Wilkin Ramirez 2-4 2 2B RBI BB—.306 9 HR 36 RBI 15 SB (Solid season from 5 tool prospect)
Mike Carp 2-5 2B 2 RBI R—.344 6 HR 31 RBI .911 OPS (Big improvement over last year’s performance)
George Kontos 7 IP 3H 1ER 2BB 7K (ND)—2-4 3.01 ERA 63K/69IP (Yankees SP prospect gets little notice)
Josh Rodriguez 2-5 R 2 RBI—17 RBI now but a long way off from last year’s .262 20 HR 82 RBI 21 SB line at Kinston
Blake Wood 9 IP 3 H 10 K (W)—KC prospect has dominated at two stops 4-2 2.55 ERA 79K/72IP
Jesus Guzman 4-5 HR(11) 3 RBI 2 R 2B SB(5)—Huge game for A’s gem (.355 55 RBI .971 OPS)
Vince Mazzaro 7.2 IP 2H 1ER 3BB 6K (W)—Another solid A’s hurler (7-2 2.31 ERA 51K/74IP)
Michael Brantley 1-4 HR(2) RBI—Has the frame (6-2 180) to build more power. I think he will eventually have 10-15 HR power
Matt LaPorta 2-4 HR(16) 2 RBI—I sense a power surge (BA up to .297)
Tyler Colvin 3-5 2B RBI R—Cubs top DP from ’06 has been subpar this season (.242 5 HR 27 RBI 5 SB) but rate has improved drastically
Jordan Schafer 2-4 HR(1) RBI—Schafer still needs to prove that he can replicate last year’s statline without HGH
Scott Elbert 1 IP 1BB 1K (W)—Gotta like seeing his name in the box scores again (Elbert’s still young but will he be a RP now?)
Michael Brantley is just one of the many offensive Stars on Huntsville’s roster. His dad, Mickey, was a hitting coach with the Toronto Blue Jays and a power hitter in the minor leagues (30 HR at AAA Calgary) before playing a non-descript 4 season ML career with the Seattle Mariners. Michael Brantley at 6-2 180 lb. is a larger, more athletic player than his dad was. Brantley just turned 21 and he has showed extremely advanced plate discipline (25BB/12K this season) at each of his minor league stops. Given his build, I see his power developing to double digit HR ability, which will enhance his value greatlyBrantley is one of those few players that really only have one first year card available, 2007 Bowman Chrome Prospects. Currently, bulk lots from this set can be purchased at under $1.00 per card. This seems like one of the better bargains available and, remember, all of his refractor parallels are serial numbered. Finding a gold refractor for under $40 will bring a smile to your face later on!
Jordan Schafer’s popularity took a giant hit after he was hit with a 50 game suspension for HGH use. Due to that skepticism, it seems that prospectors will be reluctant to invest heavily in his cards until he shows that he can replicate his success from last season and from the Arizona Fall League. To me, he is still the heir apparent for the CF job in Atlanta. Currently, Schafer’s 2005 Bowman Draft and Chrome products (his only first year cards) are selling for less than half of what they were before his suspension. At $2.00 each, the chromes RC’s are great deals right now. Refractors sell for $12-15 bucks, down from the $25-30 price range in spring training.
Jesus Guzman, a former Seattle Mariners prospect, has had a torrid start to his 2008 season for the Midland Rockhounds. This comes on the heels of a breakout 2007 campaign at High A High Desert where he hit .301 w/ 25 HR and 112 RBI and 103 runs scored. Why did the M’s let Guzman go after investing 7 years into his development? Stack that question onto the M’s “What the Bleep?” pile which is in a state of perpetual growth. The A’s took a free agent flier on Guzman and he has continued to prove his worth at AA. I am interested to see what he does at Sacramento, but it seems likely, with the uncertain future of Eric Chavez and the impending free agency of 2b Mark Ellis, Guzman has ample opportunity to land a roster spot with Oakland late this season and/or early next season. Guzman’s only first year cards can be found in the 2007 Bowman Chrome prospects sets. They are selling on Ebay for 75 cents to $1.25 each and bulk lots are prevalently available. Refractors can be purchased for $4-5 which is notable for a guy that is slamming AA pitching. Guzman has wiry strength much like a young Miguel Tejada or Alfonso Soriano. My only caveats are that Guzman’s power seems to have increased rapidly (which in this day and age can mean BAD things) and, at age 24, he is not the youngest AA prospect around.
Stay tuned for my High and Low A reports coming soon…As always, feel free to share your thoughts on AA performers!