MINORS: News and Notes

With the 2012 trade deadline now behind us, we take another tour around the minors to see who is hot and who is not.  Several top prospects were dealt at the trade deadline—headed by Jacob Turner (RHP, MIA), Jean Segura (SS, MIL), Zack Cox (3B, MIA), Tommy Joseph (C, PHI), Ethan Martin (RHP, PHI), and Christian Villanueva (3B, CHC).  Check-out our newly-added Traded Prospects column for the low-down on prospects on the move.  Those who were rumored to be on the market who didn’t change organizations can now focus on finishing the season strong, with some eyeing a potential September call-up.

Triple-A Update:
The New York Mets promoted Zack Wheeler (RHP) to Triple-A Buffalo this past week.  Prior to being promoted, the 22-year-old right-hander as 10-6 with a 3.26 ERA, 43 BB/117 K, and a .225 BAA in 116 IP at Double-A.  Wheeler will probably not make his major league debut this year, but should compete for a rotation spot at some point in 2013.

The Miami Marlins Tom Koehler (RHP) has bounced back nicely from a disappointing 2011.  Koehler isn’t a flame-thrower, but does have good control and misses bats with a plus slider and good change-up.  On the year, the 26-year-old Koehler is 11-8 with a 3.50 ERA, 51 BB/115 K, and a .249 BAA in 123.1 IP.

The Arizona Diamondbacks Adam Eaton (OF) just keeps on hitting.  The 23-year-old is now hitting .383/.460/.546 with 37 doubles, 6 home runs, 33 SB, and 44 BB/56 K in 399 AB for Triple-A Reno.  Since turning pro, the 5’8” Eaton now owns a rather remarkable career line of .353/.449/.509 over three seasons.  At some point Eaton will get a chance to show whether he can put up these kinds of numbers in the majors.

Speaking of professional hitters, the San Diego Padres Jedd Gyorko (3B) continues to scorch pitchers in the PCL.  In 67 games since being promoted to Triple-A Tucson, Gyorko is hitting .342/.389/.592 with 20 doubles and 17 home runs.  Gyorko is currently splitting time between 3B and 2B to give him more position flexibility.  If the Padres opt to move him permanently to 2B, he suddenly has tremendous fantasy potential.

At this point, it isn’t clear what the Kansas City Royals Wil Myers (OF) needs to do in order to get promoted to the majors.  Myers had a bit of a slump in mid-July, but has been hot of late, hitting 5 home runs in his past 10 games and for the year is now hitting .307/.385/.636 with 23 doubles, 33 home runs, and 50 BB/117 K in 401 AB.  Meanwhile starting RF Jeff Francoeur is hitting just .238/.275/.366 in 382 AB.

Double-A Update:
The Kansas City Royals Christian Colon (SS) is faring much better in his 2nd full season at Double-A.  After hitting just .257/.325/.342 in his first stint at Double-A, the 4th overall pick in the 2010 draft is hitting .298/.374/.411 with 9 doubles, 5 home runs, 12 SB, and 29 BB/26 K in 248 AB.

The Washington Nationals Brian Goodwin (OF) has struggled since being promoted to Double-A Harrisburg.  After tearing apart the SAL (.324/.438/.542), the 21-year-old Goodwin is hitting just .157 in 51 AB at Double-A.  Long-term, this toolsy/athletic OF will be fun to watch develop and his plus plate discipline gives him a good chance to reach his potential.

The Houston Astros picked up Marc Krauss (OF) as part of the Chris Johnson trade.  Krauss is not particularly athletic, but the former Ohio University standout has plus power and draws plenty of walks.  Since joining the Astros squad at Corpus Christi, the 24-year-old Krauss is 5-for-11 with a double and 4 home runs.  For the year, Krauss is hitting .289/.421/.543 with 30 doubles, 19 home runs, and 76 BB/93 K in 357 AB.

The Detroit Tigers Bruce Rondon (RHP) continues to impress since his inclusion in the 2012 Futures Game.  In 42 outings, the hard-throwing right-hander is 1-1 with a 1.43 ERA, 27 saves, 19 BB/57 K, and a .171 BAA in 44 IP.  Rondon could help out the Tigers down the stretch by giving them another power arm in the bullpen.

Single-A Update:
The Washington Nationals Anthony Rendon (3B) continues to make a nice recovery from a broken ankle that kept him out of action for most of the season.  Since returning to action, the 22-year-old Rendon is hitting .382/.512/.824 with 4 doubles and 3 home runs in 34 AB.  Rendon should move up to High-A or Double-A soon.

The Toronto Blue Jays continue to do a great job of gathering minor league talent.  One of their more recent additions, Roberto Osuna (RHP) is off to a very good start as a professional.  Osuna was signed as a NDFA out of Mexico in 2011 and was given a sizeable $1.5 million bonus.  At 6’2”, 230, the 17-year-old Osuna is stocky and will need to watch his conditioning as he matures, but he features a 90-94 mph fastball, a good curve, and a change-up that could become an average offering.  So far Osuna is 1-0 with a 1.24 ERA, 7 BB/37 K, and a .183 BAA in 29 IP and was recently promoted to short season ball in Vancouver.

The New York Yankees Tyler Austin (OF) has not slowed down since being promoted to High-A Tampa.  In eight games since being promoted, the 20-year-old Austin is hitting .333 and for the year is swatting .325/.407/.589 with 23 doubles, 15 home runs, 18 SB, and 40 BB/74 K in 302 AB.  This former 13th round draft pick is quickly making believers out of former skeptics and was 4-for-5 on 7/31/12.

The Seattle Mariners have to be thrilled with the fast start of 3rd overall pick Mike Zunino (C).  In 17 games for short season Everett, the 21-year-old backstop is hitting .349/.453/.714 with 5 doubles, 6 home runs, and 9 BB/15 K in 63 AB.  Zunino’s advanced bat should enable him to move to Low-A in the next few weeks.

The San Diego Padres Donavan Tate (OF) is finally healthy, but looks nothing like the 5-tool prospect that went 3rd overall in the 2009 draft.  On the year, Tate is hitting .228/.341/.274 with 8 doubles, 1 home run, 16 SB, and 43 BB/92 K in 281 AB between Low and High-A.  Tate is still just 21 years old, but will need to show something soon.

The Chicago Cubs Ronald Torreyes (2B) got off to a slow start in ’12, but has turned things around in the 2nd half.  Torreyes, who was part of the Sean Marshall trade with the Reds, hit just .224 in the first half thanks in part to a brutal May (.137 in 73 AB).  Since the break, Torreyes is hitting .338.  For the year, the 19-year-old 2B is hitting .274/.337/.405 with 19 doubles, 6 home runs, and 13 SB.

The Detroit Tigers Danry Vasquez (SS) was completely over-matched to start the year at Low-A West Michigan.  In 29 games with the Whitecaps, Vasquez hit just .162 with a .222 slugging percentage.  The Tigers sent Vasquez to short season ball where he has responded nicely, hitting .319/.355/.419 in 160 AB.  At 6’3”, 170 Vasquez needs to get stronger, but the 18-year-old has nice long-term potential.

The Minnesota Twins Eddie Rosario (2B) is back in action after missing six weeks of action after getting hit with a line drive.  Rosario is 6-for-10 since his return and for the year is hitting .310/.372/.507 with 25 doubles, 8 home runs, 9 SB, and 28 BB/41 K in 268 AB.

The Kansas City Royals Bubba Starling (OF) is showing nice power in his professional debut.  In 27 games with Burlington in the Appalachian League, the 19-year-old Starling is hitting .275/.378/.495 with 5 doubles and 5 home runs in 109 AB.  Starling has struck out 35 times already, so there is some work to be done here.

The Cincinnati Reds Robert Stephenson (RHP) is having an impressive professional debut.  The 2011 1st rounder was recently promoted to Low-A Dayton after starting the year with Billings in the Pioneer League.  Through 9 starts, the 19-year-old Stephenson is 3-0 with a 1.77 ERA, 10 BB/48 K, and a .177 BAA in 40.2 IP.  Stephenson has a mid-90s fastball, a curve, and a change-up.  If his off-speed offerings continue to improve, he has top-of-the-rotation potential.

The Chicago Cubs got Kyle Hendricks (RHP) from the Texas Rangers as part of the package for starter Ryan Dempster.  Hendricks didn’t get a lot of attention in the deep Rangers farm system, but he has the potential to develop into a solid back-end starter.  The 22-year-old Hendricks features an 88 – 92 mph fastball, a cutter, slider, curve, and change-up and he throws all of them for strikes.  In 20 starters for the Rangers Low-A club in Daytona, Hendricks is 4-2 with a 2.71 ERA, 15 BB/112 K, and a .253 BAA in 130.2 IP.

Houston's George Springer (OF) has been a man among boys in the CAL this year.  The 22-year-old Springer is 2nd in the league with 21 home runs and in July hit .389 with seven doubles and six home runs.  Springer does strike out frequently, but also draws plenty of walks and has above-average speed.  He has already posted his first 20/20 season and for the year is hitting .327/.411/.572 in 404 AB.

The Atlanta Braves Aaron Northcraft (RHP) continues to be a pleasant surprise.  The 2009 10th round draft pick rarely breaks 90 mph but has some nice deception and keeps hitters off-balance.  In 21 starts in ’12, the 22-year-old Northcraft is 8-9 with a 3.74 ERA, 43 BB/129 K, and a .249 BAA in 120.1 IP.

The New York Mets Michael Fulmer (RHP) has flown a bit under the radar in ’12, which is surprising given his 1st round pedigree and the heavy New York media coverage of baseball.  Fulmer was the 44th overall pick in the pitching-deep ’11 draft.  In his first full professional season, he is 6-5 with a 2.58 ERA, 33 BB/82 K, and a .207 BAA in 90.2 IP.  Fulmer features a heavy mid-90s fastball and a plus slider.  Long-term he will need to improve his change-up to remain a starter, but this has been an excellent debut.

The Chicago Cubs Dan Vogelbach (1B) is in much better shape in 2012 and has quickly established himself as one of the better hitters in the low minors.  The 6’0”, 250 pound Vogelbach is hitting .331/.392/.662 with 16 doubles, 8 home runs, and 14 BB/20 K in 133 AB between rookie and short season ball.  Conditioning will continue to be an issue going forward, but this left-handed bat could be something special.

The San Diego Padres Matt Wisler (RHP) has been one of the more impressive hurlers in the MWL in ’12.  The 2011 7th round pick out of Ohio features a low-90s fastball, a good curve, and a below-average change-up.  On the year, Wisler is 4-4 with a 2.73 ERA, 26 BB/88 K, and a .218 BAA in 92.1 for Low-A Fort Wayne.

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  For more information about the terms used in this article, see our Glossary Primer.