Our daily look at prospects who stood out last night around the minors.
Jake Odorizzi, rhp, Rays: Triple-A Durham’s roster is rife with the Rays’ hauls from veteran-for-prospect trades—Wil Myers, Chris Archer, Hak-Ju Lee, Mike Montgomery and Odorizzi. Odorizzi drew the start in Durham’s home opener against Gwinnett Monday night and didn’t disappoint in his first outing for his new organization. The 23-year-old sat between 90-92 mph and reached back for some 93-94 when he needed something extra. He allowed just four hits (all singles) over 6 2/3 innings, struck out eight and handed out just two walks. The strikeout number is worth noting. In 19 Triple-A outings last year, he struck out eight or more only once, finishing with a K/9 in Triple-A of 7.4.
Matt Barnes, rhp, Red Sox: Barnes’ Double-A debut didn’t go as planned. The Red Sox’s top pitching prospect lasted only one inning for Portland, allowing two runs on two hits and a walk. He did strike out three. The good news is the reason Barnes’ removal wasn’t injury, but rather the fact that he threw 33 pitches in the inning, exceeding a benchmark for pitches in an inning for Red Sox minor leaguers.
“He was throwing the ball extremely well,” Portland pitching coach Bob Kipper told Boston.com. “You don’t punch out the side without throwing the ball extremely well. There were some unfortunate circumstances that led to a pitch count.”
Kolten Wong, 2b, Cardinals: Oscar Taveras gets most of the attention (and deservedly so) but lets not overlook Wong, the other blue-chip hitting prospect with Triple-A Memphis. Wong should get his own shot in St. Louis at some point this year, and he’s opened the Triple-A season on a five-game hitting streak, which he extended with last night’s 3-for-5 effort. Wong is known for not walking much (he has two so far) but his bat-on-ball skills are tough to argue with, as he’s struck out only once so far in 21 at-bats.
Xavier Avery, of, Orioles: Avery split last season between Triple-A (where he hit .236) and the majors, yet finds himself down with Double-A Bowie at the moment, ostensibly because of a lack openings in Triple-A. The Orioles are hoping Avery can realize his potential as a top-of-the-order type of hitter, but he’s been up-and-down through Bowie’s first five games. He went 5-for-7 last Friday, followed that with two 0-for’s over the weekend, then bounced back to go 3-for-5 with two doubles and a steal, his first of the year, Monday against Richmond.
Deven Marrero, ss, Red Sox: Marrero has Xander Bogaerts and Jose Iglesias above him in the Boston system, but all he can do is focus on the task at hand after beginning his first full season with high Class A Salem. The Red Sox made Marrero their 2012 first-rounder on the strength of his offense at the shortstop position, and the early returns have been positive. He’s opened the season on a four-game hitting streak, including Monday’s game at Potomac in which he went 3-for-5 with three doubles and a stolen base.
J.T. Realmuto, c, Marlins: With the Marlins rolling out a catching tandem of Rob Brantly and Miguel Olivo for the time being, Realmuto can’t arrive soon enough. He has the makings of a solid offensive catcher but got off to a slow start with Double-A Jacksonville (2-for-14 through four games) before finding the range Monday night against Jackson, going 3-for-4 with a double and a triple (just the fourth triple of his pro career).
Josh Hader, lhp, Orioles: Hader’s a possible sleeper in the Orioles’ system. A 19th-round pick last year from a Maryland high school, Hader’s velocity picked up into the low 90s after the Orioles signed him and worked on his delivery and conditioning. Hader pitched well in his pro debut last summer and kept up the momentum in his 2013 debut Monday with low Class A Delmarva, tossing six innings of one-hit ball, allowing only one unearned run. He struck out six and walked one.