AA Dish: Blanks Fires Away

Dexter Fowler continued his stretch of outstanding hitting, Jason Donald’s stock as one of the better middle infield prospects in the minors rose a little bit, Mat Gamel homered in a three-hit night and Kyle Blanks blasted three extra-base hits in yesterday’s Double-A action. 

TEXAS LEAGUE

Prospect Of The Day

At 6-foot-6, 270 pounds, Kyle Blanks is about as big a player as you’ll find in professional baseball. He had as big of a night as anyone else in the minors last night, going 3-for-4 with a home run and two doubles, raising his OPS 31 points in one game to .852 (.314/.405/.447). The home run was Blanks’ sixth of the year and the two doubles gave him 10 this season. While his superficial power numbers have been down a bit this year, part of that is a byproduct of his home park in San Antonio, a park that supresses run scoring and home runs. Blanks has always shown an excellent handle of the strike zone (he has 35 walks and 35 strikeouts this season in 301 plate appearances.

Prospect Nuggets

Had Dexter Fowler not entered the game as a pinch hitter on June 20 (when he went 0-for-1), the Tulsa center fielder would have a 15-game hitting streak. Fowler had hit in 13 straight games prior to his pinch-hit performance, then had two hits in each of his next two games, including yesterday when he went 2-for-5 and hit his seventh homr run. Fowler kicked off the streak with six multi-hit games and had 10 multi-hit games in that stretch of 16 games (including the pinch-hit game). In all, Fowler hit .431/.479/.723 during those 65 at-bats with 28 hits, half of which went for extra-bases.
 
While Fowler’s one particular hot stretch in June stands out, his entire body of work this season has been superb. The No. 3 prospect in the Rockies system entering the season, the 22-year-old Fowler iss batting .314/.3395/.493 in 332 plate appearances. Always lauded by scouts for his excellent tools and 6-foot-4, 175-pound frame, Fowler has been a two-way threat, as his 70 speed on the 20-80 scouting scale makes him a plus fielder in center.

Fowler’s teammate, second baseman Eric Young Jr., went 3-for-4 with a double and a walk out of the leadoff slot, while righthander Casey Weathers, the organization’s first-rounder last year, struck out three in a scoreless inning of relief . . . Springfield (Cardinals) righthander Jess Todd cruised through the high Class A Florida State League and hasn’t encounted much adversity since his promotion to the TL. Yesterday that changed, as Todd yielded five runs–including two home runs–in five innings. Todd allowed five hits, walked two and struck out two, though the game only raised his ERA to 1.79 in 55 1/3 innings with Springfield.

What To Watch For Today

Several interesting pitching prospects throw today, including Northwest Arkansas (Royals) righthander Dan Cortes, who struck out 10 in his last outing. San Antonio sends righthander Will Inman to the mound, while Frisco (Rangers) righthander Thomas Diamond continues his return from Tommy John surgery.

EASTERN LEAGUE

Prospect Of The Day

Being a contact-hitting middle infielder who draws walks isn’t necessarily the type of profile that jumps out at you when you watch a player live, but it’s a skil set that can have tremendous value for a player in the middle of the diamond. That’s essentially what shortstop Jason Donald provides Reading (Phillies), although he’s also hitting for some power. Yesterday Donald went 2-for-4 with a solo home run, his eighth home run of the season. The performance improved Donald’s season line to .300/.394/.481 in 274 plate appearances, making the 23-year-old one of the more interesting middle-infield prospects not only in Double-A but in all of the minor leagues.

Prospect Nuggets

Reading righthander Carlos Carrasco lowered his ERA to 3.64 in 65 innings yesterday when he allowed one run in six innings, walked three and struck out four . . . The Binghamton (Mets) duo of Mike Carp and Nick Evans is one of the more potent one-two hitting punches in the EL. Yesterday Evans went 2-for-5 and clocked a double and a homer, bringing his slash stats to .303/.360/.560 in 234 Double-A at-bats. On the mound for Binghamton, lefty Jon Niese allowed three runs in six innings, walked two and struck out three . . . Trenton (Yankees) center fielder Austin Jackson went 1-for-4 with a double, stretching his streak of reaching base safely at least once to 13 games . . . Most of the reader feedback we get for Hot Sheet is related to who should have made the Hot Sheet’s top 13. Most don’t say much about guys who missed "Not Hot," but you could make a pretty strong case for Tigers left fielder Wilkin Ramirez. The 22-year-old scorched through Double-A Erie, earning a promotion to Triple-A Toledo in early June. The results there were about as bad as it gets: 3-for-36 with a double (.083/.132/.111) with one walk and 11 strikeouts. The Tigers sent Ramirez back down to Erie, and Ramirez proceeded to go 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in his first game back on Saturday. He bounced back on Sunday, however, going 2-for-3 with a double and a walk.

What To Watch For Today

Righthander Chris Tillman pitches for Bowie (Orioles).

SOUTHERN LEAGUE

Prospect Of The Day

Matt LaPorta didn’t play, as he is day-to-day with a back/neck injury after crashing into a wall and has left the team anyway to spend time with his ailing grandfather. So Huntsville third baseman Mat Gamel picked up the slack, as he’s done all season, going 3-for-4 with a double and a homer, his 24th double and 14th homer of the year.

Prospect Nuggets

Brett Sinkbeil’s not-so-fun season continued yesterday at Chattanooga (Reds). The Carolina (Marlins) righthander allowed seven runs in five innings, walked two and struck out three as his ERA rose to 5.89 in 84 innings. For Chattanooga, righty Sam LeCure lowered his ERA to 3.75 in 84 innings by tossing six shutout innings. LeCure, a fringy prospect with a high-80s fastball and secondary stuff that grades out as average at best, allowed just two hits, no walks and struck out four . . . Montgomery (Rays) just addeed David Price to its pitching staff, giving the Biscuits what should be a fearsome rotation with Price, Jake McGee and Wade Davis. But neither Davis nor McGee have domianted this season as expected, and that trend continued yesterday for McGee. The lefthander lasted just two innings against Mississippi, leaving after feeling soreness in his forearm. He allowed just one hit, but gave up two runs, three walks and had no strikeouts . . .It’s been a tough year for the Cubs farm system, including Tennessee outfielder Tyler Colvin, who yesterday went 0-for-5 to lower his averages to .227/.300/.340 in 291 at-bats. But while Tennessee lefty Donald Veal hasn’t been dominant (a 65-45 K-BB ratio in 84 2/3 innings), he’s nonethless kept runs off the board. Yesterday Veal’s trend continued: he walked three in six innings and didn’t strike anyone out, but he gave up just one earned run (and two more unearned runs) to lower his ERA to 2.76.

What To Watch For Today

The Southern League has the day off.

Minors | #Daily Dish

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