NEWS AND NOTES
In lieu of the GIF of the Day, we have a video from a few days ago of the triple play turned by the Portland Sea Dogs. It was a 5-4-3 triple-killing, and it was the first in franchise history.
The Brewers No. 4 prospect, righthander Johnny Hellweg, is just the latest facing the possibility of Tommy John surgery, BA contributor Tom Haudricourt reports.
Gregory Polanco, of, Indianapolis: The Polanco Show was in full effect on Tuesday, when the Pirates’ up-and-comer swatted his third home run of the season as part of a 3-for-5 effort with three runs, four RBIs and his third stolen base of the year. Polanco has been truly excellent in the early going, as shown by his .419/.456/.649 line. Each of his slash-line numbers ranks among the top five in the International League, and his batting average tops the circuit. It won’t be long now. Remember where you heard it first.
Trevor Bauer, rhp, Columbus: It seems like it’s been a long road for Bauer, the former first-rounder who was traded after just three starts with the Diamondbacks. Still, he’s just 23, and the Indians are banking on him rebounding in a big way. He’s made one big league start this year, and on Tuesday with Columbus spun 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball with three strikeouts. He’s allowed just 13 hits in 18 2/3 innings with the Clippers this year and has whiffed 21.
PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE
Alex Guerrero, 2b, Albuquerque: It seems Guerrero can hit Triple-A pitching. For the money the Dodgers gave him, that should be the case. He went 3-for-3 on Tuesday with two triples, two walks, a run and an RBI, and boosted his slash line to .467/.568/.900 in the process. He’s 27 now and still needs get better at second base. For $7 million this year, Los Angeles had better hope he does it quickly.
Jonathan Singleton, 1b, Oklahoma City: Singleton hit his eighth home run of the season on Tuesday. Here’s a great list of places he can visit in Houston when the Astros pull the trigger and bump him to the big leagues. The only question is: Will Singleton get to Houston before Jadeveon Clowney, Johnny Manziel or Teddy Bridgewater?
Bo Schultz, rhp, Reno: A non-drafted free agent who signed with Oakland in 2008, Schultz found himself in independent ball before signing with the Diamondbacks prior to the 2012 season. He brings a hard fastball and a slider-cutter hybrid and a developing changeup. He used that three-pitch mix on Tuesday to strike out six over eight innings of four-hit, two-run ball. He got one inning of major league time this season, and could find himself back there if he continues to excel.
Nolan Fontana, 2b, Corpus Christi: Part of Houston’s second tier of prospects, Fontana was the team’s second-rounder in 2012 out of the University of Florida. He’s Lew Burdette’s grandson, so baseball is part of his DNA. His tools aren’t loud, but the sum of his parts, plus his aptitude for the game makes evaluators believe he could be a utility option in the big leagues. He was 4-for-7 on Tuesday with an RBI, but is hitting just .238 for the season.
Alen Hanson, ss, Altoona: Long ago, Hanson was considered the prospect to see when he shared a roster with Gregory Polanco. My, how times have changed. On Tuesday, Hanson, who struggles with hard fastballs, was 3-for-5 with at triple, three runs and an RBI. His triples total has him one behind New Hampshire’s Mike Crouse for the league lead.
Bryan Mitchell, rhp, Trenton: Fresh off a day in the big leagues, a $41,000 raise and Eastern League pitcher of the week honors, Mitchell was back in the Thunder’s rotation on Tuesday, facing the same Akron club he’d vexed for 12 in six innings his last time out. This time he fanned just six in five innings, but allowed just one run in a game his team won late. He walked just one, and if he can iron out his control wrinkles, he’ll find himself back in the Bronx at some point.
Mookie Betts, 2b, Portland: He got two more hits on Tuesday. He’s been on base every game this season and has a hit in all but one. Dating back to last year, he’s reached base in 45 straight games. He’s also an accomplished bowler. Did you know that? Now you do. He’s going to be a stud on the diamond, though, so Pete Weber doesn’t have to worry about Betts putting him out of a job. For now.
Kris Bryant, 3b, Tennessee: Somehow, Bryant’s season has seemed a little quiet early. He collected three more hits on Tuesday, including a double, and boasts a slash line of .311/.440/.590 with four homers and 10 RBIs. He’s been a little overshadowed by guys like Ryan McMahon, Jonathan Singleton and Joey Gallo, but Bryant will still probably find his way into the lineup at Wrigley sometime this summer.
Micah Johnson, 2b, Birmingham: The Barons’ lightning bug was at it again on Tuesday. Johnson was 2-for-3 with two runs and two walks in Birmingham’s rout of Tennessee. He’s hitting .356—second in the Southern League—this season and his on-base percentage ranks third on the circuit behind Brady Shoemaker and Curt Casali. Oddly enough, Gordon Beckham, the man Johnson is trying to supplant in Chicago, batted behind him on Tuesday. Beckham, rehabbing an oblique injury, was 2-for-4 with a double and a stolen base.
FLORIDA STATE LEAGUE
Dilson Herrera, 2b, St. Lucie: The prize the Mets received from the Pirates in exchange for Marlon Byrd, Herrera has started the year ablaze. With three more hits on Tuesday, his slash line is up to .324/.388/.437 with a homer and eight RBIs. He’s scored 16 times this season, thanks in part to Brandon Nimmo’s equally hot start. He’s an offensive-minded second baseman who makes enough solid contact to hit for a high average in the big leagues.
Jake Thompson, rhp, Lakeland: The Tigers’ righty handcuffed Dunedin over seven innings, holding the Flying Tigers to two runs on six singles and a pair of walks. He fanned five. The second-rounder from 2012 brings a low-90s heater than can touch 95, a two-seam fastball with sink and tail, a low-80s slider that can flatten at times and a developing changeup. He also has a hook in the 70s, but it’s still in the incubatory stages. He’s fanned 22 in 25 2/3 innings this season.
Scheduled off day
SOUTH ATLANTIC LEAGUE
Ryan McMahon, 3b, Asheville: For the eighth time this season and the second time in as many days, McMahon hit a home run. He hit his first bomb of the year on April 8, in the second game of a doubleheader. He hasn’t had consecutive homerless games since. Just two and a half weeks into the season, it’s impossible to describe how incredible his start has been. Instead, I’ll let Shirley Bassey and the Propellerheads describe the phenomenon of the past two weeks.
Chase Johnson, rhp, Augusta: On a night in the SAL that featured both Lucas Giolito and Hunter Harvey, Johnson turned in the circuit’s best performance. San Francisco’s third-rounder from last year, pitching opposite Giolito, silenced Hagerstown for five innings on three hits and two walks and struck out six. Johnson offers easy gas at 92-94 mph and has touched 97 in the past but lacks an average second pitch. He has a curveball and a changeup, but both offerings need refinement.
Aaron Blair, rhp, South Bend: Last year’s supplemental first-rounder spun a complete game in the front end of his team’s doubleheader on Tuesday, allowing four hits and two runs (one earned) over seven innings. He struck out six and walked two. Blair’s numbers this year have been solid, with a league-best 31 strikeouts against seven walks in 24 2/3 innings. He pitches off a lively mid-90s fastball and also offers a plus changeup. He’s got a curveball and a slider, but they’re his third and fourth pitches, respectively.
Gonzalo Sanudo, rhp, Quad Cities: Acquired in a trade with the Twins, Sanudo has found a few more ticks of velocity since changing organizations and has touched as high as 95. That extra gas has not come at the cost of diminished control. He threw three innings in relief on Tuesday, allowing two hits and striking out three against no walks. He’s yet to allow a run in 13 innings this season and has whiffed 10 against just two walks.