Minor League Roundup: The Apocalypse Is Upon Us

It was a strange day in the baseball world. Mookie Betts didn’t reach base. Gregory Polanco didn’t either. Joey Gallo doubled. Masahiro Tanaka lost for the first time since man hunted pterodactyls with spears. Still, the Roundup marches on.

Mookie Meter

Double-A Portland second baseman Mookie Betts didn’t reach base on Tuesday. Since we don’t have a Mookie Meter set to zero, I’ll instead link you to this funky tune from The Meters that has been sampled approximately eleventy billion times in hip hop.

 

International League (AAA)

Mike Hessman, 3b, Toledo (Tigers): Hessman may not be a prospect by any stretch of the imagination, but the 36-year-old’s Tuesday exploits deserve recognition. He homered against Rochester, marking the 400th time he’s done so in the minor leagues over 18 glorious seasons, starting with the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Braves in 1996. This is Crash Davis, true and living and slugging. In addition to the 400 bombs in the minors, he also has six in Japan and 14 in the majors, most recently against J.C. Romero in 2010. That home run scored Jeff Francoeur, who is now doing some pitching for Triple-A El Paso in the Padres system. If there is a baseball god, Hessman will get one last big league homer—off Francoeur.

 

Pacific Coast League (AAA)

Domingo Santana

Domingo Santana, rf, Oklahoma City (Astros): Sure, Jon Singleton and Mike Foltynewicz might get more attention, but Santana deserves to have his name mentioned with the big boys. After all, he is just 21 and in Triple-A. He collected four hits, including his 12th double of the season, scored three times and drove in a run in the Redhawks’ rout of New Orleans. He’s having a terrific year in the PCL, including a slash line of .297/.366/.483, despite a 3-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Eastern League (AA)

Peter O’Brien, c, Trenton (Yankees): This is getting really, really good. O’Brien is on an epic tear since earning a promotion to Double-A. He’s homered seven times in his first 10 games, and he’s one behind Joey Gallo for the minor league lead. And last night’s was an epic, epic shot. His bomb not only went out to dead center field, it cleared the 32-foot batter’s eye at Trenton’s Arm & Hammer Park. It also earned some rave reviews from a Hall of Famer afterward.

 

Plus, if you want video of the blast, the Thunder are happy to oblige.

 

Texas League (AA)

Scheduled off-day

Southern League (AA)

Scheduled off-day

Florida State League (Hi A)

Roman Quinn

Roman Quinn, ss, Clearwater (Phillies): He’s back. Quinn, the fastest man in the system, has returned ahead of schedule from a torn Achilles suffered in the offseason and started the year at high Class A. In his second game back, Quinn collected three singles in five trips, his first three hits of the season. He’s already stolen one bag this year but was caught trying to steal on Tuesday. He still had plenty of work to do, namely correcting a wonky throwing motion that led to a ton of errors, and he must become a more selective hitter. If the Phillies choose to promote shortstop J.P. Crawford from Lakewood at some point this year, they’ll have to find a new home for Quinn, who played center field as an amateur.

Carolina League (Hi A)

Hunter Dozier, 3b, Wilmington (Royals): It was a rough early go for Dozier, who came into the season with a reputation for having a discerning eye and excellent feel to hit. He went 3-for-3 on Tuesday with two runs, an RBI and two walks. He’s walked 14 times this month against just 17 strikeouts, suggesting that Dozier, who is getting his first taste of full-season ball, is beginning to adjust to the speed of the league.

California League (Hi A)

Teoscar Hernandez

Teoscar Hernandez, cf, Lancaster (Astros): Have a day, young man. Much like Santana with Oklahoma City, Hernandez is a prospect who tends to get obscured by the bigger names on his own team (Carlos Correa, Lance McCullers Jr., Vince Velasquez and Rio Ruiz), but he’s a darn fine player. At 21, Hernandez has five average tools, but no standouts. He’s got some power, as he showed on Tuesday with a double and two homers, two runs and five RBIs at Bakersfield. He’s slashing .301/.383/.574, but he’s struck out 57 times, the third-highest total in the Cal League.

South Atlantic League (Lo A)

Travis DeMeritte, 2b, Hickory (Rangers): The Rangers drafted Demeritte with the pick they received for losing Josh Hamilton to the Angels, and they have spent time recently converting him from shortstop to second base. He struggled mightily in April, but has picked it up a bit of late. That was especially true on Tuesday, with a double, a homer, three runs and three RBIs. He’s got quick hands and was lauded for his bat coming up through the amateur ranks. He won’t turn 20 until late September, so he has plenty of time to work out the kinks with the Crawdads.

Midwest League (Lo A)

Mallex Smith, cf, Fort Wayne (Padres): As fascinating as the Joey Gallo/Peter O’Brien home run bonanza has been, Smith’s steal-a-thon has also been something to behold. He went 1-for-3 with a run and two walks on Tuesday, and also stole his 31st, 32nd and 33rd bags of the season. He’s got a 10-steal lead on the next closest contender, Double-A Tennessee’s John Andreoli, and is well on his way to possibly swiping triple-digits this year. To put it in perspective, through 41 games in his 155-steal season of 2012, Billy Hamilton has 40 stolen bags. So, Smith isn’t quite Hamilton, but he’s pretty darn good.