This time: July 5-11
Previous installment: June 28-July 4
Numbers in parentheses indicate draft rounds. Visit our Draft Database for school and signing information. Subscribers can view scouting reports for many top picks as well as search for players by last name or state. Check out the Transactions Glossary for the key to deciphering the various inactive lists presented here.
Signed: C Matt Tupman
Recalled: RHP Leo Rosales, LHP Doug Slaten
Optioned to Triple-A: LHP Doug Slaten, 1B Brandon Allen
Option transferred: LHP Leyson Septimo (high Class A to Double-A)
Placed on 7-day DL: RHP Bobby Korecky, RHP Cesar Valdez, LHP Taylor Sinclair, C Ed Easley, SS Justin Parker, SS Yunesky Sanchez, OF Ryne White
Reinstated from inactive list: 3B Agustin Murillo
Murrillo, a Triple-A third baseman, returns from 50-game suspension for PED use.
Signed: RHP Patrick Currin
Released: 1B Kala Ka’aihue
Recalled: RHP Luis Valdez
Optioned to high Class A: RHP Tommy Hanson
Placed on 7-day DL: RHP Ryne Reynoso, LHP Edgar Osuna, C Jose Camarena, OF Jordan Schafer
Reinstated from DL: LHP Edgar Osuna, C Phillip Britton
The Braves optioned Hanson to make room for an extra body in the Atlanta bullpen, but they’ll recall the rookie righthander when second-half play commences. [...] Continue Reading »
ST. LOUIS—Thanks to XM Radio, I’ve been able to watch the last four Futures Games from field level, doing interviews during the game from the dugouts. This year, I was back in the U.S. dugout, and had some extra points that didn’t make it into our Twitter feed.
• Brett Wallace was our first interview during the long rain delay, and the Cardinals third baseman was outstanding to talk to. Wallace relayed that he stayed in touch with former Arizona State teammate Mike Leake, who was the Reds’ first-round pick this year, and made sure to reach out to Leake after his poor start against Texas in the College World Series. I’m paraphrasing here, but Wallace said he predicted to anyone who’d listen that Leake would get back on the mound and throw well in Omaha, and he did, throwing six solid innings and striking out seven on two days’ rest.
I got Wallace’s attention by asking him if he’d gotten a pregame brawl started prior to the Futures Game, as Arizona State staged before losing the 2008 super-regional to Fresno State. Wallace rolled his eyes but was a tremendous sport anyway during the interview, to his credit. [...] Continue Reading »
The U.S. got the go-ahead run to the plate in the bottom of the seventh, but J.C. Sulbaran (Reds) ultimately held on for a 7-5 World victory. Working with a 90-92 mph fastball, Sulbaran easily retired Daryl Jones (Cardinals) on a foulout and Jason Castro (Astros) on a pop to center. He walked Mike Stanton (Marlins) and Danny Espinosa (Nationals) to add some drama, and then Jemile Weeks (Athletics) tried to redeem for his error in the top of the seventh by smashing a liner to deep center. Tyson Gillies (Mariners), who moved to center for the seventh, went back and caught it to end the game.
Two poor defensive plays by the U.S. helped the World take the lead with four runs in the seventh. Brett Lawrie (Brewers) led off with a sharp double to left, went to third on an infield hit by Starlin Castro (Cubs) and scored on a wild pitch by Trevor Reckling (Angels). Castro was on second base with one out when Alcides Escobar (Brewers) chopped a grounder up the middle. U.S. second baseman Jemile Weeks (Athletics) gloved the ball and tried to flip it to shortstop Danny Espinosa (Nationals) in an attempt to hold Castro at third, but the ball got way. Castro scored and Escobar took second. Reckling struck out Tyson Gillies (Mariners) looking on a curveball and gave way to Brad Lincoln (Pirates).
Pinch-hitter Rene Tosoni (Twins) doubled off the glove of first baseman Chris Carter (Athletics), who lived up to his reputation as a defensively-challenge player. Dayan Viciedo (White Sox) followed with another double, giving the World a 7-5 lead with a half-inning to go.
Chia-Jen Lo (Astros) almost had a seven-pitch bottom of the sixth, but third baseman Dayan Vicieco (White Sox) sailed a throw over first baseman Alex Liddi (Mariners) with two out for a two-base error. After reaching Desmond Jennings (Rays) stole third–a Futures Game record?–and Josh Vitters (Cubs) and Chris Carter (Athletics) drew walks to load the bases. Lo buckled down and struck out Scott Sizemore (Tigers) on 95-mph fastballs to keep it a two-run game.
Casey Kelly (Red Sox) continued to reinforce the notion that he has a brighter future as a pitcher than as a shortstop. He needed just eight pitches to get out of the sixth innings, getting all three outs with a 93-94 mph fastball: a comebacker by Dayan Viciedo (White Sox) and flyouts by Carlos Santana (Indians) and Nick Weglarz (Indians).
Luis Perez (Blue Jays) got two quick outs in the bottom of the fifth, but he couldn’t close the door before the U.S. took the lead. Scott Sizemore (Tigers) singled off a changeup, Daryl Jones (Cardinals) singled off a 91-mph fastball and then Jason Castro (Astros) jumped on a curveball, drilling a three-run homer down the line for a 5-3 advantage.
Luis Durango (Padres) led off the top of the fifth with the World’s second bunt single of the day, then became the second member of the World team to steal second base after getting picked off. Tyson Gillies (Mariners) accomplished both of those feats in the third, then stole third base. Durango tried to do the same and was thrown out at third by Jason Castro (Astros). Danny Duffy (Royals), who threw 92-93 mph, got Alcides Escobar (Brewers) on a groundout before walking Gillies, then gave way to Jarrod Parker (Diamondbacks). Parker threw four pitches, including three 95-96 mph fastballs, to get Alex Liddi (Mariners) on an easy fly to right. Still 3-2 World, heading to the bottom of the fifth.
Jhoulys Chacin (Rockies) showed a nice changeup and curveball in the fourth inning, striking out Danny Espinosa (Nationals) and Desmond Jennings (Rays) to get out of it. He led off the inning by retiring the best prospect in baseball, Jason Heyward (Braves) , on an easy groundout to second, and sandwiched the strikeouts around a walk to Eric Young Jr. (Rockies).
Using almost only a 94-96 mph fastball, Mat Latos (Padres) needed just eight pitches in a 1-2-3 fourth, getting two groundouts and an easy flyout to left.
Francisco Samuel (Cardinals) received a nice welcome from the hometown crowd, but he couldn’t locate his 94-97 mph for strikes. That wasn’t a huge surprise, but the fact that Eric Young Jr. (Rangers) pulled a 97-mph fastball into the seat in right-center was. Young is better known as one of the best basestealers in the minors than as a power hitter. After Samuel issued a pair of walks and allowed Desmond Jennings (Rays) to steal two bases, he got Chris Carter (Athletics) to pop out and was pulled in favor of Leyson Septimo (Diamondbacks). Pedro Alvarez (Pirates) drove in a run with an infield hit, but Septimo struck out Chris Heisey (Reds) on an 85-mph slider and Tyler Flowers (White Sox) on a 95-mph fastball to get out of the inning with a one-run lead.
Tyson Gillies (Mariners) gained a run for the World Team solely with his speed in the top of the third. Facing Brian Matusz (Orioles), Gillies bunted the ball between the mound and first base and BA’s Ben Badler (sitting in the stands) clocked him in 3.4 seconds to first base as he beat it out for a single. Matusz picked him off first base, but Gillies beat the throw to second base for a steal. Then he swiped third and eventually scored when Barbaro Canizares (Giants) grounded into a double play. Interesting thing about the inning was that Matusz worked mostly with his fastball (91-94 mph) when he has a reputation for sometimes relying too much on his fine secondary stuff.
Yohan Flande (Phillies), the only non-replacement Futures Gamer this year who wasn’t written up in the 2009 Prospect Handbook, escaped a two-out rally in the second. Sitting at 91 mph with his fastball, Flande retired Pedro Alvarez (Pirates) on a strikeout and Chris Heisey (Reds) on a grounder before Tyler Flowers (Braves) and Jason Heyward (Braves) touched him for consecutive singles up the middle. But he fanned Eric Young (Rockies) on an 87-mph cutter to get out of it. Still World 2, USA 0 after two innings.
Kyle Drabek (Phillies) continued his impressive comeback from Tommy John surgery with an impressive inning. Drabek needed just 10 pitches to retire the World in order, touching 96 mph while getting Wilmer Flores (Mets) to hit a soft grounder to second base, Luis Durango (Padres) to strike out and Alcides Escobar (Brewers) to hit an easy fly ball to right.
Neftali Feliz (Rangers) subbed for previously announced starter Junichi Tazawa (Red Sox) and looked very impressive after the 4:09 rain delay. Feliz threw mostly fastball, sitting in the upper 90s and touching 101 according to MLB’s pitch f/x system (which is about 4 mph faster than the stadium gun). He struck out Eric Young Jr. (Rockies) and Desmond Jennings (Rays), got worked for a 10-pitch walk by Brett Wallace (Cardinals) and then broke Chris Carter’s (Athletics) bat for a soft lineout right back to the mound.
Chris Tillman has cruised through the International League this year, but he had more trouble against the World team at the Futures Game. Tillman threw a solid curveball to leadoff hitter Alcides Escobar that Escobar swung over the top of, but Escobar managed too chop the ball right off the plate. U.S. catcher Tyler Flowers pounced on the ball quickly, but fired wildly past first baseman Chris Carter, allowing Escobar to advance to second on an error.
From then on, Tillman struggled with his command. He fell behind Alex Liddi 3-0 and eventually walked him. He bounced a pitch in the dirt that hit Nick Weglarz. A sinking line drive from Babarao Canizares scored one run and a Jesus Montero groundout scored another. Tillman did show a 92 mph fastball and a sharp-breaking, if inconsistent curveball.
What was most impressive about the World team was its speed. On my admittedly non-scout stopwatch, Alcides Escobar was 4.0 from the right side to first place while Tyson Gilles was 4.15 from the left side and Brett Lawrie was 4.15 from the right side. Montero on the other hand was significantly slower (4.65) as you would expect.
And then a storm cloud showed up and a tarp is now on the field. Hopefully this is a brief shower.
ST. LOUIS—A few quick observations and reminders from Busch Stadium batting practice:
• Follow BA’s coverage here on the prospects blog, but also on Twitter (www.twitter.com/baseballamerica). Also, I’ll be on Sirius XM Radio’s coverage from the U.S. dugout, with Scott Graham and Jim Kaat calling the action.
• I talked briefly with Charlie Montoyo, the Triple-A Durham manager and one of the coaches for the World team, and he was most impressed by Brett Lawrie (Brewers), who took a mean batting practice. "It’s fun to throw BP to guys with pop," Montoyo said, and then he surprised me by throwing Brewers shortstop Alcides Escobar into that mix. "He stung the ball," Montoyo said.
Jason Heyward put on a nice show for the U.S., showing easy power while hitting in a group with Tyler Flowers, his former Braves system teammate. Josh Vitters, another 2007 first-round pick (he went 11 spots ahead of Heyward) also had a nice round, finishing with a long homer to left-center field. Ben Badler also reports from the field that Mike Stanton (Marlins) and Brett Wallace (Cardinals) were among the U.S. players who had the best BP sessions. [...] Continue Reading »
The Boston Herald reports the Red Sox have agreed to a contract with Cuban shortstop Jose Iglesias, reportedly for an $8 million contract. According to the Herald report, the Red Sox have scouted Iglesias heavily, including a workout at their Dominican Republic complex.
Iglesias, 19, left the Cuban junior team last August in Edmonton along with Noel Arguellez, a lefthanded pitcher, and both were declared free agents this June. Both also have since chosen new agents, leaving Jaime Torres for SFX.
Two scouts with American League organizations independently arrived at the same conclusion about Iglesias, a 19-year-old middle infielder. Both compared him to Orlando Cabrera for his batting stance, infield actions and offensive potential.
"He’s a stud," one of the scouts said. "He’s a plus run and plus arm Orlando Cabrera clone. He’s got a quick bat but I didn’t see much power."
This time: June 28-July 4
Previous installment: June 20-27
Numbers in parentheses indicate draft rounds. Visit our Draft Database for school and signing information. Subscribers can view scouting reports for many top picks as well as search for players by last name or state.
Check out the Transactions Glossary for the key to deciphering the various inactive lists presented here. And don’t forget the Prospect Injury Report, which is filed here along with other updates on banged-up prospects.
Released: RHP Jesse Orosco Jr.
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Leo Rosales, 3B Ryan Roberts
Placed on 7-day DL: SS Ed Rogers, SS Antonio Sepulveda
Reinstated from DL: 1B Dan Kauffman, OF Greg Thomson
Placed on restricted list: 1B Ryohei Shimabukuro
Added to 40-man roster: 2B Brooks Conrad
Option transferred: RHP Stephen Marek (Double-A to Triple-A)
Placed on 7-day DL: LHP Brett DeVall, OF Jon Owings
Reinstated from DL: RHP Rudy Darrow, LHP Jose Ortegano, 1B Gerardo Rodriguez, OF Jordan Schafer
Filling in for the injured Kelly Johnson at second base, Conrad began his Braves career by going 5-for-his-first-14 with a double, a triple and a homer. Not bad for a player who twice has made the rounds on the minor league free agent circuit—though he might not visit it again for awhile if he keeps this up. Chalk (another) one up to the Braves’ pro scouting department. The 29-year-old switch-hitting Conrad batted .259/.356/.413 in 73 games with Triple-A Gwinnett prior to his callup.
An Astros’ eighth-round pick from Arizona State in ’01, Conrad has shown encouraging power (.477 slugging) for a middle infielder in Triple-A. Houston, though, never did call him up during his seven years in the organization. He migrated to the Athletics for the ’08 season, and while he did make it to Oakland he played in just six games. Strange, seeing as he had blasted 28 home runs in Pacific Coast League play. It was no fluke. He hit 22, 24 and 23 homers in the three previous seasons. What’s held him back is limited contact and hittability (.248 average in Triple-A with about a strikeout per game)—though scouts do appreciate Conrad’s level of plate coverage and his line-drive stroke. They even laud his soft hands and actions afield as well as his double-play pivot. [...] Continue Reading »
Jamie McOwen breezed past the California League record for consecutive-game hitting streaks a week and a half ago, going 2-for-6 against Lake Elsinore to push his running tally to 36 games. In the process, he relegated Modesto's Brent Gates (1992) and Bakersfield's Chris Davis (2007) to the dustbin of history.
McOwen, a 23-year-old outfielder for the Mariners' high Class A High Desert affiliate, has kept his streak intact since then, going 2-for-4 on July 8 to up the ante to 45 straight games. That total ranks second among post-World War II hitting streaks, trailing only Roman Mejia's 55-game run in the 1954 Big State League. (See our short feature on McOwen for more about him and his pursuit of the record.)
As we did previously with regard Greg Halman's assault on the Southern League strikeout record, we present here the top hitting streaks for existing full-season minor leagues. [...] Continue Reading »
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