Minor League Roundup: Bummer For Buxton, O’Brien Goes Boom

Today’s Roundup features a 17-year-old making his pro debut in Double-A, a Yankees prospect tying Joey Gallo for homer hierarchy, a man named Luigi and his great day, Maikel Franco waking up and a pair of Cal League shortstops tearing the cover off the ball.

Mookie Meter

This weekend, Betts collected four hits and walked three times for Double-A Portland, meaning he was on base seven times (which means he’s been on base in all 32 games this season). Thus, the Meter is off the charts. You may notice that there is no zero on the Mookie Meter. No reason to muddy the gauge with numbers that are never used.

Mookie Meter


JJ’s GIF Of The Day

Peter O’Brien got a promotion, arrived in his new digs at Double-A Trenton, hit three home runs in two games, and in the process tied Joey Gallo for the minor league home run lead at 13. So what did you do with your weekend?

Today’s GIF is of O’Brien’s first of two home runs on Sunday. His second one cleared the fence in left field and apparently rolled onto Route 29 beyond the stadium in left field.

Peter O'Brien


Bummer For Buxton

Just a few days after returning from a wrist injury that cost him the first month of the season, Byron Buxton re-injured his wrist on a slide into third base. The center fielder went on the seven-day disabled list today. With Buxton’s woes and Miguel Sano on the shelf for the season with Tommy John surgery, what was supposed to be a renaissance for the Twins farm system has turned into a nightmare.

International League (AAA)

maikel-franco-2014-cwMaikel Franco, 3b, Lehigh Valley (Phillies): Slowly but surely, he’s heating up. The Phillies’ top prospect endured a dreadful April (.172/.234/.253) and had fans questioning just how much the cold weather was hindering his production. In May so far, he’s knocked off the rust. He went 5-for-13 over the weekend with a double, a homer, a walk and only one strikeout. He’s still just 21 and there’s plenty of reason to believe he’ll be a fine major leaguer.

Pacific Coast League (AAA)

Stephen Piscotty, rf, Memphis (Cardinals): With Randal Grichuk returned to Triple-A, the Memphis outfield is back to a three-man show. On Saturday, Piscotty was the star. He swatted two home runs as part of a 3-for-5 effort with three runs and five RBIs. He’s hitting .315/.345/.489 for the season.

Joc Pederson, cf, Albuquerque (Dodgers): With the Dodgers’ current alignment of Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig and Andre Ethier in the outfield, it’s hard to see a spot for Pederson in Los Angeles in the near future. Nevertheless, he’ll keep on mashing. On Saturday, Pederson clubbed two more home runs—one off of Padres stud prospect Matt Wisler—and upped his total to 11 for the season.

Eastern League (AA)Peter O'Brien

Peter O’Brien, c/rf, Trenton (Yankees): New level? No problem. O’Brien hit 10 home runs at high Class A Tampa prior to his promotion to Double-A, and he introduced himself to the Eastern League by clubbing three more in his first three games with the Thunder. That gives him 13 for the season, tying him with Joey Gallo for the minor league lead. The man doesn’t hit cheapies, either. He had two of the top 10 longest blasts in the Arizona Fall League, as measured by TrackMan. He’s splitting time behind the dish with top prospect Gary Sanchez and is also seeing action in right field.

Texas League (AA)

James Ramsey, cf, Springfield (Cardinals): He just keeps hitting. He’ll probably stay with Double-A until one of Oscar Taveras, Randal Grichuk or Stephen Piscotty move up for the long term. In the meanwhile, he’ll keep marauding Texas League hurlers. On Saturday, Ramsey finished a triple shy of the cycle, scored three times and drove home a run. He’s hitting .295/.380/.545 with nine longballs.

Michael De Leon, ss, Frisco (Rangers): Normally, going 1-for-3 with a double won’t get you into this space. However, when you’re Michael De Leon and you just turned 17 in January and you’re making your professional debut in Double-A, we’ll make an exception. With Rougned Odor and Luis Sardinas moving up to the big leagues and a few of the organization’s older players at extended spring training dinged up, the Rangers decided to reward De Leon with a taste of the Texas League, though their plan is to bring him back to Arizona after a few more days. With the injection of youth he’s given the RoughRiders, De Leon, the No. 26 prospect for July 2 last year who signed for $550,000 out of the Dominican Republic, has earned the nickname “Ponce” for now. Ben Badler, tell the people about young Mr. De Leon, won’t you?

Southern League (AA)

Stephen Bruno, 2b, Tennessee (Cubs): Even with Kris Bryant crushing his 10th homer of the season on Saturday, Bruno found a way to overshadow his teammate. The second baseman was 4-for-6 with a double, two homers, three runs, four RBIs and a stolen base. That’ll do. After just 19 career games with high Class A Daytona, the University of Virginia product is producing with the Smokies. Through the first six weeks, he’s boasting a slash line of .312/.414/.523 with 12 doubles, three homers and 17 RBIs.

Carolina League (Hi A)Joey Gallo

Luigi Rodriguez, of, Carolina (Indians): After sliding down the prospect rankings over the last couple of years, Rodriguez has played sparingly this season. On Saturday, though, he came forth with a week’s worth of production. The 21-year-old banged out four hits, including a double and his second homer of the year, and stole two bases. He’s got an on-base percentage of .381 this season in just 14 games and was twice named the Fastest Baserunner in the system.

Joey Gallo, 3b, Myrtle Beach (Rangers): After drawing the collar on Friday, Gallo was back to his resurgent self. The behemoth mashed his 13th homer of the year as part of a two-hit effort on Saturday. The longball total leads the minor leagues, and he scored twice and drove home two runs. We detailed the changes he’s made in last week’s Scout’s Video View.

Florida State League (Hi A)

Marco Gonzales

Marco Gonzales, lhp, Palm Beach (Cardinals): Last year’s first-rounder from Gonzaga hasn’t shown any trouble adjusting to high Class A. The lefty, who couples low-90s gas with the best changeup in the system (among pitchers not named Wacha), went six innings on Sunday, allowed one run on five hits with a walk and eight strikeouts. He’s got a 4-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio this season.

Dalton Pompey, cf, Dunedin (Blue Jays): Slowly but surely, Pompey, who was drafted by the Jays as a 17-year-old, is seeing his tools turn into skills. He’s 15-for-41 (.366) since returning from the disabled list. He’s a smooth runner with good knowledge of the strike zone and doubles power. On Saturday he went 3-for-5 with his second home run of the year and his 16th and 17th stolen bases, which ties him with Brevard County’s Michael Reed for tops in the FSL.

California League (Hi A)

Carlos Correa

Carlos Correa, ss, Lancaster (Astros): That shoulder seems fine. After missing time with the injury, Correa has come back looking better than ever. The 19-year-old was a useful 5-for-6 on Saturday with a double and six RBIs.

Corey Seager, ss, Inland Empire (Dodgers): In most other years, Seager would be the top shortstop in the Cal League. With Correa’s presence, however, he’ll have to settle for second banana. A tall, lean, powerful specimen, Seager on Saturday went 3-for-4 with two doubles, two runs, an RBI and a walk. He’s hitting .322/.383/.487, but there are already plenty of concerns that, because of his size, he’ll have to move off shortstop.

Midwest League (Lo A)

Blake Snell, lhp, Bowling Green (Rays): As is its modus operandi, Tampa Bay has slow-cooked Snell. He spent a year in each of the the Gulf Coast and Appalachian leagues, and added another coat of experience last season in the Midwest League, where he’s returned to start the season. On Saturday, Snell was excellent against Lake County. He allowed three runs (two earned) on four hits and a walk and struck out nine. For the season he’s struck out nearly a batter an inning but could stand to iron out his control.

Daniel Palka, 1b, South Bend (Diamondbacks): The 22-year-old Palka was 3-for-8 this weekend with two doubles and a triple, three RBIs and two walks. A former Atlantic Coast Conference home run champion, Palka is being counted on for his power stroke. He entered the season with a hitch in his swing, but he has cut his strikeout rate to 22 percent in the early going, meaning he’s going to have to slug a ton to profile at the position long term.

South Atlantic League (Lo A)

J.P. Crawford

J.P. Crawford, ss, Lakewood (Phillies): The class of shortstops in the minor leagues is tremendous. Javier Baez, Carlos Correa, Francisco Lindor and Addison Russell form the first wave (Xander Bogaerts has departed from prospect-hood). Crawford, along with Royals prospect Raul A. Mondesi, is part of the next group. Crawford, who is riding a 13-game hitting streak, went 3-for-3 on Saturday with a double and has shown all the tools this year to have Phillies fans drooling.

Lucas Giolito, rhp, Hagerstown (Nationals): It’s been a while since we’ve talked about Giolito in this space, especially considering he’s one of the top pitching prospects in the minors. The massive righty was brilliant on Sunday, spinning six innings of one-hit, shutout ball with seven strikeouts to one walk. Armed with a fastball, curve and changeup that each rate as at least 60s on the 20-80 scouting scale, Giolito has whiffed 36 in 32 1/3 innings this season.