Wednesday Prospect Notebook: Big Day For Southpaws

Notable performances from prospects around the minors on Tuesday.

Martin Perez

Martin Perez (Photo by John Williamson)

• Martin Perez, lhp, Rangers. Back from a broken arm that landed him on the disabled list at the outset of 2013, Perez appeared to be in midseason form for Triple-A Round Rock yesterday as he held Reno scoreless over seven innings, requiring 77 pitches to register a 78 game score. He struck out seven, walked none and allowed just three hits. Perez has walked three batters in four minor league starts, and if this level of control is for real he has a chance to significantly improve upon his career 4.74 ERA for Round Rock (34 games) and career 5.45 ERA for Texas (12 games). Working ahead of batters will allow his strong secondary stuff to play up.

• Jesse Biddle, lhp, Phillies. Biddle’s excellent Double-A adventure continued Tuesday with a nine-strikeout shutdown of Altoona in which he allowed three hits, four walks and zero runs in 7 2/3 innings. His 79 game score is his second-best effort of 2013—you all remember the 16-strikeout game on April 22, right? The 2010 first-rounder leads the Eastern League with 60 whiffs and a .140 opponent average while ranking third with a 2.50 ERA. About one in five strikes Biddle has amassed for Reading (22 percent, according to the Baseball-Reference gamelog) is of the swinging variety.

• Ty Blach, lhp, Giants. If we’ve learned anything these past five years, it’s to never bet against a Giants pitching prospect. The organization’s unified drafting and player-development philosophies yield consistently positive results. You know about the largely-homegrown rotation that has carried the franchise to two World Series titles, but consider also the currency which their pitching prospects carry on the trade market. San Francisco famously turned ’07 first-rounder Tim Alderson into Freddy Sanchez and ’09 first-rounder Zack Wheeler into Carlos Beltran. Away from the glare of the spotlight, other young Giants draft picks have been bundled for big league help, including ’07 eighth-rounder Dan Turpen (Ramon Ramirez), ’08 eighth-rounder Scott Barnes (Ryan Garko) and ninth-rounder Ryan Verdugo (Melky Cabrera), ’09 fourth-rounder Jason Stoffel (Jeff Keppinger) and ’10 fourth-rounder Seth Rosin (Hunter Pence).

That’s a long-winded way of saying: Don’t underestimate Blach, a 2012 fifth-rounder who owns a firm fastball, a good changeup, a workable slurve and strong peripherals thus far, including 8.3 strikeouts and 0.8 walks per nine innings. The 22-year-old Creighton product turned in a fantastic 86 game score yesterday for high Class A San Jose, the result of throwing eight shutout innings while brandishing an 11-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio and allowing three hits. He leads the California League with six wins, a 1.89 ERA and a microscopic walk rate.

• Miguel Sano, 3b, Twins. The legend of Sano grows. He homered in both games of a high Class A Fort Myers’ doubleheader yesterday, giving him 13 for the year and propelling him to a three-way tie for most in the minors with the Astros’ George Springer and and the Rangers’ Ryan Rua. Sano went 3-for-6 with a double, two solo homers, a walk and two strikeouts in Tuesday’s action, and he now leads the Florida State League in six categories, including average (.359), homers, on-base percentage (.453) and slugging (.712).

• Stetson Allie, 1b, Pirates. Sano wasn’t the only physical righthanded batter to homer twice yesterday. Allie, the 22-year-old former pitcher, went deep twice as part of a 2-for-4 day for low Class A West Virginia, and he now ranks among the South Atlantic League leaders with 12 homers, 24 extra-base hits and a .622 slugging percentage. Continued power output will be necessary for Allie given his strikeout rate (about 29 percent of plate appearances), but he’s off to a great start in his conversion. A little position flexibility would go a long way, too, as that enabled fellow pitcher-to-position player converts like Rick Ankiel and Brian Bogusevic to get a foot in the big league door as fourth outfielders.