Minor League Roundup: Big Steps In Triple-A

Today’s roundup feature’s a a big step for a Kingham and a roaring Leon.

International League (AAA)

Nick-Kingham-mug-2013

Nick Kingham, rhp, Indianapolis (Pirates). The Pirates’ fifth-best prospect entering the season—that should change shortly—Kingham was solid to begin the season at Altoona. At the next level, though, he’s been nothing short of dynamic. In his second game since his promotion to Triple-A, Kingham dealt seven strong innings (4 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 2 SO) and got his first win at the level in a 2-1 win over Gwinnett. The injury to Jameson Taillon leaves Kingham—who possesses the triune godhead of velocity, command and control—a step from being a first responder to the Pirates’ rotation shortfall.

Micah Johnson, 2b,  Charlotte (White Sox). Johnson, who hit .218 with a 2/13 walk/strikeout ratio in his first 18 games at Triple-A, broke out Wednesday in a big way with a 4-for-4 night, including his first home run at the level.

Pacific Coast League (AAA)

Arnold Leon, rhp, Sacramento (Athletics). Despite a solid record (7-2) the 25-year-old Leon has struggled this season, walking more hitters than last season and allowing more hits. But on Wednesday, he showed a little of the arsenal that gives the A’s hope he could be a rotation option, blanking Round Rock on two hits over six innings without a walk. It was the first scoreless outing of the season for Leon, who commands a fastball at 92-93 and has a good, fading change

Eastern League (AA)

Michael Taylor, cf, Harrisburg (Nationals). Taylor’s amazing breakout season continued Wednesday with a 2-for-4 night that included a home run, his 17th. His previous season best was 13. Taylor is still striking out at a clip that would worry Rob Deer, but at least he’s now tempering it with power.

minorleaguebrawlAlso Wednesday night, the Double-A debut of Blue Jays’ lefthander Daniel Norris was marred by a benches-clearing brawl that was precipitated by Norris, playing for New Hampshire, hitting Altoona’s Stetson Allie with a pitch in the sixth inning. Allie had homered off Norris in his previous at-bat. Both teams were warned after Norris’ plunking. The brawl took place in the seventh when reliever Arik Sikula hit Altoona’s Jarek Cunningham with a pitch and Cunningham charged the mound. Cunningham and two teammates were ejected, while Sikula and five other Fisher Cats got the boot. The photo is courtesy of WMUR-TV.

 

Southern League (AA)

Still on its all-star break, the Southern League resumes Thursday. For details on its all-star game, click here.

Texas League (AA)

Cheslor Cuthbert, 3b, Northwest Arkansas (Royals). After struggling to a .207 average in May, Cuthbert has rebounded in June (.313/.362/.422), including a 3-for-4 night with two doubles. Part of a stacked 2009 international class, Cuthbert is performing better in a second go-round at Double-A and is still just 21.

Carolina League (Hi A)

Still on its all-star break, games resume Thursday. For details on its all-star game, click here.

California League (Hi A)

Still on its all-star break, games resume Thursday. For details on its all-star game, click here.

Florida State League (Hi A)

Stuart Turner

Stuart Turner, c, Fort Myers (Twins). A heap o’ rain left few games to choose from in the FSL. Among the prospects who stood out was the former Ole Miss catcher, who might be moving up in the eyes of the Twins organization with Josmil Pinto firmly entrenched beneath the bus that Glen Perkins threw him under. Turner homered in the Miracle’s 5-0 win. He’s hitting just .236 overall, but has heated up the past two months and is slugging .922 in June. If the mitt-first Turner shows anything with the bat, he could move quickly with a void behind the dish at Target Field.

South Atlantic League (Lo A)

Still on its all-star break, games resume Thursday. For details on its all-star game, click here.

Midwest League (Lo A)

Still on its all-star break, games resume Thursday. For details on its all-star game, click here.

Pioneer League (Rookie level)

Carlos Polanco, rhp, Grand Junction (Rockies). The 20-year-old righthander made his U.S. debut last night and it was a smash hit. He allowed just one hit and struck out nine in six innings against Ogden, while walking three. Rockies pitching coach Ryan Kibler told milb.com that Polanco, who was 4-7, 3.38 at the Rookie-level DSL in his first two seasons, has a lively fastball up to 97 and sitting at 93-94.

New York-Penn League (short-season)

Taylor Gushue, c, Jamestown (Pirates). Gushue, as we noted yesterday, is off to a fast start and added to that Wednesday with two more RBIs. The former Gators backstop drafted in the fourth round by the Buccos is 9-for-27 as a pro with six extra bases hits, although just one walk against seven strikeouts.

Northwest League (short-season)

Francisco Sosa, of, Tri-City (Rockies). After a rough time in the California League (.210/.291/.314), the Rockies decided to have Sosa drop back to short-season ball to help re-acclimate himself. It didn’t help that he was struck in the head with a pitch. The Rockies still believe in Sosa’s tools (above-average strength and power) and they’ll let him play in Tri-City as long as he needs. He went 2-for-2 Wednesday night.

 

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