Today’s roundup includes a slugging Pirate at Triple-A, a new member of the 30-homer club, a powerful Detroit prospect, two Diamondbacks lighting it up, an under-the-radar Brewer dominating the FSL and Julio Urias continuing to roll.
|MINOR LEAGUE HOME RUN RACE
Make A Miracle
The Baseball Miracles Foundation, which brings baseball equipment and pro-level coaching to places it wouldn’t otherwise exist, needs your help. Their team, headed by White Sox scout John Tumminia, is planning to head to South Africa this October to help spread the game. Toward this end, they’re looking for donations, financial or otherwise, to help get them there. White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf has already reached into his wallet, and so can you. To give, you can send to the White Sox at 333 W. 35th Street, Chicago, IL, 60616, care of Tumminia. You can also get in contact via this link.
International League • AAA
Andrew Lambo, of/1b, Indianapolis (Pirates): With Gregory Polanco long gone, the Indy lineup is more or less devoid of prospect power. With Lambo back in the swing of things after missing nearly two months following thumb surgery, that problem seems to have been alleviated. Lambo swatted two home runs last night, his sixth and seventh of the season, and is giving fans and media alike reason to clamor for him to replace the struggling Pedro Alvarez in Pittsburgh.
Pacific Coast League • AAA
Joc Pederson, of, Albuquerque (Dodgers): Welcome to the club, Mr. Pederson. Mssrs. Gallo, Bryant, O’Brien, Olson and Moya will take your coat and do whatever necessary to make you feel welcome. Here at the exclusive Club 30, we aim to please. With his home run Monday night, Pederson became just the sixth minor leaguer this season to swat 30 home runs. And while he’s not going to get anywhere near the top of the Great Minor League Home Run Race, he’ll do something most of the other members of Club 30 won’t—he’ll make his major league debut. Dodgers GM Ned Colletti has already gone on record as saying Pederson will be up on Sept. 1, so he and Dodgers fans have just 12 days to wait.
Eastern League • AA
Steven Moya, of, Erie (Tigers): With a body and power potential some have compared to Darryl Strawberry, Moya has been one of the shining stars this year on Detroit’s farm. He took the Best Power section of our annual Best Tools survey in near-unanimous fashion, and on Monday bashed his 31st home run of the season. Moreover, he was a triple away from the cycle and is a double away from 30 in that category as well. When he does so, he will join Kris Bryant and Joc Pederson as the only minor leaguers with 30 doubles, 30 homers and 15 stolen bases. The nearly 12-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio is concerning, however.
Southern League • AA
Aaron Blair, rhp, Mobile (Diamondbacks): Amazing what getting away from the Cal League can do for you, isn’t it? Blair, a supplemental first-rounder in last year’s draft, put up respectable numbers in high Class A, for sure, but has taken off since moving to Double-A. He spun six shutout innings Monday night with with just four hits and a walk on his ledger, and struck out seven in the process. Through six starts with the BayBears (the tried and true minor league formula of “body of water+animal=name” holds strong), Blair has pitched 35 innings and allowed just 24 hits while maintaining a strikeout-to-walk ratio of nearly 4-to-1. It’s been a ghastly year on the field in Phoenix, but the farm has given Diamondbacks fans plenty of reason for hope.
Texas League • AA
Florida State League • Hi A
Tyler Wagner, rhp, Brevard County (Brewers): The under-the-radar candidate for Brewers pitcher of the year, Wagner has used his sinker-slider combo to roll through the Florida State League this season. His 1.60 ERA and 1.09 WHIP rank just behind another Tyler, one Mr. Glasnow of the Bradenton clan, his strikeouts are third in the league, and he’s logged the most innings. Wagner fanned eight over seven shutout innings Monday night, and has given the Brewers a much-needed boost on the farm.
California League • Hi A
Julio Urias, lhp, Rancho Cucamonga (Dodgers): There’s nothing about Urias that isn’t amazing. You all know the story: His right eye is permanently scarred, he’s undersized for a professional athlete, he just 18 years old … and he dominates. In the Cal League this year, which has turned many men into mice, Urias has been incredible and turned himself into one of the 10 best pitching prospects in the game. He spun five shutout innings on Monday and allowed just one hit and two walks. Oh, and he struck out nine. His ERA in the Cal League is 2.68. To put that in perspective, the leader, Josh Hader, has a 2.70 mark. He’s fanned 96 in 77 innings. He’s incredible.
Carolina League • Hi A
South Atlantic League • Lo A
Chance Sisco, c, Delmarva (Orioles): Sisco was 2-for-5 Monday night, boosting his average to .335, which is second in the South Atlantic League behind only Michael Benjamin of Asheville. His on-base percentage, .406, leads the circuit. His .834 OPS is tied with Hagerstown dynamo Wilmer Difo for 10th best. The reviews for his glove, however, haven’t been great, with some wondering why he’s a catcher at all. There’s plenty of time to work those kinks out, however, and his excellent showing in the Sally League is a great start.
Midwest League • Lo A
Justin Williams, of, South Bend (Diamondbacks): Williams, who turns 19 on Wednesday, gave himself an early birthday present on Monday, when he went 3-for-4 with a triple and his first home run at the level in his team’s sound defeat of Dayton. He scored four times, drove in four runs and walked as well. It’s been a lackluster year for Arizona’s 2013 second-rounder, who drew raves for his raw power entering the draft. Still, that raw power has translated to just four pro home runs in 448 at-bats. Again, he’s played all year at 18, so there’s plenty of time.