2014 Top 10 Prospects Index
We are ranking the Top 10 Prospects in each organization in preparation for the 2014 season. Here is a listing of the Top 10s we have already unveiled as well [...]
Baseball America's Daily Dish
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Compiled by Kevin Goldstein, Chris Kline and Matt Meyers
Over the course of his three-year pro career, Phillies righthander Gavin Floyd has been on the fast track to Philadelphia. The 22-year-old jumped three levels to the big leagues last season and was impressive in his four starts in the majors--finishing 2-0, 3.49 in 28 innings.
Floyd picked up where he left off this year, shutting down a powerful Cardinals lineup in St. Louis in April. But that's where the success ended and the questions about Floyd's place in the rotation on a team with a $95 million dollar payroll began.
The Phillies moved him to the bullpen in the middle of April after back-to-back poor outings in which he allowed 16 earned runs in just 6 1/3 innings, and then reassigned him to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre soon afterward.
Since joining the Red Barons, Floyd hasn't even been a shadow of his former self. In 46 innings, the fourth overall pick in the 2001 draft is 2-5, 7.09 with a 33-26 strikeout-walk ratio. And just when he appeared to be showing signs of putting it back together in mid-May, Floyd endured his shortest outing of the season in his last start against Indianapolis--1 2/3 innings, seven earned runs and six walks.
We caught up with the Phillies’ No. 2 prospect to find out where he is on the road back to the big leagues.
On what happened, from his point of view: "I probably could, well, not blame, but guess at what's been going on--and there are probably many things I could pick up from what's been going on--but the thing is I haven't quite yet brought it all together and gone on a streak with it and felt good. I did well the first game when I was in the big leagues, and then caught word that maybe I might not be up there for another start. It was discouraging, and when I came down, that was even more discouraging. I didn't want to come down, even though I knew it was probably the right move because I wasn't producing up there. The results were not good."
On the Phillies moving him to the bullpen: "I went to the pen, which I had never done in my life. Some guys can do it and some guys can't. I've never been a guy to get up, get down, not knowing when you're going to throw. I was never used to not being on a routine. I've been on a routine all my life. It was tough, but I'm sure if I'd tried it a few more times I’d have gotten used to it, just through repetition, I guess."
On reporting back to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre: "I was definitely frustrated. A lot of times, I want to be perfect. And if one thing is wrong, I try to fix it. I think I've been trying to fix one thing, and it kind of ballooned from there. I'm not making that little tweak that I have to make, I'm struggling with letting my natural ability take over. I've been trying to force it, I guess--whether that be location or my mechanics or a certain pitch on a day."
On his last start against Indianapolis: "I had two pretty solid starts. There were some certain things that weren't right, but everything seemed to be falling into place. Then I came out there, and maybe it was my focus or maybe I felt like I was just going through the motions a little bit and I tried to make adjustments. But it was one of those days where my mind, my body and my arm were all just Jell-O. It was a humid day and if I threw a strike and I concentrated on it, it just felt like an empty tank. I knew I’d just thrown a strike, but in the back of my mind I was wondering how much I had left. It was a bad day . . . an indescribably bad day."
On dealing with adversity for the first time in his career: "People told me when I got drafted that I'd go through adversity. And over the first three or four years, the only adversity I'd gone through was maybe three losses (in a row), or maybe not feeling right or maybe losing a pitch and then getting it back. But I've never really gone this far into a season without figuring it out."
• Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre first baseman Ryan Howard extended his hitting streak to 17 games last night, going 2-for-4 with a double. "I'm just going out and trying to have good consistent ABs," Howard said. "It was kind of tough to see the ball coming out of (Durham lefthander Jon Switzer's) hand with the shadows out there early on. I know Switz. I know his stuff. The shadows were tough though. It was tough for me to pick up his slider for the first couple innings, but when the sun went down it was OK." Howard is hitting .371/.462/.695 with 11 homers and 36 RBIs in 151 at-bats.
• The knock on Indians righthander Fausto Carmona is that he doesn't miss enough bats, but that clearly wasn't a problem last night as the 21-year-old Dominican whiffed nine in a 6-1 win against Erie. Carmona allowed a run on four hits in seven innings. On the season, he is 6-4, 3.98 with just 54 strikeouts in 84 innings.
• Dodgers No. 1 prospect Joel Guzman started his fourth straight game at third base last night for Double-A Jacksonville, which could make for a very interesting scenario as the club has Andy LaRoche at the same position at high Class A Vero Beach. LaRoche is killing pitching in the Florida State League, hitting .335/.376/.657 with 21 homers in 245 at-bats. Guzman, on the other hand, is hitting .286/.366/.536 with 11 bombs in 220 at-bats. Both have committed 13 errors this season.
• At times this season, Ian Kinsler has shown signs of being the hitting machine he was in 2004, when he led the minors in doubles. He still has yet to go on an extended hot streak but gave another glimpse yesterday as the Rangers second baseman went 3-for-4 with a double for Triple-A Oklahoma. Kinsler is hitting .260/.325/.480 on the season.
• Low Class A Lexington's Hunter Pence, the minor league leader in home runs, suffered a strained quadriceps as he ran out a ground ball. As soon as he passed first base, Pence grabbed his leg and fell to the grass in pain. He was placed on the disabled list and manager Tim Bogar said he will not return until the end of the week at the earliest. This will have a serious affect on the SAL playoff race as the first-half winners make the postseason. The Legends are currently two games ahead of Hagerstown in the Northern Division, but lost to the Suns last night. The two teams finish their four game set tonight.
• It's only been 10 innings, but Jose Garcia is raising some eyebrows for low Class A Greensboro. The Marlins prospect threw 6 2/3 scoreless innings last night in his first start of the season while striking out eight. The 20-year-old has 13 punchouts and three walks and has surrendered one run thus far in his two appearances.
• The Angels’ Double-A affiliate at Arkansas has been received an offensive boost, as Kendry Morales was promoted after just 22 games at low Class A Rancho Cucamonga. The 21-year-old Cuban, who signed a six-year major league contract over the winter, hit .344-5-17 in 90 at-bats while splitting time between first base, third base and right field. Morales went 0-for-4 (while playing first) in his Texas League debut, as the Travelers topped Springfield 10-3. Morales should relieve some of the burden on middle infielders Erick Aybar and Alberto Callaspo. Shortstop Aybar, 21, has recovered from a slow start, scoring 15 runs in his last 15 games, raising his season averages to .273/.336/.403 in 238 at-bats. Second baseman Callaspo, 22, has gone 24-for-57 (.421) in his last 15 games, and is now hitting .328/.385/.439 in 244 at-bats.
• The hottest team in the minors continues to be the Lakeland Tigers in the high Class A Florida State League, winners of six in a row and holders of the minor league’s best record at 43-19. As a team, the Tigers' 3.18 ERA leads the league by over half a run, thanks to a rotation that includes Justin Verlander (8-2, .171), Jordan Tata (6-1, 2.23) and Nate Bumstead (8-1, 2.76). Bumstead teamed with relievers Danny Zell and Chris Homer for Tuesday’s 2-1 victory against Fort Myers, clinching the first-half Western Division title for Lakeland.
• Diamondbacks Carlos Gonzales is starting to translate his unquestioned tools into performance. Gonzales, a 19-year-old Venezuelan, is hitting .460-3-11 during his current 12-game hitting streak at low Class A South Bend, batting .313/.352/.454 on the season in 249 at-bats and tied for the Midwest League lead with 44 RBIs.