ZEBULON, N.C.—When you think of 19-year-olds playing in the Southern League, the first name that comes to mind is Mississippi’s Jason Heyward, though he just turned 20. The second is probably Jacksonville’s Mike Stanton. The third? Well, there aren’t too many options, but it should be Tennessee’s Starlin Castro.
Just a year removed from playing 51 games in the Rookie-level Arizona League, Castro made his 2009 debut for high Class A Daytona (Florida State) and drew rave reviews. In 96 games for the Cubs, the 2006 international signee out of the Dominican Republic hit .302/.340/.391 with 17 doubles, three home runs and 35 RBIs. He also stole 22 bases in 33 tries. Castro’s rapid ascension through the minor league ranks surprised many, including himself.
"I was surprised when I saw my name on the roster to go to Daytona; I thought I was going to Peoria," Castro said in translation through Smokies teammate Robinson Chirinos. "After that, I expected to be in Daytona all year. But I did think I would move fast because I’ve worked so hard."
With the 863rd pick in the draft, the Mariners selected outfielder Brandon Haveman, an outfielder from Purdue.
While Seattle’s 29th-round pick continues to terrorize Rookie-ball pitchers, his selection and subsequent assignment to the Appalachian League in June didn’t have quite the same impact as a handful of high school players taken at the top of the draft.
Remember, the Appy League is the domain of Orioles righthander Matt Hobgood (taken fifth overall), Astros shortstop Jionvanni Mier (21st) and Mariners catcher Steve Baron (33rd). It also served as home to Braves righthander Julio Teheran and Seattle shortstop Gabriel Noriega, a pair of 18-year-old international talents who pulled down high six-figures bonuses in ’07.
So with Appalachian League season winding down today, it seemed appropriate to take a look at a handful of the league’s top performers, players who have gotten their pro careers started on the right foot. But while these late-round ’09 draft picks were among the most productive players in the league, they may not factor highly—if at all—in our end-of-season prospects lists. The reason: their advanced age means that their tools may not develop much further. In other words, they may be as good now as they’ll ever be as pros.
Still, it’s better to hit (or pitch well) than not. And there’s nothing like a strong performance out of the gate to garner attention. [...] Continue Reading »
This time: Aug. 23-29
Previous installment: Aug. 16-22
Check out the Transactions Glossary for the key to deciphering the various inactive lists presented here. We’re knee-deep in prospect season here, so I apologize for the brevity this time.
Recalled: LHP Daniel Schlereth, OF Chris Young
Added to 40-man roster: C John Hester
Optioned to Triple-A: LHP Daniel Schlereth, OF Trent Oeltjen
Placed on 7-day DL: RHP Trevor Harden
Placed on temporarily inactive list: 2B Guillermo Reyes
The 25-year-old Hester had quite a week, making both Arizona’s 40-man roster and the Pacific Coast League all-star team. A former Stanford catcher, like Jason Castro and D’backs manager (and former farm director) A.J. Hinch, Hester batted .329/.376/.537 with nine home runs and 66 RBIs in 91 games for Triple-A Reno. A 13th-round pick in ’06, Hester receives high marks for his quickness and durability behind the plate. His arm is average and the righthanded batter looks to pull the ball for power at the plate.
Recalled: RHP Buddy Carlyle
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Manny Acosta
Placed on 7-day DL: RHP Paul Clemens, RHP Jerome Gamble, LHP Mariano Gomez, 1B Freddie Freeman
Reinstated from DL: LHP Francisley Bueno, LHP Kevin Gunderson, LHP Richard Sullivan
Assigned to Arizona Fall League: RHP Craig Kimbrel, RHP Jeff Lyman, LHP Lee Hyde, LHP Mike Minor, 1B Freddie Freeman, SS Brandon Hicks, OF Jason Heyward
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