Minor League Roundup: Bryant Bashes His Way To The Top

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Cubs uber-prospect Kris Bryant is attempting to take out the king, Rangers uber-prospect Joey Gallo, and the coup appears to be plenty violent (at least if you’re a baseball). Bryant smacked his 27th homer of the season yesterday, tying him with Gallo, who is back in action today and will look to sweep away his challengers with renewed zeal.

Elsewhere in the minors, Nick Kingham was excellent for Indy, as was Daniel Norris for New Hampshire. Yorman Rodriguez had a grand evening, Orlando Arcia showed a few of his friends that he’s more than a slick gloveman, Manuel Margot showed off his tools, and some kid named Bryce hits a ball very far for Potomac.

International League (AAA)

Nick Kingham, rhp, Indianapolis (Pirates): Avoiding the Minor League Roundup jinx, Kingham pitched brilliantly last night with the author in attendance at Durham. He held the Bulls silent for 6 2/3 innings with a lively 91-93 mph fastball that touched 94, as well as pair of good offspeed pitches in his slider and changeup, both thrown in the mid- to high 80s. Kingham’s heater, thrown from a three-quarters arm slot, featured plenty of life, and he broke at least three bats over the course of his outing. He allowed two hits, one unearned run, walked a pair and struck out five.

HOME RUN TRACKER
Player Home Runs
Kris Bryant 27
Joey Gallo 27
Peter O’Brien 25
Adam Duvall 23

Pacific Coast League (AAA)

Kris Bryant, 3b, Iowa (Cubs): Ladies and gentlemen, we have a tie. When Bryant swatted his fifth Triple-A homer, it gave him 27 for the season, tying him with Joey Gallo, the Rangers’ stud third baseman, who was off for the second straight night while the Texas League held its all-star game. With Iowa, Bryant now has 21 at-bats and five hits—all of which are homers. That little irregularity gives him the unique batting line of .238/.333/.952. Since we’re all caught in the spell of his undertow, perhaps Ol’ Brown Eyes should change his walk-up music to Ol’ Blue Eyes for a while.

Eastern League (AA)

daniel-norris-2014-mug

Daniel Norris, lhp, New Hampshire (Blue Jays): On this night, good pitching beat good hitting. Pitted against a prospect-laden Portland lineup, Norris, in his second Double-A start, put the shackles on the Sea Dogs. Using his mix of four plus or potentially plus pitches, Norris whiffed 10, tying a season high. He gave up a run on three hits and two walks in 5 2/3 innings otherwise, and he has fanned 19 against just four walks in his first two turns with New Hampshire.

Southern League (AA)

Yorman Rodriguez, rf, Pensacola (Reds): It’s Yormania in Tennessee! Rodriguez, who’s had a bit of a down year, went off Tuesday night in the slugfest between the Blue Wahoos and Chattanooga. The outfielder collected three hits in four trips, including a grand slam in a five-run fourth inning. After a dreadful May, Rodriguez has picked it up this month but still has just a .631 OPS. It’s important to remember that he’s 21 years old and in Double-A, so there’s plenty of time for him to develop into what the Reds think he could be.

Texas League (AA)

Held its all-star game

Florida State League (Hi A)

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Orlando Arcia, ss, Brevard County (Brewers): Evaluators surveyed about Arcia believe he will be a major league-caliber defender at shortstop, if he isn’t already. The questions are whether he’ll hit enough to be a regular at the position. On Tuesday night, Arcia showed the, ahem, 691 people on hand that his bat is plenty good, thank you. He went 5-for-5 with two doubles, a triple, two runs, five RBIs and stole his 12th and 13th bases of the season.

Carolina League (Hi A)

Bryce Harper, cf, Potomac (Nationals): At 21 year old, Harper still is pretty young for the high Class A level and, to wit, is the third-most youthful player on the P-Nats’ roster. Yesterday, in his second game as a Carolina Leaguer this season, Harper showed off the monster power evaluators have long expected, swatting a three-run homer out of the stadium as part of a 2-for-3 night with two runs and four RBIs. Despite his youth, expect Harper to move quickly, with the majors a real possibility before September. Oh, and keep an eye on catcher Wilson Ramos. He’s a good bet to be a fast mover as well.

California League (Hi A)

Teoscar Hernandez

Teoscar Hernandez, cf, Lancaster (Astros): The fine season continues for Hernandez, who is back with the Jethawks after enjoying a berth in last week’s Carolina-California League all-star game. He went 1-for-3 Tuesday with a three-run homer—his 14th of the season, slipping into a five-way tie for fifth in the league with, among others, Rancho’s Corey Seager, who also homered. In addition to the longball, Hernandez also walked twice and threw out a runner at the plate. His 62 RBIs rank third in the league, behind the since-promoted Marquez Smith and the soon-to-be-promoted D.J. Peterson.

South Atlantic League (Lo A)

Manuel Margot, cf, Greenville (Red Sox): One scout recently named Margot as the most impressive player he’s seen all season. On Tuesday night, Margot showed off his vast set of tools, going 2-for-3 with a triple, a home run, two runs and three RBIs against Asheville. He can hit, hit for power, defend, throw and steal bases. And while this year’s numbers are good—but not eye-popping by any means—they’re plenty good for a 19-year-old in the South Atlantic League.

Midwest League (Lo A)

Trey Martin, rf, Kane County (Cubs): Martin went just 2-for-3 with a run on Tuesday, but once he got on bases, he caused plenty of havoc. The 13th-rounder out of high school in 2011 stole five bases against Wisconsin, including three swipes of second and two of third. Had he stolen one more bag, he would have tied Charles Popovich’s league record, set on May 16, 1951, for Mount Vernon. Sure, the big day came against Clint Coulter, who has caught 26 percent of basestealers to rank last in the MWL (while allowing 72 attempts in 39 games), and he allowed seven steals last night. It might not earn Martin money, fame or a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, but five steals does get you a high-five.