Notable performances by prospects around the minors on Tuesday.
George Springer, cf, Astros. Think a promotion to Triple-A could slow down Springer? Think again. The 11th pick in the 2011 draft slugged two home runs in a game for the second time in three games, driving in five runs and also collecting a triple yesterday at Round Rock. In 13 games since joining Oklahoma City for the second half he’s bashed six homers and gone 19-for-45 (.422) at the plate.
With 25 homers and 28 steals on the year, Springer has a 30-30 season squarely in his sights. The last minor leaguer to accomplish that was Athletics outfielder Grant Desme in 2009, but he did all his damage at Class A, including a second-half run through the Cal League. The last before Desme was Angels outfielder Terry Evans, who in 2006 hit 33 homers and stole 37 bases while spending the second half in Double-A.
Chris Owings, ss, Diamondbacks. Good things have happened for the 21-year-old Owings this year when he’s put the ball in play. He went 4-for-4 with three home runs yesterday at Fresno, improving his season line to .355/.375/.509 with 11 homers through 403 at-bats for Triple-A Reno. For the season, Owings has accumulated six times as many strikeouts (76) as walks (12), though he’s cut that ratio in half over the past four weeks, compiling a 1.050 OPS and much more manageable 20-to-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Aces Ballpark has rewarded line-drive hitters like Owings in the past few years. The shortstop ranks second in the Pacific Coast League batting race (.355) this season, while Aces players Adam Eaton (.381), Ryan Wheeler (.351) and Jake Elmore (.344) occupied three of the top four spots in 2012, and Collin Cowgill (.354) finished runner-up in the PCL batting race in 2011.
Kyle Zimmer, rhp, Royals. The fifth pick in last year’s draft assumed the top spot in the Carolina League strikeout race (103) with arguably his finest start of the season yesterday. Zimmer fanned 13 and allowed four hits and one run over six innings at home for high Class A Wilmington versus Frederick. He’s come out of the all-star break firing on all cylinders, going 2-2, 2.77 in four starts (three of them at home) with a much-improved 32-to-5 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Tyler Glasnow, rhp, Pirates. The organization that gave us helium prospects Gregory Polanco and Alen Hanson last season has unleashed another keeper on the baseball world in the form of Glasnow, a 6-foot-7 righty from the 2011 draft who might be a few mechanical tweaks away from fulfilling his potential. He turned in his finest start of the season for low Class A West Virginia yesterday, striking out seven—he now leads the South Atlantic League with 110—and walking one over six shutout innings. The 19-year-old allowed three hits. Like most young, tall pitchers, Glasnow struggles to repeat his mechanics and control his pitches, thus the walk rate of 5.1 per nine innings this season. In a positive development, he’s walked just eight batters in his past five starts, covering 25 innings.
Mark Appel, rhp, Astros. The No. 1 overall pick last month, Appel bid a fond farewell to the short-season New York-Penn League with a five-strikeouts-in-three-innings appearance for Tri-City yesterday. He will make his next start in low Class A Quad Cities, where he’ll join last year’s top overall draft pick Carlos Correa.