Some lesser-known prospects get some love today, including a return to success for junkballer Rowdy Hardy.
PROSPECT OF THE DAY
You don’t often see a middle reliever make it to POTD status, but consider the Yankees needs in the bullpen, Mark Melancon could go from pitching the sixth and seventh in Trenton to the big league bullpen very quickly. The Yankees love Melancon’s makeup, and his stuff (low 90s fastball and a power curveball) isn’t bad either. After not pitching at all during the 2007 season as he recovered from Tommy John surgery, Melancon, 23, has lived up to the Yankees’ high hopes this season. He had a solid start to the season with high Class A Tampa, but he really took off after a promotion to Trenton in mid-May. Melacon allowed one unearned run on two hits in two innings on Sunday, lowering his ERA with Trenton to 1.14. He’s allowed only 12 hits in 23 2/3 innings, and has a sparkling 21-to-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Garrett Broshuis (Giants) has his sinker working on Sunday. Broshuis allowed only three hits in seven scoreless innings . . . Ryan Patterson (Blue Jays) hit his second home run in three days. Sunday’s was his 11th of the season . . . For a player without blazing speed, Nick Evans (Mets) sure gets a lot of triples. He hit his sixth of the season on Sunday in a game suspended on Saturday, then went 3-for-4 in the following game of the doubleheader . . . Anthony Swarzak (Twins) couldn’t even get out of the first inning. He gave up five hits and four runs in 2/3 of an inning . . . Swarzak’s teammate Oswaldo Sosa had a much better day. He threw five scoreless innings Austin Jackson (Yankees) homered for a third-straight game. Jackson only has six home runs for the season, so this is a pretty unexpected power binge . . . David Hernandez (Orioles) had some problems with his control, but when you allow only one hit in six scoreless innings, it’s easy to forgive five walks.
PROSPECT OF THE DAY
In 2005, Jacksonville had a lineup that included Russ Martin, James Loney and Andy LaRoche and a rotation that included Chad Billingsley, Jonathan Broxton and Edwin Jackson, which made it easy for us to pick the Suns as the 2005 Baseball America Team of the Year. This year’s Huntsville team may not have as much pitching as that Suns team, but the lineup may be even better.
Mat Gamel’s hitting .377. Matt LaPorta has 19 home runs, Alcides Escobar is hitting .322, and today’s POTD Angel Salome is hitting .353/.411/.543 after going 2-for-4 on Sunday. The impressiveness of Salome’s season sometimes gets lost because of Gamel, LaPorta and Escobar, but Salome’s season is very impressive in its own right. Salome came into the season with a .309 career average, so his season is now outlandishly beyond his previous production. He also has improved on his difficulties throwing out baserunners. After gunning down only 13 percent of basestealers last year, Salome has bumped that up to 24 percent (16-of-68) this season, although its still a problem.
Travis Schlichting (Dodgers), a former infielder who converted to pitching, struck out three in two scoreless innings . . . Jimmy Van Ostrand (Astros) earned a callup to Corpus Christi with a .304/.372/.415 first half at high Class A Salem. After starting off 0-for-5, Van Ostrand went 2-for-4 on Saturday and walked twice as part of an 0-for-3 day on Sunday.
PROSPECT OF THE DAY
Rowdy Hardy (Royals) deserves a lot of credit. After dominating the Carolina League last year, the 25-year-old lefthander was beaten around in his first trip around the Texas League to the tune of a 0-2, 6.23 record in five April starts. But since mid-May, the lefty who has two speeds, slow and slower, has started to get a handle on Double-A.
Hardy allowed six hits in seven scoreless innings last night. He’s now allowed one run in his last 13 innings and is 3-2, 2.76 in his past seven starts.
Mark McCormick lost his battle with Hardy. The Cardinals righthander also raised the ire of his manager because he continues to struggle to hold runners. Ovandy Suero stole third twice off of McCormick because he spotted a flaw in McCormick’s delivery . . . Suero (Royals) now has 29 steals in 37 attempts, not far off of last year’s 75 steals for high Class A Lakeland . . . Ching-Lung Lu’s (Rockies) second try at the Texas League isn’t going any better than his first try. After going 8-8, 5.61 with Tulsa last year, Lu is 5-7, 5.82 after allowing six runs in six innings on Sunday.
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