Two members of the Nationals' low Class A Hagerstown club received 50-game suspensions, Major League Baseball announced. Both J.R. Higley, a 22-year-old outfielder, and Steven Souza, a 21-year-old third baseman, tested positive for Methylphenidate and Ritalinic Acid, which are classified as performance-enhancing substances under the minor league testing guidelines.
A third-round pick in 2007, Souza was batting .232/.309/.434 with 11 home runs in 302 at-bats for the Suns. The Everett, Wash., prep product stole 18 bases in 22 tries.
Despite a lackluster .233/.303/.353 batting line over 116 at-bats for Hagerstown, Higley is considered the better prospect of the two as a potential extra outfielder at the highest level. Injuries have limited him to 99 games in the past two seasons, and now this suspension will cost the 2008 ninth-round pick further development time. [...] Continue Reading »
Felix Perez wasn't under contract with any organization last year. He had agreed to terms with the Yankees in the spring of 2009, but that deal fell apart when the U.S. Consulate discovered the Cuban outfielder had lied about his age. Perez, 25, was suspended for a year, then signed a contract for $550,000 with the Reds in May.
After a 16-game warmup in the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League, Perez came to the U.S. and hit .338/.397/.462 in 16 games for high Class A Lynchburg. The lefty-hitting Perez made his Double-A debut yesterday, going 2-for-5 with a double for Carolina. Perez is older than most prospects in the Southern League, but being a Cuban defector, he's not your average 25-year-old in Double-A. His ceiling isn't huge, but he should be at least a useful fourth outfielder if not better at some point soon.
Taking His Haks
Few teams are as active in the Pacific Rim as the Cubs. One of their prize finds from South Korea is low Class A Peoria shortstop Hak-Ju Lee, who in his first game back from the Futures Game went 4-for-5 with a double. Lee is an outstanding runner with 22 steals in 27 attempts, and he's shown feel for hitting as well. Lee has little power–he hasn't hit a home run yet this year and might not hit one the rest of the season–but his athleticism, speed and ability to put the ball in play could make him a dangerous player once he adds strength.
The Mariners have signed three high-profile international free agents, the most prominent being Dominican outfielder Phillips Castillo, who signed for $2.2 million.
Seattle also signed Colombian righthander Jose Torres for $851,000 and Venezuelan third baseman Yordyn Calderon for a $477,500 bonus.
Castillo, 16, is a 6-foot-2, 175-pound corner outfielder and one of the elite hitters on the market with his ability to hit and hit for power. Torres, 16, has a lanky 6-foot-3 frame and is considered the top pitching prospect this year out of Colombia. Calderon, a 16-year-old from Bobures with a projectable 6-foot-2 frame, is a good athlete who can hit for power.
Baseball America subscribers can read full scouting reports on all three Mariners signings as well as more than 30 of the other top international prospects eligible to sign this summer.
Tuesday's minor league schedule was very light, as the Double-A Texas League was the only full-season circuit in action. The two Triple-A leagues along with the Double-A Eastern and Southern leagues were all on their all-star breaks. The five Class A leagues also had the day off. The Triple-A and EL all-star games are tonight, so who says this is the slowest day on the sporting calendar?
• Corey Brown may have been overmatched against Triple-A pitching, but on the other hand, he's showing the Texas League might not be enough of a challenge for him. The Athletics' 24-year-old outfielder hit just .156/.207/.275 in 109 at-bats for Triple-A Sacramento in April and May as veteran Triple-A pitchers were able to take advantage of his aggressive approach. But he's raked since a demotion to Double-A Midland at the end of May. He hit .316/.420/.484 with four homers in June and is off to a .364/.391/.523 start in July. His latest effort was one of his best, as Brown went 3-for-5 and hit a game-tying home run in the ninth inning of Midland's game at Springfield. [...] Continue Reading »
Just like their Pacific Coast counterparts, the International League all-star squad will be playing with fewer players (24) than initially announced (30). The losses result from injuries and promotions to players elected to the Triple-A all-star game, which will be played tomorrow. The two roster substitutions:
Key to notations: *bats/throws lefthanded. #switch-hitter. @reliever. Starters in bold, with best guesses for starting pitchers and outfield alignment.
|INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE ALL-STAR GAME ROSTER ADDITIONS
|Tomlin, Josh||Columbus||CLE||25||2006 (19)||94||0.8||2.9||6.3|
|Timmons, Wes, 3b||Gwinnett||ATL||31||2002 (12)||345||.286||.391||.383|
Huntsville, Ala., played host to this year's Southern League all-star game, in which the Northern Division squad defeated their Southern counterparts by a 3-2 score. Jacksonville third baseman Matt Dominguez, the Marlins' first-round pick in 2007, secured game MVP honors by going 3-for-4 with a pair of solo home runs. He accounted for both of the Southern Division's runs in the losing effort.
West Tenn shortstop Carlos Triunfel, the Mariners' prospect playing for the Northern Division, went 1-for-3 with a double. But overall, pitchers ruled this Double-A all-star game.
The Northern Division set the tone, completing four scoreless innings to begin the contest. Mobile righty Josh Collmenter (Diamondbacks) started and allowed two hits and one walk in two innings, striking out one and receiving credit for the win. Huntsville righthander Michael Bowman (Brewers) and West Tenn lefty Mauricio Robles (Mariners) followed with single no-hit innings. [...] Continue Reading »
The Pacific Coast League today announced that six replacement players have been added to its all-star game roster. Reinforcements come to replace players who are injured or who have been called to the big leagues.
Key to notations: *bats/throws lefthanded. #switch-hitter. @reliever. Starters in bold, with best guesses for starting pitchers and outfield alignment.
|PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE ALL-STAR GAME ROSTER ADDITIONS
|Banks, Josh||Round Rock||HOU||27||MiLB FA||112||1.0||2.0||3.3|
|McClendon, Mike||Nashville||MIL||25||2006 (10)||40||0.2||2.5||6.5|
|Salas, Fernando@||Memphis||STL||25||Mex Lge ('07)||29||0.6||1.6||10.9|
|*Seddon, Chris||Tacoma||SEA||26||MiLB FA||101||0.6||2.6||5.8|
|Hoffpauir, Jarrett, 2b/3b||Las Vegas||TOR||27||Waivers ('09)||292||.328||.381||.542|
|*Deeds, Doug, rf/cf||Reno||ARI||29||MiLB FA||354||.302||.397||.489|
Baseball America bird dog scout Dave Perkin attended the Futures Game and had these impressions:
• Mike Trout, of course, was the most exciting potential five-tool player in the game. I had him getting down the line in 3.88 seconds. My concerns with him center around some hitting mechanical issues: His bat starts behind his head, and he sometimes fails to complete his swing across his face or around his head; and finally, I'd like to see him really let that top hand go–use it to whip and fire the bat head. He pushes it a bit now. When he does that, he'll reach his power potential.
• Fellow Angels farmhand Hank Conger had a really tough day catching and throwing, and was visibly upset with himself on that front. He redeemed himself with the homer, but I still have some of the same worries I had from his days as an L.A. area prep. Conger still overstrides, and will often flip that front side open too soon. So you will get the occasional home run but the batting average isn't what it could be. [...] Continue Reading »
This time: June 27-July 6
Be sure to check out our Draft Database for a more comprehensive look at recently signed draft picks.
An asterisk (*) denotes an instance of a player agreeing to terms on a minor league contract with an organization with which he already had a major league agreement.
Signed: RHP Andrew Berger (NDFA—Lehigh)
Draft pick signed: 2B Raoul Torrez (21)
Recalled: LHP Jordan Norberto
Added to 40-man roster: RHP Barry Enright
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Carlos Rosa
Placed on 7-day DL: RHP Scottie Allen, LHP Mike Belfiore, C Sean Coughlin, 1B Bryan Byrne, SS Jake Wald, OF Chris Rahl
Reinstated from DL: RHP Kyler Newby, OF Cyle Hankerd
A second-round pick in ’07, Barry Enright got the call from Double-A to fill in for Edwin Jackson after his 149-pitch no-hitter. In 14 starts for Mobile, the 24-year-old Enright went 4-1, 2.88 with strong peripherals—8.0 strikeouts and 1.4 walks per nine innings.
Mike Belfiore, a supplemental first-round selection in ’09, has not pitched since June 19 as he recovers from a strained forearm. Arizona is in the process of making him a starter after his distinguished career as a reliever for Boston College.
Signed: RHP Nate Russ (NDFA—Montevallo (Ala.)), OF Willy Taveras
Draft picks signed: RHP Frank LaFreniere (47), 3B Joe Leonard (3)
Released: 2B Robert Brooks, 2B Juan Gonzalez, SS Chris Lovett, OF Luis Contreras
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Cristhian Martinez
Option transferred: RHP Jeff Lyman (Triple-A to Double-A)
Placed on 7-day DL: RHP Steven Figueroa, RHP Arodys Vizcaino, LHP Mariano Gomez, OF Cody Johnson, OF Kyle Rose
Reinstated from DL: RHP Kyle Cofield, RHP Dustin Evans, RHP Jeff Lyman, RHP Zeke Spruill, LHP Brett Oberholtzer, C Meng Tsai
Reinstated from inactive list: LHP Steve Kent
Arodys Vizcaino, a key piece to last offseason's Javier Vazquez trade, will miss at least six weeks as he recovers from a partial ligament tear in his elbow. The 19-year-old phenom boasted a 66-to-9 strikeout-to-walk ratio this season, during which he advanced to high Class A Myrtle Beach. [...] Continue Reading »
With the Futures' Game going on yesterday in Anaheim, many of the top prospects were busy playing in the game's best exhibition showcase of the year, but there still were plenty of stars in regular season games. Here are a couple of the highlights from what happened this weekend.
J.P. Arencibia, c, Triple-A Las Vegas (Blue Jays): It would be hard to find a hitter having a better summer than Arencibia. When the weather heated up in June, Arencibia began a power tear that has now given him the minor league home run lead. Arencibia hit three more home runs this weekend, giving him 25 for the season and 17 since June 1. Playing in the high altitudes of the Pacific Coast League's Pacific South division doesn't hurt, but Arencibia's power explosion isn't a case of taking advantage of his home park or Colorado Springs–the last series he didn't homer in on the road or at home was back in the first week of June. [...] Continue Reading »
ANAHEIM—I had a chance to talk quickly to World coach Charlie Montoyo, the Triple-A Durham manager who threw some of the World team's BP, while BA's SoCal birddog, Dave Perkin, also took it in.
Both were impressed with Yonder Alonso's batting practice, and Alonso lost some balls to dead center with impressive power. He dropped his back shoulder a bit but was squaring balls up with ease.
Carlos Peguero of the Mariners, who has as much raw pop as anyone in the minors, also impressed with his power display. Perkin said Peguero's approach, from what he saw in BP, does leave him vulnerable to pitches on the outside corner, and that's been evident in Peguero's career in terms of strikeouts. [...] Continue Reading »
ANAHEIM—Here are the starting lineups for Sunday's Futures Game at Angels Stadium. The most notable keys are that Angles low Class A phenom Mike Trout isn't in the starting lineup, and that the starting pitchers are Simon Castro (Padres) and Jeremy Hellickson (Rays).
2b Brett Lawrie
ss Ozzie Martinez
1b Yonder Alonso
3b Alex Liddi
lf Carlos Peguero
rf Wilkin Ramirez
c Wilin Rosario
cf Gorkys Hernandez
dh Francisco Peguero
Starting Pitcher: Simon Castro [...] Continue Reading »
The Diamondbacks have agreed to terms with Venezuelan shortstop Ronny Mejias for a bonus of around $300,000, according to international sources.
Mejias, a 16-year-old switch-hitter from Zulia, was one of the better hitters on the market with an advanced swing, though he probably won't stay at shortstop. Earlier in the week, the Diamondbacks also signed speedy 16-year-old center fielder Yorman Garcia out of Venezuela.
Our Midseason Top 25 Prospect Update is here, and subscribers get an extra blast with a stock report for players and organizations who have improved or fallen back so far this season. Here on the blog we present the Top 25, the 26-50 list presented alphabetically (not from 26-50), and welcome your comments.
Players eligible for our Midseason Top 25 are not in the majors as of July 4; retain rookie eligibility; and were drafted prior to 2010.
1. Domonic Brown, of, Phillies (Triple-A Lehigh Valley)
2. Mike Trout, of, Angels (Low Class A Cedar Rapids)
3. Desmond Jennings, of, Rays (Triple-A Durham)
4. Jeremy Hellickson, rhp, Rays (Triple-A Durham)
5. Jesus Montero, c/dh, Yankees (Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre)
6. Julio Teheran, rhp, Braves (High Class A Myrtle Beach)
7. Dustin Ackley, 2b, Mariners (Double-A West Tenn)
8. Martin Perez, lhp, Rangers (Double-A Frisco)
9. Aaron Hicks, of, Twins (Low Class A Beloit)
10. Zach Britton, lhp, Orioles (Triple-A Norfolk)
11. Michael Pineda, rhp, Mariners (Triple-A Tacoma)
12. Mike Moustakas, 3b, Royals (Double-A Northwest Arkansas)
13. Eric Hosmer, 1b, Royals (High Class A Wilmington
14. Aroldis Chapman, lhp, Reds (Triple-A Louisville)
15. Brett Lawrie, 2b, Brewers (Double-A Huntsville)
16. Logan Morrison, 1b, Marlins (Triple-A New Orleans)
17. Simon Castro, rhp, Padres (Double-A San Antonio)
18. Mike Montgomery, lhp, Royals (Double-A Northwest Arkansas).
19. Lonnie Chisenhall, 3b, Indians (Double-A Akron)
20. Freddie Freeman, 1b, Braves (Triple-A Gwinnett)
21. Tyler Matzek, lhp, Rockies (Low Class A Asheville)
22. Kyle Gibson, rhp, Twins (Double-A New Britain)
23. Kyle Drabek, rhp, Blue Jays (Double-A New Hampshire)
24. Casey Kelly, rhp, Red Sox (Double-A Portland)
25. Tanner Scheppers, rhp, Rangers (Triple-A Oklahoma City)
Prospects 26-50, in alphabetical order: Chris Carter, 1b, Athletics; Jared Cosart, rhp, Phillies; Travis d'Arnaud, c, Blue Jays; Randall Delgado, rhp, Braves; Christian Friedrich, lhp, Rockies; Dee Gordon, ss, Dodgers; Grant Green, ss, Athletics; Brett Jackson, of, Cubs; John Lamb, lhp, Royals; Jordan Lyles, rhp, Astros; Ethan Martin, rhp, Dodgers; Shelby Miller, rhp, Cardinals; Mike Minor, lhp, Braves; Wil Myers, c, Royals; Wilson Ramos, c, Twins; Austin Romine, c, Yankees; Wilin Rosario, c, Rockies; Tony Sanchez, c, Pirates; Jonathan Singleton, 1b, Phillies; Jacob Turner, rhp, Tigers; Arodys Vizcaino, rhp, Braves; Brett Wallace, 1b, Blue Jays; Zach Wheeler, rhp, Giants; Alex White, rhp, Indians; Chris Withrow, rhp, Dodgers.
The Orioles have signed 16-year-old Dominican third baseman Hector Veloz for $300,000, according to his trainer, Victor Baez.
The bonus is a franchise record for an amateur player signed out of the Dominican Republic and is believed to be a franchise record for all of Latin America. A club official did not return calls seeking comment.
At 6-foot-2, 195 pounds, Veloz, who is from Santiago, stands out for his plus raw power from the right side, though he has been inconsistent hitting in games. He also shows an above-average arm and solid hands at third base.
The deal is not official yet, as Veloz still has to clear his age and identity check and pass a drug test, which in his case could get interesting. Veloz has also already tested positive for the anabolic steroid Stanozolol when he took a drug test in mid-May as part of Major League Baseball's new registration program for 40 of the top Dominican prospects in this year's international signing class.
Players in that program are not subject to any suspensions, though if a player fails a drug test after agreeing to terms he would receive a 50-game suspension.
Vicente Lupo, a 16-year-old outfielder from Venezuela, has signed with the Mets, according to international sources, who said Lupo received a bonus in the low to mid six-figures.
Lupo, who has a powerfully built 5-foot-11 frame, is a corner outfielder who stands out for his strength and raw power. BA subscriber can read more about Lupo as well as more than 30 of the other top international prospects eligible to sign this summer.
The Blue Jays have signed 16-year-old third baseman Gabriel Ceñas, one of the top prospects out of Venezuela this year, for $700,000.
Ceñas is a 6-foot-1, 175-pound righthanded hitter from Maracaibo who stands out for his bat and arm strength.
The Astros have completed one of the biggest deals yet since the international signing period opened on July 2, signing 16-year-old Dominican outfielder Ariel Ovando.
International sources outside of the organization said the bonus is around $2.6-$2.8 million, which is a franchise record for an amateur player. Astros assistant general manager Bobby Heck said that Ovando has cleared his background checks with Major League Baseball and that the deal is now complete.
"This is a high-caliber talent who we think has a chance to be an impact bat and would be a definite first-rounder in any draft," Heck said.
Ovando will begin his career in right field, but the biggest draw for most scouts is his outstanding physical frame at 6-foot-4, 180 pounds, and lefthanded power.
"It's a body with physical upside to it," Heck said. "We think there's hit skill here more than just raw bat speed and a high ceiling for power, too. We think he has damage to do both as a hitter and with power."
Major League Baseball handed down 50-game suspensions on Wednesday for five minor league players who tested positive for performance enhancing substances. All five were playing in the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League. Yankees righthanders Daury Aquino, 19, and Alexander de los Santos, 19, tested positive for metabolites of Stanozolol. Diamondbacks righthander Joel Matos, 17, and Royals righthander Freddy Rodriguez, 19, also tested positive for metabolites of Stanozolol. Rays catcher Jhancarlos Infante, 20, tested positive for a metabolite of Boldenone.
The Blue Jays have signed top 16-year-old Venezuelan righthander Adonis Cardona.
International sources have indicated the bonus is $2.8 million, which would be a record for a Venezuelan amateur. A Blue Jays official did not respond to a request seeking comment today.
Cardona's scouting report is below. Baseball America subscribers have access to full reports on more than 30 of the top Latin American prospects eligible to sign this summer.
|3.||ADONIS CARDONA, RHP||VENEZUELA|
|B-T: R-R Ht.: 6-4 Wt.: 180|
|The top pitcher in Venezuela is Cardona, a powerful righthander with a projectable body and an excellent fastball. Cardona, 16, has a quick arm that delivers fastballs at 88-91 mph, touching 93. He should have at least a plus fastball when he's done filling out and should be able to hit the mid-90s down the road. He also shows some feel for a changeup. Cardona's curveball shows good depth at times, though several scouts have expressed concerns about it and have called it a present below-average pitch. Cardona is still refining his feel for pitching, and his mechanics also give some scouts reservations. Cardona has strong ties to the Blue Jays, who are expected to sign him on Friday for around $2.8 million, which would break Padres righthander Adys Portillo's $2 million record for a Venezuelan pitcher set two years ago.|
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