2015 Texas League Top 20 Prospects
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A 21-year-old outfielder, Jacoby Ellsbury was the Red Sox' top pick in the 2005 draft. Taken 23rd overall out of Oregon State, where he hit .426, Ellsbury has impressed scouts with his plate discipline and ability to make things happen. Blessed with outstanding speed--he has run a 6.55 60-yard dash--Ellsbury was considered one of the best defenders in the draft. A native of Madras, Ore., who is often compared to a young Johnny Damon, Ellsbury is starting his career at short-season Lowell, where he is hitting .278-1-7 with 9 stolen bases in 36 at-bats.
On using his speed to his advantage: "I think I do that, but I don't focus just on speed. I probably don't bunt as much as a lot of leadoff guys, and don't run out of the box like Ichiro. I'm up there to hit, and will even try to run into balls once in a while. By that I mean drive them. I want to develop some more power and be a well-rounded player."
On his strike-zone judgment: "That's always come natural for me. I think you have to be disciplined and trust your eyes, and I'm pretty good at recognizing pitches out of the hand. If something is over the outside corner, I know I can get my bat on it. But if I have less than two strikes, I'd rather wait for a ball I can do more with. A big part of hitting is having the confidence to hit with two strikes."
On stealing bases: "I definitely want the pitcher to know I'm there. I want him to know he has to go with fastballs if they're going to throw me out. I want to be aggressive and force the other team to make plays."
On wearing a Red Sox cap prior to the draft: "I got it when I was playing in the Cape Cod League last summer. I wore it to all of my games at Oregon State this year for good luck. I had no idea I'd end up getting drafting by the Red Sox."
On his name: "I think my mom saw it on a sign, in Arizona. Seriously. I think it was on an ad for something. It's not a family name, and I don't think she even knew anybody named Jacoby. She just liked the sound of it."
On what he enjoys off the field: "I like the outdoors, warm weather, and relaxing. I also like eating waffles with applesauce."
-- DAVID LAURILA
• Angels first baseman Kendry Morales has been playing the hero of late for Double-A Arkansas. Less than 24 hours after driving in the go-ahead run for the Travelers in Tuesday’s 6-5 win against Springfield, Morales smacked a three-run double in the 10th inning Wednesday night as part of a 7-3 win. A 22-year-old Cuban who signed for a $3 million bonus last December, Morales is batting .243/.284/.371 in 140 at-bats for Arkansas.
• The Ian Stewart rebound continues. The 2003 first-round pick was 3-for-6 with a double and the game-winning single in the 11th as high Class A Modesto topped Bakersfield 4-3. Stewart, whose season was delayed for a month with a hamstring injury, hit just .211 in his first 28 games but is hitting .371 in 24 July games and .285/.367/.500 overall in 298 at-bats.
• Diamondbacks righthander Garret Mock tied a career-high with 10 strikeouts and took over the California League lead with 116, allowing one run on five hits over seven innings in high Class A Lancaster’s 6-1 win against Inland Empire. A 2004 third-round pick out of Houston, Mock is 10-5, 3.98 in 21 starts with the Jethawks.
• Cardinals righthander Mark McCormick picked up his first win as a professional Wednesday, allowing two runs on five hits over 6 1/3 innings while striking out eight in low Class A Quad Cities’ 3-2 win against Southwest Michigan. A supplemental first-round pick in June out of Baylor, McCormick has pitched 18 innings as a pro across two levels, allowing 10 hits and seven walks while striking out 19.
• Normally, a player in his third year of short-season ball doesn’t generate much attention, but Brewers outfielder Charlie Fermaint is opening some eyes at Helena in the Pioneer League, and is still just 19 years old. Just 17 when drafted in the third round of 2003 out of a Puerto Rico high school, Fermaint has homered in three straight games for the Brewers, and is batting .358/.414/.724 in 123 at-bats with 11 home runs and nine stolen bases.
• Brandon McCarthy's name has popped up a lot in trade rumors lately, and he certainly helped his value last night. The White Sox righthander threw eight shutout innings while fanning eight and allowing three hits and four walks to earn the win for Triple-A Charlotte. He is now 4-7, 4.69 with 102 strikeouts and 25 walks in 86 innings. His bugaboo has been the home run--he has allowed 14.
• Jetlag is not affecting Gabe Kapler, as he has been raking upon his return to the United States from Japan. The Red Sox outfielder is hitting .625 in 16 at-bats at Triple-A Pawtucket and was 4-for-4 with a triple and a homer last night. No doubt he will be back in Fenway soon.
• So he is 27 years old and not really a prospect, but we watched him grow in Durham and we are glad to see he is still having success. Matt Diaz went 6-for-6 with two doubles and a triple Wednesday for Triple-A Omaha. The Royals outfielder is now hitting .386/.428/.661.
• Another name coming up in trade talks is the Mets' Yusmeiro Petit, and he did little to help his value Wednesday, as he allowed eight earned runs over four innings including an uncharacteristic four walks at Double-A Binghamton. Before last night, he had issued 12 free passes all season. The 20-year-old righthander fell to 5-3, 3.53.
• Dodgers righthander Edwin Jackson had his second consecutive rocky outing at Double-A Jacksonville. Just like he did last Friday against Carolina, Jackson allowed six runs--five earned--against Tennessee, though he did strike out six in five innings of work. Home runs burned Jackson on Thursday, as he allowed two solo shots in the first inning and a two-run shot in the fifth. Of course, it could have been worse for Jackson; he could have been Suns reliever Jason Olson, who allowed a two-run homer to Tennessee's starting pitcher, Tony Pena. It was Pena's first professional hit in 24 at-bats.
• Devil Rays first baseman Wes Bankston swatted a pair of solo home runs in Double-A Montgomery's 6-5 win against Birmingham. It was Bankston's first multi-homer game since he hit two for high Class A Visalia on May 21. The fourth-round pick in 2002 out of a Texas high school is now hitting .301-9-33 in 173 at-bats with the Biscuits after going .387-3-23 in 62 at-bats with the Oaks.
• Maybe Devin Perrin is just better suited for the bullpen. The 6-foot-7 Nationals righthander picked up his first professional save Wednesday, tossing two scoreless innings in high Class A Potomac's 2-0 win against Myrtle Beach. Perrin, a seventh-round pick by the Expos in 2003 who is a favorite of Nationals scouting director Dana Brown, began the year in Potomac's rotation and struggled mightily with his command, going 2-5, 5.54 with 43 walks and 39 strikeouts in 63 innings. But in his last four outings since moving to the pen, Perrin has walked just two batters and allowed just one run in six innings.
• Chris Malec, who had surgery to remove a tumor on his testicle on April 14, made his pro debut Wednesday for the Yankees' Rookie-level Gulf Coast League team and went 2-for-2 in two at-bats.