The pitching matchup of the night lived up to the hype.
Shelby Miller and Matt Harvey both have the frontline stuff to make quick work of high Class A Florida State League hitters, who were able to experience the pain first-hand yesterday. Harvey, 22, showed why the Mets made him the seventh overall pick in the 2010 draft, holding Palm Beach scoreless over five innings with nine strikeouts, two walks and five hits allowed.
Miller, 20, was arguably just as effective for the Cardinals—perhaps even a touch better—as he struck out nine, walked only one and allowed four hits over five innings. The lone run Miller surrendered (unearned) was the only run of the game, though, as the Mets held on for the 1-0 victory. It could be a short stint in the FSL for Miller and Harvey, both of whom should reach Double-A early this summer with a chance to crack their respective big league rotations at some point in 2012.
Keyvius Sampson, rhp, Padres: Sampson isn’t as good a prospect as Miller or Harvey, but he put up the pitching line of the night for low Class A Fort Wayne. Sampson, 20, struck out 10 in six perfect innings at home against South Bend, showing why the Padres gave him $600,000 as a fourth-round pick in 2009. Sampson worked almost exclusively off his fastball, a low-90s offering that can reach the mid-90s. Sampson had a tear in his labrum last year, but when healthy he’s shown one of the better arms in the low minors.
Hayden Simpson, rhp, Cubs: No team took more heat for its first-round pick last year than the Cubs, who took Simpson 16th overall out of Division II Southern Arkansas. While we expect a 21-year-old college pitcher to get through low Class A unscathed, Simpson’s pro debut was impressive nonetheless. Simpson struck out seven of the 14 batters he faced, leaving after allowing one run, one walk and three hits in 3 2/3 innings.
Randall Delgado, rhp, Braves: Baseball’s best Panamanian prospect, Delgado is one of the youngest pitchers in the Double-A Southern League, but the 20-year-old is already one of the league’s most advanced arms. Delgado, who made eight starts last year with Mississippi, returned to strike out six with two walks and five scoreless innings against Jackson.
High Class A Clearwater, Phillies: Low Class A Lakewood was one of the most fun teams in the minors for scouts to watch in 2010. Now that most of those players have graduated to the FSL, the show has moved to Clearwater, with a few new twists. Righthander Jared Cosart walked four batters in six innings, but he didn’t allow a run, surrendered just two hits, struck out a pair and had an 11-1 groundout-air out mark. Going up against a rehabbing Brandon Morrow, Jonathan Singleton played left field and collected three hits, Jiwan James reached base four times (two singles, two walks) and then stole two bases, while Leandro Castro chipped in three hits and a steal. The best line of the night though came from Joe Savery, the 2007 first-round pick who’s converted from pitching to hitting. A two-way player at Rice, Savery reached based in all five of his trips to the plate, going 4-for-4 with a walk and a double as the Threshers' DH.
Paul Goldschmidt, 1b, Diamondbacks: Goldschmidt hit 35 home runs last year, though there’s still concern among scouts about how much he’ll hit against more advanced pitchers. The doubt isn’t about whether his power was just a California League creation though—his pop is real. Goldschmidt hit two home runs last night for Double-A Mobile, including a no-doubter over the left field fence in the first inning that made a different sound than any other hit all night (I was there). You can see why Goldschmidt struck out 161 times last year—he doesn’t have a low-maintenance swing—but there should still be plenty of dingers in his bat as he moves through the high minors.
Logan Forsythe, 2b, Padres: One of the fun parts of having minor league baseball back is getting to check box scores from places like Lancaster, High Desert and Colorado Springs, where Triple-A Tucson played yesterday. The Padres edged the Sky Sox 18-14, though the friendly ballpark can’t entirely explain why Forsythe was so successful—the patient 24-year-old hit two home runs and also drew four walks. Teammate Anthony Rizzo looked comfortable at first base in his first game since coming over from the Red Sox in the Adrian Gonzalez deal, going 2-for-7 with a double.
Devin Mesoraco, c, Reds: Was last year’s sudden breakout from Mesoraco a fluke? That doesn’t seem likely, as Mesoraco battled wrist and finger injuries throughout his career until last season, when scouts came away more impressed with his bat speed, power and ability to square up the ball routinely than they had seen in the past. Mesoraco, 22, went 2-for-4 with a home run and a double yesterday for Triple-A Louisville, where he could repeat his 25-plus home run season from a year ago.
Wily Peralta, rhp, Brewers: Milwaukee is home to baseball’s barest farm system, but Peralta remains an intriguing arm in Double-A. After an uneven eight-start cameo in Huntsville last year, Peralta returns to the Stars and is still just 21 with a fastball that can hit 96 mph. Facing a Jacksonville lineup that included Marlins catcher Kyle Skipworth in his jump over high Class A, Peralta threw six innings of one-hit baseball, allowing only one run and two walks while striking out six. Skipworth went 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts.
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