Caleb Gindl's value as a prospect rests solely on the bat. As a 5-foot-9 outfielder whose more comfortable on the corners than in center field (although he can play center in a pinch), Gindl knows he'll have to hit to make the big leagues. Luckily for him, hitting has never really been a problem for the Brewers' 2007 fifth-round pick.
He doesn't really have the power projection to be the prototype corner outfielder, but wherever he's gone, he has gotten on base while pounding plenty of doubles and the occasional home run. And on Sunday, he did a little of everything.
Playing for Triple-A Nashville, Gindl went 4-for-5, finishing off a cycle by singling in the ninth inning. He slugged his 12th home run, which puts him on pace to top his career high of 17, set in 2009 for high Class A Brevard County. Gindl's batting line of .281/.353/.474 is right in line with his career numbers of .298/.375/.464 coming into the season. He may not ever be a big league regular, but the fact that he's shown he can handle center field at least adequately gives him a solid chance of being a platoon or fourth outfielder, especially since he's a lefty hitter.
• There's little doubt at this point at Vance Worley is a big league ready pitcher. Worley is now 5-2, 2.03 in 62 big league innings between last year and this year. But because of the all-star break, Worley was sent back to Triple-A Lehigh Valley to stay sharp, even though he'll rejoin the Phillies' rotation next week. As you would expect, he didn't have much problems against Triple-A hitters either. Worley threw six scoreless innings this weekend in his rotation tuneup.
• Trevor May is a lot further away from Philadelphia than Worley, but the high Class A Clearwater righthander has some of the best stuff in the organization. That was on display on Saturday when May, 20, held Jupiter to one hit in seven scoreless innings. He struck out nine while walking two. May's put together two of the best starts of his career in his past four outings—he struck out 14 on June 22. But sandwiched in between was one of his worst, a six-run, nine-hit stinker on July 2. May's plus stuff wows scouts, but his delivery is not particularly clean. If he can clean it up, he could stick in the rotation, but if not, some scouts see him as a future big league closer.
• If you're looking for a sleeper prospect, Ariel Pena is a pretty good name to remember. The 22-year-old Angels righthander has struck out 108 hitters in 100 innings this year while pitching in the very difficult environment of the California League. Pena still has command issues, arguably in part because of a less-than-ideal delivery, but he has three solid pitches, including a 91-93 mph fastball. This weekend he was at his best. Pena struck out 14 in six shutout innings. He walked three and allowed two hits.
• He's a former Atlantic Coast Conference player playing in the Midwest League, so Georgia Tech alum Derek Dietrich's solid performance this year comes with some caveats, but the 20-year-old has strung together a very solid stat line in his first full pro season. The shortstop is hitting .281/349/.486 for the season. This weekend he went 5-for-13 with three doubles and a home run.
It's hard to fault the Rays for sticking their 2010 second-round pick in Bowling Green. Hak-Ju Lee is playing shortstop in high Class A Charlotte, while Tim Beckham is experiencing a career resurgence in Double-A Montgomery. Only Triple-A shortstop Ray Olmedo isn't a prospect. Dietrich's ability to stick at shortstop is still in question—his arm is solid-average but his range is the sticking point. But if he can handle the defensive demands, his status as a lefty-hitting shortstop adds to his value, and he would add to what's quickly becoming a Rays' prospect logjam.
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