Daily Dish: May 10


See also: Tuesday’s Daily Dish
See also: Today’s Baseball America Prospect Report

It was just another night for the Yankees’ Jose Tabata. The 17-year-old had three more hits, including a double, for low Class A Charleston to extend his hitting streak to eight games and raise his season line to .368/.398/.552.

“He is just a pretty special kid,” Charleston manager Bill Mosiello said. “He uses the whole field, and his power numbers are going to get even better as he learns to command the strike zone.

“He has great barrel awareness. (He) always gets the fat part of the bat on the ball.”

The outfielder’s name is littered among the South Atlantic League leaders. He ranks third in hitting with a .368 average while leading the league in hits (46), and he’s second in RBIs (31), doubles (14) and extra-base hits (17).

With just four walks as opposed to 23 strikeouts, plate discipline appears to be his only flaw as a hitter. But when you are hitting .338 in your pro career, that just seems like nitpicking.

“For his age, he just needs at-bats,” Mosiello said. “He puts the ball in play so often, he doesn’t get so many walks because doesn’t miss his pitches when he gets them.”

“Last year he had one more walk than strikeout, so it is not like he has a history of not walking.”

Mosiello knows his players. In his debut in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League, the Venezuelan native hit .314/.382/.417 with 15 walks and 14 strikeouts.

“He needs to see pitchers more then once, see how they are trying to work him,” Mosiello added. “It is nothing where I am like, ‘Oh geez, I wonder if he is going to be able to do it at a higher level.’ “

“He needs to see the difference between swinging at strikes and swinging at your strikes.”

If he does learn the difference, the sky is the limit, because simply swinging at strikes has been a successful formula thus far.

–MATT MEYERS

The Untouchable?

The way Indians righthander Joe Ness has been pitching at high Class A Kinston, maybe he should change his first name to Elliot, just for reference sake.

Ness was at it again in Potomac on Tuesday, allowing a run on three hits and striking out seven over 5 2/3 innings. On the season, the sixth-round pick out of Ball State last year is now 3-0, 2.53 with 36 strikeouts in 32 innings.

But one scout from an American League club isn’t particularly sold on Ness’ ability to move up through the system with his low 90s fastball, slider and changeup.

“Everything he throws is hard,” the scout said. “He’s a strike-thrower, there’s no question. But sometimes that can be a bad thing. Especially with his stuff–he doesn’t really have anything to show hitters that’s off the pace of his fastball and slider.

“He gets a lot of ground balls with that slider, but everything’s the same type stuff. Even his changeup, which is just OK at times, isn’t that much off the pace of his fastball. To me, he just has such a small margin for error, and if he keeps pitching the way he’s pitching as he moves up, he’s going to get worn out.”

–CHRIS KLINE

Pelfrey Shines

Mets righthander Mike Pelfrey was brilliant in his debut at Double-A Binghamton a little less than two weeks ago. He was not-so brilliant in his second start, allowing five earned runs on 13 hits over four innings.

But he returned to the brilliant column Tuesday, allowing two earned runs on seven hits and striking out 10 in the B-Mets’ 8-3 win against Connecticut.

The club’s first-round pick who signed for team record $3.55 million lowered his ERA to 3.78 since moving up to Double-A after dominating the competition in the high Class A Florida State League.

Pelfrey had good command and his fastball touched 95 mph several times, topping out at 96.

“I’d give myself a B,” Pelfrey told the New York Daily News. “I made a few mistakes, left a few pitches over the middle of the plate, and my breaking ball . . . sometimes it was there, sometimes it wasn’t. But I showed (the Mets) some stuff tonight. I located some good fastballs and breaking balls. You could see flashes of what I can do.”

QUICK HITS

• Rangers’ righthander Eric Hurley outdueled Royals righthander Luis Cota in a battle of pitching prospects. Cota allowed just one unearned run over seven innings while fanning seven and walking one, but got a no-decision. Hurley was even better, fanning 15 over eight innings to give Bakersfield a 3-2 victory against High Desert in a high Class A California League showdown . . . It’s been a long road back to the big leagues for lefthander Jeriome Robertson. Robertson, a 24th-round pick of the Astros in 1995 who went on to win 15 games in the majors for Houston in 2003, was purchased from independent Newark to the Mets. He is scheduled to start tonight at Triple-A Norfolk. Robertson was traded from the Astros to the Indians for outfielders Willy Taveras and Luke Scott in 2004, then was dealt to the Expos for righthander Pierre-Luc Marceau after he struggled to make it out of Triple-A with Cleveland. He pitched all of last season in the Reds’ system at Triple-A Louisville, where he went 5-11, 5.46 in 120 innings . . . Dodgers righthander Chad Billinglsey has been dealing at Triple-A Las Vegas, but didn’t make it out of the second inning in Tuesday’s 12-11 loss to Memphis. Billinglsey threw 39 pitches in the Redbirds’ four-run first inning, and was pulled an inning later. “It was a tough day for Billingsley. He got knocked around a little bit,” Las Vegas manager Jerry Royster told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “But here’s a guy who’s been nails, and that’s his first game like that, so I don’t worry about that. Now we get to see the other side, and that’s how does he bounce back? It’s a good test for him.” Billinglsey is now 3-0, 3.34 in 37 innings for the 51s . . . Brewers lefthander Dana Eveland lowered his ERA to a PCL-best 0.75 mark after five strong innings for Triple-A Nashville last night. He was pulled after 70 pitches because he’s a candidate to replace Ben Sheets in the major league rotation. Sheets is on the disabled list with shoulder tendinitis. Eveland, 22, competed for a major league rotation in spring training, but was optioned to Nashville after a poor showing. “We told him to go and do what he does best in case we needed him up here, starter or whatever,” Brewers manager Ned Yost said at the time . . . Yankees outfielder Melky Cabrera was recalled from Triple-A Columbus to replace the injured Gary Sheffield, who’s out with a bruise and sprain of his left hand and wrist. Cabrera started in right field last night, collected his first major league RBI and misplayed a fly ball that led to two runs scoring. Cabrera had hit an IL-best .385 at the time of his promotion.

Contributing: Matt Eddy.

Minors | #2006 #Daily Dish

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