2014 Baseball America Top 100 Prospects: The 25th Edition
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Compiled by Kevin Goldstein, Chris Kline and Matt Meyers
The timetable for the return of Indians righthander Adam Miller was originally slated for early June, but now it looks like he will not make his 2005 debut for at least another three or four weeks.
Miller, who was shut down early in spring training with an elbow injury, threw a bullpen last Wednesday and again Friday at the Indians complex in Winter Haven, Fla.
Miller's fastball touched 101 mph at the end of last season in the Carolina League playoffs at high Class A Kinston, and he complements his heater with a late-breaking 86 mph slider and a changeup that showed dramatic improvement last year.
The plan is to build up the Tribe's top prospect to five innings before placing him on a roster, most likely short-season Mahoning Valley to start. Miller has been throwing fastballs and changeups in his bullpens, and will begin throwing sliders in simulated games beginning this week.
"Everything looks good," assistant farm director Mike Hazen said. "He's completely healthy, but we haven't really challenged him until this week. We'll see how he responds and go from there."
His original timetable was set back a bit because the organization was taking it slow with Miller, a first-round pick in 2003 out of McKinney (Texas) High. He also had to attend a family funeral back home last week.
"He's on schedule," Hazen said. "Barring any setbacks, he'll be out of extended and with a club when we break camp in late June."
• In his first 44 games, Prince Fielder hit a paltry three home runs. In his last seven games, the Brewers first baseman has seven for Triple-A Nashville, including four over the weekend. The lefthanded slugger is now hitting .258/.374/.478.
• Although he went 0-for-3 yesterday, the Marlins' Josh Willingham will certainly be sad to see the month of May end. The catcher at Triple-A Albuquerque hit .344/.474/.833 with 12 homers for the month to raise his season line to .317/.453/.719 with 15 homers.
• Twins righthander Adam Harben fell five outs short of a no-hitter in high Class A Fort Myers' 1-0 win over Brevard County yesterday. The 6-foot-5 righty struck out 12 in 7 2/3 innings, losing his no-hitter on outfielder Travis Ezi’s single to left with one out in the eight. A 15th-round pick out of Arkansas-Fort Smith Junior College in 2002, Harben is 4-4, 3.38 on the season.
• Speaking of no-hit bids, low Class A Southwest Michigan pulled one off on Saturday night when three pitchers combined to hold Beloit hitless in a 7-0 victory. Lefthander Jino Gonzalez pitched the first five innings, while relievers Matt Larson and Jose de la Cruz pitched two innings each out of the bullpen. The three combined to walk two and strike out eight.
• After hitting .176 for the month of April, Brad McCann is finally turning it around at low Class A Greensboro. The Marlins third-base prospect is 13-for-33 in the midst of his recent eight-game hitting streak and is now hitting .271/.335/.556.
• Ben Zobrist is also starting to warm up in the SAL. The Astros shortstop is now 12 for his last 25 at Lexington and hit his first homer of the season on Saturday to raise his season line to .272/.392/.358.
• Double-A West Tenn lefthander Rich Hill struck out 13 in six innings Friday night, making it the fourth time he's reached double-digit strikeout numbers this season. Overall, Hill is 4-3, 3.28 with 90 strikeouts in just 58 innings.
• Righthander Brandon League, the Blue Jays' No. 1 prospect coming into the season, has struggled to right himself after getting sent back to Triple-A Syracuse from Toronto. He is 0-3, 7.15 with a 22-12 strikeout-walk ratio in 34 innings, and he had one of the worst outings of his career on Saturday: one inning, five earned runs on six hits, two walks and three strikeouts. International League hitters are teeing off against him, hitting .342.
• Mariners shortstop Adam Jones is on a hot streak at high Class A Inland Empire. The 2003 first-round pick went 4-for-5 with a pair of doubles in yesterday’s 5-4 win over High Desert, and is 17-for-35 in his last eight games, raising his season numbers to .306/.378/.531. He remains inconsistent in the field, however, with a team-high 15 errors.
• Low Class A Charleston center fielder Tim Battle had a good weekend at the plate. Battle, a third-round pick in 2003, went 4-for-9 with a double, triple, home run, and five RBIs. “I definitely felt better than previous games this past week," Battle said. "I have been staying back a lot more, especially with the curveballs. I've just got to trust my hands.” Battle also went 1-for-2 in basestealing attempts, giving him 16 on the year. In 196 at-bats, he is batting .260/.338/.495 this season with eight homers and 23 RBIs.
• Indians lefthander Chuck Lofgren will make his 2005 debut with low Class A Lake County tonight at Lexington. Lofgren, a fourth-round pick last year out of Serra High in Burlingame, Calif., has been lights-out in extended spring training. His 92-93 mph fastball has good life, and his curveball and changeup have both improved. That gives him a much better arsenal than his fastball/occasional curveball repertoire last year at Rookie-level Burlington--where he went 0-0, 6.04 with 23 strikeouts in 22 innings.
Contributing: Matt Stucko.