On the same day the Rays recalled Reid Brignac from the minors (Aug. 11), the organization also promoted its top two shortstop prospects to the upper reaches of the minors. Tim Beckham, the first overall pick in 2008 draft, headed from Double-A Montgomery to Triple-A Durham, while Hak-Ju Lee, the prize from last offseason's Matt Garza trade, replaced Beckham in Montgomery.
The 21-year-old Beckham went 3-for-5 with a double and his first Triple-A home run yesterday in the second game of a doubleheader at Buffalo. He went 1-for-4 in the first game, so in all he went 4-for-9 with five RBIs and two runs scored. Beckham has gone 7-for-22 (.318) with three extra-base hits, no walks and three strikeouts in the first five games of his Bulls career.
Lee hasn't gotten off to such a flying start with Montgomery, going 2-for-his-first-16, but he went 2-for-5 yesterday with his first two Double-A extra-base hits, a double and a homer. The 20-year-old has struck out once in each of his five games for the Biscuits, but his .190 average could be on the upswing with a few more good games. Lee batted .317/.389/.442 in 398 at-bats for high Class A Charlotte, and he still ranks among the Florida State League leaders for average, steals (28), hits (126), triples (11) and runs scored (81).
AROUND THE MINORS
• Rockies lefty Edwar Cabrera keeps rolling along. He pushed his minor league-leading strikeout tally to 192 with an eight-whiff game for high Class A Modesto. Remarkably, Cabrera allowed just thee runs on seven hits (one homer) while pitching 5 1/3 innings at Lancaster. His 3.66 ERA in the California League is impressive enough, but remove a six-run mugging on July 18 and Cabrera's ERA drops to 3.16 through 57 innings.
• Rockies lefthander Christian Friedrich's ERA had ballooned to 6.87 in the second half, but the 24-year-old reined that figure in with a strong start yesterday for Double-A Tulsa. He pitched six shutout innings at Frisco, allowing only one hit (in the fifth inning) while striking out seven and walking four. Because Tulsa has switched to a seven-man rotation, Friedrich may not have many opportunities to gussy up his final pitching line. He's gone 6-8, 4.64 through 22 starts with a 1.44 WHIP and strikeout rate of 6.9 per nine innings. The Rockies must add Friedrich, their 2008 first-round pick, to the 40-man roster in the offseason to shield him from the Rule 5 draft.
• Angels center fielder Jeremy Moore started slowly but finished strong with Double-A Arkansas in 2010. His second-half OPS (.913) improved on the first half figure (.741) by more than 170 points and earned him passage on the 40-man roster. The athletic 24-year-old is in the midst of pulling the same trick this season with Triple-A Salt Lake. Moore went 2-for-4 yesterday with a homer (13) and a double (21) to raise his post-all-star batting line to .330/.355/.716 through 88 at-bats. That 1.071 OPS is a 255-point increase on his first-half figure. Moore's speed is readily apparent—he shares the Pacific Coast League lead with 15 triples and has swiped 15 bases in 23 attempts—but the lefty hitter will need to even out his walk-to-strikeout ratio (18-to-100) to profile as more than a reserve outfielder.
• Pirates lefty Jeff Locke made a fine Triple-A debut, throwing 5 2/3 scoreless innings for Indianapolis. He struck out six, walked none and allowed four hits, in the process extending his scoreless streak to 11 2/3 innings, a streak that began in his final start for Double-A Altoona. The 23-year-old Locke, acquired from the Braves in the 2009 Nate McLouth deal, made 32 starts (and one relief appearance) for Altoona over the course of this season and last, producing positive results and solid scouting reports. He went 10-10, 3.89 with 170 strikeouts in 182 2/3 innings (8.4 per nine) and a 1.28 WHIP. Locke mixes an 89-91 mph tailing fastball and sinking changeup to good effect and also throws a fringy curveball, making him a solid back-of-the-rotation candidate.
• On the same day the Astros selected 19-year-old right fielder Domingo Santana from the Phillies as the player to be named in the Hunter Pence deal, the organization also started Henry Sosa in the big leagues for the second time. The 26-year-old righthander joined Houston in the Jeff Keppinger trade with the Giants, making him the first player acquired this July to suit up for the Astros. (Incidentally, Jimmy Paredes, from last year's Lance Berkman deal, has a solid .767 OPS in his first 13 big league games.) Sosa delivered six innings, in which he struck out six, walked two and allowed four runs on seven hits, a performance that pushed his big league ERA to 6.00. But that has to be taken as progress considering that he pitched his way off San Francisco's 40-man roster earlier this season. Sosa rebounded after the trade, earning his callup by posting a 2.10 ERA and 1.09 WHIP in four starts in the Astros system.
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