with a sprained thumb, though he eased back in with a game at Low-A Salem-Keizer on Friday. The Giants shortstop prospect went 1-for-3 with a pair of RBI, and he’ll look to continue that when he re-joins the Single-A San Jose club. Arroyo had been playing in extended spring training before his game on Friday night, so he wasn’t coming into the game completely 

Arroyo is hitting .203 with just five extra-base hits in 118 at-bats this season, and he’s drawn just four walks, which shows how much he has to go in his hitting development. The power and plate discipline will likely only improve with added strength and experience, but the slow start is nevertheless concerning considering the team’s risky move to draft Arroyo in the first round of the 2013 draft.

Last Week’s Stats
1-for-3, 2 RBI (at Low-A Salem-Keizer)



5. Mac Williamson

2014 Stats

23 G, .318/.420/.506, 7 2B, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 16 R

Overview (From Last Week)

Williamson continues the trend of injured Giants prospects here, as he’s sidelined for the remainder of the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery on April 29. The Giants outfielder was putting up strong numbers prior to his injury, and he’s generally put up consistent stats throughout his minor league career, but there’s no telling whether he’ll be able to return strong from his extended absence. At the very least, hitters generally return faster than pitchers when it comes to Tommy John surgery, so we can expect to see Williamson suit up on day one in 2015.

Last Week’s Stats


4. Adalberto Mejia

2014 Stats

12 GS, 3-5, 5.61 ERA, 15 BB, 48 K, 59.1 IP


Mejia’s disastrous start to the season probably had a few people in the organization a little bit worried, but his last two starts have been much more in line with the Mejia of 2013. The left-hander had his best start of the season on Sunday when he spun seven shutout innings, though in terms of last week, he was also somewhat improved during his 5.1-inning, one-run performance.

It’s too early to say Mejia has really turned it around, especially considering his start last week wasn’t particularly great. (He allowed 11 baserunners in the 5.1 innings.) However, the recent seven-inning gem has Mejia on the upswing, and it will be interesting to see if he can continue that trend in his second start this week.

Last Week’s Stats
1 GS, 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 3 BB, 2 K



3. Chris Stratton

2014 Stats

12 GS, 4-6, 4.43 ERA, 24 BB, 66 K, 67 IP


Once again, Stratton showed that when he controls his pitches well, hitters have trouble against him. But the right-hander’s start last week was particularly impressive because he didn’t walk a single batter for the first time all season, resulting in arguably the best start of the year.

The start was also the second time in a row (and the third in four starts) in which Stratton went seven innings, showing his improved durability as well. He also struck out a season-high nine batters, and his ERA fell to 4.43. Like Mejia, Stratton has some work to do, but he has been dominant in three of his past four starts, and his rough beginning to the season is quickly receding into the background.

Last Week’s Stats
1 GS, 7 IP, 2 ER, 2 BB, 8 K



2. Edwin Escobar

2014 Stats

14 GS, 3-6, 5.26 ERA, 26 BB, 69 K, 75.1 IP


If anything, Escobar’s season in Triple-A has shown just how much work he has to do before making the leap to the majors.

Last week, the left-hander allowed four runs in five innings on nine baserunners, and he followed that up by getting battered around for five runs on 12 hits on Friday.

The back-to-back poor performances are especially disappointing because they come after Escobar had an excellent start on June 2, which might have indicated a sign of things to come. Instead, Escobar has allowed 18 hits and nine runs in the 10 innings following that start. In an up-and-down season with a lot of downs, Escobar might be better suited by spending some time down in Double-A to give him a better chance of getting back on track.

Last Week’s Stats
2 GS, 10 IP, 18 H, 9 ER, 3 BB, 10 K



1. Kyle Crick

2014 Stats

11 GS, 4-2, 3.89 ERA, 29 BB, 43 K, 44 IP


Crick took the loss on Friday in one of his worst starts of the season, allowing four runs and an alarming nine hits in five innings. The performance was uncharacteristic of Crick, who generally struggles with his control instead of getting battered around by his opponents.

The tough start likely isn’t much to get alarmed about, especially with Crick’s two solid outings before his start last week. Though it could become problematic if Crick continues to allow hits in bunches like he did on Friday.

At the very least, the silver lining was that Crick walked two batters or fewer for the third straight start, a huge positive for a pitcher whose weak point has been his control.

Last Week’s Stats
1 GS, 5 IP, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K



There is a seemingly endless supply of organization prospect lists all over the Internet, but for the sake of consistency, this list follows the rankings from Baseball America’s 2014 Top 10 Prospects Index.

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Stock Up, Stock Down for St. Louis Cardinals’ Top 10 Prospects for Week 9

Down on the farm, a vast majority of the St. Louis Cardinals‘ top 10 prospects are having noteworthy seasons.

Earning a spot on the big league roster is the ultimate goal for these young players, and the future certainly looks bright with the vast assortment of raw talent the Cardinals boast in their minor league system.

Outfielders Oscar Taveras and Stephen Piscotty are among the Cardinals prospects that are flourishing this season at Triple-A Memphis.

A handful of other prospects are also producing at the lower levels of the minor leagues.

Here’s how the Cardinals’ top 10 prospects fared during Week 9.

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Texas Rangers: Grades for Prospects in Arizona Fall League

The Arizona Fall League ended Saturday afternoon with a 2-0 win for the Surprise Saguaros over the Mesa Solar Sox.

The Texas Rangers organization are a part of the Saguaros and helped claim the team’s first AFL title since 1995. The team finished 18-12-1, winning the West division by 4.5 games. 

Eight prospects represented the Rangers this year, one more than each of the other four teams making up Saguaros’ squad. Ryan Harvey was replaced by Keone Kela when the organization believed he had enough innings for the year. 

It’s difficult to give these players grades on their performance considering each game is sort of its own prospect all-star game; however, few players played exceptionally well during the 31-game league, while others struggled.

Here are the grades for each of the Rangers’ prospects.

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MLB Prospects Update: Hottest, Coldest Pitchers at Every Minor League Level

The latest installment of this feature includes two White Sox pitching prospects heading in opposite directions, the best Giants pitching prospect to emerge since Zack Wheeler was traded away and a trio of intriguing yet unpolished prospects that have had issues finding the strike zone this season—they’ve combined for 168 walks in 252 innings pitched this season. 



Erik Johnson, SP, Chicago White Sox
Season stats: 1.96 ERA, 142 IP, 100 H, 40 BB, 131 K in 24 starts (AAA/AA) 

A 2011 draftee, Johnson started the 2012 season in Low-A and has made the quick ascent to the big leagues. He had his contract purchased from the minors today after proving in just 10 starts that Triple-A hitters were no match for him.

The 23-year-old right-hander, who had a 2.23 ERA in 14 Double-A starts before a promotion in late June, did not allow more than two earned runs in any of his Triple-A starts and put an exclamation point on his season with seven shutout innings on August 29th (7 IP, 0 R, 5 H, 2 BB, 8 K).

It’s likely that he’ll make a few starts with the Sox this month in what could be an early audition for the 2014 rotation. If he never pitches another game in the minors, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise. He doesn’t have a top-of-the-rotation ceiling, but he already looks like a pretty good back-of-the-rotation starter.



Jake Leathersich, RP, New York Mets
Season stats: 4.63 ERA, 58.1 IP, 51 H, 45 BB, 102 K (AAA/AA) 

The 23-year-old lefty reliever has struck out hitters in bunches since being taken in the fifth round of the 2011 draft. And it hasn’t stopped in 2013, as he’s risen into the upper levels of the minors. Unfortunately, his already questionable walk rate has skyrocketed during his first stint in Triple-A. 

Since a well-earned promotion after posting a 1.53 ERA with Double-A Binghamton, including 16 walks and 55 strikeouts in 29.1 innings, Leathersich has struggled in the Pacific Coast League. He’s walked 29 in 29 innings and has allowed 14 earned runs in his last 7.2 innings.

In a season that could’ve ended with a September call-up, it will end with questions on whether Leathersich can throw enough strikes to succeed in a major league bullpen.




Marcus Stroman, SP, Toronto Blue Jays
Season stats: 3.30 ERA, 111.2 IP, 99 H, 27 BB, 129 K in 20 starts 

The 5’9″ right-hander was pegged as the Jays’ potential “Closer of the Future,” after he was taken as the 22nd overall pick in the 2012 draft. But after a 50-game suspension for violating the league’s drug program ended his year early, the organization decided to develop him as a starter in 2013. 

Results have been mostly good with a handful of dominating starts along the way, including back-to-back double-digit strikeout games in late July and his latest eight-inning, 11-strikeout gem (8 IP, ER, 2 H, 0 BB, 11 K) coming last night. 

While his future could still come as a late-inning reliever, Stroman has shown a lot of ability as a starting pitcher and the Jays will likely keep him in that role until he shows any limitations that would keep him from being successful in a big league rotation. 



Scott Snodgress, SP, Chicago White Sox
Season stats: 4.70 ERA, 143.2 IP, 146 H, 59 BB, 190 K in 26 starts  

Ranked just one spot behind Johnson in Baseball Prospectus’ preseason organizational prospect rankings, Snodgress has not had nearly the same success and could be stuck in Double-A in 2014 while Johnson pitches in the majors.

The 23-year-old lefty was showing terrific progress after a rough start, allowing just four earned runs in 41.1 innings over a six-start span between July 4th and August 6th. But things have taken a turn for the worse over his last four starts. He’s allowed 22 earned runs on 28 hits and 14 walks in 13.2 innings. Not exactly the kind of impression he wanted to leave on the organization entering the offseason.  




Kyle Crick, RP, San Francisco Giants
Season stats: 1.57 ERA, 68.2 IP, 48 H, 39 BB, 95 K in 14 starts

Crick (pictured) was the top-ranked Giants prospect coming into the season, according to Baseball Prospectus, although that doesn’t say much considering how weak the farm system has been viewed over the past few years. But despite missing some time due to an oblique injury early in the season, he’s shown plenty in the hitter-friendly California League and should find himself on most offseason rankings of the top 100 prospects in baseball.

Since returning in late June, the 20-year-old has allowed just 11 earned runs in 59 innings (1.68 ERA) with 30 walks and 83 strikeouts. He’s recorded double-digit strikeouts five times, including in his last start on August 29th (7 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 BB, 11 K). He’ll likely begin the 2014 season in Double-A and could push for a big league promotion by midseason. 



Damien Magnifico, SP, Milwaukee Brewers
Season stats: 4.57 ERA, 80.2 IP, 83 H, 41 BB, 63 K (HiA/LoA) 

He has the perfect name and the triple-digit fastball to end up as a late-inning relief specialist in the future. For now, the Brewers are having him start so he can develop some of his weak secondary offerings, which would make him a more effective relief pitcher in the future. 

Results have been mixed, although mostly poor since a June promotion to High-A Brevard County. For the most part, the 22-year-old right-hander had done well when limited to two innings or less (7 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 4 BB, 5 K) before his last outing on September 1st when he allowed three earned runs on two hits and four walks in just one inning of work. 

Magnifico remains a work in progress, although it’s likely they’ll unleash him in a full-time bullpen role within the next year or two in hopes that his work as a starter will have helped.




Ismael Guillon, SP, Cincinnati Reds
Season stats: 4.75 ERA, 121.1 IP, 95 H, 95 BB, 134 K 

After a mostly disappointing season, Guillon is finally showing why the Reds added him to the 40-man roster prior to the season. He’s a long way from the majors, but he’s talented enough that some team may have taken a shot on him in the Rule 5 draft.

Heading into his start on July 29th, Guillon had a 6.37 ERA with 80 walks in 82 innings. Since then, the lefty out of Venezuela has allowed just six earned runs in 39.1 innings over a span of seven starts. The turnaround has been sparked by an improved command of the strike zone (18 BB), including only six walks in his last 24 innings pitched. 

Guillon has likely done enough to continue climbing the ladder, although he’ll need to continue throwing strikes or he won’t make it much further than High-A ball.



Austin Brice, SP, Miami Marlins
Season stats: 5.73 ERA, 113 IP, 118 H, 82 BB, 111 K 

Several Marlins pitching prospects have been impressive this season, giving the Marlins continued hope for a future filled with young talent at the big league level. While Brice was the seventh-ranked prospect coming into the season by Baseball Prospectus, he has not been amongst the group of pitchers to take a step forward in 2013. 

In fact, he’s gone backwards. Well, to be more specific, Brice has gone backwards and then forward and now backwards again. The 21-year-old appeared to have righted the ship with a strong string of starts July and August. But he hit a wall and has mostly struggled since the middle of last month.

After allowing nine runs (only one earned) and getting knocked out in the first inning on August 14th, he allowed six earned runs on 10 hits in his next start on August 19th. Following a solid start on August 24th, Brice gave up six earned runs on eight hits in only three innings in his last start. 


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MLB Prospects Update: Hottest, Coldest Pitchers at Every Minor League Level

At this time last season, NL Rookie of the Year favorite and possible Cy Young Award candidate Jose Fernandez was pitching in the High-A Florida State League.

Meanwhile, playoff-bound rookie starters Julio Teheran of the Atlanta Braves and Gerrit Cole of the Pittsburgh Pirates were in the upper minors and not blowing hitters away like the scouting reports indicated they should be.

Pitchers are unpredictable, as you’ve probably figured out by now. They can move up the ladder quickly and they can fall off the prospect radar even faster. 

Here are eight pitchers, two from each full-season league, who are either pushing for a late-season promotion or making their teams wonder if they have a future in the organization.




Brian Flynn, Miami Marlins
Season stats: 3.20 ERA, 118 IP, 108 H, 39 BB, 112 K in 20 starts

The 23-year-old lefty is proving that he was much more than a throw-in in last year’s trade that brought him, along with Jacob Turner and Rob Brantly, to the Marlins in exchange for Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante

Prior to yesterday’s start (5 IP, 5 ER) at Las Vegas in one of the least pitcher-friendly parks in baseball, Flynn had been dominant over his previous six Triple-A starts (41.1 IP, 5 ER, 26 H, 14 BB, 37 K), including seven-plus innings of shutout ball in four of those.

It wouldn’t be a surprise if he gets a late-season look in the Marlins rotation and a chance to win a spot behind Turner and ace Jose Fernandez in 2014.



Santos Rodriguez, Chicago White Sox
Season stats: 4.50 ERA, 42 IP, 28 H, 33 BB, 49 K in 28 games (AAA/AA)

The 6’6″ lefty earned a promotion to Triple-A in late June after posting solid numbers in Double-A (2.35 ERA, 23 IP, 13 H, 14 BB, 25 K). His success has not carried over, however, as he has allowed 15 earned runs, 15 hits and 19 walks in 19 innings. 

Added to the 40-man roster prior to the season, his spot could be in jeopardy in the offseason if he’s unable to turn things around quickly.

His prior success suggests a potential to be a big league reliever, but his control issues at age 25 suggest otherwise. 




Noah Syndergaard, New York Mets
Season stats: 2.54 ERA, 109.2 IP, 95 H, 26 BB, 118 K in 21 starts (AA/Hi-A)

Mets fans already have plenty to be excited about, with Matt Harvey developing into one of the top pitchers in baseball and top pitching prospect Zack Wheeler already showing signs of becoming a very good No. 2 starter.

And now it’s Syndergaard, acquired from Toronto along with Travis d’Arnaud in the R.A. Dickey trade, who could give the team another top-caliber pitching prospect to add to the rotation for a third consecutive season if he continues at his current pace. 

Harvey made his major league debut in July 2012, Wheeler in June of this season and Syndergaard could debut in New York as a 21-year-old by June or July of 2014.

Since a promotion to Double-A, the 6’6″ right-hander has a 1.76 ERA in nine starts with only 10 walks and 54 strikeouts in 46 innings.



B.J. Hermsen, Minnesota Twins
Season stats: 5.68 ERA, 65 IP, 97 H, 26 BB, 29 K in 25 games (11 starts)

After pitching very well in 22 Double-A starts in 2012 (11-6, 3.22 ERA), Hermsen has struggled in his second go-around at the level.

In his last three starts after spending most of June and July in the bullpen, the 23-year-old right-hander has allowed 12 earned runs and 17 hits in 10 innings pitched.  

While his stellar 2012 season earned him a spot on the 40-man roster, his disastrous 2013 could get him removed from it early in the 2013-2014 offseason and possibly released from the organization.

When Double-A batters hit .353 against you, it’s to be expected. 




Clayton Blackburn, San Francisco Giants
Season stats: 3.62 ERA, 117 IP, 97 H, 28 BB, 119 K in 20 starts

One of the Giants’ top pitching prospects coming into the season, the 20-year-old is passing the very difficult test of surviving the hitter-friendly California League with flying colors.

And he’s getting stronger in the second half of the season.

In his last six starts, the right-hander has allowed just six earned runs in 40.1 innings pitched, with five walks and 31 strikeouts. Throwing strikes and working deep into games, Blackburn is developing into a future workhorse starter who could be in the San Francisco rotation by 2015.



Domingo Tapia, New York Mets
Season stats: 5.00 ERA, 81 IP, 73 H, 49 BB, 73 K in 19 starts

Of the two up-and-coming Mets pitching prospects out of the Dominican Republic, one, Rafael Montero, has continued to rise up the ranks (3.01 ERA between Triple-A and Double-A) while the other, Domingo Tapia, has struggled in the low minors. 

21-year-old Tapia had a solid full-season debut with Low-A Savannah in 2012 (3.98 ERA, 108.2 IP, 92 H, 32 BB, 101 K), but a promotion to High-A St. Lucie in 2013 hasn’t been kind to the right-hander.

After a strong April, things have slowly unraveled and completely fallen apart as of late.

In his last four starts, he’s allowed 15 earned runs in 9.2 innings pitched, with 14 walks and eight strikeouts.

Unlike Montero, who went from rotation mate in Savannah early in 2012 to a likely big league rotation candidate in 2014, Tapia‘s path to the majors—if he gets there at all—will be a much slower one. 




Christian Binford, Kansas City Royals
Season stats: 1.87 ERA, 120.1 IP, 108 H, 22 BB, 119 K in 20 starts

Any minor league pitchers in the Royals organization will be overshadowed by Yordano Ventura and Kyle Zimmer, both elite prospects in the upper minors.

Who steps up to the top of the next wave, however, is still undetermined. 

20-year-old Binford, a 30th-round pick in the 2011 draft, is doing everything he can to claim that spot heading into the offseason.

While he hasn’t had much trouble at all in the Low-A South Atlantic League, he doesn’t have a big-time fastball, so he’ll have a hard time getting noticed until he succeeds as he climbs the ladder.

His next opportunity could come soon if the Royals give him a well-deserved shot at High-A Wilmington to finish the season.



Chad James, Miami Marlins
Season stats: 6.52 ERA, 38.2 IP, 44 H, 20 BB, 39 K in 10 starts

A former first-round pick, James has been going backwards since a solid season in High-A back in 2011 (3.80 ERA in 27 starts).

The lefty struggled at the level in 2012 and has failed to get back on track after being dropped to Low-A this season.

It’s likely that he could’ve made a quick move back up the ladder with a successful stint with Greensboro, but the 22-year-old has completely fallen off the prospect radar with his unimpressive performance, which includes 11 earned runs and 14 hits allowed in 11 innings pitched over his last two starts.

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MLB Futures Game 2013: Prospects Who Will Eventually Become All-Stars

The MLB Futures game provides prospects with an excellent opportunity to showcase their skills against other top prospects in front of scouts from around the league. But it won’t be long before these minor league All-Stars are playing in the big league version of the game. 

Players like Grady Sizemore, Alfonso Soriano and Jose Reyes have parlayed MVP performances in the Futures Game into multiple All-Star performances later on in their career. 

Here’s a look at the full rosters for the game featuring the best talent in the minor leagues along with the top candidates to be All-Stars down the road. 

Rosters via MiLB.com.



U.S. Team Roster

Player Position MiLB Team
Jesse Biddle LHP Reading (AA)
Archie Bradley RHP Mobile (AA)
Eddie Butler RHP Modesto (Advanced A)
Kyle Crick RHP San Jose (Advanced A)
A.J. Cole RHP Potomac (Advanced A)
C.J. Riefenhauser LHP Durham (AAA)
Jimmy Nelson RHP Nashville (AAA)
Anthony Ranaudo RHP Portland (AA)
Noah Syndergaard RHP Binghamton (AA)
Taijuan Walker RHP Tacoma (AAA)
Austin Hedges C Lake Elsinore (Advanced A)
James McCann C Erie (AA)
C.J. Cron INF Arkansas (AA)
Delino DeShields INF Lancaster (Advanced A)
Matt Davidson INF Reno (AAA)
Joey Gallo INF Hickory (Full A)
Brad Miller INF Tacoma (Advanced A)
Addison Russell INF Stockton (AAA)
Kolten Wong INF Memphis (AAA)
Christian Walker INF Frederick (Advanced A)
Byron Buxton OF Fort Myers (Advanced A)
Billy Hamilton OF Louisville (AAA)
Joc Pederson OF Chattanooga (AA)
George Springer OF Corpus Christi (AA)
Christian Yelich OF Jacksonville (AA)


World Team Roster

Player Position MiLB Team
Miguel Almonte RHP Lexington (Full A)
Carlos Contreras RHP Bakersfield (Advanced A)
Rafael De Paula RHP Tampa (Advanced A)
C.C. Lee RHP Columbus (AAA)
Rafael Montero RHP Las Vegas (AAA)
Andre Rienzo RHP Charlotte (AAA)
Eduardo Rodriguez LHP Frederick (Advanced A)
Enny Romero LHP Montgomery (AA)
Yordano Ventura RHP Omaha (AAA)
Michael Ynoa RHP Beloit (Full A)
Jorge Alfaro C Hickory (Full A)
Christian Bethancourt C Mississippi (AA)
A.J. Jimenez C New Hampshire (AA)
Arismendy Alcantara INF Tennessee (AA)
Xander Bogaerts INF Pawtucket (AAA)
Maikel Franco INF Reading (AA)
Dilson Herrera INF West Virginia (Full A)
Jordan Lennerton INF Toledo (AAA)
Francisco Lindor INF Carolina (Advanced A)
Miguel Sano INF New Britain (AA)
Yeison Asencio OF San Antonio (AA)
Gregory Polanco OF Altoona (AA)
Jorge Soler OF Dayton (Advanced A)
Jesus Galindo OF Augusta (Full A)
Henry Urrutia OF Bowie (AA)



Byron Buxton, CF, Minnesota Twins

Buxton was drafted by the Twins with the No. 2 overall selection in the 2012 MLB draft out of Appling County High School in Baxley, Ga. Usually you’d like to slow track picks straight out of high school, but Buxton is already becoming difficult to ignore. 

At just 19 years old, you never want to put too much hype on a prospect, but those who have seen him play have compared him favorably to Mike Trout, such as Jeffrey Johnson who covered both players when they were members of the Cedar Rapids Kernels. 

Buxton may just be playing Advanced A ball, but the tools are there for him to be the next big thing in baseball. In one-and-a-half seasons as a teenager, he’s racked up 14 home runs while stealing 46 bases and hitting .305. 

Look for his athleticism to shine in this game as he shows scouts that he’s a name to remember. 



Miguel Sano, INF, Minnesota Twins

Sano will oppose Buxton for the title of best prospect involved in the game. Fortunately, for the Twins, they won’t always be competing against each other.

Minnesota is fortunate to claim both of the electric hitters as part of their farm system.

The 20-year-old Sano is an absolute slugger and promises to be the anchor of the Twins lineup for years to come. In four seasons of minor league ball, he has already hit 77 home runs. 

Going against the elite pitchers on the U.S. side, he’ll have the opportunity to show off the power that will eventually make him an MLB All-Star. 



Taijuan Walker, RHP, Seattle Mariners

The Futures game doesn’t just feature exciting talents at the plate. There are a few future aces that will take the hill for the minor league showcase and Walker highlights the list. 

The Seattle Mariners-bound hurler was recently called up to the Triple-A ranks and has responded with a fast start. In three starts he is 2-0 with an ERA of .56 and 16 strikeouts in 16 innings. 

Walker struggled last season with posting a 7-10 record and 4.69 ERA in Double-A last season. Given the incredible improvement that you can see in his numbers this season it’s clear that he’s well on his way to living up to his massive potential. 



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Minor League Coach Suspended for Remainder of Season for Intentional Balks

You’ve heard of a pitcher intentionally walking a pitcher for strategy purposes—so how about a team asking its pitcher to intentionally balk to end a long extra inning game?

Todd Steverson, who is a hitting instructor inside the Oakland A’s organization, has been suspended by Minor League Baseball for intentionally asking his pitcher to balk. This advanced two runners into scoring position to end the longest game in the California League this season. 

This was with the Stockton Ports and, as a result, Steverson has been banned from the Stockton dugout for the next year. The Ports are a High-A affiliate of the A’s.

League President Charlie Blaney was clearly displeased toward Steverson’s decision.

“While Stockton interim manager Todd Steverson’s intent was to protect his players from injury in the 17th and 18th innings of the Stockton vs. Modesto game on June 23, 2012, he made an error in judgment by instructing his pitcher to advance three base runners via intentional balk for the purpose of expediting the end of the game,” Blaney said in a statement.”

Steverson was the interim manager on June 23 while everyday skipper Webster Garrison was on vacation. Minor League managers need a break every so often, right?

The game lasted over five hours against the Modesto Nuts and went 18 innings. Modesto scored in the 18th inning, thanks to a Helder Velazquez single that ended the marathon. Velazquez went 3-for-7 on the night.

Josh Whitaker was the pitcher who was told to commit the balks. As a matter of fact, he had three separate balks—two in the 17th and the final one in the 18th that set up the final score.

The Ports are 4-8 in the second half of the Cal League.

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Reds Minor League Prospect Steals 100th Base of Season

Billy Hamilton is on fire—fittingly, he plays for the Bakersfield Blaze, High-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. Hamilton has reached a feat that would even catch Rickey Henderson’s attention. No, really.

In Monday night’s game against Lake Elsinore, Hamilton stole his 100th base of the season.

On July 2nd.

The Blaze played its 78th game on Monday. Going into the night, Hamilton had 98 steals. Nothing was going to stop him, and, over the spring and summer, nobody has had the ability to.

This kid is lightning-fast. He could run down the whole California coast as fast as it takes Mo Vaughn to go from the batter’s box to first base.

Hamilton clearly leads all of professional baseball in steals. The league he plays in is the California League. In the Cal League, the next two closest stolen base leaders combine to have 88 steals.

The top four in the steals department in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League add up to 103 steals.

In the majors, the top four in steals—Dee Gordon, Tony Campana, Michael Bourn and Mike Trout—combine for a total of 98 steals. A kid in Single-A has 100, mind you.

Like most people who will read this, not many know who Billy Hamilton is.

Well, let’s check it out.

Hamilton is currently hitting .327, going into Tuesday with 104 hits, 74 runs, 29 RBI, 17 doubles, nine triples and even has the power to hit a home run—one, in fact. He also has 142 total bases.

No one is talking about his power, though.

It’s his speed.

To no one’s surprise, right-handed pitchers don’t like this kid. Hamilton has 75 of his 100 stolen bases on righties.

Before the Cal League All-Star Break, Hamilton had 80 steals.

In the month of June, he stole a base 38 times.

If you’re wondering how many times he was caught stealing, he has been. No one is perfect. Hamilton has been thrown out on attempted steals 21 times. Not too shabby, though.

Vince Coleman has the professional record with 145, and Hamilton is on pace to fly by that record.

As for Henderson, when he broke the MLB record in 1983, he stole his 73rd base in the 78th game for the Oakland A’s.

Most experts don’t think either record could be broken, but Billy Hamilton could prove them wrong even before they blink an eye.

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Chicago Cubs Fans: Good News, Help is on the Way

For those of you Cubs fans who don’t pay a whole lot of attention to the Cubs’ farm sysyem, you may want to start. because there is some real talent there.

I take you to Daytona Beach. Right now the Daytona Cubs are 37-12. Yes, that is correct, 37-12. That is an outstanding record in any league. Currently the Cubs have won 10 straight. In many of those game they have come from behind late. Tuesday they trailed 7-4 with two out in the seventh. Three home runs later they won 9-7. Tonight they were down 5-0 in the sixth. They won 9-5.

In Double-A, the Tennessee Smokies are 32-17. Many of the players there now are guys from the last two Daytona teams. The ’09 team won the Florida State League title. They came in a close second in ’10.

Remember these names. You’ll be seeing them at Wrigley in the near future.

Robert Whitenack: This guy throws heat! He was 3-0 in Daytona before being called up to Tennessee, where he is now 4-0.

Rebel Ridling. One of two good-looking power-hitting first basemen. He has 9 HRs for Tennessee so far this year.

Justin Bour. Absolutely crushes the ball. And can hit it the other way with pop. Left-handed bat. He his hitting .332 with 13 HRs at Daytona.

Jae-Hoon Ha: Was hitting .311 at Daytona, called up to Tennessee, where he is hitting .267.

DJ LeMaheiu: second baseman at Tennessee hitting .360

Junior Lake: Infielder with some power. Batting .314 with 10 doubles and six HRs.

Michael Burgess: Not a good average at .202, but a ton of power. If he can cut down on his Ks he has a lot of potential. When he hit’s one it is usually crushed.

The Florida State League is typically not a power hitter’s league. The ballparks are usually large and the humidity in Florida is stifling. So when you see balls flying out of the park like I have this year, you notice. There are some guys hammering balls out of Jackie Robinson Ballpark this year. When Bour, Ridling and Burgess get to Wrigley with the wind blowing out, look out.

The most encouraging is these guys know how to win. When they get to Chicago, they won’t be going there expecting to lose. So get ready Cubs fans. Help is on the way.

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