Today’s roundup includes Joey Gallo again assuming his place atop The Great Minor League Home Run Race, a giant righthander attacking Durham and a raging Raimel.
|MINOR LEAGUE HOME RUN RACE
International League • AAA
Alex Meyer, rhp, Rochester (Twins): In a duel with Durham’s Nathan Karns throughout the evening, Meyer was thoroughly impressive for six innings. The lanky righthander spun six innings of five-hit, shutout ball with no walks and eight strikeouts. He did it primarily with a fastball that often reached into the 97-98 mph range and a curveball that broke hard and late away from righthanders. He also mixed in a serviceable changeup on occasion. His delivery, as one would expect from someone who is 6-foot-8, is very long and will take great care to repeat at the highest level.
Pacific Coast League • AAA
Jason Lane, lhp, El Paso (Padres): Yes, Joc Pederson homered and stole a bag on Wednesday, but Lane’s evening was just too awesome to ignore. The 37-year-old major league vet as a position player is making a comeback as a lefty pitcher in Triple-A. He won his start against Sacramento with six innings of four-run (two earned) ball on seven hits and four strikeouts with no walks, but that was just the beginning. He also went 3-for-3 at the dish with a solo home run. It was the third homer of the year for the sometimes outfielder, and the second start in a row in which he’s also gone deep.
Eastern League • AA
Michael Taylor, cf, Harrisburg (Senators): One of the most exciting players in the league for his overall package of speed, defense and power, Taylor’s spectacular first half has carried into the latter part of the season in Double-A. He went 2-for-3 on Wednesday with his 21st homer of the season, scored three times, walked twice and stole his 30th bag of the season. He has a legit chance at a 30-30 season. He leads the EL in OPS (.940) but also in BABIP (.429) and is third in strikeout percentage (29.8 percent).
Southern League • AA
Jose Peraza, 2b, Mississippi (Braves). Peraza has not slowed down since he reached Double-A. In fact, he’s outperforming his Carolina League output. In 28 games at Mississippi, he is slashing .374/.403/.472 and has cut down on his strikeouts. Peraza accomplishes his plate work with quick hands and good hand-eye coordination, and scouts praise his line-drive, contact-making skill.
Texas League • AA
Joey Gallo, 3b, Frisco (Rangers). While the major league team is trading off parts, Gallo is doing anything but waving the white flag in the home run race with Kris Bryant and others. The lefty masher swatted his 33rd bomb of the season Wednesday night—his second in three games. One troubling aspect since his promotion to Double-A has been a spike in whiffs and a tail-off in walks. In 137 at-bats at Frisco, Gallo’s struck out 67 times while walking just 18 times.
Carolina League • Hi A
Bubba Starling, cf, Wilmington (Royals). A real Bubba sighting? The fifth overall pick in 2011 is starting to show signs of life for K.C. He went 3-for-4 Wednesday with a double and triple, and for July he’s slashing .319/.388/.458. He’s also crushing lefthanders and has cut down on his strikeouts. Still just 21, perhaps the former high school quarterback is building on a strong end to 2013.
California League • Hi A
The league had a regularly scheduled night off.
Florida State League • Hi A
Dan Vogelbach, 1b, Daytona (Cubs). Vogelbach, who ranked No. 10 in our midseason top 10, swatted a pair of solo homers as part of a 2-for-5 effort Wednesday night. He’s got excellent power potential and is beginning to use the entire field as well. He’s murdering righthanders, but against lefties he’s hit just .202/.296/.294.
South Atlantic League • Lo A
Raimel Tapia, of, Ashveille (Rockies). Described by one evaluator as the wild card in the Rockies system, Tapia has had a tremendous season, especially since a slow start. He tore through the Pioneer League in 2013 and is blitzing the SAL with his, to be polite, unorthodox swing. Tapia has never met a fastball he didn’t like, and he had two hits and his seventh homer of the season Wednesday. For the season he’s slashing .331/.387/.463, albeit in the best hitter’s park in the league, by far. Still, Tapia is hitting .300 away from home, though all seven of his homers have come at McCormick Field.
Midwest League • Lo A
Clint Frazier, cf, Lake County (Indians). Frazier is determined to make up for a lousy start, and apparently he wants to do it all in July. The No. 5 overall pick last June hit his sixth homer of the month—and 11th of the season—Wednesday night and went 3-for-3. In July, the righthanded hitter is slashing .378/.465/.676 after hitting .241 with one home run in 42 games in April and May.