Today’s roundup features Kris Bryant staying molten hot, Michael Taylor doing the same, a top prospect getting back on the field, Marco Gonzales displaying remarkable consistency, Hunter Dozier continuing to mash, a young Phillies prospect playing with older competition, and an erratic lefty finding it for a day.
Betts was 1-for-3 on Sunday with two walks, thus the Meter is at three.
He’s Out Of Here
That sound you hear is Carolina League pitchers throwing a parade now that Joey Gallo has been promoted to Double-A Frisco. He takes with him 21 homers, 51 walks and a 1.199 OPS. In tribute, here is the Scout’s Video View we did on Gallo earlier this year.
Pacific Coast League
Nick Ahmed, ss, Reno (Diamondbacks): A very fine defender, Ahmed also made noise with his bat on Sunday. One of the pieces the Diamondbacks received for outfielder Justin Upton two winters ago, Ahmed was 3-for-6 with a double, a run, two RBIs and a stolen base in a loss to El Paso. Thanks perhaps to the hitter-friendly environs of the Pacific Coast League, Ahmed is hitting a stout .311/.391/.408, all of which stand well above his career averages. The Diamondbacks obviously have Chris Owings and Didi Gregorius to man shortstop for now, so perhaps Ahmed could use a second change of scenery.
James McCann, c, Toledo (Tigers): Who’s a defense-only catcher now, huh? That’s surely what McCann is thinking after Sunday’s offensive outburst, when he went 4-for-5 with a double and a longball against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. He also drove in three runs. He’s got a long swing and, yes, is regarded mostly for his defense, but his .289 average and .355 on-base percentage are certainly welcome. With Alex Avila and, to a lesser extent, Victor Martinez in tow, McCann might be a man without a home in the Detroit system.
Michael Taylor, of, Harrisburg (Nationals): After winning the Eastern League’s player of the month award for May, Taylor hasn’t missed a beat in June. The center fielder was 1-for-2 with two walks, two runs and his 17th stolen base of the season on Sunday in a win over Eduardo Rodriguez and Bowie. He’s 9-for-25 so far this month with a double, a homer, six RBIs and three stolen bases. Not bad for someone who’s second on the system’s depth chart in center field. If he finishes this month with the same level of production as he’s had early on, Brian Goodwin might start to hear footsteps in Syracuse.
Kris Bryant, 3b, Tennessee (Cubs): Listen up, Eminem and Rihanna, this is one monster who should scare you. Bryant homered again on Sunday, doubled, drove in two runs and scored twice (and made two errors), further distancing himself from the pack of mere mortals who populate the Southern League these days. The longball was his 21st of the season, vaulting him into a three-way tie for the most in professional baseball with Joey Gallo and Peter O’Brien. He’s leading the Southern League in pretty much every non-speed based category with the exception of doubles (he’s second to Jake Lamb) and is tops in every triple-slash category. This is all a long way of saying he’s incredible.
Side note here: It is June 9 and we have three minor leaguers with 21 homers. On this date last year, the leader in the minors, George Springer, had 18 homers. Gallo had 15 and trailed Springer by three (math!). By the end of play on June 13, Gallo was up to 21. Pretty, pretty good.
Marco Gonzales, lhp, Springfield (Cardinals): Not his sharpest effort, to be sure, but still another dot on a very fine season. Gonzales, the Cards’ first-rounder last year out of Gonzaga, spun 5 1/3 innings of two-run (one earned) ball with seven hits scattered along the way. He struck out six and walked three before yielding to the awesomely named Ryan Sherriff. He’s through five Double-A starts and is sporting a brilliant 4-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio and is punching out more than 10.5 per nine innings. If he keeps this up, he could push himself to Triple-A (and maybe beyond) by the end of season, especially if the Cardinals find themselves back in October.
Florida State League
Trevor Williams, rhp, Jupiter (Marlins): Look at him now. After giving up a combined six runs over his first two starts this season (including one in which he didn’t record an out), Williams hasn’t allowed more than three in any start since (and he’s only allowed that many three times). He went eight shutout on Sunday against Fort Myers with just four hits and no walks allowed. He struck out three. Williams, the team’s second-rounder last year, has gotten his ERA down to a scant 2.36 and is walking fewer than two hitters per nine innings. Double-A Jacksonville may be calling in short order.
Side note: Are the Marlins’ high Class A and Double-A affiliates the closest by proximity of any of the 30 clubs? It’s just less than a four-hour drive from Jupiter to Jacksonville.
Hunter Dozier, 3b, Wilmington (Royals): He started slowly (and hitters never fare well in Wilmington), but has come on incredibly strong of late. Since the beginning of May, Dozier, the team’s first-round pick last season, is hitting .341/443/.512 with three longballs and 24 RBIs. Moreover, over the course of the full season his home/road splits are unsurprisingly stark. Away from Frawley Stadium, Dozier is hitting .341/.443/.512 with all of his homers and half of his doubles. On Sunday, he went 2-for-4 with a double, a homer, two runs and two RBIs.
Addison Russell, ss, Stockton (Athletics): A’s fans, rejoice, Russell is back. The team’s top prospect tore his hamstring early in the season and had been out ever since. He went to Stockton on a rehab assignment on Sunday and, in typical Russell fashion, was 2-for-3 with a stolen base (important, considering the injury from which he’s returning) and an RBI. It’s just one game, but fans in Oakland should be plenty happy to see Russell back in action.
South Atlantic League
Deivi Grullon, c, Lakewood (Phillies): There’s plenty of criticism of the Phillies these days, particularly when it comes to their barren farm system. Most of those complaints are warranted. Say this for the Phils, though: They sure are aggressive with their youngsters. Domingo Santana was in low Class A at age 17. So was Carlos Tocci. And now Deivi Grullon, just 18 years old and with 41 professional games under his belt entering this season, is with Lakewood. In fact, he even played two games at high Class A Clearwater this year. He collected three hits on Sunday, including a double, and scored twice. Given the Phillies’ history, it’s not a given that he’ll move to short-season when it starts in a few days.
Ismael Guillon, lhp, Dayton (Reds): When Guillon finds his control, he’s really good. Such was the case Sunday, when he stifled Lake County for seven innings and two run on four hits and a walk. He whiffed nine this time and is at nearly 10 per nine innings this season but is walking more than 3.5 per nine. He’s only given up 35 hits in 61 1/3 innings, which has helped keep his WHIP, despite the walks, under 1.00.