Minor League Roundup: Almora Adds Cycle To Second-Half Surge

Today’s abridged roundup focuses on the Athletics’ cadre of first basemen, with a few updates on 2014 draftees. The Triple-A International and Pacific Coast leagues did not play Monday as they entered the all-star break.

Player Home Runs
Joey Gallo 31
Kris Bryant 30
Peter O’Brien 28
Matt Olson 26
Adam Duvall 25

Eastern League • AA

Adalberto Mejia, lhp, Richmond (Giants). One of the youngest players in Double-A at just 21, the Giants still have high hopes for the Dominican lefthander despite his erratic results. On Monday, he delivered his best start in a month, blanking Bowie on two hits over five scoreless innings with no walks and a strikeout. Mejia has regained his balance somewhat after an awful May, and the Giants believe the zone-pounder will continue to see some velocity gains as he progresses.

Texas League • AA

Max MuncyMax Muncy, 1b, Midland (Athletics). The 2012 fifth-rounder from Baylor has been overshadowed in the organization by the power exploits of Matt Olson. Muncy has just four homers this year, including the grand slam he hit Monday in a 14-2 rout of Corpus Christi. Knocked for a lack of power until he socked 25 last season at hitter-happy Stockton (where Olson currently plays), Muncy likely will be a higher-average hitter than Olson, while both do a good job of controlling the strike zone.

Southern League • AA

Zach Borenstein, lf, Mobile (Diamondbacks). Acquired in the deal that sent Joe Thatcher and Tony Campana to the Angels, Borenstein joined the BayBears and began hitting like he did when he was the Angels’ minor league player of the year last season. The lefty swinger went 1-for-4 Monday, but it was a three-run homer. Through nine games, he’s 11-for-37 (.297) with five extra-base hits.

California League • Hi A

Matt Olson, 1b, Stockton (Athletics). Speaking of Olson, the lefty masher swatted his 26th homer Monday night in Stockton’s rout of San Jose. Like Muncy, Olson fits the organization’s style of working the zone, with 82 walks, but he’s also struck out 93 times. With Muncy ahead of him in the pipeline and with neither able to play another position, the two figure to butt heads in the future.

Carolina League • Hi A

Lewis BrinsonLewis Brinson, cf, Myrtle Beach (Rangers). At 20, Brinson is one of the youngest players in high Class A. He forced a move up with a tremendous 43-game stint at low Class A Hickory, and he hasn’t slowed much at the higher level, hitting his first homer at Myrtle Beach on Monday. Overall, the 2012 first-rounder is slashing .332/.396/.563 with 11 homers and seven steals.

Florida State League • Hi A

Albert Almora, cf,  Daytona (Cubs). Almora on Monday became the fourth Daytona player to hit for the cycle in a 5-for-7 night. The 20-year-old  homered in the first, singled in the eighth (and the 11th), doubled in the ninth and tripled in the 13th in a 13-8 win against Jupiter. Almora has had a torrid July to raise his slash line to .276/.300/.395 overall.

Midwest League • Lo A

Dorsyss Paulino, lf, Lake County (Indians). As Francisco Lindor climbs prospect lists and the ladder to Cleveland, Paulino is repeating the Midwest League and not mastering it yet. He hit his second homer of the year Monday night, but is slashing just .232/.295/.332 thus far. The Indians still see potential in his bat, but in May moved him to the outfield after he made 13 errors in 24 games at shortstop.

South Atlantic League • Lo A

No games were scheduled Monday night.

New York-Penn League • short-season

Casey GillaspieCasey Gillaspie, 1b, Hudson Valley (Rays). The 20th overall pick by the Rays from Wichita State, Gillaspie, the brother of White Sox third baseman Conor, had four of the Renegades’ 24 hits in a 16-4 wipeout of Batavia. The switch-hitter went 4-for-6 with a double and knocked in a run. In his brief time as a pro, Gillaspie is hitting .274/.346/.434 with 10 extra-base hits in 113 at-bats. Gillaspie has power from both sides of the plate and controls the strike zone.

Appalachian League • Rookie

Nick Gordon, ss, Elizabethton (Twins). The fifth overall pick this year is more than holding his own in the Appy League. The son of Tom Gordon is 30-for-91 (.330), though with just five extra-base hits. He’s walked five times against 15 strikeouts. Gordon has a chance to be an above-average hitter with a loose, quick stroke, and evaluators believe the power will come as he adds weight.

Pioneer League • Rookie

Kyle Freeland, lhp, Grand Junction (Rockies). The Rockies are going slow with the ninth overall pick. He pitched three innings Monday, allowing four hits and a run with two strikeouts and no walks. The Denver native, whose fastball bumps the mid-90s, has a hard slider and a changeup that can be too firm at times.

Gulf Coast League • Rookie

Cam Varga, rhp, Rays. The Cincinnati prep product and 60th overall pick in June struck out five in 3 1/3 innings in relief of Taylor Guerrieri, who’s working his way back from Tommy John surgery. Varga, whom the Rays bought out of a North Carolina commitment with a $1.097 million bonus, had one of the better breaking balls in the amateur ranks, with at least plus potential, and a fastball that sits 90-94.