Minor League Roundup: The Mitchell Report

In today’s roundup, we look at Kris Bryant not homering, Blake Swihart taking a major leaguer to task, Jared Mitchell having the game of his life, Alex Reyes having the strangest game of the year, and Lucas Giolito looking like Lucas Giolito.

International League

Shane Greene, rhp, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Yankees): Greene has a lot of things for an evaluator to like: A mid-90s fastball, a plus slider, an above-average changeup, and a tall, imposing frame. What he doesn’t always have is command, although there are occasions where his stuff is good enough to get him through an outing even if he doesn’t find the strike zone as much as you’d like. Last night was one of those outings. In the first part of a doubleheader, Greene silenced Buffalo on five hits over six innings with seven strikeouts. This was despite walking four hitters. His walk rate needs to come down a little bit, and he’s giving up more hits than you might like, but it’s easy to still bet on his stuff.

Pacific Coast League

kris-bryant-2014-mugKris Bryant, 3b, Iowa (Cubs): Isn’t it against the rules for Bryant to occupy this space without hitting a home run? Surely it is, but we’re rule-breakers here at Roundup Central, and we don’t care who knows it. Remember that stretch to start Bryant’s Triple-A career where any hit he collected left the yard? Yeah, that’s over with. He’s up to .345/.419/.764 with Iowa, and has added eight singles and five doubles to his six homers. More impressive than his two hits last night, however, was his one stolen base. It was his first with Triple-A and his ninth of the season.

Eastern League

Blake Swihart, c, Portland (Red Sox): We’ve sung the praises of Swihart plenty of times in this space, but Wednesday’s accomplishments weren’t something he does every day. He smacked two doubles in Portland’s rain-soaked win over Trenton, both of which came off of a lefthander with 2,821 major league innings to his credit. That lefty was CC Sabathia, who was rehabbing with the Thunder on Wednesday. The doubles, regardless of whom they were hit against, upped Swihart’s line this year to .303/.357/.487 with 15 doubles, three triples and nine home runs, a sparkling slash line which was been divvied up nearly equally against righties and lefties. He also threw out a runner trying to steal last night, bumping his numbers in that category this season to 53 percent (25 of 47).

Southern League

Jared MitchellJared Mitchell, of, Birmingham (White Sox): As athletic as they come, Mitchell’s results have been mixed in pro ball. His day on Wednesday, however, was wonderful. Mitchell was 4-for-5 with two each of triples and homers, as well as an outfield assist. The assist was particularly key. It came in the fifth inning of a one-run game and cut off Bobby Coyle who, had he reached third base successfully, could later have doubled the Lookouts’ one-run lead. Instead, Coyle was out, Chattanooga went silently the rest of the evening. With his team down by one, Mitchell homered to lead off the sixth, tying the game, then repeated the feat in the eighth inning to give the Barons’ their eventual margin of victory.

Texas League

Addison Russell, ss, Midland (A’s): Sure didn’t take him long to get cooking. After missing most of the first part of the season with a torn hamstring, Russell was eased back with five games in the California League before moving to his originally scheduled destination of Midland. He collected three hits Wednesday night (all singles) and stole a base and has otherwise filled up the scorecard quite nicely in 14 games with the Rockhounds. He’s 15-for-46 with two doubles, a triple, a homer, seven RBIs, five walks and three stolen bases in 12 games since his return. His projection as an all-star shortstop remains unchanged.

Florida State League

josh-bell-2013-mjJosh Bell, of, Bradenton (Pirates): Like Arismendy Alcantara in Tuesday’s roundup, Bell has had a fantastic season with little or no fanfare from this section. He had three hits Wednesday, including his 20th double of the season and scored twice, and he threw a runner out at home. A Florida State League all-star, Bell, who got a $5 million bonus as the first pick of the second round in 2011, has put up a .332/.379/.510 slash line with three triples and nine jacks. Altoona can’t be far off.

Carolina League

LeVon Washington, of, Carolina (Indians): Remember this guy? He missed a little more than a month between mid-April and early May, but he’s hit when he’s gotten on the field. He was 3-for-5 last night against Lynchburg with his second homer of the season. In 38 games with the Mudcats, he’s slashing .317/.418/.417 with 23 walks against 39 strikeouts. It’ll be a long road for the former second-rounder to get back on the prospect map, but last night is a good start.

California League

Gabriel Guerrero, of, High Desert (Mariners): He looks just like his uncle, Vladimir Guerrero, and has the same distaste for walks. He’s had a fine season in the Cal League, and on Wednesday collected two hits in four trips. He’s got incredible power, which he shows off in batting practice more often than in games, and has 70-grade throwing arm to boot. If he improves his plate discipline a bit more, his power potential will have a better crack at shining through.

Midwest League

Alex ReyesAlex Reyes, rhp, Peoria (Cardinals): What a marvelous night. Reyes, whose blend of stuff and wildness must frustrate Cardinals officials to no end, turned in the quintessential Alex Reyes pitching line on Wednesday. Against Kane County, Reyes went five shutout innings, surrendered two hits, walked seven and fanned 10. That’s incredible, to say the least, but it’s pretty much par for the course of Reyes, who his striking out more than 10 per nine, walking more than six per nine, and has allowed just 47 hits in 66 innings. If he and his three excellent pitches ever click, look out. If they don’t, well, also look out.

South Atlantic League

Lucas Giolito, rhp, Hagerstown (Nationals): This is the Lucas Giolito we know and love. He let up just one run (a Dylan Cozens homer) in seven innings last night against the BlueClaws, and fanned five against no walks. It was his first time going more than six innings all season, and since a blip against Greensboro at the end of last month, he’s gone 13 innings, allowed seven hits and one run, walked one and struck out 14. It’s all coming together.